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MSNBC: Sex Abuse Attorney Jeff Herman on Sandusky Interview: Classic ‘Pedophile Speak’

Lawrence: Last night in an NBC news exclusive former Penn State defensive coordinator, Jerry Sandusky, spoke out for the first time since being charged with sexually abusing eight young boys. Tonight a key eyewitness speaks out in an interview with CBS News.

Scott: Do you have idea when you think you might be ready to talk?

Mike: This process has to play out. I just don’t have anything else to say.

Scott: Okay. Just one last thing, describe your emotions right now.

Mike: All over the place. Shaken.

Scott: Crazy?

Mike: Crazy.

Scott: You said what like…

Mike: [inaudible 00:00:41]

Lawrence: That was Penn State wide receiver coach Mike McQueary who told a grand jury he witnessed Sandusky raping a young boy in a locker room shower in 2002. In an e-mail obtained by The Associated Press today McQueary told a friend from Penn State that he stopped that alleged assault by Sandusky and discussed it with police. The e-mail appears to be about a week old dated November 8th and reads in part, “I did stop it not physically but made sure it was stopped when I left that locker room. I did have discussions with police and with the official at the university in charge of police.” Pennsylvania is not one of the 18 states that require all adults to report suspected child abuse.

Today, Senator Bob Casey called for an expedited hearing into how federal laws apply to the Sandusky investigation and to ensure that provisions for reporting suspected cases are in place. Joining me now an expert in representing sex abuse victims. A lawyer who has been contacted by some of the alleged victims in the Sandusky case, attorney Jeff Herman and Goldie Taylor from the Grio.com also rejoins us again tonight. Thank you both for joining me tonight.

Goldie: Thanks for having us Lawrence.

Jeff: Good evening.

Lawrence: I want to take a look before we get into the discussion, I want to take a look at more of Bob Costas interview with Sandusky last night. I want us all to take a look at it and to look at it from your perspective. Goldie you shared with us as our viewers know last night that as when you were in high school you were subjected to abuse by a high school football coach and from that perspective of that experience and obviously attorney Herman from your expert perspective. Let’s now take another look at this interview with Sandusky.

Sandusky: I say that I’m innocent of those charges.

Bob: Innocent completely, innocent and falsely accused in every aspect?

Sandusky: Well, I could say that you know I have done some of those things, I have horsed around with kids, I have showered after workouts, I have hugged them, I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact but if you look at it that way there are things that would be accurate.

Bob: Are you denying that you had any inappropriate sexual contact with any of these under-age boys?

Sandusky: Yes I am.

Bob: Never touched their genitals, never engaged in oral sex?

Sandusky: Right.

Bob: What about Mike McQueary, the grad assistant who in 2002 walked into the shower where he says in specific detail that you were forcibly raping a boy who appeared to be 10 or 11 years old?

Sandusky: I would say that that’s false.

Bob: What would be his motive to lie?

Sandusky: You’d have to ask him that.

Bob: Are you a pedophile?

Sandusky: No.

Bob: What did happen in the shower the night that Mike McQueary happened upon you and the young boy?

Sandusky: Okay. We were showering and horsing around and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor and as I recall possibly like snapping a towel, horseplay.

Bob: In 1998, a mother confronts you about taking a shower with her son and inappropriately touching him. Two detectives eavesdrop on the conversations with you and you admit that maybe your private parts touched her son. What happened there?

Sandusky: I can’t exactly recall what was said there in terms of… what I did say was that if he felt that way then I was wrong and I didn’t want to leave that kind of impression, I did lift him and that’s what I said.

Bob: Shortly after that, in 2000 a janitor said that he saw you performing oral sex on a young boy in the showers in the Penn State locker facility. Did that happen?

Sandusky: No.

Bob: How could somebody think they saw something as extreme and shocking as that when it hadn’t occurred and what would possibly be their motivation to fabricate it?

Sandusky: You’d have to ask them.

Bob: How do you account for these things and if you’re not a pedophile then what are you?

Sandusky: Well. I’m a person that has taken a strong interest; I’m a very passionate person in terms of trying to make a difference in the lives of some young people. I had worked very hard to try to connect with them, to make them feel good about themselves, to be something significant in their lives. Maybe this gets misinterpreted as gotten depending on… I know a lot of young people where it hasn’t, I have worked with many, many young people where there has been no misinterpretation of my actions and I have made a very significant difference in their lives.

Bob: But isn’t what you’re just describing the classic MO of many pedophiles. There were hundreds if not thousands of young boys who came into contact with but there are allegations that at least eight of them were victimized. Many people believe there are more to come.

Sandusky: I would guess that there are many young people who would come forward, many more young people who would come forward and say that my methods and what I have done for them made a very positive impact on their life and I didn’t go round seeking out every young person for sexual needs that I’ve helped. There are many that I didn’t have…I hardly had any contact with who I have helped in many, many ways.

Bob: Are you sexually attracted to young boys to underage boys?

Sandusky: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys? Sexually attracted, I enjoy young people, I love to be around them. But no, I’m not sexually attracted to young boys.

Bob: Did Joe Paterno at any time ever speak to you directly about your behavior?

Sandusky: No.

Bob: Never?

Sandusky: No.

Bob: What are you willing to concede that you’ve done that was wrong and you wish you had not done it?

Sandusky: In retrospect, I shouldn’t have showered with those kids.

Bob: That’s it?

Sandusky: Well, that’s what hits me the most.

Lawrence: Jeff Herman I want to get your perspective as an attorney who’s handled these kinds of cases in terms of what you think you were just listening to, you’ve heard guilty people testify, you’ve heard the way they talk about it, you’ve heard people who are found not guilty, some people who are innocently charged, talk about these kinds of things. What do you think you were just listening to?

Jeff: Well to me this is classic pedophile speak. I mean first a pedophile thinks that they’re not harming a child, that they are really loving a child and treating them with care, etc. and that’s kind of what I hear Sandusky describing, but then the classic pedophile also then kind of justifies their behavior by all the good they’ve done for other kids. I mean he even talked about that he wasn’t sexually interested in every child, there’s all these kids he barely had any contact with at all and so in his mind, on one hand he’s loving the kids, he doesn’t think he was inappropriate at all so when you ask him, were you sexually inappropriate with a child? In his mind, a pedophile’s mind, they’re not but to the rest of the world and to the population, it’s Inappropriate and its classic pedophile speak to me.

Lawrence: Jeff the governor yesterday said he would like more victims to come forward if they are out there. Goldie Taylor was on the show last night trying to support that notion and trying to give possible victims a sense of support if they do come out. You’ve had some contact with some of the alleged victims in this case. Do you expect more victims to emerge?

Jeff: Yeah. I think it really just after hearing Sandusky last night, that will encourage a lot of victims to come forward. When other victims see the perpetrator or the institution in denial, what that does is that kind of sparks some to say hey, this stuff is true. I’m gonna come forward and then also what we see is this collective empowerment. For many victims when it happens they’re isolated, they’re scared, they’re alone. You saw what happened as soon as the allegations against the Penn State institution, there were riots in the streets. So in those kinds of circumstances you can understand why victims are afraid to come forward. But now when there is momentum and victims see other victims coming forward, there’s a collective empowerment and it gives them the strength to come forward which is, they need to get help. Victims should come forward, get some professional help because they’re not alone and the worst thing for a victim is to suffer in silence.

Lawrence: Goldie you’ve had the terrible, unfortunate experience of being around these kinds of predators in the worst possible way not in a courtroom but unprotected as a child yourself, you’ve heard them talk. What do you think you just heard?

Goldie: On hearing Jerry Sandusky really out of two ears, one I’m hearing him as having been victimized in this way by a football coach and you got to feel like something is just amiss with this guy that he really doesn’t know that he’s harming children, that he doesn’t know that this isn’t the way the show your love and support and passion for children in supporting them in their growth and so I hear it out of this year that something is tragically wrong here but I also hear it out of the ear of having been a crisis communications expert for the mass part of my career and at the end of the day if I’m Jerry Sandusky’s lawyer, I don’t let him make this phone call, let alone with Bob Costas, one of the top tier journalists on this planet sports or otherwise. And so at the end of the day he certainly wasn’t properly prepared for a live interview like this. And certainly the impact that it could have are, I expect it to have, on his victims and other victims to come up and stand up and stand out. I think could really turn the table on this.

Lawrence: There are many levels of shock here and that includes how could a lawyer let this happen. We’re gonna take a break here and come back and Jeff Herman and I want to get your perspective on that one especially how did a lawyer let that conversation happen last night. There’s gonna be more later in the show coming up. It has been a wild day at Occupy Wall Street protests. Police came in the middle of the night to clear out the protesters. That sparked an all day legal battle. We’ll go live to the protest site to see where things stand at this hour. And later Gabby Gifford’s recovering today. The congresswoman released a message to her constituents. The intern hero who helped save Gifford’s life. That’s tonight’s last word.

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