Former Penn State defensive coordinator and accused pedophile Jerry Sandusky admitted Monday that he "shouldn't have showered with those kids" -- but maintained he was innocent of the child sex abuse charges that have rocked the university.
The 67-year-old, who has been charged with 21 felony counts for allegedly abusing eight male minors over a period of 15 years, also said fired Penn State coach Joe Paterno never spoke to him directly about his behavior.
And he branded as "false" a claim by former assistant coach Mike McQueary that he witnessed Sandusky sexually abusing a 10-year-old boy in the locker room showers in 2002.
Sandusky spoke out in an interview with Bob Costas for NBC News' Rock Center, in which the coach was asked, "Are you a pedophile?"
He responded, "No."
"I'm innocent of these charges," he added.
"I have horsed around with kids. I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them and I have touched their legs without intent of sexual contact.
"I enjoy young people. I love to be around them. But no, I"m not sexually attracted to young boys."
When pressed if he felt anything he did was wrong, he answered, "I shouldn't have showered with those kids."
Penn State's iconic coach Paterno was fired last Wednesday, with the school facing a massive backlash over claims it did not do enough to stop the alleged abuse.
According to a grand jury report, McQueary, then a 28-year-old graduate assistant, notified Paterno of what he saw, but the allegations were never reported to police by the university.
Sandusky told NBC that Paterno never spoke to him about his alleged behavior and, when asked directly about McQueary's claim he witnessed the 2002 incident, he said, "I would say that that's false."
Earlier Monday, McQueary defended himself against criticism he did not do enough to stop the alleged attack.
In an email to former teammates, obtained by NBC News, McQueary said "the truth is not out there fully" and that he "didn't just turn and run" after seeing what was happening to the child.
"I made sure it stopped," he wrote. "I did the right thing ... you guys know me," adding that he "had to make quick, tough decisions."
In a separate interview, Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola told CNN Monday that "jocks do that," regarding Sandusky's "horsing around" in the showers.
"Jerry Sandusky is a big, overgrown kid," Amendola said of his client, who is married and has six adopted children.
In further fallout from the scandal, The Second Mile, the nonprofit organization founded by Sandusky in 1970s to help disadvantaged children, accepted the resignation of CEO Jack Raykovitz earlier Monday. The grand jury report alleges that Sandusky used the charity to pick out his victims.
The Patriot-News also reported that corporate donors had begun cutting ties with organization.
Meanwhile the Big Ten announced that it had removed Paterno's name from the championship trophy awarded to the conference's top football team.
Big Ten commissioner Jim Delany said The Stagg-Paterno Championship Trophy -- originally named after the iconic Penn State coach and fellow Hall of Fame coach Amos Alonzo Stagg -- would now be called the Stagg Championship Trophy.
"The trophy and its namesake are intended to be celebratory and aspirational, not controversial. We believe that it's important to keep the focus on the players and the teams that will be competing in the inaugural championship game," Delany said, according to CBS Sports.