STATE COLLEGE, Pa., March 25 (UPI) -- Convicted pedophile Jerry Sandusky says Joe Paterno would not have kept him as an assistant if the Penn State football coach had thought he was a molester.
"If he [Paterno] absolutely thought I was [a pedophile], I'd say no," Sandusky said in interviews aired Monday first on NBC's "Today" show. "If he had a suspicion, I don't know the answer to that."
Sandusky worked for Paterno from 1966 to 1999 and remained associated with the school for years after through the Second Mile youth organization he founded.
Paterno was fired after the allegations against Sandusky became public, with critics saying he didn't do enough to have his former assistant investigated. Paterno, who said he had alerted the school's administration, died of cancer a few months later.
Filmmaker John Ziegler is working on the documentary "Framing Paterno," a defense of the late coach, and interviewed Sandusky by telephone, portions of which were aired exclusively on "Today."
Sandusky, 69, was convicted on 45 counts of child sexual abuse and sentenced to between 30 and 60 years in prison.
"Jerry Sandusky already had his day in court," Ziegler said on "Today" Monday. "I'm trying to get Joe Paterno, effectively, his day in court. ... I have no doubt that Jerry Sandusky was guilty of many of things, if not all the things, that he was accused of, but I do believe there were due process problems with the trial."
The Paterno family attorney, responding to Ziegler's interview, said in a statement the family had "no role in obtaining or releasing this recording. Moreover, they believe that any attempt to use this recording as a defense of Joe Paterno is misguided and inappropriate."
In his interview with Ziegler, Sandusky also disputed the testimony of a key prosecution witness, Mike McQueary, who testified before a grand jury that in 2001 he heard sounds of a sexual nature and then saw Sandusky with a 10-year-old boy in a campus locker room shower.
"I don't understand how anybody would have walked into that locker room from where he was and heard sounds associated that was sex going on like he said that could've been," Sandusky said. "I mean, that would have been the last thing I would have thought about. I would have thought maybe fooling around or something like that."
In a statement to NBC News, Penn State said, "Jerry Sandusky's statements today continue to open wounds for his victims, and the victims of child sexual abuse everywhere. We have tremendous respect for the men who came forward to tell their stories publicly. Penn State continues to take important steps, including the training of over 11,000 employees and volunteers on how to recognize and report suspected child abuse."