TODAY

TODAY   |  March 12, 2014

Jerry Sandusky's wife: Victims 'were manipulated’

In an exclusive interview with TODAY’s Matt Lauer, Dottie Sandusky – Jerry Sandusky’s wife of 37 years – maintains that her husband is innocent of the charges of child sex abuse that resulted his imprisonment. Sandusky was joined by filmmaker John Ziegler in her State College, Penn. home.

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This content comes from Closed Captioning that was broadcast along with this program.

>>> of 45 counts of child abuse , former penn state assistant football coach, jerry sandusky , now spends 23 hours each day in his cell at a maximum security prison in pennsylvania. we spoke to dottie , his wife of 37 years exclusively on monday at her home in the shadows of penn state university , along with documentary filmmaker john ziegler . he has researched this case for two years and after interviewing sandusky , twice in prison, he believes he is innocent. i began by asking mrs. sandusky if she believes her husband.

>> i definitely believe him because if i didn't believe him, i would have -- when i testified at trial, could i have not said what i said. i would have had to tell the truth.

>> but have you allowed yourself to think of the possibility that somehow, you have blocked this out that you lived in this house and you thought, i can't even bear to think what might be doing golden gate on and i'm not going to i a lou myself to think of it?

>> no. no. no. i have not. no because there was nothing that went on because i was here. it was like -- i mean, i will take you downstairs and let you see the basement. it is not a dungeon. it is not what those kids said. and this is the bedroom there is a bath around the corner.

>> and this is where the accusations -- that this is where the sexual abuse took place?

>> correct.

>> in this room?

>> where the accuser said.

>> back out this is the stairwell to the kitchen, the kitchen is --

>> right up the stairs.

>> ten feet up that direction?

>> mm-hmm.

>> this is a very small house. i do think we should mention. we are sitting 12 feet from the door that basement. and one of the victims said he screamed. he screamed while he was being sexually abused by your husband. and i said why wouldn't you have heard it?

>> because he didn't scream.

>> you know the things that have been written about your husband but people have written a lot of things about you in the press as well. evil can come in many forms it can come in the likes of stalin or hitler or it can come in the gentle, gray softness of a grandmother like dottie sandusky . that was written in the " huffington post ." in the " washington post ", it is shame that dottie sandusky doesn't have a cell of her own next to her notorious husband. we know that predators prey on the more vulnerable. they also tend to choose spouses who can be counted on to suppress any unpleasant ideas that might occur to them.

>> i'm not a weak spouse. as you know, my name -- they called me sarge because jerry said i kept everybody in line. if they want to say that, let them say that.

>> you are saying, mrs. sandusky that you don't believe he is guilty of the horrible sex acs that he has been accused of committing with these boys. do you believe he was guilty of inappropriate behavior?

>> i don't believe that. i believe he showered with kids and that's -- that's the generation that jerry, you know, grew up in.

>> one of the victims said he showered with him and hucked him. if someone did that to one of your children, came home -- and your children came home and told you that, wouldn't you think, that he's inappropriate?

>> i would guess that i would.

>> as inappropriate as it seems, and i fully acknowledge i would not do it in a million years but that's not what jerry sandusky is in prison for that's not why he is probably going to die in prison and has had his pension taken away. that's not why joe paterno was unjustly fired and three penn state administrators are facing losing their freedom over this case.

>> 1998 , victim number six, as i believe he is called in this case, goes home one day, hair's wet, his mother says, what's going on? he says i showered with jerry sandusky and she gets upset. she calls the investigators. the investigators, with her permission, then evesdropped on a conversation between that mother and your husband. and during that conversation, she says, you will never see this boy again. it's inappropriate what you did and your husband basically says, and i'm paraphrasing here, he says, i am so sorry. i know i was wrong. i wish i could get forgiveness. i'm not gonna get it from you. and then he says i wish i were dead. so, he admits he was wrong. he says he is so sorry that he wishes he were dead. and what do we know? that he continued to shower --

>> let's get some facts out here. in the 1998 , you said the mother -- you will never see my son again. well, guess what happened? for 13 years, jerry sandusky had a close relationship with her son and she was well aware of it and acknowledged its existence.

>> but if you believe these investigators who say that jerry sandusky said this, i was wrong, i wish i could get forgiveness, i know i won't get it from you, i wish he were dead, you know what it reminds me of a little bit? it reminds me of the alcoholic to drinks and drives and gets in an accident and hurts somebody and he says, i'm begging for forgiveness, i will never do it again and he goes out and does it again. why? because he's sick. he is an alcoholic. and i think it might be easy to say for jerry sandusky , if he continued to shower with boys after admitting it was wrong and saying i wish i were dead, why? because's sick and he is a pedophile.

>> jerry would not say i wish i was dead.

>> a large part of the prosecution case here was exactly that, i wish -- i wish i was dead was somehow please catch me. that's the case, then why has there been nothing close to a confession in this case?

>> mrs. sandusky , what's the motive? why would they say such terrible things about him?

>> i think they were manipulated. once the lawyers came into the case, they said there was money.

>> i think some people who are gonna watch this are gonna be furious by hearing what you both say, because it seems what you're asking us to believe is that everybody on the other side of this case has either been manipulated or is like and everybody on this side of the case is telling the truth. and that's gonna be very hard for people to swallow, mrs. sandusky . how do you respond to that?

>> i think people need to know that jervey not guilty and see all the discrepancies that went on at trial.

>> have you uncovered one piece of evidence, john, that in your opinion, proves jerry sandusky is not guilty?

>> the number one thing that people should know that's indoes disputable is that the boy in the mike mcqueary episode has stated publicly in his own name that nothing happened that night or any night and he has never waivered from that. and i am positive, i am positive that there was no assault that night and that was the basis for everything in this case, the unjustified firing of joe paterno which created a symbiotic relationship of railroading between joe paterno and jerry sandusky . the more sandusky got railroaded, the more paterno and penn state got railroaded, that was the snowball that turned into an avalanche. no one checked the math on this story, matt. the math doesn't make any sense.

>> that's john ziegler to admits to me he knows he is out on a limb on this story and thinks he is maybe unhirable as a journalist because of his stance on this, but he spent two years looking into this and clearly, has a point of view.

>> yeah. as does, of course, mrs. sandusky . interesting conversation.

>>> coming up, much more from dottie sandusky as she gets very emotional talking about the scandal's toll on her family and she also talks about her prison visits with her husband.

>> plus we want to hear what you think about this interview, carson is in the