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Sandusky's autobiography titled 'Touched'

By Mike Pearson and Josh Levs, CNN
updated 2:13 PM EST, Mon November 7, 2011
STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • Sandusky is accused of engaging in sex with young boys
  • He maintains he is innocent
  • His autobiography explores his career and work with kids' charities
  • Sandusky stepped down from coaching in 2000 to focus more on a kids' charity

(CNN) -- For most of the 37 years between 1963 and 2000, Jerry Sandusky was the epitome of a Penn State man.

That shining image dimmed over the weekend, when police arrested him on seven counts of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and other charges, including aggravated indecent assault and endangering the welfare of a child.

Sandusky, 67, allegedly engaged in fondling, oral sex and anal sex with young boys over a period of more than 10 years, according to an investigative state grand jury's summary of testimony.

He maintains he is innocent.

Penn State head football coach Joe Paterno spoke for many in the community when he called the string of sexual child abuse charges against Sandusky "shocking."

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The charges put a whole new spin on the title of his autobiography, "Touched: The Jerry Sandusky Story." Published in 2001, the book explores Sandusky's career and his involvement in children's charities.

A starting defensive end for the Nittany Lions for three years, Sandusky went on to spend all but two years of his coaching career working the sidelines for Penn State, most of them as defensive coordinator.

The university has called Sandusky "largely responsible for Penn State earning the moniker 'Linebacker U,' with 10 of his linebackers earning first-team All-America honors."

Eleven years ago, he retired to focus more attention on Second Mile, the program he had founded for troubled youth. But he still maintained ties to the university, continuing as a volunteer with the athletic department's life skills and outreach programs.

"Football coaching has been a wonderful career because it has brought me into contact with so many exceptional young people," Sandusky said in a statement at the time, released by the university. "The opportunity to impact the lives of the many student-athletes who've come through the program has been one of the great rewards for me. Penn State football is special because of the sense of family established by those associated with the program today and those players, coaches and staff who've been part of it over the years.

"Retiring as an active coach will permit me to devote more time to The Second Mile. As the organization has grown, the demands for my hands-on involvement have increased dramatically. The staff has done a marvelous job of building the organization, which now touches more than 150,000 children annually through eight different programs. I'm anxious to devote my full-time energies to expanding the reach and influence of The Second Mile in a day and age when more and more kids seem to be at risk. "

"I always felt that Jerry had two loves: One was obviously his ability, his wanting to help younger people in The Second Mile and being a head coach," Paterno said in a 2008 news conference. "He could have been a head coach a couple places, but he really he backed away because they were going to ask him to give up some things in The Second Mile."

In his book, Sandusky writes of his "unusual life."

"My time on this earth has always been unique," he writes. "At the times when I found myself searching for maturity, I usually came up with insanity. That's the way it is in the life of Gerald Arthur Sandusky."

He writes about people who have touched his life.

"I wish, sometimes, that I could press a button to bring back the times when life was so much simpler with the kids. The times when they didn't worry about what they were missing with drugs, alcohol and sex," he writes. "They didn't have to worry about protection from AIDS and HIV. They enjoyed life's simple pleasures in a naive time; a time of make-believe. There were simple activities and worthwhile outlets. People just enjoyed each other simply as people."

A search of the text of his book on amazon.com shows no other references to "sex," and no references to "abuse."

Second Mile issued a statement Monday saying, "The newly released details in the breadth of the allegations from the Attorney General's Office brings shock, sadness, and concern from The Second Mile Organization. Our prayers, care, and compassion go out to all impacted."

Sandusky's attorney said Sandusky has known about the allegations for three years. "Jerry feels like because of his background and reputation it took a long time to reach this conclusion and he's been ready for it," Joseph Amendola told CNN affiliate WJAC.

CNN contacted Amendola and did not hear back immediately.

CNN's Jason Carroll and Kiran Khalid contributed to this report.

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