By Jessica Hopper, Lauren Specter and Alexis Weiss
Frankie Probst, a young man mentored by former Penn State defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky, says Sandusky was like a father figure to him but grew increasingly clingy over a period of 8 years.
“We kind of grew apart because he was getting clingy, wanting me to come over and stuff," Probst told NBC's Natalie Morales in an exclusive interview broadcast Monday night on Rock Center.
“As I grew older, I did kind of think, it’s a little weird,” he said.
Probst, 24, met Sandusky when he was 10 years old through The Second Mile charity that Sandusky founded. Sandusky is currently free on a $100,000 bond after being charged with 40 criminal counts related to the alleged sexual abuse of eight minors over a 15 year period.
Probst said that he doesn’t know if Sandusky is guilty or innocent.
“That’s something a monster would do if it’s true,” Probst said.
In an exclusive interview with NBC's Bob Costas on Nov. 14, Sandusky said that he is innocent of the charges, but admitted to showering and having “horsed around” with young boys.
Between the ages of 10 and 16, Probst said that he spent weekends at the Sandusky home and would travel with Sandusky to NFL football games out of state.
“He was a down to earth, really nice guy that would do anything for you,” he said. “I guess he took a liking to me and the relationship grew to kind of like a fatherly figure.”
Probst said that Sandusky never abused him. He said that while he did stay frequently at Sandusky’s home, he never stayed in the basement bedroom that some of the alleged victims told investigators Sandusky used to molest them, according to the grand jury report.
Probst said that Sandusky never came into his bedroom at night and when they would travel out of state together, they’d sleep in the same room, but in different beds.
Probst eventually began to pull away from Sandusky when Sandusky began to demand more and more of his time. Sandusky was also volunteering as a football coach at Probst’s high school, so Probst was seeing Sandusky nearly every day.
“I wasn’t seeing my friends as much, wasn’t doing as teenagers do,” Probst said.
When Probst began to distance himself, Sandusky would pull him out of class to chat with him. The chats eventually turned into arguments, Probst said.
Probst also grew uncomfortable with the way Sandusky would put his hand on his leg, above his right knee, when he was riding in Sandusky’s car.
“It started making me feel uncomfortable... I kind of like pushed it away or…you know, pull away,” he said.
At one point, Probst confronted Sandusky about feeling uncomfortable with the way he touched his leg.
“He got a little mad,” Probst said of Sandusky’s reaction.
In one of their last conversations a few years ago, Probst said that Sandusky asked him if if he’d be willing to testify in his defense. Investigators had already reached out to Probst for questioning.
“I want to say, he asked if I would testify on his behalf. I didn’t have to go, he said it could be even over the phone, but I said, I don’t want [to be] involved in it,” Probst said.
Probst is currently taking a semester off from college. He said that he considers Sandusky a positive influence in his life.