Guests: Bill Fallon
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up: Atlanta Falcons star quarterback Michael Vick could now face even more charges in connection with that alleged dog-fighting operation. Sportscaster Jim Gray (ph) joins our debate.
But first, a new “DATELINE” undercover sting could have more significance than ever before. Today, a controversial new study. It suggests that 85 percent of men convicted of downloading sexually explicit images of children on line have also actually molested children. The government study obtained by “The New York Times” has not been published yet and may never be. Some say its results are too controversial. I‘m sure, but also too important not to release, I‘d say.
For three years, “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen has been tracking down men who often claim, I wasn‘t really going do anything, it was just Internet fantasy. Well, this new study that we will discuss later certainly throws a wrench into that so-called defense.
In this latest sting on the New Jersey shore, almost 30 men engaged in sexual talk with what they thought was a young teen. This time, these men are then seen on camera in broad daylight on the beach, telling what they think is that underage girl exactly what they want to do to her. That is, of course, before they‘re confronted by “DATELINE‘s” Chris Hansen.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Chisholm (ph), 29.
CHRIS HANSEN, “DATELINE” (voice-over): Here‘s a “To Catch a Predator” first. This man is here to meet a 14-year-old girl, even though he‘s been told her parents are home. The plan is for her to slip away when he arrives. He brazenly drives right up to the house and asks the decoy if it‘s all clear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How‘re you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Good. How are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m glad you could make it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And guess what? My parents went to the movies.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop!
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I swear they‘re gone.
HANSEN: He‘s 29-year-old Dwayne (ph) Chisholm, a manager at a gym.
He‘s been chatting on line with a decoy for two weeks. Calling himself “lovermangenuis,” he spells genius incorrectly. He sends the decoy, pretending to be 14, pictures of himself as a body builder.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I saw his pictures, and I was honestly really scared because he was a body builder. He could probably, like, grab me with his hand and squeeze the guts out of me.
HANSEN: Then he sends her pictures of his genitals.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Have you had something that big already?”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “Not that big.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “I bet you‘re a really good lover, very slow and soft.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “I just hope you like it.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “And I hope you like it, too.”
HANSEN: Now “lovermangenuis” is getting comfortable in our beach chair. And after only a few minutes of chatting, he wants the decoy to sit on his lap.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘m so glad you came.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m glad, too.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you want to come on over?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want to talk a little first.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No problem.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If that‘s OK with you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s cool. No, that‘s fine.
HANSEN: That was my cue to step in.
(on camera): Hey, how are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m good. I‘m good. How are you?
HANSEN: What‘s happening?
(voice-over): The decoy steps away so I can get better acquainted with 29-year-old “lovermangenuis.”
(on camera): That girl you were chatting with on line was how old?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as I know, 14.
HANSEN: Fourteen. What if you had a 14-year-old sister? How would you feel if some guy came over?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not good.
HANSEN: You tell her that you want her to masturbate and think of you before she goes to bed. You know all that‘s illegal, to try to solicit a minor on line, right, and then come up and try to have sex with her. What do you think would have happened tonight, Dwayne, if this 14-year-old girl was open-minded?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know. I mean—I don‘t know. I wouldn‘t want to say one thing or the other.
HANSEN: So you wouldn‘t rule out the possibility of you having sex with the girl?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wouldn‘t wish her to do anything that she wouldn‘t—wouldn‘t want to do.
HANSEN: But here‘s the problem. At 14, she cannot legally give consent, and that‘s why it‘s considered in many places statutory rape. Well, Dwayne, do you watch much television?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A little bit when I have time.
HANSEN: Do you ever watch “DATELINE NBC”?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I guess I‘m on it right now, right?
HANSEN: So you kind of figured out what‘s going on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, you hear about it, and you sit there and you‘re, like, Man, these poor guys, like, these guys are such idiots. And what are these guys thinking? And, you know, and you‘re, like—you know, you see some guys that‘s just, like, Wow, like, these guys are just really, really disturbed.
HANSEN: Well, give me a sense of what went on in your mind to make you one of those guys tonight.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Just bored and lonely. I mean, here‘s my thing. I know there‘s no excuse. You get caught up in a rut. You work 70 hours a week. Life is tough. And you just...
HANSEN: Yes, but I still don‘t get the link between working hard and grooming a 14-year-old girl on line to the point where you have a face-to-face meeting in the hopes of having a sexual liaison.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know. Like I said, there‘s no justification for it.
HANSEN: Well, I‘m Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC,” and we‘re doing a story on adults who meet kids on line and then try to meet them for sex in person.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Wow. I mean, I‘m apologetic for my behavior. So when do I get to see myself on TV?
HANSEN: Well, we haven‘t figured all that out yet. We‘re still doing the story.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand.
HANSEN: (INAUDIBLE) part of the process.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand. I‘m going to have a whole lot of people that I know seeing it, and, like, Oh, my God. This guy, he helps me out in the gym and—I might have to look for new work.
HANSEN: All right. You all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I‘m all right.
HANSEN (voice-over): But he probably won‘t be all right for long.
His trouble has just begun.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, easy. Just relax.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re not going to do anything to hurt you.
HANSEN: This man takes a train into town, and then starts walking and keeps walking.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Maybe someone wants to do a drive-by and just see where he‘s going.
HANSEN: The man in the Spongebob jacket walks about two-and-a-half miles, right past our street and gets lost. After walking several blocks out of his way, he finally heads in the right direction and hears our decoy calling him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi! I‘m glad you made it!
HANSEN: He‘s 27-year-old Malik Washington (ph). He thinks our decoy is the 12-year-old he‘s been chatting with on line.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How was your walk?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was all right. It was kind of long.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. Come on in.
HANSEN: Using the screen name “loverboy212X,” he chats on line to the decoy about anal and oral sex. He also tells her he‘ll bring a pornographic video. The decoy tells him she‘s a virgin, and he says, I could be your first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: So I‘m kind of nervous.
HANSEN: Now that he‘s comfortably seated, the decoy tries to find out what he has in mind.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Did you bring the porn for the laptop or...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There‘s porn (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You brought it? OK. All right. Well, then, can you, like, explain to me, like, what you think we‘re going to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First, I was going to get to know you. I wasn‘t in a rush to have sex yet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Unless you‘re in a rush.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I just want to know beforehand, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask a question. It‘ll be easy. What‘s it called?
What should we do first?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, if you say you want to take breaks, then during the (DELETED) I should teach you that first.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you want. It‘s up to you.
HANSEN: Not a chance. Listen to how quickly loverboy changes his story when I‘m the one sitting across from him.
(on camera): How‘re you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hello.
HANSEN: You all right?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I‘m all right.
HANSEN: What‘s going on?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m good.
HANSEN: You‘re good?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Uh-huh.
HANSEN: What were you planning on doing this evening?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, nothing much. Just hang out.
HANSEN: And how old are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Me? I‘m 17.
HANSEN: What year were you born?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In ‘85, I think? In 85, I think.
HANSEN: In ‘85?
(voice-over): He‘s really born in 1980. That makes him 27.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wasn‘t planning on doing anything with her.
HANSEN: You say things on line like, “And I‘m going to give you anal because you got a nice ass.” These are your words, right? You ask her, “When are you ready for me to pop that cherry?” I assume that means taking her virginity. Is that true?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, so (INAUDIBLE) ask a question. Who are you?
HANSEN: I‘ll get to that in a minute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Are you going to arrest me? Because really, to tell you the truth, I wasn‘t going to do anything with her, like...
HANSEN: You ever watch TV?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sometimes. Barely (ph).
HANSEN: You ever hear about that show, “To Catch a Predator”?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I wasn‘t trying to be a predator, but—yes, I...
HANSEN: Not what your transcript would suggest. I‘m Chris Hansen...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.
HANSEN: ... with “DATELINE NBC,” and we‘re doing a story on adults who try to meet kids for sex on line. If there‘s anything else you‘d like to tell us, we‘d like to hear it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, one thing—could I go home?
HANSEN: You can walk right off this beach. Nothing else you want to tell us?
(voice-over): Apparently, loverboy starts thinking about the long walk back to the train station.
HANSEN (on camera): You can leave the beach.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you give me a ride home? Because I don‘t want to walk...
HANSEN: I can‘t give you a ride. I‘m sorry.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have to walk back?
HANSEN: Well, that‘s up to you. But I‘m not in a position to give you a ride, though.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you—is there any way you can get me a cab?
HANSEN: I‘m not going to be able to do that.
(voice-over): The good news is he won‘t have to make that long walk back to the train station.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Get down! Get down! Get down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get down! Down on the ground!
HANSEN: The bad news is he‘ll be getting a ride in a police car to jail.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Stop resisting. Don‘t resist. Don‘t resist.
ABRAMS: We‘ll play more of that undercover “DATELINE” investigation in a moment.
But first, more on the startling new study that shows 85 percent of convicted Internet offenders, people who downloaded child porn, say they had also committed acts of sexual abuse against minors -- 85 percent!
My take. The study was conducted by psychologists with the Bureau of Prisons, and yet some who want to defend these men don‘t want this study released for fear it will be misinterpreted. I‘m sure they don‘t. I‘m sorry they don‘t like the results. I know that it will lead people to want downloading kiddie porn to be considered a more serious crime. But this new study would seem to show that‘s exactly what we need to do.
Here now is former sex crimes prosecutor Bill Fallon. Bill, what do you make of this new study?
BILL FALLON, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Dan, it comes in—it proves what our worst fears were. We always—the people who prosecuted in this arena always said, You know, what? These guys are doing so much more. When people looked at child porn, remember, everybody said, Oh, it‘s just child porn. But what we had was, we had people who were actually being abused, raped and molested in the photograph or on the film. So crimes were actually being committed.
There is a small minority of people who were trying to say, Well, maybe this gets their excitement over, and they don‘t have to go molest. The most frightening thing about what you just said, Dan, is 20 times more crimes were finally given up, if you will, by these 155 guys.
FALLON: So there were 20 times more crimes committed upon children. So what we know is when they got all hepped (ph) up, all excited, they‘re on the Internet, guess what? It is just foreplay...
ABRAMS: Yes, because...
FALLON: ... to molesting children.
ABRAMS: Right. The claim has always been, Oh, maybe this is some sort of release for them. Maybe this leads them not to take action.
Let me read you a quote from a University of Minnesota professor who was quoted in that “New York Times” article. “My concern is about sensationalism, about the way something like this is handled in the media. The public perception is that all of these guys will reoffend, and we know that just isn‘t true.”
Now, OK, he‘s right. I mean, they‘re not all reoffending. But if you‘ve got 85 percent of the guys who were convicted for downloading child porn also admitting that they actually molested children, boy, that sure tells you you got to make downloading child porn a pretty serious crime.
FALLON: Not only do you have to do that, Dan, the real thing that‘s not being told here is these guys were never arrested for the thousands of molestations...
FALLON: ... that they‘re actually admitting to.
ABRAMS: All right.
FALLON: So right then and there, you‘re saying, You know what? You have to really look at the obscenity, the child pornography as something that has to be treated as equally bad as...
ABRAMS: They got to not hide—there are some people who want to hide this study. I certainly hope that they do not do it. It‘s way too important.
Bill Fallon, we‘re going to check in with you again a little bit later in this program.
FALLON: OK, Dan.
ABRAMS: coming up, more of “DATELINE‘s” latest predator sting.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of things did you want to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, just hold you, kiss, you, touch you, you know, try to get you excited.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.
ABRAMS: And Chris Hansen tells us why having decoys talking face to face with these suspects proved to be one of the greatest challenges thus far.
Also ahead: NFL star Michael Vick may soon face even more charges in connection with an illegal dog-fighting ring which included drowning, shooting and allegedly hanging animals. The NFL not taking any action now, and yet his team says they‘re evaluating what they should do. Come on! The NFL says he can play, and then his team will say its star player should sit out?
Plus, why Nancy Grace seems to be confused by the Michael Vick case.
That‘s up ahead in “Beat the Press.”
HANSEN: Well, we had to change things up. It was a technological challenge. You know, the guys who do the hidden camera work obviously had to set this up, you know, on the beach, as well as inside the house, so we had two different locations. And you know, you can‘t have microphones being seen, for instance, so these guys had to literally hide microphones in seashells in order to make this thing work.
ABRAMS: “DATELINE‘s” latest undercover sex sting posed a big challenge for the “To Catch a Predator” crew, encounters occurring right on the beach. This time, potential predators interact face to face with what they think is an underage teen, telling her in graphic detail what they‘re there for.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, come on up. I was just going to go check the waves. Let‘s go.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
HANSEN (voice-over): He‘s 53-three-year-old Eugene Daily (ph). He‘s here to meet a girl who told him she was 13. On line, Daily uses sexually explicit language to tell the girl what he wants to do when they meet.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: “Play with u, hold u, kiss u, feel u.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: “Kiss me where?”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All over
HANSEN: He then asks her if she‘s game for giving him oral sex. While we usually only have proof of intent in chat logs, for the first time, we hear a man tell the decoy face to face what he plans to do with her sexually.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just relax, and I‘ll just take care of everything, OK? You just be yourself. I‘ll just touch and explain as I go. Tell me if you enjoy it.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: But did you, like, bring a condom or anything because...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m not going to do that today, OK? It was fast, rushed. I wasn‘t sure if you were real or what. I wasn‘t—I‘m looking for police.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know? So...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What kind of things did you want to do?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, hold you, kiss you, touch you, you know, try to get you excited.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is that OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Have you, like, done that kind of stuff before?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sure. Sure.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because I haven‘t really, you know...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I know. Like I said, just—I‘ll take it easy on you, that‘s all, you know?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes. I mean, you seem like a nice guy, so I‘m not worried.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, yes. Well, like I said, I could—I‘m not sure. You know, I‘m still more—I‘m more scared than you are, to be honest.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What are you scared of?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don‘t know. You know, I still got in the back of my mind you are young. That‘s why. And I didn‘t think you were real, to be honest with you. That‘s why.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You didn‘t think I was real?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, that can be anybody in that thing. You could be older and still have a young voice.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, I‘m real. Like, what do you mean, like, holding me?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘ll be an experience. It‘ll be something you‘ll enjoy.
HANSEN: Frag (ph) feeds Casey questions in her ear.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Ask if he wants you to touch him.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you want me to touch you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You don‘t have to do anything you don‘t want to,
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If I wanted to, would you (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If you wanted to. It‘s up to you. Little by little. That‘s like baby steps, OK?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Uh-huh.
HANSEN: But this 53-year-old man will not be taking any baby steps today.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This your father?
HANSEN (on camera): How‘re you doing?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. This the police?
HANSEN: What‘s going on? Do me a favor and take your hands out of your pockets, will you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not much. Not much.
HANSEN: What are you up to?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing. Nothing whatsoever.
HANSEN: That‘s not what you just said here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, I—I‘m not going to—I knew this was a setup. That‘s what I told her, it was the police. That‘s what I said.
HANSEN: What made you think it was a setup?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Look at her. She‘s young. I wasn‘t going to do anything anyway. That‘s...
HANSEN: You weren‘t going to do anything anyway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
HANSEN: How old are you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m 43.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I mean, sorry -- 53, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifty-three. I‘m sorry.
HANSEN: You said forty-nine here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. Like I said, it‘s...
HANSEN: What are you doing chatting with a girl who says she‘s 13?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I didn‘t believe it. I knew-
HANSEN: You talk about her being the daughter you never had.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You saw that in the chat room, I know. You know, this is embarrassing. This is what I knew what was going to happen. I knew all along this was going to happen. All the way down, I kept on saying to myself...
HANSEN: Then why did you do it? Help me to understand.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, I don‘t know! You know, I could kick myself in the (DELETED) head because I know—I‘m so—I‘m so stupid. It‘s like...
HANSEN: You even talk in the chat about you can only come over a half hour because you‘ve got to pick up your wife.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, yes. Well, I wasn‘t going to—you know, I was saying...
HANSEN: Where‘s your wife?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: She‘s at work. She‘s at work.
HANSEN: She‘s at work. And you‘ve got to go pick her up.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘ve got to go pick her up.
HANSEN: “And who knows? Who knows what? We can do it if it clicks.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No. Well, yes. That‘s...
HANSEN: What do you do for a living?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right now, I‘m in between jobs. I just got finished working my—my second tour of duty at the Post Office.
HANSEN: So you were at the Post Office.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
HANSEN: A letter carrier.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. I knew—I knew it. I see this stuff on TV. So why am I here?
HANSEN: So you‘ve seen—you‘ve seen “DATELINE‘s” “To Catch a Predator.”
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes. You know what I‘m saying? Why—why am I doing this? Why am I here? Am I being taped now, too?
HANSEN: I‘m Chris Hansen with “DATELINE NBC,” and we‘re doing a story on adults, on men...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this—this is going to go...
HANSEN: ... who try to meet kids on line.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, this is going to go on TV now? Oh, Chris, please. This will ruin me.
HANSEN: You made the decision to come over here. I mean...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) please, no more cameras. Please, Chris?
HANSEN: I can‘t keep you here. If you want to go, you can go.
(voice-over): As he leaves the beach, police coming running towards him.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Down! Down! Down! Down~! Down!
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right. Come on.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, geez. Please, please? Oh, gosh!
HANSEN: He‘s driven away in an unmarked car, and like all the men before and after him, he‘s taken to this police station, put in a corrections van and taken to jail.
ABRAMS: Last night, I spoke to Chris Hansen about bringing the potential predators face to face with the decoys.
ABRAMS: There is something spookier, seeing these guys talking. I mean, in the past, a lot of the “DATELINE” episodes, we‘ve seen you reading. We‘ve read, we‘ve seen the words that were used. But there‘s something more visceral, isn‘t there, about actually hearing these guys say it to what they think is a little girl.
HANSEN: Well, it shows their intent, Dan. And it also shows this grooming process in real time. Again, we see this over and over in the transcripts, almost like it follows a template. But now for the first time, we see it in person, and it‘s startling.
ABRAMS: You can catch part 2 of “DATELINE‘s” “To Catch a Predator” operation on the New Jersey shore next Wednesday at 10:00 PM on NBC. And coming up this Saturday here on MSNBC, a “Predator” special all night long, starting at 6:00 PM Eastern.
Coming up: Michael Vick‘s team says it‘s still deciding the fate of their star quarterback. Come on. The NFL says despite accusations that he took part in a vicious dog-fighting ring, he can play. So now his team, the one where he‘s a star, is going to say, Take the bench? Tonight, we‘re also learning about new charges that he may face.
ABRAMS: Time for tonight‘s “Beat the Press,” our daily look back at the absurd and sometimes amusing perils of live TV.
First up, two days ago on “Beat the Press,” we featured Fox‘s Bill O‘Reilly claiming they did not ambush the CEO of Jetblue Airlines. We then showed you that it clearly was an ambush. Mr. O‘Reilly, responding to a viewer e-mail on his show, seems to have come around and lost his memory.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BILL O‘REILLY, “THE O‘REILLY FACTOR”: Richard Stapleton (ph), Gurneyville (ph), California. “Bill, how can you look your viewers in the face and tell them you did not ambush the CEO of Jetblue?” Of course, we ambushed the guy. Where are you getting I said we didn‘t? Where are you getting that? Is it me, or are some people just too dumb to watch this program?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Where are you getting it? Who‘s the one who‘s too dumb?
Isn‘t this you?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O‘REILLY: We told them it was on there before we did the story. You got to understand now. We didn‘t ambush this guy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: “We didn‘t ambush this guy.” Bravo to Richard. I think you owe Richard a big apology.
Next up: Listen to the word Nancy Grace uses to describe the dog-fighting ring NFL star quarterback Michael Vick is alleged to be involved with—underground.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANCY GRACE, HOST, “NANCY GRACE”: Is NFL quarterback Michael Vick losing it all over his alleged role in years of vicious and deadly underground dog fights? There is a huge underground ring of vicious to-the-death matches between dogs...
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: She seems confused later in the program.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: What I don‘t understand—we keep saying underground, underground, underground. This is right out in the open! What do you mean, underground? It‘s right under our noses, sir!
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: You said it!
Finally, last night Fox‘s Sean Hannity sounded like a giddy teenager with “American Idol” winner Taylor Hicks on set.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEAN HANNITY, “HANNITY AND COLMES”: This is, like, my favorite show. I love “American Idol.” I love music. You are amazing. I love to watch how the—everybody evolves during the show.
I love Simon‘s honesty. I like all the winners. You—I like what you do. Kelly Clarkson (ph) I think is amazing. Carrie Underwood—she‘s terrific. I love her.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Love it, love it, love it, love it. All right. After expressing his love for this, he clearly wanted approval from Hicks of his own performance.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE) have some rhythm. Don‘t give up your day job.
HANNITY: So was that bad?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It wasn‘t good.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: He really seems upset!
Still ahead: More fall-out for NFL star Michael Vick, accused of taking part in that dog-fighting ring, and we‘re learning he could face more charges. Plus, his team claiming they‘re still evaluating their options? I‘m not sure I buy it.
ABRAMS: Coming up, new developments in the case of missing mom Lisa Stebic. One of her friends now coming forward on this program and ready to say that husband Craig Stebic threatened his wife months before she vanished. We‘ll talk to that friend, coming up.
But first, superstar quarterback Michael Vick indicted by a federal grand jury for allegations of hanging, shooting, even electrocuting dogs to death as part of a multi-state dogfighting operation. Tonight we‘re learning that Vick may face additional state charges possibly as soon as September. As outrage builds across the country, A.P. reports the NFL brass will allow Vick to play, but Falcon‘s owner Arthur Blank says tonight, “The team is exploring our options.”
My take. Come on, the Falcons are still evaluating? The NFL is going to let him play, but the Falcons are going to bench their star player? Let‘s find out from people who know better than me. ESPN and Westwood One sportscaster Jim Gray joins us. John Goodwin, deputy manager for the Humane Society of the United States, and sports attorney David Cornwell.
Thanks a lot to all of you. All right, Jim, is it really possible that the NFL is saying, “You can play,” and the Falcons would say, “Ah, no, no, we‘re going to bench him”?
JIM GRAY, ESPN SPORTSCASTER: Yes, I think it‘s possible. They have to get all the information together. They have fans. There‘s outrage in Atlanta today. These simply are just allegations. There‘s a presumption of innocence, and the league must take that stand. Arthur Blank has a bit of a different thing. He‘s got sponsors. He‘s got tickets to sell. He‘s got advertisers, TV, radio, he‘s got all kinds of constituencies that he has to adhere to, so he‘s going to take a look at it. And factor in also that Michael Vick has been, you know, average quarterback, mediocre the past couple of years, pedestrian, as it‘s been described, not as quite as good as when he came in the league, so I believe Arthur Blank is going to examine his options. But there‘s a great presumption of innocence in our country, and I think that ultimately he‘ll err on that side.
ABRAMS: But, David Cornwell, the presumption of innocence is a legal standard for a courtroom. Companies around this country make decisions not necessarily based on what the evidence shows beyond a reasonable doubt. They make judgments themselves about what they have seen, and they make their own personal and private decisions. Do you really think it is possible that, with the NFL saying, “Hey, he can play,” that the Falcons will step in and say, “We‘re going to bench our quarterback”?
DAVID CORNWELL, SPORTS ATTORNEY: I do think it‘s possible. The impact on the team and, frankly, still on the league and the disruption for Michael creates a possibility, at least, that the team would say, “You know what? Take some time. Take a paid leave of absence. It‘s in your best interests. It‘s in our best interests, and it‘s in the league‘s best interest.” So I think it‘s entirely possible that they will do that.
ABRAMS: I‘ll be stunned. I‘ll be stunned. Now, you guys follow this stuff more closely than I do. I will be stunned if that happens. The Falcons owner says, “We‘re working diligently on exploring our options in getting the right people involved in this situation.” David, what about these new state charges that could be filed? How important is that?
CORNWELL: I think it‘s important only from a procedural perspective. If the state does anything, it‘s likely to be because of statute of limitations or something, but I think they would then stand back and let the federal case run its course. If Michael were acquitted, then perhaps the state would pursue its charges, but I doubt that he‘s going to be facing two cases at the same time.
ABRAMS: John, look, your society and the work that you guys have done has been connected to this case. Has the Falcons team reached out to you to ask you what you think they should do?
JOHN GOODWIN, HUMANE SOCIETY UNITED STATES: They have not, but I do believe that they should suspend him. As a matter of fact, I think that if this was any other player in the NFL, with the exception of maybe a handful that have the celebrity status of Michael Vick, that they would have been suspended by now. But I think Michael Vick is being treated differently just because of who he is.
One hundred and fifty thousand people that visited HumaneSociety.org in the last two days have sent e-mails to the NFL saying, “You need to suspend this guy while this works its way through the legal system.” And they just have not paid attention to public opinion on this.
ABRAMS: Jim, what about that?
GRAY: I don‘t agree with that. They‘re very concerned with public opinion, and they‘re very concerned with how the public at large feels. I mean, we‘re talking about a football game. These are just allegations, and we shouldn‘t rush. I mean, a year ago, there were an awful lot of people who thought that those kids down at Duke had raped that woman. It came to light a year later that there was an overzealous prosecutor. We don‘t know enough. And I know this is a federal indictment, but I can‘t for the life of me, Dan, excuse me one second, think that the NFL is not concerned with public opinion...
ABRAMS: I‘ll tell you the difference. You made a comparison to the Duke case, and I was one of the only people out there from the beginning questioning that case. I‘ll tell you the difference. In that case, it was just one person‘s word with no corroborating evidence. Here we know that he owned this house. We know that they found injured dogs. We know that they found blood. We know that they found all of these devices. We don‘t know whether he was connected. That‘s going to be the issue, is going to be, you know, what did he know? When did he know it, et cetera? But that‘s the difference between a case like this—and, again, I‘m not saying that they should take action—but that is the difference from the Duke case.
GRAY: And, Dan, here‘s the big problem for the National Football League, and here‘s the big problem for Michael Vick. While these are just allegations, a lot more people in this country—and this is one of the rare times you can say this—a lot more people in this country love their pets, they consider them part of the family, love their dogs much more than they love professional football, and that‘s the big problem here for Michael Vick.
ABRAMS: Let me play—speaking of that—this is from the Senate floor, Senator Byrd, Democrat, who spoke about this. And I want to ask David Cornwell on the other side of this is sort of talk is going to have an impact.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. ROBERT BYRD (D), WEST VIRGINIA: The training of these poor creatures to turn themselves into fighting machines is simply barbaric. Barbaric!
I am confident that the hottest places in Hell are reserved for the souls of sick and brutal people who hold God‘s creatures in such brutal and cruel contempt.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: David Cornwell, how much does it matter that you‘ve got a U.S. senator basically in tears talking about this case?
CORNWELL: It has a great impact. In fact, it‘s Michael Vick‘s profile that is working against him. It‘s not helping him. His profile has everybody focused on the NFL. Commissioner Goodell, what are you going do? The Atlanta Falcons, what are you going to do? It has a dramatic impact, and it‘s going to force somebody, I believe, to take action.
ABRAMS: All right, Jim Gray, John Goodwin and David Cornwell, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
GOODWIN: Thank you.
CORNWELL: My pleasure.
ABRAMS: Up next, a friend of missing mother Lisa Stebic says Lisa had said she feared her husband, Craig, would hurt her months before she disappeared. That friend joins us next.
And later, will today‘s big loser be a dog who ate $800, Americans, who eat too much, or a celebrity, who could probably afford to eat something more? Today‘s “Winners and Losers,” coming up.
ABRAMS: Suspicion mounting tonight against the husband of missing Illinois mother Lisa Stebic. Police say Craig Stebic is the only person of interest, as they call him, in Lisa‘s disappearance. The couple was going through a nasty divorce when Lisa disappeared in April.
And now a new development. One of the neighbors, a person Lisa confided in, says Craig Stebic threatened to kill his wife.
ABRAMS: Joining me now is Lisa Stebic‘s friend and neighbor, Laurrie Bingenheimer. Laurrie, thanks a lot for taking the time to come on the program. We appreciate it.
This has got to be a tough time for you, as well, as the ongoing search for Lisa continues, but you had an experience, did you not, with Lisa back in December that you think is at least relevant to the story here?
LAURRIE BINGENHEIMER, LISA STEBIC‘S FRIEND: I do. At that time when they were just starting their divorce, that‘s when Craig started making the threats.
ABRAMS: When you say “threats,” you mean threats against her physically?
BINGENHEIMER: Oh, yes. Before the divorce had even started, he always said she would never get any of his money, you know, we would see her face on a milk carton. And, you know, it was just little things he said, you know, but we just didn‘t take him seriously. But after December, after the police had been there, she started preparing me, and we made a contingency plan that, if anything ever did happen, if he ever did get physical, the children were to come down to the house and call the police. It‘s really kind of sad, you know, looking now that she was like preparing us for this.
ABRAMS: Let me take a step back for a minute. Why were the police there in December?
BINGENHEIMER: He had met her at her car door with her clothes and was telling her to get out of the house, not come back. And she just said she had every right to be in that house, so therefore she called the police, and the police, you know, backed her up, and they kind of separated the two. They went in the house, and that‘s when he started making statements to the police about how he was going kill her. I know there‘s more on that December report that she wouldn‘t tell me. She just said it was so horrific that she didn‘t even want to talk about it. And that‘s when she started making plans.
ABRAMS: So let‘s be clear. In your conversations with Lisa, you felt that she was preparing for the possibility that Craig would kill her?
BINGENHEIMER: I don‘t know if she thought he was going kill her. I think she thought he would do her bodily harm.
ABRAMS: Have you seen the kids since this all happened? As you well know as well as anyone, Craig has, at this point, refused to let the kids talk to the police anymore. Have you gotten a chance to see them?
BINGENHEIMER: No. On my way to work yesterday morning, I saw the children out on the street, and that was it.
ABRAMS: You think that there‘s a reason that he‘s not letting them speak to the police?
BINGENHEIMER: Oh, yes. I‘m sure those children had to have seen something. They could enlighten us as to maybe not where Lisa is, but what she was wearing the night—I mean, they went out to the store. And when they came back, there was their mother‘s car. They had to ask where she was at. They had to have known what she was wearing when they left. They had to know, did she say she was going anywhere? You know, there‘s just so many questions we have, and he just does not want to allow those children out.
ABRAMS: You had seen Craig and Lisa the day before she went missing?
BINGENHEIMER: Right, we all did. We all did, my husband, me, Craig and Lisa were at their house. And it was just not one big, happy family, but there was no animosity going on. It just seemed like a normal Sunday for us.
ABRAMS: Now, as you may know, Craig Stebic‘s attorney has come out and said something to the effect of that he finds it interesting that you‘re suddenly coming out with this story now. What‘s your response?
BINGENHEIMER: I really feel that somebody has to stand up for Lisa.
ABRAMS: You think he knows more than he‘s saying?
BINGENHEIMER: Oh, yes.
ABRAMS: Thanks very much for coming on. Appreciate it.
BINGENHEIMER: Thank you very much.
ABRAMS: My take. This is just one more reason to be suspicious of Craig Stebic. He won‘t let his kids talk to the police. Her blood was found in his truck on a tarp. Police say he‘s hampering the investigation. He was the last person known to have seen her. They were involved in a messy divorce and custody battle.
Joining us once again to talk about the case, former prosecutor Bill Fallon and criminal defense attorney Mickey Sherman. All right, so, Mickey, how important do you think that this woman‘s testimony could be, if there‘s a trial?
MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Not important at all. I don‘t see it coming in, and I‘d like to know, when did she first go to the police? Has she ever gone to the police? And I‘ll bet she hasn‘t. And why? Because she was honest with us and said she didn‘t take it seriously. And that‘s why she didn‘t go the police...
ABRAMS: You mean didn‘t go to the police before this happened?
SHERMAN: Yes. Or did she go soon after? I don‘t know about that.
Bottom line is it‘s hearsay. There‘s no way that‘s coming into any criminal trial. You‘re allowed to confront the people who give testimony against you, not secondhand.
ABRAMS: Bill, don‘t get too technical on us, but do you think that could end up being useful?
BILL FALLON, FORMER PROSECUTOR: I absolutely think it can be useful. First of all, what the friend told us, which I thought was interesting, is that the husband, the estranged husband, the punitive defendant, as I see it, in the near future, said things in front of the police. What‘s going to be very important is what went down when the police came to that house. Jurors tend to buy the domestic violence issue.
Mickey, I agree. Some of this might be hearsay. Of course, the question is, does Illinois let in the victim‘s state of mind? Massachusetts used to, no longer does. The bottom line is, this is going to help build a case about things that were said, things that were overheard. This woman led us believe that, in fact, he said things in the last year. Mickey, whether she took them seriously or not, the neighbor, doesn‘t really matter. When somebody is missing and blood is in a truck, that can be pieced together, as you know, bit by bit for beyond a reasonable doubt.
SHERMAN: But the rules are the rules. And the victim‘s state of mind might come in if there was a recording of the victim, but not a neighbor who came out weeks later and said, “You know what she said to me?” It ain‘t going happen. It‘s too far removed.
FALLON: Mickey, but I say, get a grand jury going, because I want those kids on record.
ABRAMS: Well, let many ask you this, then, Bill. I mean, there‘s no body here, right? Would you, as the D.A., move forward now even without any body?
FALLON: No. Dan, I would be moving forward in every way I could to get the kids‘ testimony. There‘s a 10- and a 12-year-old. And so my theory is, let‘s do an investigation into the disappearance. I would certainly not be bringing complaints. It‘s an appropriate use of the grand jury, and I think that we have to get these kids on record.
ABRAMS: We‘ve got to just back up. You‘re saying that you would then effectively force them, because the father is not helping, right? He‘s not letting the kids answer questions.
ABRAMS: You would convene a grand jury to essentially force the dad to let the kids testify, because he wouldn‘t have a choice?
FALLON: Right, because he wouldn‘t have a choice. And my whole point is, is that anybody who‘s saying a 10- and 12-year-old shouldn‘t give the police information about the disappearance of their mother, different than a 3- and 4-year-old, has something to hide...
ABRAMS: Mickey, final word on this?
SHERMAN: He just doesn‘t want to subject them to being grilled. And, again...
FALLON: Mickey, please.
SHERMAN: ... the team that‘s going to investigate them and interrogate them is not exactly a balanced team. They are all officers and all arms of the state of the state.
ABRAMS: Well, that‘s what‘s going to happen with a grand jury anyway.
SHERMAN: Exactly. And letting the father force them or let them, the grand jury will rule that they must testify, and there will be guardians appointed for them, and that will be that.
ABRAMS: All right, well, look...
FALLON: Innocent parents let the kids testify.
ABRAMS: Bill Fallon, Mickey Sherman, thanks a lot. Bill‘s got a point.
FALLON: Thank you.
ABRAMS: When you‘re looking for the wife? Come on. If you‘ve got information on Lisa Stebic‘s whereabouts, please, 815-267-7217. I, again, would encourage Craig Stebic to let the authorities talk to his kids again.
Coming up, the day‘s “Winners and Losers.” And we‘ll talk to a 65-year-old woman who tried to fight off teenage thieves who stole her scooter. The whole attack caught on tape. Don‘t worry, she is one of the winners.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS (voice-over): Time for tonight‘s “Winners and Losers” for this
19th day of July 2007
Our first winner? Shelby Moore, a teen in Texas who got caught trapped in a movie theater bathroom. After his cries for help were ignored...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I told them to kick it in, I needed to get out there before I passed out...
ABRAMS: ... he escaped by busting through a sheetrock ceiling and landing in the management office.
Our first loser? A Virginia intruder who got busted on the toilet at a home he‘d broken into. Natalie Bledsoe (ph) returned to find him on the can. She, too, called for help, and he, too, escaped from the porcelain prison.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I hope you‘re not using the toilet. It‘s broken.
ABRAMS: Our second winner? Super-thin Brit Posh Spice, AKA Victoria Beckham, who‘s just saying no to Paris Hilton. When asked whether she would befriend Paris in Los Angeles, according to a London newspaper, she replied, “Over my dead body.”
Our second loser? Supersized Americans who just can‘t seem to say no to fatty foods. Johns Hopkins University researchers now predict that more than 75 percent of Americans will be obese by 2015.
But the big loser of the day, Debbie Hulleman, the owner of an 8-year-old pooch who chowed down more than $800 in cash. She then had to wait for the thieving canine ATM to dispense the stolen cash. Let‘s just say it had to be rinsed before using.
And our big winner of the day? Sixty-five-year-old Kay Fox, who put up a good fight as two human thieves stole her pricey scooter out from under her. The scooter has not been retrieved, and Fox did not have the cash to pay for a replacement.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: But there‘s good news in the case. A local Kansas City radio station rallied by Fox and convinced her local Harley-Davidson dealer to give her a brand-new scooter.
On the phone, the brave woman herself, Kay Fox. Thanks a lot for taking the time. We appreciate it.
KAY FOX, ATTACKED AND ROBBED OF SCOOTER: Oh, love to be here.
ABRAMS: Well, Kay, let me ask you. First of all, how are you doing?
FOX: Well, I‘m really sore, and I‘ve got quite a few black-and-blue bruises. I mean, they‘re really starting to show up now.
ABRAMS: And it seemed like you were really holding onto that scooter for dear life when these thugs came up and tried to grab it.
FOX: That‘s very perceptive. That‘s exactly what I was doing. I mean, those guys weren‘t going to take my scooter. I mean, I just had that mindset of holding on, that it‘s mine, and you can‘t have it.
ABRAMS: And that‘s a pretty important vehicle for you, right? That‘s your only way to get around?
FOX: Yes, I don‘t have a car. And so, you know, I used it to go to the grocery store, just to make trips, post office, bank, you know, the local book store, you know, that sort of thing, because I live in an area where there‘s a lot of really nice, little shops. And it‘s perfect, you know, to putt-putt around on.
ABRAMS: What do you want to happen to them?
FOX: I want them to turn themselves in so that we can sit down and talk, and I want to know why. And we have some new information. They were in a black SUV, and the SUV followed me onto the property, let the boys out, and then backed up and left, apparently to wait in the street. So it wasn‘t just a random act. They didn‘t come out of the bushes. They were let out of a car.
ABRAMS: Real quick, how‘s the new one, the new Harley?
FOX: Oh, you would not believe it! It is so shiny, and so new, and it‘s tighter, you know? It‘s not as loose as my old one. I love it, just absolutely love it, can‘t wait to go to the grocery store.
ABRAMS: Oh, Kay, you‘re wonderful. Thank you so much for taking the time. We‘re so glad to hear you‘re doing well, and enjoy the new scooter.
FOX: I am. And it‘s just been a wonderful day. I have actually come out of this with a newer scooter. Obviously, that wasn‘t the intention, but, you know, a lot of good has really come out of this. And I‘ve met some wonderful, wonderful, kind people.
ABRAMS: We‘re glad to hear it, Kay. We‘ve got to wrap it. Thank you so much for coming on. Appreciate it.
FOX: Thank you.
ABRAMS: That‘s all the time we have for tonight. Up next is “Lady in the Lake” in our Doc-Block. Thanks for watching.
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