Guests: Paul Rothstein, Jonathan Arden, Carol Pogash, Michael Cardoza, Elizabeth Gleick
DAN ABRAMS, HOST: Coming up: Congressman Patrick Kennedy has just announced he‘ll seek treatment for addiction to prescription pain medication after a car crash on Capitol Hill. But are the two really connected?
The program about justice starts now.
Hi, everyone. Breaking news from Washington, where a shaken six-time Rhode Island congressman, Democrat Patrick Kennedy, has just announced that he will enter the Mayo Clinic to treat an addiction to prescription pain medication, this after Kennedy crashed into a security barrier near the Capitol Thursday morning, leading many to question whether he got special treatment from the Capitol Hill police. Kennedy, who‘s admitted to problems with drugs, alcohol and depression, had blamed the crash on two prescription drugs he was taking, one of them the sleep medication Ambien.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
REP. PATRICK KENNEDY (D), RHODE ISLAND: I simply do not remember getting out of bed, being pulled over by the police or being cited for three driving infractions. That‘s not how I want to live my life, and it‘s not how I want to represent the people of Rhode Island. The reoccurrence of an addiction problem can be triggered by things that happen in everyday life, such as taking the common treatment for a stomach flu. That‘s not an excuse for what happened Wednesday evening, but it is the reality of fighting a chronic condition for which I‘m taking full responsibility.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Right now, Kennedy is facing three traffic charges—failure to give full time and attention, failure to keep in the proper lane and driving at an unreasonable speed. And while he does not seem to be directly blaming his addiction for the crash, he is blaming the drugs he was taking.
Mike Viqueira is the NBC News producer at Capitol Hill. Paul Rothstein is a Georgetown University law professor. And Dr. Jonathan Arden is a forensic pathologist. Thanks to all of you. I appreciate.
All right. Mike, let me just understand this. Is—he‘s saying that he‘s addicted to pain medication, but none of these drugs are pain medications. He says he doesn‘t remember the crash. Does one necessarily have to do with the other, or is this—is it possible to ask the question, or is it fair to ask the question, is it possible that we‘re trying to change the subject?
MIKE VIQUEIRA, NBC PRODUCER: Well, it‘s possible that alcohol was involved. That‘s the first thing. Remember, this is the third statement from Congressman Kennedy, and each statement in succession has elaborated much more on the one prior it to. First there was a three-line statement yesterday afternoon, when all this first came to light, that said, I was in an accident, but there was no alcohol involved, and I will cooperate fully with any investigation. Then yesterday, upon leaving his office, he released another statement, where he gave us the explanation of the cross-indication of the medications, the one for—the anti-nausea medication and Ambien, and then saying again there was no alcohol involved.
Today he appeared in person to deliver his statement before a packed House radio and television gallery, the press studio where we have press conferences here on Capitol Hill, and made no mention of whether alcohol was used or not. Now, there are also mixed reports that the congressman was attending a local tavern, a very popular and venerable tavern here on Capitol Hill called The Hawk and Dove. I cannot confirm that, although “The Boston Herald” has reported that on its Web site today.
So there are a lot of mixed messages here. Whatever the case may be, Congressman Kennedy on his way to the Mayo Clinic this afternoon.
ABRAMS: All right. Professor Rothstein, look, we know about these three charges that have been filed. Does that mean that the legal side of this is over, in the sense that it‘s just going to be traffic violations, nothing more?
PAUL ROTHSTEIN, GEORGETOWN LAW PROFESSOR: Well, that does seem to be the case. We don‘t know what‘s going to develop further on down the line, and if it is because of some kind of involuntary drug addiction, he may have some kind of defense even to those charges, although I don‘t think he‘s going to fight them.
ABRAMS: But again, I think it‘s important, he‘s staying he‘s addicted
and Mike, correct me if I‘m wrong. He‘s saying he‘s addicted to pain medication, right?
VIQUEIRA: Yes. “Over my 15 years of public life”—I‘ll quote from his statement here—“I‘ve felt a responsibility to speak honestly about my challenged with addiction and depression.” He says, goes on, this past Christmas, he checked himself into the Mayo Clinic for addiction to prescription pain...
ABRAMS: Pain medicine. OK.
VIQUEIRA: ... medication.
ABRAMS: But Professor Rothstein, these are not—what we‘re talking about here—Ambien, and this other drug to prevent nausea and vomiting, et cetera—those are not pain medication drugs.
ROTHSTEIN: Well, that‘s right. But if he has a number of different problems, there can be an unexpected drug interaction amongst the different drugs he‘s taking. And I suppose he could say that, usually, it‘s OK to have a drink or two, but he didn‘t realize that if he was on Ambien and also the pain medication, the drink might have affected him in unexpected ways.
ABRAMS: But remember, his position is that there was no drinking. He has said unequivocally—number 11 -- “I consumed no alcohol prior to this incident.”
ROTHSTEIN: Although the police report, as I understand it, has checked “suspected drinking,” and also, one of the officers said that they had smelled alcohol.
ABRAMS: And you can charge someone for drunk driving even without having a sobriety test, right?
ROTHSTEIN: Yes, although I think that the police did the right thing in this case. They didn‘t detain him to do a sobriety test because that could be construed as an arrest, and in the federal Constitution, in article one, section six, it says that congressmen may not be arrested if they are on their way to or from some legislative function.
ABRAMS: It was 2:45 in the morning.
ROTHSTEIN: Well, they may not have wanted to make the judgment about this because maybe he was attending some kind of late-night meeting that had something to do with legislative functions, and so this could have been construed as an arrest. And it‘s—now, there‘s an exception to that clause for breeches of the peace, felony and treason. I suppose you could have said maybe this is a breach of the peace if a guy‘s driving around dangerously. But...
ABRAMS: Before I get to the medical side of this, Mike, do we know, is the investigation into this over? Is it possible other charges could come forward?
VIQUEIRA: It is possible. I talked with a top police official today, called him on his cell phone, trying to get some information. He said, I can‘t talk to you right now, I‘m in a meeting about you know what. So obviously, this is being considered at the highest echelons of the Capitol police, which itself has undergone some bit of turmoil. They‘ve just lost their chief.
But you know, the Capitol police relationship with members of Congress here is something we could talk about for a while. In short, we can say that there is resentment between rank and file and the police union here that represents the United States Capitol police and the members of Congress, whom many of them feel get preferential treatment.
ABRAMS: All right. Dr. Arden, let‘s understand this. He says that he‘s addicted to pain medication, right? OK. He also tells us that the night that he had this incident, he had taken both Ambien and Phenergan. Now, is it possible that—let me ask you this. Is the pain medication relevant in terms of taking Ambien and Phenergan?
DR. JONATHAN ARDEN, FORENSIC PATHOLOGIST: I may very well be relevant, as a matter of fact. The problem that I see, first of all, is that Ambien and Phenergan together may be a bad combination. And he may not have been taking Phenergan at all before, and he may be accustomed to taking Ambien and using it as a sleep medication. And then he adds another med on top of it that also has effects of making you drowsy, sleepy, dulls your sensorium. And in fact, those kinds of things can have paradoxical reactions in some people—Ambien is known to do this in rare occasions—where they become agitated, they become maybe even hallucinatory.
So the kind of behavior he‘s describing and the kind of behavior that he had might very well be perfectly explained by that. And if you also have pain meds on board, if you have prescription pain medications in addition to that, now you‘ve added a narcotic. You‘re also going to dull your senses. You‘re also going to be less able to drive a vehicle. You‘re also going to act funny, if you‘ll pardon the expression, when the cop stops you. So there may be an interaction here that is necessary for him to bring forward because now he‘s dealing with a multi—a poly-pharmacy situation, and he can‘t just pass it off as saying one medication one time did it. It‘s really part of a broader context, and he‘s got to address that.
ABRAMS: Let me ask you, Dr. Arden—he didn‘t say he was taking pain medication. He told us today he‘s addicted to pain medication. He didn‘t say before the incident that he had taken any pain medication. If he had been addicted to pain medication but hadn‘t taken any for—you know, right before the incident, would that still have an impact on the—adding to the two drugs that he says he did take?
ARDEN If he really didn‘t have any pain medication in his system, it probably would not physiologically add up and have an impact on what was happening to him that time, when he got to the crash and got pulled over. You know, I think, at some level, from a publicity or public relations standpoint, he has to start coming forward with some things because, otherwise, it spirals out of control. And then if it comes out later, he‘s got a publicity disaster.
ABRAMS: I think—very quickly, I think he‘s done a very smart thing here in terms of PR, Mike Viqueira, because this is someone who‘s admitted in the past that he has an addiction problem. He comes forward today and reiterates that, and in away, changes the subject away from what happened with the Capitol Hill police.
VIQUEIRA: Right, and he‘ll be out of pocket, so to speak, and out of the reach of the press when he‘s at the Mayo Clinic. In addition to that, we can say that his constituents in the 1st District of Rhode Island—he‘s, of course, a Democratic congressman there—are sort of used to controversy coming from Patrick Kennedy. He‘s had altercations with airport security personnel. He‘s had altercations with people from whom he has rented a boat to go on vacation. It was alleged that he did a lot of damage there. He has, of course, a history of addiction and actually checked himself into rehab, is my understanding, as a teenager...
VIQUEIRA: ... in the ‘80s. So if the past is any precedent, his constituents are sort of inured this kind of thing, and it may not cost him politically, Dan.
ABRAMS: All right. Mike Viqueira, Paul Rothstein, thanks a lot. Appreciate it. Dr. Jonathan Arden is going to stick around for our next segment.
Just hours ago, we heard this at the White House.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PORTER GOSS, CIA DIRECTOR: Mr. President, thank you very much. It has been a very distinct honor and privilege to serve you, of course, the people of the country and the employees of the Central Intelligence agency. And I can tell you the trust and confidence you‘ve placed in me and given me, the latitude to work, is something I could never have imagined, and I am most grateful for it.
I would like to report back to you that I believe the agency is on a very even keel, sailing well. I honestly believe that we have improved dramatically your goals for our nation‘s intelligence capabilities, which are, in fact, the things that I think are keeping us very safe. And I honestly would report to you, sir, that we are safer for your efforts, your leadership, and for the men and women in our community that are working so hard and doing so well. Thank you for the support, the encouragement and the understanding of how tough the work is and how important it is.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: CIA Director Porter Goss unexpectedly resigned after less than two years on the job, leaving many to wonder why.
Joining us live from the White House, NBC‘s Kevin Corke. Kevin, this came as a real surprise to many. Do we have any sense of why he resigned?
KEVIN CORKE, NBC CORRESPONDENT: Dan, there are a couple of rumors floating around. Quite frankly, people in the know have known for quite some time that Porter Goss has had a rocky relationship with the director of national intelligence, John Negroponte. Keep in mind that when he took his position as the head of the CIA, there was no such thing as a director of national intelligence. So John Negroponte comes in and effectively becomes his boss. And you know how this town works. If you‘re supposed to be the big dog and suddenly you‘re not, you‘re going to bump heads a little bit and maybe egos got in the way.
Still, the point is, we have known for quite some time that they have not been on good terms with each other. And it has been rumored, and NBC News sources are telling us, that it was Negroponte that said to Goss, Look, you should probably just go on and be on your way.
Keep in mind that next week, we‘ll likely hear about the nomination—the nominee to replace him. That nomination will come to the president by way of recommendation from John Negroponte.
Today, President Bush did thank Porter Goss for his service to his country, and in particular, for his service of the director of the CIA, however briefly.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE WALKER BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: Porter‘s tenure at the CIA was one of transition, which helped this agency become integrated into the intelligence community, and that was a tough job. He‘s led ably. He‘s got a five-year plan to increase the number of analysts and operatives, which is going to help make this country a safer place and help us win the war on terror.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
CORKE: Dan, a five-year plan. So what gives? The guy is gone in two years. It sounds more and more, as we talk to our sources, that he was pushed rather than left on his own accord, Dan.
ABRAMS: Yes. It is a little hard to believe that, you know, you suddenly leave after this short a period of time for no reason. But you know, there‘s a new chief of staff there. There‘s a lot of changes going on.
CORKE: Very good point. Real quickly—you mentioned the new chief of staff. Josh Bolten has said he wants fresh blood. His father has connections inside the agency. Here‘s a guy who knows the agency very well, and if the boots on the ground are telling you through your dad or through other sources that this is not the guy, maybe that has an influence on whether or not he sticks around, as well.
Kevin Corke, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
CORKE: You bet, Dan.
ABRAMS: Coming up: A woman stabs her husband 27 times, she says in self-defense. OK. Fine. That‘s what the trial‘s about. But now a doctor for the defense testifies the husband didn‘t die of the stab wounds but from heart disease. Come on!
“DATELINE” goes undercover again to catch potential sex predators before they strike. And later: Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student, Vili Fualaau, celebrate their first anniversary in front of the cameras. The latest pictures and an update on their bizarre marriage coming up. Your e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org. Please include your name and where you‘re writing from (INAUDIBLE)
ABRAMS: It‘s hard to believe that a guy is stabbed 27 times by his wife, and part of the defense is, you know, he didn‘t die from being stabbed, what killed him was a 75 percent blockage of his left main and anterior descending arteries. That seems to be the latest defense at the trial of Susan Polk. She‘s charged with the 2002 murder of her husband, Felix, a prominent psychologist.
Forensic pathologist Dr. John Cooper read the autopsy report, looked at the autopsy and crime scene photos the jury hash seen, and dismissed the 27 stab wounds, saying, quote, “I came to the conclusion that the manner of death should be characterized as natural. The severity of the injuries was not that great.”
Natural. He‘s stabbed 27 times, and it‘s natural.
Polk says she acted out of self-defense. Her husband was abusive and even threatened to kill her.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SUSAN POLK, ON TRIAL FOR MURDERING HER HUSBAND: His attitude was that the marriage was forever and I could never leave him, and that if I did, he said he would go after me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go after you?
POLK: He would go after me.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That‘s the way he put it?
POLK: He put it that way. He also said he‘d kill me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Polk has fired every lawyer who‘s tried to defend her and is representing herself, leaving her to have to cross-examine one of her own sons. And to add to the craziness at the courthouse, today jurors were sent home after the doctor failed to present the judge with a letter he was supposed to have from Susan Polk.
Joining me now, Carol Pogash, a writer working on a book about the Polk trial. She‘s been in the courtroom for much of it. And criminal defense attorney Michael Cardoza, and back with me, forensic pathologist Dr. Jonathan Arden.
All right. First, before I get to anything else, Dr. Arden, as a medical matter, is it really possible that someone is stabbed 27 times, some of the wounds five inches deep, and that‘s not the cause of death?
ARDEN Of course, it‘s possible. But let‘s not worry about what‘s possible. Let‘s worry about what‘s probable and likely. I mean, I have personally seen cases, and on a few rare occasions signed death certificates, of people who died in the course of an assault with no physical contact or little physical contact, who really succumbed to their preexisting heart disease. As a medical examiner, you call that a homicide because it‘s death at the hands of another person.
Now, what‘s the likelihood, though, of having 27 stab wounds, some of them, as you say, five inches deep, some of them involving his lung and his kidney, places that will bleed considerably, cause very severe hard to your body—the chance of that having no effect on you, not contributing to your death at all, in fact, the chance of it not causing your death—very, very small.
ABRAMS: Is this medical examiner considered a joke in the industry now?
ARDEN Well, I have to tell you, after today‘s publicity, he‘s getting quite a few laughs around the community. I‘ve seen some of that myself already. But you know, even—even if you accept the concept that you could have a whole bunch of injuries and they didn‘t kill you, you still can‘t look at this thing and say it‘s natural. The rules of making these decisions say that if an injury causes your death, that supersedes natural disease. So if his injury was a little contribution, as unlikely as that seems, and his heart disease was a big contribution, as unlikely as that seems, he‘s still not a natural death because he‘s got an injury involved...
ABRAMS: That‘s what I want to ask Michael Cardoza about, Michael. Michael, two separate questions. One is the legal and one is the strategic. Let me start first with the legal question. Let‘s assume that, for some reason, these jurors believe that 27 stab wounds was not the only, let‘s say, cause of death. Even if it was partially the cause of death and they don‘t believe it was self-defense, still murder, right?
MICHAEL CARDOZA, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, let me explain it just the way Dr. Cooper explained in court. He said if someone came up with a weapon and were to say, Dan, stick ‘em up, I‘m going to rob you, and if you don‘t give me your money, I‘m going to shoot you, and you drop over from a heart attack, I am the one holding the gun responsible for your death. I have caused your death. I am criminally responsible.
What Cooper said in court was, But it‘s really the other way around. The one holding the gun dies from the heart attack, so there‘s nothing really criminally responsible, no one criminally responsible there. What you have to look at here is his entire theory is based on her self-defense. If the jury doesn‘t believe that she killed him in self-defense, then his whole testimony is a nullity.
CARDOZA: And you know, you‘re right when you say this is a joke because it‘s not what this doctor is saying, it‘s how he is saying...
ABRAMS: Well, that‘s was...
ABRAMS: ... the second question was the strategic question. If you‘re the defense attorney, and let‘s say you have a guy, and you say, you know, God, we got this expert who‘s going to come in and say the 27 stab wounds didn‘t cause the death, do you then say, I don‘t want to call him?
CARDOZA: No. You know, what? If he presents credibly, he can say incredulous things. Because remember, it‘s how it‘s presented to the jury. And I‘ll tell you what. He‘s helped her in certain instances in this case because there was a question about, Did she strike him on the head with a blunt instrument and cause the injury to the back of his head? The prosecution, Dr. Peterson (ph), says, Yes, he was struck with a blunt object, causing that trauma.
This doctor, Dr. Cooper, said, No, he fell over backwards from the heart attack and struck his head on the ground. And the way I can tell that is there was no blood down the back of his neck. Had he been standing, had he been hit or struck on the head, there would have been blood down the back of his neck. Now, that makes perfect common sense to me. So he does have some good things to say here, but I‘m telling you, Dan, it‘s the way this guy‘s saying it and the interactions he‘s having with the judge that don‘t look good in front of a jury.
ABRAMS: Well, Carol, you‘re the one who‘s been in court. How‘s it playing?
CAROL POGASH, WRITING BOOK ABOUT SUSAN POLK TRIAL: Very dramatic. Each day, you think it can‘t become more dramatic, and it does. I think the doctor probably made some in roads with the jurors with some of his assertions, but then he went, I thought, overboard, when he spoke about Felix Polk being the aggressor. And he gave his reasons, and one of them was that the stab wounds were not at the heart or at the neck. And he said it‘s common knowledge, everyone knows that if you want to kill someone, that you stab them there.
So I think he goes—he travels in different circles than I do. It‘s nothing I had ever thought of before. But he made assertions like that, that I don‘t think the jurors would necessarily believe.
ABRAMS: What about this business, again, of the 27 stab wounds not being the cause of death. I mean, are any jurors sitting there just rolling their eyes and saying, Did I just hear what I thought I heard?
POGASH: Well, yes. But almost every day, jurors are sitting there, rolling their eyes...
ABRAMS: Because she‘s representing herself!
POGASH: Yes, one thing is more incredulous than the next. Also, I should say that what Dr. Peterson, the forensic pathologist with the prosecution, said was, he said there were 27 stab, incised and blunt force-object wounds. It wasn‘t just 27 stab wounds, I think, was—as I recall.
ABRAMS: Does she still have legal advisers, or is this, like—I mean, I was...
ABRAMS: She doesn‘t? So when...
POGASH: She‘s winging it.
ABRAMS: So when I asked Michael Cardoza about a legal strategy here, the legal strategy is being conducted by Susan Polk herself.
POGASH: Yes. But let me also add, though, in this case, she has been very logical, in particular just talking to Dr. John Cooper, and she‘s reading from a script. I assume it‘s something that he gave her because it‘s typed out. She‘s asking these questions. And if she slightly changes it a little bit, he doesn‘t seem to understand what she‘s saying, and she goes back to script, and then he answers it. So here she‘s had some medical help, but not legal help.
ABRAMS: She‘s in trouble here, isn‘t she, Carol?
POGASH: Yes, I would say so, except that he is racing raising some good issues, and if he can raise some doubt among the jurors, then that alone would be very helpful to her. And I think he is because when I heard Brian Peterson speak, I did wonder about—you know, he spoke about the coronary heart disease, the 75 percent blockage. And I thought at the time, Well, isn‘t that a contributing factor? And he so minimized it. And of course, this doctor—
ABRAMS: He was stabbed! It doesn‘t matter!
ABRAMS: He was stabbed! I mean, to sit here and talk about his coronary heart disease—what, are we going to look at every...
POGASH: No, no, no. But to say...
ABRAMS: ... and ask them, like, Oh, you know, he had—he also had psychological problems. Who knows, maybe he would have fought harder. I mean, you could sit here and go nuts!
POGASH: But it‘s a contributing factor. That was my only point...
ABRAMS: I got to wrap it up. Carol Pogash—sorry, Michael. I got to...
ABRAMS: ... I‘m being screamed at in my ear to get everyone to be quiet. Michael Cardoza and Dr. Jonathan Arden, thanks a lot. Appreciate it.
Coming up, “DATELINE NBC” goes undercover to catch potential sexual predators. What did they find this time around? Shocker, a repeat offender.
And later: Mary Kay Letourneau, the teacher who had sex with and eventually married her 13-year-old student, one year after their controversial marriage—he‘s now, like, 22 -- what is life like for them now?
And our continuing series, “Manhunt; Sex Offenders on the Loose” (INAUDIBLE) find missing offenders before they strike. Our search today in South Carolina. Police are looking for Peter Provencher, 45, 5-11, 350, was convicted of first-degree criminal sexual conduct, has not registered his address with the state. If you‘ve got information on where he is, Lexington County sheriffs want to hear from you, 803-785-2534. Be right back.
ABRAMS: Coming up, unbelievable “DATELINE NBC” undercover video, again, trying to catch potential sex predators.
What they found this time in Ohio, well, they got a repeat offender, among other things.
But first, the headlines.
ABRAMS: “DATELINE NBC” is at it again, trying to catch suspected child predators online. This time, the three day undercover operation was set up in a small, rural town in Ohio. The house rigged with hidden cameras, decoys and deputies from the local sheriff‘s department.
Seventeen men were arrested and charged with attempted unlawful sexual contact with a minor. One of those men went by the screen name changeforthebetter2006. He‘s Kevin Westerbeck, a 47-year-old budget analyst for the military. He exchanged sexually charged messages with someone who said she was a 13-year-old virgin but was really a staffer for the group Perverted Justice.
He asked her if she‘d get naked if he came to see her and if she‘d have sex with him. Most disturbing, he‘s been charged and pleaded guilty to soliciting a minor for sex before.
Here‘s “DATELINE NBC‘S” Chris Hansen with Westerbeck‘s story.
(BEGIN VIDEO TAPE)
CHRIS HANSEN, DATELINE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Online, he tells the girl he‘s 27, but the man walking down our driveway is really 47.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hey, come on in. I‘ve got to finish getting changed, OK?
KEVIN WESTERBECK: Huh?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I‘ve got to finish getting changed, OK?
WESTERBECK: Well, I‘ll watch you.
HANSEN: But he won‘t get the chance to watch our decoy finish getting dressed. Instead, he‘ll meet me.
(on camera): Hey, how are you?
WESTERBECK: All right.
How are you doing?
HANSEN: Could you do me a favor and have a seat right over there on that stool, please?
HANSEN: What‘s going on?
WESTERBECK: Nothing much.
How are you doing?
How are you?
HANSEN: Yes, please have a seat.
(voice-over): It takes him a second to get on the stool because he‘s under five feet tall.
(on camera): Who asked you to come over exactly?
HANSEN: Who asked you to come over?
How did you meet Destiny?
WESTERBECK: On a computer. She said hi and stuff.
HANSEN (voice-over): Changeforthebetter2006 tells me he was just coming over to say hi to the 13-year-old and that he wasn‘t the one talking about sex, the girl was.
(on camera): She says, “I like kissing.”
You say, “Would you get naked?”
“I just don‘t want to get cold,” she says.
You say, “Have sex.”
Now, a moment ago you told me this wasn‘t a sexually oriented conversation.
WESTERBECK: I was just talking.
HANSEN: Just talking?
HANSEN: “It would be fun.”
You say then, “I‘m big.”
She says, “Really? Yes, how?”
Then you give the dimension of your penis.
That‘s not sexual?
WESTERBECK: It‘s just B.S. talk.
HANSEN: Just B.S. talk?
WESTERBECK: To me it was.
HANSEN (voice-over): As he continues to insist he had no plans for sex after all, he says he didn‘t bring condoms. But we were curious about something else. While he was walking in our house, our cameras spotted a bag in his car.
(on camera): What‘s in the black bag that‘s out in your car?
WESTERBECK: It‘s my briefcase.
HANSEN: Your briefcase?
HANSEN: And what‘s in it?
WESTERBECK: A date/time keeper, my bible.
HANSEN: Your bible?
HANSEN: You‘re a religious fellow, are you?
WESTERBECK: Yes, I am.
HANSEN (voice-over): Like several other men we‘ve met here in rural Ohio, Westerbeck talks about god.
(on camera): What makes you so religious?
WESTERBECK: Because I have a faith in god.
HANSEN: Didn‘t your faith in god suggest to you that you shouldn‘t come over here to hang out with a 13-year-old girl after a sexually charged conversation on the Internet?
WESTERBECK: That‘s why I turned (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the first time and then she called me. And I thought, well, I‘ll just go over there and say hi and be done with it and go on home.
HANSEN (voice-over): But changeforthebetter2006 does admit to me he‘s been caught trying to meet a teen for sex before.
(on camera): What did they say you did?
WESTERBECK: They said I came out to meet some girl, I guess.
HANSEN: So let me get this straight. You were accused of doing the very same thing that you‘re out doing tonight?
WESTERBECK: I had no intention of this.
HANSEN: You pleaded guilty to solicitation of a minor for sex.
WESTERBECK: Yes. It was a plea.
HANSEN: You pleaded guilty?
HANSEN: And you got sentenced for that plea, correct?
WESTERBECK: That‘s correct.
HANSEN: Eleven months?
HANSEN (voice-over): And as we told you earlier, he‘s already scheduled to begin serving that time. In fact, he‘s supposed to report to the jail in four days.
WESTERBECK: I‘m stupid. I‘m weak. I‘m—it‘s just, I‘m just, I had no intentions of having sex with her.
HANSEN: Then Westerbeck admits he‘s heard about “DATELINE‘S” investigations.
(on camera): Have you ever seen “DATELINE NBC?”
WESTERBECK: Well, I—I love it, yes.
Did you ever see any of our stories on computer predators?
WESTERBECK: I‘m familiar with them.
HANSEN: You are?
HANSEN: Well, this is one of them.
(voice-over): He‘s arrested...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want you to take a seat in that chair over there.
HANSEN: ... and taken in for questioning.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I understand you‘re going to prison already for the same charge, is that correct?
WESTERBECK: That‘s correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How much time do you have?
WESTERBECK: Eleven months.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Eleven months.
And when do you go to prison?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Thursday?
HANSEN: The detectives ask Westerbeck why he admitted to the decoy that he was going to jail. Was he trying to get her sympathy and have one last sexual encounter before being locked up?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Not one for the road?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You understand what I mean by that?
WESTERBECK: I know exactly what you‘re saying. I know exactly what you‘re saying and that was not my intent. I learned my lesson the first time.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Obviously not.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right? Obviously not?
WESTERBECK: Well, I wasn‘t coming here for...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You‘re chatting with a 13-year-old female about your penis size on the Internet and you drove about, what, an hour-and-a-half to get here to meet a 13-year-old female in the middle of the night who you knew, by (UNINTELLIGIBLE) her parents weren‘t home?
Is that correct?
WESTERBECK: That is correct.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Straight on through to the Madeleine Hall (ph).
HANSEN: After the interrogation is over, he‘s taken to the jail and is processed just like all the others.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your shoes down right there.
HANSEN: Unbelievably, we find out later there is even more to Westerbeck‘s criminal past, and not just for soliciting sex with a minor.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What‘s your address right now?
HANSEN: But for rape.
And who was his victim? A young female relative.
SGT. DAVID ATKINS, NEW LEBANON, OHIO POLICE DEPARTMENT: She was staying with him for the weekend and he had improperly touched her in a way that would amount to rape under Ohio law.
HANSEN: Sergeant David Atkins of the New Lebanon Ohio Police Department has been investigating Westerbeck for the last year-and-a-half. He says the sexual abuse happened when the girl was visiting Westerbeck. Her exact age at the time is not clear, but we know she was younger than 13.
ATKINS: It was late at night. There was a thunderstorm. She was scared of the storm, so she went to his room because she wanted the comfort of an adult. And ultimately he pretty much violated that trust and confidence that he had.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Step right over to this officer.
HANSEN: Westerbeck admitted he sexually abused the young girl to a counselor, saying he had performed oral sex on her and that she had touched his penis while they were in bed together. But it took more than a year battling in court for Sergeant Atkins to obtain those records.
ATKINS: The whole time that I‘m dealing with waiting for these records and not able to charge him, I‘m thinking to myself, you know, what if he does this to some other child?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It‘s attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor.
HANSEN: And knowing Westerbeck was, in fact, caught soliciting other minors, he can‘t help wondering if there are other victims out there.
ATKINS: I would say the chances are slim that he‘s only done this two times. Obviously, there‘s something he can‘t control there. I mean he knew fact that I was after him for a year-and-a-half.
HANSEN: Since he was caught in our investigation, he has spent a lot of time in court. Just four days after the sting, he went before a judge in the first case involving the solicitation charge to determine his status as a sex offender.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I‘m going to review dibit three (ph) before I rule on this one.
HANSEN: The judge was informed that Westerbeck was caught in our sting.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am required in this hearing to make a determination as to whether or not I believe, based upon the facts presented, the defendant will commit future sexual offenses. In this case, you have made it very clear, Mr. Westerbeck, as to whether or not you‘ll commit future offenses. This court will make a finding—and I make this finding beyond a reasonable doubt—that you are likely to commit future crimes based upon the evidence before the court today.
With that determination, the court will make a finding that you are a sexual predator.
HANSEN: And last week, he pleaded guilty to raping the young family relative, a child under the age of 13. Westerbeck, like all the other men caught in our investigation, will appear before a judge to answer the charge of attempted unlawful sexual conduct with a minor here in Dart County, Ohio.
(END VIDEO TAPE)
ABRAMS: Westerbeck pleaded not guilty to the charge resulting from the “DATELINE” sting. And for now, the fate of the men charged in the Ohio sting is in the hands of the courts. But there are still other predators out there.
“DATELINE” conducted another undercover operation in Florida. It‘s going to be amazing to see what happened in that one.
You can see that story Wednesday at 9:00 p.m. on “DATELINE NBC.”
Coming up, they say they‘ve been in love for years. Teacher Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student, Vili Fualaau, celebrate their first anniversary in front of the cameras. The pictures and the story coming up.
And later, the University of Colorado posting pictures of its students on the Web smoking pot, an effort to curb pot smoking on campus. Well, last night we ran the video of the students doing it and many of you writing in seriously asking me how we know that was pot and not tobacco?
Your e-mails, email@example.com.
Please include your name, where you‘re writing from.
I‘ll respond at the end of this show.
ABRAMS: Coming up, former teacher Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student, Vili Fualaau, have now been married for a year.
She can‘t teach, so do they have any money?
A look back at their year of marriage, coming up.
ABRAMS: Around this time last year, we were talking about the wedding of 2005. No, not Donald and Melania. No, not Prince Charles and Camilla. Not even Demi and Ashton. But the bizarre wedding of Mary Kay Letourneau and her former student, Vili Fualaau.
Remember she went to prison for seven years after she was caught having sex with her sixth grader? She was first sentenced to six months then was released. Not long after she got out, she was caught with Vili again, this time in a car with more than $6,000 cash and a passport. She was then sent back to prison for seven years. She was released in 2004 and almost immediately got back together with Vili.
The couple has two children together and it‘s now been almost a year since they married.
“People” magazine caught up with the newlyweds. The story is in the current issue of “People” magazine.
And joining me once again is the assistant managing editor of “People” magazine, Elizabeth Gleick.
Thanks for coming back on the program.
ELIZABETH GLEICK, ASSISTANT MANAGING EDITOR, “PEOPLE” MAGAZINE: Hi, Dan.
ABRAMS: All right, so, first of all, how do they—how do they have any money?
GLEICK: Well, they did cut a very nice deal with a television show last year for the rights to their wedding and it seems like basically that‘s what they‘re living on.
ABRAMS: Do they get paid for like—I know you guys didn‘t pay them for the article, etc.
ABRAMS: But did they get paid for the photos that were taken?
GLEICK: No. We—“People” magazine does not pay for stories.
GLEICK: So they just wanted to tell the world, I think, that they‘re normal people.
ABRAMS: And, but they don‘t have custody of the children, of their own children, correct?
GLEICK: No. No, they are still fighting to win back custody of their own children. Vili‘s mother has custody. But they see their children a lot. Our photos will show that. And it looks like they will gradually get custody back of those girls.
ABRAMS: I mean, you know, I had lunch with Vili once and the thing that struck me was, you know, that, in a way, he didn‘t even talk about it, about how weird it was, meaning they kind of seem to perceive it as all kind of just normal and that everyone else is sort of fascinated with them, even though, I mean, you know, he kind of gets the absurdity of it.
ABRAMS: Go ahead.
GLEICK: That may be the case when you met him. But I will say that the—in the “People” story...
GLEICK: He comes across as not only really articulate and thoughtful, but also sort of—there‘s a lot of what ifs going through his head. What if he hadn‘t started sleeping with his teacher when he was in sixth grade? Would his—what—how different would his life be.
You know, not only is he 22 with two children, but he has four stepchildren, one of whom is a year younger than he is. And...
ABRAMS: You‘re talking about the kids from her marriage to her husband? She was married at the time this happened.
GLEICK: That‘s right. Mary Kay Letourneau had four children of her own before she got involved with Vili. And those four children are gradually coming back into the fold and spending a lot of time now with Mary Kay and Vili. So it‘s a really complicated situation.
ABRAMS: Here was Matt Lauer interviewing Vili back in August of 1004.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VILI FUALAAU, MARY KAY LETOURNEAU‘S HUSBAND: You know, I was 12. She was 32. When I look back at the situation, I‘m just like what did she see in me, you know? She‘s older than I am. She‘s a teacher and she‘s married, has a good life.
MATT LAUER, HOST: Four kids.
FUALAAU: And she has four kids of her own. And I‘m 12. I barely even know what my future is.
LAUER: Or who I am or...
FUALAAU: Yes, or who I am. I believe that I‘m not really that good looking so I ask myself that all the time, like what‘s—what‘s the deal here? Why does she love me or why does she say she‘s in love with me?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Elizabeth, they are planning a life together, right? I mean this is...
GLEICK: It appears that way. They go to Blockbuster. They rent videos. They read books to their little kids. They, you know, they have spent a lot of years trying to prove to the world that they really, truly love each other. And for now, as complicated as it is, it seems like they do.
ABRAMS: Elizabeth Gleick, thanks a lot.
ABRAMS: Coming up, I asked you what do you think these kids are smoking? Many of you writing in saying it very well could be tobacco.
Your e-mails are next.
And our continuing series, the manhunt for sex offenders on the loose, our effort to find missing offenders before they strike.
We‘re in South Carolina. Authorities want your help finding Richard Cronin. He‘s 65, 5‘6,” 190, convicted of first degree criminal sexual conduct. He has not registered his address with the state.
If you‘ve got any information on his whereabouts, the Lexington, Kentucky sheriffs want to hear from you, 803-785-2534.
We‘ll be back.
ABRAMS: It‘s time for your rebuttal.
The University of Colorado at Boulder posting pictures of its own students allegedly smoking pot on a field. Those who turn them in get a $50 reward. The university posted signs warning that anyone who set foot on the field on April 20th would be busted for trespassing and they could be videotaped or photographed.
But students gathered on what‘s called 420 to publicly smoke marijuana.
Dave Gonzalez asks: “Is there really evidence that the substance they were smoking was actually pot?”
Dave Cooper in Florida: “How can it be proven that they were actually engaging in marijuana use? They could easily say they were smoking tobacco-products.”
OK, Dave and Dave, how about this as evidence?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, we‘re just up here celebrating 420.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, dude, come get high with us, brother.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We‘re on camera smoking weed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: My parents are going to see me on TV smoking weed.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Excellent.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ABRAMS: Dude is smoking weed. That‘s the quote. My parents are going to see me on TV smoking weed.
One of my guests said it‘s completely unreasonable for a university to punish and penalize its students for making a rational decision to use marijuana instead of alcohol. I reminded him that marijuana is illegal. The university isn‘t even taking the case into the criminal justice system.
Stephen Munford: “I found it hard to take your brow beating. Your argument that it‘s against the law made you sound ridiculous.”
From Kaufman, Texas, Lori Worden: “You go, Dan. You‘ve done it in the past, as you did yesterday, not letting your guests get away with evading direct questions.”
Robert Keller in Oakland: “Why should anyone obey a law that is all politics created to get someone elected? It‘s a crime that it‘s outlawed.”
Many of you still writing in about D.A. Mike Nifong in Durham refusing to come back on the show about justice to answer the tough questions about the Duke rape investigation.
Christine Hickey in Cambridge, Massachusetts: “Could it be that Mike Nifong would rather deal with journalists who keep their focus on the case and not on their own imagined impact on the case?”
Doug Vanderpool in Waverly, New York: “D.A. Nifong should come on your show. He had no problem coming on your show a couple of months ago. Why not now? That just adds more questions on why he refuses to come on your show. Why? Keep asking the tough questions, Dan.”
Finally, Amee Feisey with a poem: “Mike Nifong has made a fool out of you. He will never be on your show. Agita in your heart will continue to grow. It‘s not courage to be on your show. You‘re ratings after, this we all know.”
That poem stinks.
Your e-mails, abramsreport—one word -- @msnbc.com.
We go through them at the end of the show.
ABRAMS: That does it for us tonight.
Coming up next, a special treat, the lovely Norah O‘Donnell filling in for Chris Matthews.
Have a great weekend.
I‘ll see you on Monday.
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