Guest: David Powell, Rick Ross, Rosemarie Offenhauer, Peggy Noonan, Kevin
Raleigh, John Patrick Dolan, Brett Lovelace, Sam Cammack, Casey Jordan,
JOE SCARBOROUGH, HOST: Right now in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, the teacher walks. Child molester and middle school teacher Debra Lafave pleads guilty to having sex with a 14-year-old student and then cuts a deal for no jail time. Why are judges afraid to impose tough sentences, so our children won't be put at risk? And what can we do about it?
Plus, shocking confessions from 18-year-old David Ludwig, detailing how he gunned down his girlfriend's parents in cold blood and how his 14-year-old girlfriend ran past her dead parents' bodies to run away with him. Should she still be walking free?
Plus, even more details just released in this shocking case.
Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY, no passport required, only common sense allowed.
ANNOUNCER: From the press room, to the courtroom, to the halls of Congress, Joe Scarborough has seen it all. Welcome to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY.
SCARBOROUGH: Hey, thanks a lot for being with us tonight. We are going to have those stories in just a minute.
Plus, yesterday, I told you about the suspected cult in the Seattle area accused by their critics of rape, drug abuse and embezzlement. Look at this mental torture. Look at those little kids, those poor babies, being tortured by cult members. Well, today, we are going to take you inside the group with a former member. I'm going to ask him what the hell was going on in there and why authorities can't stop—this is mental abuse.
If you an authority in Seattle, Washington, and you're allowing this to go on in your state, you are allowing the poorest and weakest children among you to be abused by animals, by beasts. You need to wake up and stop telling us you can't do anything about it. Look at that. We are going to talk about that in a little bit. I just—I swear to God, I can't understand, I cannot understand why those beasts can't be locked up in jail.
Anyway, we got enough problems in the state of Florida. Up first, a Florida middle school teacher was charged with giving one of her students a real education in sex. Well, she reached a plea agreement today that keeps her out of jail. Debra received three years of house arrest and seven years probation for her offenses of having sex—we call it rape here in Florida—sex with a 14-year-old kid in 2004. Today, the judge asked Lafave if she understood her plea.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Have you seen this before?
DEBRA LAFAVE, DEFENDANT: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you read it?
LAFAVE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you talk to your lawyer about it?
LAFAVE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you understand it?
LAFAVE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Did you sign it?
LAFAVE: Yes, sir.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you have any questions whatsoever about the contents of this plea form?
LAFAVE: No, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: Wait. But I thought she was insane. We heard she was insane—not so insane that she can't continue bleaching her hair.
Well, today, we heard from the victim's mother. And I will tell you, if I were the victim's parents, I would be so angry. She wishes to remain unidentified.
About the deal that Debra Lafave struck with prosecutors, this is what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What we agreed upon is a fair punishment. And I believe that she is taking responsibility for her actions now. And I pray that she gets the help that she needs and so that she can move on with her life as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: She raped a 14-year-old kid and we are talking about her moving on with her life? She escapes jail time, and this is a fair sentence? She was going to plead insanity. Now, all of a sudden, she is fine; her mental state is OK; she can stay at home now? Come on.
Debra Lafave's punishment is to light for the crime. That's what I think.
But with me now to talk about it and share their views, we have criminologist Casey Jordan. We have got federal former prosecutor and defense attorney Mary Fulginiti and defense attorney Sam Cammack.
You know, I'm going to start with you, Mary.
You are a prosecutor. Would you ever have agreed to a deal where a teacher in a position of authority like this rapes a 14-year-old kid, statutory rape, a 14-year-old kid, and she doesn't serve a single day in jail?
MARY FULGINITI, FORMER FEDERAL PROSECUTOR: Yes, that's a tough one.
Here we have a young woman...
SCARBOROUGH: What is tough about it, Mary? What is tough about that?
FULGINITI: You have a young girl. She's 24-year-old, who clearly has the maturity level of a 14-year-old, who according to her attorney has profound emotional issues.
So, when you are evaluating a case, you are going to look at the defendant, you are going to look at the circumstances, you are going to look at their background, whether there is any criminal history, and see if this is really someone that needs to go to prison to deter the behavior.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, she is a teacher. She's been placed in authority to take care of our children here in the state of Florida. You have got this happening though every day, every single day. You can check in the news. More and more women are molesting young boys. And judges look at them and give them a lighter sentence than they would if men were doing the same thing.
Why is that happening? Why is that a tough call? She should be in jail tonight.
FULGINITI: You know, Joe, but, I, having said all of that, I actually agree with you, because I believe that these people are in position of power, trust and responsibility. And, therefore, they need to be held accountable and not just given a slap on the wrist, because it sends the wrong message.
But I think, in this particular case, obviously, there is a double standard in society with regard to these cases and it shouldn't infect or infiltrate the courtroom, because there is no distinction under the law. And I think you're right. It is a problem.
SCARBOROUGH: You're exactly right. It is a real problem.
And, Casey Jordan, I want to follow up on what Mary just said. We have got an epidemic now of child molesters in America, more and more every day. You have got women in positions of authorities in schools raping young kids. Doesn't it send a message to child molesters that if you walk free, you don't have to spend any time in jail? Doesn't that send a message to other child molesters that society is still not taking this crime seriously?
CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, I agree that one of the functions of the criminal law is to absolutely send a message.
And it serves as a barometer for public opinion and morality. If Debra Lafave was facing up to 15 years in jail, and the negotiation allows her to have house arrest and probation, that does send a message out there that there are different rules for different people.
Now, there needs to be a little bit of leeway, where a sentence can be tailored to the psychological aspects of a particular offender. But to go from 15 years to nothing, without any provision that I know of for making sure she has sex offender therapy that is tailored for female sex offenders, it really just—it smacks of some kind of favoritism.
SCARBOROUGH: Sam, I think the favoritism is, a judge is looking at the woman and thinking there's no way that she could the beast that a 35- or 45-year-old middle-aged fat man molesting a young child could be. Is there not a double standard here? And don't you think she should have spent time in jail for raping a 14-year-old kid?
SAM CAMMACK, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: I disagree.
I believe—I don't believe that there is a double standard. I believe that the judge uses its sound discretion based on the facts and some of the evidence that's presented to the prosecutor. If the prosecution reaches an agreement with the defense lawyer, the defense lawyer chooses not to expose his client to 15 or 30 years in prison and comes to some type of an agreement.
SCARBOROUGH: OK. But we can't meet in the middle? Here, you go from 15 years to her not spending a day in jail? I mean, 15 days in jail. I mean, what's the problem with putting this lady in jail? Again, we're talking about the rape and abuse of a 14-year-old kid.
CAMMACK: Well, let me tell you this. Probation is no walk in the park, especially for those that have committed sex offenses and plead guilty to sex offenses.
At least in Texas, there's 23-some-odd conditions that are placed on a general probation, plus probably 20 more conditions placed on someone that is accused of a sex offense. They have to register for the rest of their life.
SCARBOROUGH: But, Sam, it's in her house. She is not having to spend a second in jail.
Again, Sam, aren't you concerned that this sends the wrong message to other sex abusers, other predators? We saw the “Dateline” special last week. You have got them in every neighborhood. And they are watching this tonight. And they are seeing that you have a 25-year-old raping a 14-year-old, a 25-year-old in position of authority raping a 14-year-old. She doesn't have to spend a day in jail. I just got to believe that's not the message we want to send to other rapists.
CAMMACK: Well, I don't believe it sends a message to other rapists.
I believe each case is judged on its own merit. I don't believe this judge singled her out different from any other defendant that he has actually sentenced to probation. Obviously, she has given up all her constitutional rights. If she violates a condition of that probation, just one condition of it, she is going to go to the penitentiary.
She's already given up her right to a jury trial. These conditions are no walk in the park for these people that are on probation for sex offenses.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, let me ask you, these days, again, with the fact that we have got this epidemic of sex predators in America, what do you think the possibility would be of a man, a 25-year-old teacher, a 30-year-old teacher, having sex with a 13- or 14-year-old girl, what do you think the possibility would be that that teacher would be able to walk and not spend a day in jail?
I think there's a high likelihood that, if the roles were reversed here and it was a male who was victimizing a young woman, that you would see him doing some more severe jail time here, because it's just not tolerated in that fashion. And, unfortunately, like I said before, society looks at it differently when it is a young woman victimizing a young male.
But the courtroom really shouldn't do that. There isn't that distinction in the law. And it's very important for them to be consistent across the board. And I agree with you. It's like she didn't have to do 15 years obviously in jail, but something more than probation, because probation, from society's perception, is truly just a slap on the wrist. It is almost like a pass.
SCARBOROUGH: It is a pass, when you are having sex with a 14-year-old kid who is your student. You are a teacher. You are in a position of authority.
My question, Casey, is, what can we do? What can we Americans do to fight back?
JORDAN: Well, I think that the pressure really needs to be put on the prosecution in this particular case.
There was a standoff in July, where they had come to a complete
standstill in terms of negotiations, because the defense attorney, who,
kudos to him—this is what his job is, and he did a very good job of it -
· said he wasn't going to allow her to go to the jail. And the prosecution folded in this particular case.
I mean, six months to a year with a condition of sex offender therapy tailored to female sex offenders probably would have been appropriate in this case. But no jail time, I think the prosecutor's office needs to hear about this. Yes, there are psychological differences, but we don't have any knowledge of any psychological treatment for her. And considering that she was going to post an insanity defense, that's a huge piece of the rubric that is missing.
SCARBOROUGH: She needs psychological treatment. She needs some fashion consulting, too.
Sam, I will give you the last word. You have got to explain to me, because I want to understand what you are telling me here, but you need to explain to me why you think her skipping out on jail time makes sense.
CAMMACK: Well, I suppose the issue at least that Ms. Jordan was talking about, that there has been some favoritism, at least that she thinks some favoritism has been played because she is a female, I disagree with that.
I'm in court every day. I believe 80 percent of my caseload is probably made up of these sex offenders, or alleged sex offenders. Men, as well as women, go to jail, depending on the facts of the case. They are probation eligible. I believe that the conditions of probation that are placed on these people are stringent enough to keep an eye on them and make sure that it acts as some type of deterrent.
But I do not believe that there has been any favoritism played. If you are in there every single day, in the courtroom every single day, and you are trying these cases, and you're working with the prosecution on these types of cases, you would see that the judge plays no favoritism in this. This was an agreement worked out between the prosecution and the defense lawyer.
CAMMACK: Obviously, there was some interesting issues in this case.
SCARBOROUGH: Sam, we are going to have to leave it there. But I want you to do—there were interesting issues. I want to thank you for being with us, Sam.
And do me a favor. I want you to give me a call the next time you are in court working one of these cases and a teacher who is 25, 30 years old, rapes—a male teacher, 25, 30 years old, rapes 14-year-old. Give me a call and let me know if that male walks. I don't think it will happen.
CAMMACK: I had one like that.
SCARBOROUGH: I appreciate you being with me. And we will—like I said, we will follow up on this case. Appreciate you being with me and everybody else being with me.
Friends, bottom line here, quickly. My concern is—maybe it's because I have got a 14-year-old boy right now that is in middle school. All I can tell you is this. If something happened to him, if he were raped by a teacher, the teacher would have a lot more to be concerned about than sentencing and a judge.
Coming up, tonight, we go inside a mysterious religion that some say, including me, say it is a dangerous cult. It certainly looks like one, in my opinion—family members trying everything they can do to get their dear mother out to freedom. Well, coming up, a former member is here to tell us what really goes on behind those troubling closed doors.
But, first, a new so-called exhibit in New York has a lot of people talking. Wait until you see this one.
Stick around. SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY continues in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: Kara Beth Borden's parents are gunned down in cold blood, so why did she run away with the killer? We will try to answer that question. We will also have the killer's confession, shocking confession, when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: Alleged teen killer David Ludwig, the 18-year-old has now confessed to the killing of the parents of his 14-year-old girlfriend.
New court documents just released reveal in chilling detail exactly how Ludwig brutally murdered his girlfriend's parents, that Kara Borden knew nothing about it beforehand, supposedly. But in another bombshell in this case, it turns out the 14-year-old was not kidnapped, as police originally thought.
In documents filed yesterday, the DA wrote this—quote—“After killing Mr. and Ms. Borden, Ludwig was not able to find Kara. After traveling about 15 feet, the defendant saw Kara running down the road towards him. Ludwig then opened the door and Kara got into the car.”
With me now on the phone is Brett Lovelace. He's a reporter for “The Lancaster Intelligencer Journal.”
Brett, we just got these new documents. Let me read you something in there. It says: “According to Ludwig, he and Kara decided to get as far away as possible, get married and start a new life. When asked if Kara ever asked him to kill the parents, he said no.”
But, still, obviously, the big news here, she willingly ran away with him. And here we saw her at the funeral a couple days ago of her patents, sitting there with the other four siblings.
How is the community responding to this new information?
BRETT LOVELACE, POLICE REPORTER, “LANCASTER INTELLIGENCER JOURNAL”:
Well, the community feels betrayed.
They feel like they gave Kara the benefit of the doubt, considering her parents were murdered. She is 14 years old. But now, based on these interviews with Kara and Ludwig, the fact is, she went along willingly. Now, maybe she didn't know that David was going to kill her parents that morning, but she didn't run to call the police. She wanted to find him, so they could get out of town.
SCARBOROUGH: Yes, exactly.
And, of course, if you look at—Brett, you look at this, this confession, he talks about gunning the father down, shooting him in the back, then finding the mother in a chair, shooting her. And he said, I was shooting to kill.
And with all that going on, I have got to believe the community is shocked that the daughter of those slain parents would willingly run after him. Do you think they may start demanding that the DA get a little tougher on her and possibly bring her in, at least as an accomplice or part of the conspiracy?
LOVELACE: That's been the talk of the town.
There is a definite feeling that she should be held culpable on some level. Granted, she didn't pull the trigger. Granted, she may not have planned this, but she had an opportunity to stop this before this multi-state escape route to Indiana took place. And she chose to go with him.
SCARBOROUGH: She certainly did, a very, very troubling decision.
Hey, Brett Lovelace, thanks a lot for being with us. We are going to get back to you later on, going to keep following this story.
Right now, I'm going to bring in criminal defense attorney John Patrick Dolan. And also let's bring back in criminologist Casey Jordan and former federal prosecutor Mary Fulginiti.
John, let me start with you. Is there any charge that you can place on this young woman for basically—I say—she is a kid—for basically running over her dead parents' bodies and running away with the killer?
JOHN PATRICK DOLAN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: It doesn't look like it at this point.
There is no evidence of pre-planning. There is no evidence that she aided or abetted. All we know is that she got in the car and road with him. And her presence by itself is not a crime. But I know they are looking at cell phone records and e-mail traffic. And if either one of those comes out with some indication that she had some idea that this was going to come down, things could look a little different.
SCARBOROUGH: Mary, do you think there is any chance she could be charged of anything here?
FULGINITI: Well, it depends on what the evidence reveals, ultimately.
I mean, clearly, if she went with him voluntarily, that is going to negate probably the kidnapping claim for him. But the real issue here is, why did she go with him? Was this a young girl who is just in puppy love, obsessed with this boy, or was she truly angry with her parents, wanting to flee and start a new life?
And then they have to look at obviously her conduct before the crime and the conduct after. I mean, when they are in the car, going away, did they discuss any sort of getaway plan? Did they discuss what they would say if authorities caught them? Even if she had nothing to do with the planning of it or didn't know the fact that he was going to murder her parents, if they did have any discussions in that regard after the fact, she could be held accountable as an accessory after the fact. So, it really depends what the evidence...
SCARBOROUGH: And that's what I wanted to ask you, Casey, about.
Casey, that's what I wanted to ask you. It just seems to me most Americans
would look at this situation, a 14-year-old girl again fleeing her home
after her parents have been gunned down in cold blood, getting into a car -
· even by not calling the police, isn't she aiding and abetting this guy's escape?
JORDAN: Well, a clever prosecutor could construct that, but it will depend a lot on an accurate assessment of the conversations that took place after she got into the car.
Did she really understand that her parents had already been gunned down? That's very important; 14-year-olds are not adults, and this young girl probably was on an emotional merry-go-round. You have to keep in mind that, at 14, she may think she knows what's right and wrong. But, based on her actions and his actions, it's looks like a folie a deux.
In other words, the chemistry between the two, the obsessive delusional love that they felt for each other, put them in this situation. Left to his own devices, without her in the picture, he probably never would have never been a murderer. Likewise, she never would have had anything to do with his escape. But put them together and, chemically, it comes out as a very homicidal combination.
SCARBOROUGH: Terrible situation.
Thank you, John Patrick Dolan.
Thank you, Casey Jordan and Mary Fulginiti.
Greatly appreciate you being with us. And we will have you back on this story soon.
DOLAN: Thanks, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Now, have you ever wondered what's under your skin? I know I haven't, but a controversial new exhibit in New York City can help you answer that and other questions about the human body in a pretty surprising way.
Now, we have got to warn you here, some of the images in this story may be disturbing.
Here is NBC's Katie Couric.
KATIE COURIC, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): It's an anatomy textbook come alive, so to speak, 22 human bodies, along with 260 organs and other preserved body parts, making up a new educational experience called, what else, but “Bodies.”
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm in shock and in awe.
COURIC: Through nine galleries, the interactive exhibit explains not only the parts, but the systems that keep your body alive, the skeletal, the muscular, circulatory, each vitally important and interconnected.
DR. ROY GLOVER, CHIEF MEDICAL DIRECTOR: The body is the one thing you carry with you from the time you're born until the time you breathe your last breath. And it is the most practical information that a person could want to know and understand.
COURIC: The specimens are preserved through a technique that can take as long as a year. Some are frozen in motion, skinless cadavers posing as athletes, a body holding hands with its own removed skeleton. There is also a section to scare you straight, showing the effects of disease, like a smoker's blackened lungs.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I'm not really grossed out. A little bit like, well, that's interesting.
COURIC: Critics question the ethics of displaying the dead for profit. Human rights groups are concerned that the bodies, all on loan from a university in China, may have been illegally obtained.
But organizers say their goal is to educate, not simply make money, and insist the bodies come from legitimate sources.
ARNIE GELLER, PRESIDENT, PREMIER EXHIBITION: I'm very comfortable with the way they were obtained. And, quite frankly, we wouldn't be involved if they weren't obtained in a legal manner.
COURIC: There a handful of similar human anatomy exhibits around the world, all drawing large crowds, all looking to literally uncover the mysteries of the human body.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's really fascinating to see what the inside of your body looks like and to understand just even that much more how you function and the miracle of our life.
SCARBOROUGH: I think I will just stick with MOMA.
Coming up next, chilling video of what goes inside a suspected cult.
Coming up, children being terrorized and abused. And adults brainwashed? You are going to hear from somebody who was once under their spell and whose mother still refuses to leave a place that just looks sick and warped other me.
And, later, a pair of cons pull a con job on an entire fraternity—how it happened and why the party is over. Greeks don't want no freaks.
We will be right back when SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY returns.
SCARBOROUGH: We are going to be talking to someone who was a member of a cult out in Washington state that we have been following for the past few days, a troubling, troubling organization. We are going to get to the bottom of it, also going to talk about what happened when they tried to rescue their mother, an elderly lady, from this organization. That's coming up.
But, first, here is the latest news you and your family need to know.
SCARBOROUGH: Busted—a new outrage, as two men escape from a prison when Hurricane Katrina crashes into the Gulf Coast. Then they pose as frat boys. We will talk about the convicts and much more.
And, later, John Paul II, you know, there's calls for sainthood already. And we are going to be talking to Peggy Noonan, whose new book on the pope is out today. And I can't wait to get it and read it.
Welcome back to SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY. We are going to be talking about those stories in just minutes.
But, first, last night, we showed you the disturbing story of a church near Seattle where one member has already pled guilty to molesting a child. And, just yesterday, a second member was charged with the same offense.
Then there is the story of Kathleen (ph) Raleigh.
Now, she is being seen taken away right here from the church—some say cult—by her own children in an effort to rescue her from, again, this organization that certainly looks like a cult to me.
I want to bring in right now Kathleen (ph) Raleigh's children, Rosemarie Offenhauer, and also—who is also a former nun—and Kevin Raleigh.
Thank you both for being with us.
KEVIN RALEIGH, SON OF A TRIDENTINE MEMBER: Thank you, Joe.
SCARBOROUGH: Let me start with you, Kevin.
Tell me about this group, this organization. Is it fair to say that it's a church or do you believe it's a cult?
RALEIGH: I believe it's a destructive cult. I believe it has nothing to do with religion. And I make that observation 13 years ago after reading a book by Steve Esan (ph). It's a destructive cult. It's actually a very secret society.
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about—we are showing pictures right now of these pictures of these young children about the age of my daughter, which I guess is why it hurts me so much, being terrorized.
Rosemarie, you were a former member of this cult, this organization, this church?
ROSEMARIE OFFENHAUERrMD+IT_rMD-IT_, FORMER TRIDENTINE NUN: Yes, I was, Joe. .
SCARBOROUGH: Talk about how destructive it is for children and, well, for your mother and all those that are locked in its grip.
OFFENHAUER: Well, Joe, I entered when I was quite young.
And when I see these video clips, it reminds me of how I felt the first I entered until I left, was this huge amount of fear. It was just amazing. We just never knew exactly when things were going to happen. I thought I was entering a Catholic convent, where I could help other people and do good things. Again, I was only 18.
The first couple months were OK, but, eventually, the leader kept on clamping down and things just got more and more restricted. Everything had to be approved by him. And we started waiting hours for services to happen and eventually turn—sometimes, we would wait days for him to come to offer mass. And it was just very sad, that I can say, after being there 17 years, I never had a real friend.
Several months after I entered, we were told—I entered with 12 young women. They were all 18. And we were told we couldn't talk to each other, that someone always had to be listening. So, my memories are again very fearful. I wanted to leave in the first year, but when I asked to leave, my head was shaved and I was told that God had great plans for our group, and that was temptations from the devil, and it's just a very controlled place, you know, where you don't have...
SCARBOROUGH: Well, you talk about controlled place.
I want to show you, show everybody, a clip of when there was an attempt to rescue your mother. Let's play that video right now. And then we will have you all talk about it.
Kevin, what were you all trying to do? And why did you feel it was necessary to take such dramatic measures to rescue your mother?
RALEIGH: Well, my mother disappeared 13 years ago.
In 13 years ago, there were several attempts to contact her. And we are talking, she disappeared. She just disappeared. She left a note on the table. We had a forwarding address in—somewhere in Reno, Nevada. No phone calls from her, no communication. We made several attempts to go over to the Seattle area, hired private investigators to find out where she was at.
It wasn't really until this past May that a member of the group contacted us and told us that she was a friend, a very close guardian of my mother and that—so, I spent a couple hours on the phone talking to her. And she told me that she was a person that my mother confided into, confided in her with, and she said she took her to the doctors.
And I start thinking, says, well, if you took her to the doctor's office, you know when her next doctor appointment was. She told me, yes, she did, or she could find out. She called the doctors and she found out when it was.
Well, at that point, I said, well, I called my brothers and sisters. And we said, we probably are pretty sure we know where mom is going to be on a certain day at a certain time. And not having seen my mother in 13 years, we all kind of were kind of anxious. We all flew up to the Seattle area.
And, basically, when we got up to the Seattle area, she was going to a doctor's appointment, the Harborview Med Center up there. And when she came out, the person that took her there went to get the car. And, at that point, I went up and that's when we made contact with her.
And I went up to her. And I was—had somewhat of guarded optimism, not seeing my mother for 13 years, that things would be good. And I went up to her and I greeted her. And she was very cordial to me. She was talking to me like—I was saying, hey, this is going pretty good. And then it started to occur to me that she wasn't recognizing who I was.
RALEIGH: So, I started bringing up dates, my birthday, her birthday, her anniversary, her six kids. And she says, boy, you sure know a lot about me.
And my brother came up behind her at the time and said, do you recognize him? And it was my younger brother. And she didn't recognize him. And then my older brother came up there. And, at that moment, she recognized it was her children.
And it was like, all of a sudden, she went into this shutdown mode.
And she didn't—she wouldn't—didn't want to talk to us.
RALEIGH: And, really, all we wanted was to talk to her, take her out to lunch and really find what's been going on for 13 years.
SCARBOROUGH: You all tried to take her. You haven't seen her in 13 years.
Let me bring in Rick Ross right now, because, again, here is a woman. They haven't seen their mother. They haven't seen her in 13 years and try to bring her back. And the next day, she goes back there. I guess you see this an awful lot, don't you?
RICK ROSS, CULT EXPERT: Yes, Joe, I do.
And what the Raleigh family went through is what many thousands and thousands of families are going through right now across the U.S., which is, they don't know where their loved ones are at. There are many cult groups that are nomadic.
The Tridentine Rite group was basically on the lam for years, traveling around the country with Schuckardt. So, many times, they don't know where a loved one is and they have no access. And they may take desperate measures, such as the Raleighs did, to try and meet with someone who is in a cult.
And that person is, as the Raleighs have described, a prisoner of the brainwashing that exists within these groups. Rosemarie said about how isolated she was, how members of this group are kind of like in a bubble, isolated in a controlled environment that Francis Schuckardt runs 24/7, in which they have no...
SCARBOROUGH: Yes. They have got no control.
And the thing that enrages me so much, Rick, is, you have these young children who have no control.
In fact, I want to play you this clip, just a short clip with the sound. And I want you to tell me what they are trying to do to these poor, poor children. Let's play that clip.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: No. No. No. No.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SCARBOROUGH: And, Rick, you are hearing these terrible screams. It looks like they are trying to put chains on these kids.
As far as these kids know, this is the devil. Listen to it. What are they trying to do? How can terrorizing these young children, abusing them, scarring them for life, how does that make them more susceptible to the message of this sick, sick group?
ROSS: Well, Joe, what they are doing is, they are indoctrinating them to have unreasonable fear about the outside world. They are terrorizing them and instilling this fear that, if they leave the group, they will be unprotected, they will not be shielded by a kind of spiritual umbrella that Schuckardt has over them.
As Rosemarie said, she had unreasonable fears when she left the group. And what you're seeing with the children here is the beginning of that process.
SCARBOROUGH: That is a sick, sick process.
We are going to stay on this. I want you to come back and tell us more about it.
And, also, Kevin and Rosemarie, thank you so much for sharing your story. And we want to have you back, because we are just not going to let this drop. This is too disturbing.
Thank you for being with us.
Now, coming up, we are going to talk about fraternity brothers who partied. They dated co-eds. And they shacked up free. It doesn't sound like it's too out of the ordinary, except these guys were fakes. We are going to tell you how two convicts fooled an entire fraternity.
Plus, there is a new pope, but is there a new attitude in the church? And does the church have to change to save itself? We are excited to have Peggy Noonan tonight. She is in SCARBOROUGH COUNTRY tonight to talk about her book and much more.
We will be right back in a minute.
SCARBOROUGH: He became pope back in April, but Benedict XVI is just starting to emerge from the shadow of Pope John Paul II.
With me now to talk about this pope, his predecessor, and the state of the Catholic Church in America is Peggy Noonan, columnist, former presidential speechwriter and author of “John Paul the Great: Remembering a Spiritual Father.”
Let's—Peggy, let's talk about John Paul the great. I just don't know any other title but that one.
PEGGY NOONAN, FORMER REAGAN SPEECHWRITER: Yes.
SCARBOROUGH: After we saw the remarkable outpouring at his funeral this past year.
What was it about him that not only touched Catholics, but touched everybody across the world?
NOONAN: It is almost mysterious that this man could come forward in history at such a controversial time in 1978.
He became pope when communism was—Soviet communism was still around and the world was torn by so many things. And he just came forward as something new in history, a surprising person, a pope from Poland, a deeply spiritual man, but one who looked like he enjoyed and loved life, one who didn't care what anybody said about him. He was going to try to do the right thing and try to stand for the right things, try to stand for the truth.
And I think, over a quarter-century, a little more than a quarter-century, while he was pope, people simply absorbed who he was. And I think there was a certain amount of shock, Joe, when he died, just seven months ago. The whole world just stopped in its tracks and said, oh, my gosh, there was a mountain among us. What a very great man this is.
And it was right around that time that I was finishing this book. And I was taken aback, too, at what the world did when he died. Four million engulfed on Rome. People slept in the streets. They all wanted to be part of saying goodbye to this huge figure.
SCARBOROUGH: And though he was a conservative figure religiously, politically, he really did start a revolution in Eastern Europe, along with your former boss. And, together, they helped bring down the evil empire, didn't they?
NOONAN: They did.
And he had an interesting way of doing it. You know, when he first went home to Poland as the first Polish pope, communism was still in control there. It was a very dicey situation. If John Paul said, rise up against communism, the Soviets probably would have invaded. And yet, if he did acknowledge the truth that everybody knew, it would not be right.
So, what he did was go into Poland and say to the people of Poland, God exists, and God, looking from above, does not see these false divisions. He does not see Soviet and freedom. He sees one thing. He sees man living on the Earth. Nothing can eradicate that fact and nothing can eradicate God from his relationship with the world.
It was very powerful. John Paul changed history in part, Joe, because when he went to Poland, he spoke to the Polish people. They came out in millions. They had a mass in public outside Krakow. They thought 100,000 people might come. Two to three million people came. They watched John Paul. They went home and watched the state-controlled news that night, put on the TV, saw that it wasn't covered like all of Poland had come out.
It was covered as if this little guy, this pope showed up, said something and then left.
NOONAN: At that point, all of the people of Poland admitted to themselves, this is all a lie. This is all a terrible thing. This is all dishonesty and it is not true. But that man, he is true.
And that, I think, was the beginning of the huge change. Lech Walesa told me—I interviewed for him the book. He said, you know, you could say I and solidarity get credit for what happened, but we don't. This pope did, because it was like the loaves and the fishes. He said, before this pope came to Poland in the 1970s, he said, I, Lech Walesa, had 20 followers. When he left, I had hundreds of thousands.
SCARBOROUGH: Unbelievable. What a remarkable man.
And let's just talk about—also his spiritual life.
SCARBOROUGH: So many people are so cynical about religious leaders in the Vatican. Talk about his personal relationship with Jesus Christ, how real it was to him, and how that drew people to him, because he was the real deal.
This, Joe, it goes under the heading life is complicated. It is understandable that people feel a certain skepticism towards some of those in the Vatican. It is understandable that they feel a certain skepticism towards the American cardinals and bishops, after the great scandal we have had.
John Paul himself, however, part of the reason I think we all came to see his power was that he was an intensely soulful and prayerful man. This is a man who people who worked with him every day told me, oh, he prays eight hours a day. He is always praying.
He was always talking to God. He defined prayer as essentially saying yes to God and also asking him for much that will make the world better. That's what he was about. You could tell. You could look and see his intense spirituality and the sincerity of it. And it had real meaning for people.
SCARBOROUGH: And that's what drew all those people out at the end.
Peggy, thank you so much for being with us. Peggy Noonan, I just got to tell you, she is just my favorite.
And it's great to have you here, Peggy, an honor to have you here.
NOONAN: Nice to be back.
SCARBOROUGH: The new book is called “John Paul the Great.” I know what I am going to be reading over Thanksgiving. You should, too. Thanks, again.
Now, coming up next, we have been talking about Hurricane Katrina for some time. We are going to talk about next convicts who escaped from prison during Hurricane Katrina. You won't believe where they showed up.
They decided to hide from the law by being fake fraternity brothers. But
now the party is over. Their amazing story and the man who helped nab them
· coming up next.
SCARBOROUGH: The party is over for these two Louisiana convicts who escaped from jail as Hurricane Katrina rolled in. Police nabbed the two as they were hiding out at the University of Tennessee in a fraternity.
NBC's Kerry Sanders has the story.
KERRY SANDERS, NBC CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): During the Katrina crisis, with New Orleans under water, law enforcement stretched thin, residents fleeing across the nation, two men showed up on the University of Tennessee campus in Knoxville with a student I.D. from Tulane in New Orleans. The Lambda Chi Alpha fraternity opened its doors and hearts.
PATRICK DAVIS, LAMBDA CHI ALPHA FRATERNITY: They had very credible stories. They presented themselves as just—as true brothers of this fraternity.
SANDERS: But they were far from fraternity brothers; 22-year-old Zachary Arabie and 31-year-old Steven Ridge were two enterprising inmates at a Louisiana prison. They escaped using a popsicle stick to pick a cell door lock. They wound up in Knoxville, attending fraternity party, even dating co-eds.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were very generous with their money.
SANDERS: The duo, who were serving time for forgery and armed robbery, allegedly had resumed their old lives, too. Ridge was arrested after trying to pass off forged $10 bills at this gas station. Arabie was picked up outside the college library. Police believe both men obtained $4,000 in Hurricane Katrina aid. Real Katrina victims in New Orleans are outraged.
KAREN COHEN, NEW ORLEANS RESIDENT: My life is pretty much falling apart. And these guys were out having a great time.
SANDERS: Back on campus, the experience, a course in life no one signed up to take.
DAVIS: I'm going to definitely second-guess every other person. And it's sad.
SCARBOROUGH: With me now is Sergeant David Powell. He's with the Knoxville Police Department.
Sergeant, very interesting story here. How did you all finally get ahold of these guys?
SERGEANT DAVID POWELL, KNOXVILLE POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, basically, we just—I was doing a quick stop at a market to pick up a few things. And I see one of the escapes there trying to pass $10 bill.
I identified myself as a police officer. And immediately it's as if I threw cold water on him. He became very intense and uptight. We walk out. I meet Sergeant Hannah (ph) and investigator Sellers (ph) outside. And he becomes more and more tense. I find out that he is actually lying about his name and he doesn't have a driver's license under that name.
We go to detain him. He resists arrest. And the fight is on. And we finally get him in custody. And then, at that point, we find out he is in stolen car and found more counterfeit bills in the vehicle.
SCARBOROUGH: That's amazing.
Hey, Sergeant, thank you so much. I wish we had more time. But we are at the end of the show. Thank you so much for being with us, Sergeant David Powell. Great job.
Now, when we come back, not one, but two amazing visions in Texas we will show you coming up.
SCARBOROUGH: A pickup truck is sparking divine inspiration in Texas. Look closely at the tailgate. Believers see the face of Jesus Christ in the driver's side.
Also in Texas, what looks like an image of the Virgin Mary in tree bark. People are flocking there. And the tree owners says she plans to let people gather in her yard as long as they want. Inspiration out of Texas.
That's all the time we have for tonight.
“HARDBALL WITH CHRIS MATTHEWS” starts now.
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