CNN LARRY KING LIVE
Interview With John Walsh
Aired December 23, 2002 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
LARRY KING, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, John Walsh of "America's Most Wanted." His 6-year-old son Adam was abducted and murdered in 1981. No suspect ever charged. He turned that anger and grief into a powerful force for good. Now in his 16th season, "America's Most Wanted" has helped capture 735 fugitives. John Walsh for the hour next on LARRY KING LIVE.
KING: Always a great pleasure to welcome John Walsh to LARRY KING LIVE, especially the start of this Christmas week. He is, as you know, the host of "America's Most Wanted" and host of the "John Walsh Show," that daytime program which debuted in September and has been renewed for a second season. How's that doing?
JOHN WALSH, "AMERICA'S MOST WANTED": Very well, Larry. Thank you so much for asking. I've been told that we're up 25 percent over what was in our time slots last year. NBC has a lot of faith in the show. And we tried to, you know, change daytime talk, reinvent the wheel and come up with what we're calling intelligent talk.
And, you know, in some cities the numbers are astounding, but overall we're up 25 percent. And, you know, that's the American public supporting the daytime show.
KING: Congratulations. Second only to Dr. Phil, right?
WALSH: Second only to Dr. Phil and real honor, thank you.
KING: There was a lot of questions as to whether that was going to work. We talked about it here. Here is a tough leather jacketed nighttime fame host embarking into daytime. Did you question it yourself?
WALSH: Well, you know, I love "America's Most Wanted" and have been doing it, as you said, 16 years. And with the American public support taking 735 fugitives off the streets.
But I also, as you know, am involved in a lot of other things. And NBC came to me, Ed Wilson and Linda Finel (ph) and said, We think a lot has happened in America here. America is ready for a different style talk show, something more serious, take the high road. I felt personally maybe America had seen enough transvestite midgets from Mars to last for a while. And so I'm working with NBC News and we're taking some very serious topics, not everyday is serious. But the American public has really gravitated to this show.
And, you know, I do have a sense of humor. Some of the shows are lighter. I have a lot of hobbies. I've got kids like you do. I've kids in college, high school and eighth grade so it has been a real experience and a real challenge.
KING: What percentage of the programs are crime-oriented?
WALSH: They really aren't crime-oriented. They deal with all kinds of issues about changing laws. We do "Hometown Hero" every week, not necessarily a police officer or a fireman, though they're wonderful heroes. We celebrate the accomplishments of an average everyday hero. We do safety tips.
For example, today we did a story on rape prevention. We do things like sideline rage. It is not really about fugitives. It is about changing the way America looks at things and changing things in America.
KING: Speaking of crime, the FBI, preliminary statistics report, show crime up 1.3 percent on first six months of this year, 2.3 percent increase in murder, property crimes also up a combined 1.7 percent. But strangely enough, New York City, the city you are in, low rated in crime statistics, way down.
WALSH: Well, I think that's good news for New York City because at one point several years ago New York City led the whole world with 2,600 homicides. That was more homicides in one city than all of Western Europe cities and Canada put together.
New York City is almost down to the ranking of 200, the 200th safest city in America. It's kind of disturbing that homicides are back up and violent crime is back up like rapes, you know. Maybe it's better reporting, maybe cops are doing a better job of -- and putting the statistics and giving the statistics to the FBI.
I don't think it has anything to do with the economic situation. I just think that, you know, people are reporting the crimes as they should be. But it's -- the trend in the rise in homicides is pretty disturbing.
KING: Have we ever done a study about the violent criminal who doesn't do it for profit?
WALSH: Oh, absolutely. I mean, we have people that, you know, are repeat offenders. I testified with the FBI several years ago about serial killers, for example. They said the really disturbing trend was that they felt that there were about 300 to 400 serial killers, identity unknown out there in this country now. At large. And they don't do it for profit. They do it for whatever bizarre reasons they do, you know what they do. And that's very disturbing. And it still bothers me. These crime statistics, we hope they go down. Sometimes they go up. We're still a country with 40,000 crime -- I'm sorry, 40 million crime victims every year, still hovering around 20,000 homicides. Other countries don't put up with this level of violence.
KING: Last time you were on the program, John, the big focus was on the D.C. Area sniper case. Attorney General John Ashcroft has given Virginia the first crack at the prosecution of John Allen Muhammad and John Malvo. There was a lot of wrong guesses as to who this were. What do you make of the whole thing now in retrospect?
WALSH: In retrospect, you know, you and I talked about it and I said a couple of things. I said, you know, that this guy is not driving a white van. You and I were kidding about that. If he was driving a white van, you know, then I'm Elvis, that he probably was either former law enforcement or former military because he was a good shot, that the public would catch him and they did catch him with the tips.
You know, we did a special down there. I went down there at the request of Chief Moose and the 12 different police agencies and we got a record number of tips on that show "America's Most Wanted." I think over 7,000 tips. And they started to put together a pattern that this guy is now a suspect in a murder in Tacoma, Washington, a suspect in a murder in and a shooting in Montgomery, Alabama, a suspect in a murder in Baton Rouge, a suspect in a murder in Atlanta, a couple other murders and attempted murders in the Baltimore area as well as the 13 people.
I still say the same thing. I hope in my lifetime I see the 17,000 state and local police agencies and the 25 federal agencies starting to exchange information. I think we could have caught this guy sooner if these law enforcement agencies had the ability to do it.
You and I have talked about this before. This is a country that could put a man on the moon. We spend millions and zillions of dollars on the space program, the Hubbell Telescope. I think Americans who are terrorized by the sniper and those 13 shootings in Washington, D.C. said, you know, Let's stop spending these billions of dollars and let's start spending it on a system where law enforcement can exchange information and maybe we can catch the John Muhammads before they go out all around the country and kill people.
KING: There was some criticism about the police handling of it. That they withheld information from the public they mishandled the tip hot line. Do you share that critique?
WALSH: Well, I'll tell you what, the tip hot line, it was so swamped. I said it before and I've got to be very candid, I wish that they had used -- and this was not chief moose's call. I have great respect for Chief Moose. I think he did an incredible job working with 12 different police agencies, shootings in three different jurisdictions.
You know, the reality and the truth is you got to be candid here. When the "Washington Post" called that tip hot line it took three hours for them to get through. John Muhammad said he tried to call five times and he was so mad that he couldn't get through and nobody would talk to him, he was going to kill five more people.
I wish they had used the "America's Most Wanted" hot line. That was first time if in 16 years I agreed that the FBI use their own hot line. Now, it is easy to criticize the FBI. But the operators at "America's Most Wanted" are skilled, trained operators. We helped take down 735 fugitives, 15 off the FBI's Ten Most Wanted.
I wish in retrospect that we had been operating and following up on those tips that night. It just took too long to get through. There were too many tips for them to analyze. But I think they learned something from it.
KING: We'll be back with more of John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted" and the host of the new very successful daytime show the "John Walsh Show." You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. More after this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Today I get to meet a 16-year-old girl who did what law enforcement couldn't: outsmart and bring down a serial killer who had been murdering young girls for years. Please welcome a real hero to me, Cara.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: This is an urgent anti-terrorism alert. The counterterrorism wing of the FBI is on the hunt for this man: Amir El-Maati. Agents want to talk to him about possible terrorist threats against America. Agents say El-Amaati was born in Kuwait, moved to Canada and traveled to Afghanistan to train with the Taliban. He is known to talk about his sympathies with anti-American terrorists. El- Maati is trained as an airline pilot, he wears glasses and he may have shaved off his beard and mustache. If you know anything about the whereabouts of Amir El-Maati, call our hot line now at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with John Walsh concerning El-Maati. Is he supposed to be in the United States?
WALSH: Well, we don't know, Larry, but that alert was put out because there was some information that he may have snuck back into the United States and that he was working with different sleeper cells here with al Qaeda and possibly planning another terrorist attack. So we keep showing his picture and hoping somebody will make that call so we can get him before he does something else. KING: Attorney General John Ashcroft was on this program last week. The next night Secretary Of Defense Don Rumsfeld. Both said expect -- be on alert but expect more terrorism in this country. Do you agree?
WALSH: Absolutely. I mean, you know, bin Laden got very lucky that those towers came down. I think he was just trying to make a statement. He tried to, you know, do something terrible in 1994 when he first attacked the World Trade Towers. We started profiling him here on "America's Most Wanted." Then he did the terrible, terrible, you know, attack on the Pentagon and the Trade Towers almost a year ago.
This encouraged al Qaeda and other terrorist groups and I think we would be very naive to not realize that these people really hate us. They have attacked our embassies in Africa. They've tried to blow up our ships in ports like the "Cole." They blew up our marine barracks in Beirut. They blew up our barracks in Saudi Arabia.
It's just a matter of time, but I don't want to create any paranoia. I think America is much, much less naive than they were before 9/11. They're going to have a hard time catching us off guard, but certainly we should not let our guard down and we should be prepared for the next attack because these people really hate us and they hate our way of life.
KING: The attorney general said the other night that if you see something suspicious, if you see a man at a power plant taking pictures outside the building, call somebody.
Do you think the public is a hip or alert to that?
WALSH: I absolutely know it first hand, Larry. I mean, 16 years ago TV critics and people said "America's Most Wanted" will never work. Nobody will call that hot line. Nobody will turn in a neighbor. Nobody will get involved.
Well, you know that? They all underestimated the American public. We've caught people in 31 countries. I've chased terrorist in the Persian Gulf. I've worked with Interpol. We've caught terrorists in Paris. We've worked with Scotland Yard. Seven hundred and thirty-five fugitives are behind bars because average, wonderful citizens around the world and wonderful Americans said, You know what? I think this guy is who I saw on TV and I'll make that call.
KING: But that's reacting to your showing film or pictures of them. How about now when they're under alert? Do you think we can be overly suspicious? Do you think it can get the danger of neighbor on neighbor?
WALSH: I don't think so. I really think that the media, you know, looking to fill a lot of air time, is saying, Well, this country was built on freedoms and the First Amendment rights and, you know, you'll be accusing your neighbor, et cetera.
Don't -- I think that media really does a disservice to the American public. All Attorney General Ashcroft is saying is be alert. If you see something suspicious, make that call. I mean, I know firsthand the power of the media. In the last year or so, 45 kids have been saved because of the Amber Alert, which is the use of the emergency broadcasting services, TV stations and radio stations. They should have been doing that for years.
If somebody calls up, I don't think Americans are vengeful. I don't think they're going to start making calls just because they're mad at their neighbor because the neighbor's dog came into their yard. I think he's asking the right thing. If you see something suspicious, we know firsthand that these terrorists have infiltrated this country over a year ago. They killed 28 innocent -- 2,800 innocent Americans. They were right here going to our flight schools, doing whatever they wanted to do in this country and I think it is just a call to action. It is just saying be street smart. If you see something suspicious, please call somebody.
KING: So you don't fear any danger in it going over the top?
WALSH: It hasn't so far. I mean, Attorney General Ashcroft has been asking for people to call if they see something suspicious for the last year. I haven't seen one incident -- I mean, we had the one thing in Florida where that, you know, that waitress said she overheard what she thought were a couple of Middle Eastern guys laughing about what happened on 9/11.
Well you know what? It turned out they were cleared. They were stopped by police. The police had the right to question them. And the waitress, in my opinion, did the right thing. She made the call. She didn't do it maliciously. She doesn't have anything against Middle Eastern people. She doesn't have anything against Muslims. She just thought she heard someone talking about planning a possible bombing.
So now if she had been right and she had saved lives, she would've been a hero.
KING: So even if they were kidding or trying to put her on, in your mind she was still correct in doing what she did?
WALSH: Absolutely. What if she saved a life, Larry. I mean, just like when you go to a security line at the airport, they tell you don't kid about bombing. Don't kid about being a terrorist. It's not something to kid about. People have lost their lives; 2,800 people died last year.
So if she had been right, if she had alerted somebody to the fact that a couple of terrorists that belonged to a sleeper cell were here in the United States and she had overheard them talking about bombing somewhere, she would have been a hero. She tried to do the right thing. It wasn't being malicious. That's the only incident I heard of in the whole last year. So let's not blow it out of proportion. Let's remember one thing: If you see something suspicious and I'm a great believer in the American public, make that call. You could save somebody's life. KING: And do you think those accused who get a lot of attention like Avila, in the Runnion murder and Westerfield already convicted in the van Dam case, can get fair trials?
WALSH: Oh, absolutely. I mean, if O.J. Simpson got -- well, I don't say that's a fair trial. But, you know something? This is a wonderful country. They will find 12 people, 12 honest men and women who didn't know about the case and they will render a verdict.
Certainly they can move the venue, they can change it? Remember in the Oklahoma bombing case? They didn't feel that Timothy McVeigh would get a fair trial in Oklahoma so they moved the whole trial to Colorado. The sad thing was we spent $7 million to guarantee Timothy McVeigh's rights but the poor victims in Oklahoma had to pay their own way to the trial in Colorado.
You know, it's about time we gave the victims the same rights as the perpetrators. But you can get a fair trial in the United States. I know that for sure.
KING: We'll be back with more of John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted" and "The John Walsh Show." You're watching LARRY KING LIVE. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: Cops in the 103rd precinct are doggedly following up on all the leads they've received. But maybe you can help provide them with the one tip they need. Cops say the suspect is a black male 6 feet to 6'2", about 190 pounds. He wore a black sweat suit and a black hat. Some news reports say there may have been a second man involved.
If you know who killed Jam Master J, give us a call at 1-800- CRIME-TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No one knows why, but on the night of October 2, 2000, cops say Jennifer Liang's (ph) jealousy boiled over to murder.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It happened in this very room. Jenny Liang (ph) walked in, Patrick Sheen (ph) was laying on the bed. She took the gun, put it behind his right ear and pulled the trigger twice.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: Have you searched, John, for many women on that program?
WALSH: Well, actually, we have, Larry. You know, the vast majority of really violent offenders, for example, serial killers, pedophiles, child molesters are 99.9 percent men. But we have done a lot of bad girls. I mean, this is a country where women can be just as violent as the men. We have profiled female murderers, female con artists and there is some bad ladies out there.
KING: All right, let's talk about the Elizabeth Smart case, which the media has kind of left now. What is your best read on that tragedy in Utah?
WALSH: I spent yesterday by coincidence with Ed and Lois Smart. I had them on "The John Walsh Show" to kind of give an update to the case. You know, Ricci, the guy that was the main suspect, died in prison of an aneurysm. He's the guy that was the handyman at the house that put 1,000 miles on his pickup truck during the two days that she was missing. He was a burglar. He also had a rap sheet, which a lot of the media doesn't understand. He spent 10 years in jail. He tried to blow the head off of a cop with a shotgun. This is a real bad guy.
I hope that he didn't take the secret of Elizabeth Smart to the grave with him. I talked to Ed and Lois yesterday. I said, don't give up hope. Justice delayed isn't justice denied.
What's killing them is the fact of the not knowing. I think they're prepared for the worst. Most parents of missing children are prepared for the worst. But their young daughter has now said that she believes that Ricci wasn't the guy in there that night, that it may have been another guy that did some work on their roof, an itinerant guy that worked at a homeless shelter, and he may be a suspect in this. And I don't want to give away a lot of breaking information here, but "America's Most Wanted" is going to take a look at the Smart case, because I know one thing, we have been able to solve crimes after 10 years.
So I gave the Smarts, you know, the best encouragement I could and said, look, don't give up hope. We'll relook at the case. It is normal for the media tension to die down, and to try to have a good holiday. This is going to be the first Christmas without this beautiful girl, and the Smarts have five other beautiful children. So they're trying to hold that family together.
I said, you know, do the best you can with your five children. Don't give up hope, and, you know what, we'll take another look at this case and try to keep it alive.
KING: Tell me what fascinates you about the focus that your program has put on the Baltimore case of Marciana Ringo.
WALSH: You know something, Larry? I was there in the field where this little beautiful Marciana Ringo was found last week. This 8-year-old girl was dragged out into these woods and her throat slit ear to ear, almost to her neckbone, by, police say, it was her stepfather. Jamal Abeokuto. And he's on the run now and it's just a horrible case. And it was just brought back so many heartbreaking memories about Adam to be out in those woods. Two kids on their way to school found this beautiful 8-year-old girl's body underneath some bushes out there, and kids in that area have put together a little shrine of teddy bears.
Police say he's the guy. He gave a fake ransom note. His fingerprint was on the ransom note. They have a pair of bloody jeans. They have a receipt where he bought new jeans. He tried to, you know, tried to fake it and say that he thought she was kidnapped, but they believe that he is the main suspect, and, Larry, you know as the father of a murdered child, these are the guys I hate the most. The way he killed this beautiful little girl is just the most horrible way for her to die out in those woods, and I want to see him -- you know, I want to see him brought to justice, and I think we're going to nail him. You know, I think we're going to nail him soon.
KING: Do you fear, John, this is just an example, that maybe this guy didn't do it? And that you are hanging him in advance?
WALSH: No, I'm saying what I'm supposed to say legally, and that's alleged. But I was out there with the five detectives and the ransom note that came to the family asking for -- this was the stepdaddy, not the stepdaddy, the live-in boyfriend, the ransom note that came and asked for the money, and said "I have this little girl," has his fingerprint on it. The DNA is unequivocally his DNA. He's been charged with first degree murder.
I don't believe in vigilantism, and I don't believe I'm hanging this guy. But I'll tell you what, the police do. The police believe that he dragged her out in that field. My theory is that he may have been sexually abusing her. She may have been getting ready to tell somebody, and he decided to get rid of her by slitting her throat ear to ear. But I'll tell you what, police say he's the guy. He's been charged with first degree murder. My job is to try to find him. He could be anywhere. We need to nail him before he kills somebody else, get him back in the criminal justice system and get him into the trial.
But I'll tell you what, Larry, walking out in that field really broke my heart to see where he threw that little body under those bushes.
KING: We'll be back with more of John Walsh right after this. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: 8-year-old Marciana Ringo, a kidnapped child we've been searching for, has been found dead. Baltimore police say her mom's boyfriend, Jamal Abeokuto, was the last one seen with her. He hasn't been charged in her death, but police really want to talk to him. If you know where he is, call 1-800-CRIMETV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The guns are just for starters. Women in Baton Rouge are taking self-defense courses, arming themselves with tasers, pepper spray and mace. The way many people here see it, these precautions are the great equalizer when your opponent is a serial killer.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: You're pretty rough on that show, huh?
WALSH: Well, I'll tell you, the clip that you just showed there, the Baton Rouge serial killer. That town is terrified. We've had three women murdered in the last year and a half there. The DNA matches. There is a fourth woman that was murdered two years ago that they think that may be a victim. All together in the 10 ten years 31 women have been murdered in the Baton Rouge area. Now, this is a small town and it happens about every five months. And that town is absolutely terrified.
KING: And why isn't that bigger than the D.C. sniper story?
WALSH: Well, you know what, Larry? You and I talked about this. When the sniper was shooting people around D.C., Congressmen, Congresswomen, FBI agents, people in that area, the nation's capitol, were afraid to go out and get groceries. People were getting shot. A 13-year-old boy was shot in the chest there. A lot of media in that area. So, you know what? The media focused in on that case.
KING: Because Louisiana deserves more attention than that, you would think.
WALSH: I absolutely agree. I believe that the Baton Rouge serial killer is a dangerous cold, calculating murderer and I'm surprised that the media hasn't covered it. I'm surprised that there aren't crews right there saying the same questions we're saying.
How could you have 30 plus unsolved homicides, four that you know of, three that the DNA link up and he kills every five months. But, you know, Baton Rouge is a small, little town in Louisiana. Washington, D.C. is the nation's capitol. And when Congressmen and Congresswomen are afraid to go out and get groceries, things get done. The FBI headquarters are there. The media is there. So everybody gravitated to it.
I wish that these types of crimes got the same type of coverage. But you and I have talked about it before. Some missing child cases get all the publicity and other missing child cases don't get any. I still don't understand why.
KING: Let's talk about Megan's Law. I know you supported it. It is being challenged now in the United States Supreme Court. At issue are laws in Connecticut and Alaska. Almost every other state has some version of it.
Megan's Law requires convicted sex offenders and certain other felons to register with state and local authorities after they are released from prison. In other words, after they've done their time. Doesn't that keep them -- isn't that unfair? WALSH: I don't think it is unfair at all. I'm absolutely amazed that it's Alaska and Connecticut that are opposing Megan's Law and have taken it all the way to the Supreme Court.
First of all, in the state of Connecticut, the Attorney General Blumenthal, who is arguing to keep Megan's Law, told me personally on "The John Walsh Show," that of the 3, 000 registered sex offenders in Connecticut, 500 have already re-offended.
In Alaska, Alaska has the No. 1 statistics of crimes against women and children. Sex offenders. I can't believe these two states are doing it. But in one state...
KING: Not state, lawyers in the state.
WALSH: Well, it's lawyers representing -- for example, in Connecticut it's two convicted pedophiles and a lawyer. I don't know how he can sleep at night, that is saying Megan's Law isn't fair.
I was there for the signing of Megan's Law in the Rose Garden. Megan's law says one simple thing: If you've crossed that line and you have sexually hurt someone, raped a woman, sexually molested a child and you're convicted -- you're a convicted felon, you must register.
We all register for all kinds of things. These people have crossed the line. The point I'm making, Larry, is that we're catching sex offenders all the time. They caught a sex offender in El Paso that kidnapped a 5-year-old girl because he left his fingerprint on her forehead after he raped her. He was in the registered sex offender registry. Megan's Law made him register. And he got caught because of that.
Megan's Law is not the about the rights of the pedophiles and the convicted sex offenders. Megan's Law is about the rights of children. It's the rights of parents. We need to know where these people are. It's not undue punishment. When you kidnap and sodomize a child or rape a woman, we ought to know where you are.
KING: So if you do that, your conviction is you're convicted for life?
WALSH: Well, no -- yes, you could go out...
KING: You may get out -- you may get out, but that thing hangs over you for life.
It doesn't hang over you.
KING: And deservedly so.
WALSH: I believe deservedly so. Absolutely. And I'm no objective because I'm the father of a murdered child.
But what it mandates is that you must register within 24 hours and your name and your address is kept in a registry on a police Web site or somewhere in the police department. OK. It doesn't publicize who you are. It doesn't tell everybody in the world. It just lets people know where these registered sex offenders are.
I know that for $50 I can go on the Internet right now, Larry, and get your credit report, where you live, everything about you. I don't get the big deal here.
I do know one thing: that it lets us know where these animals are and this law is about children's rights. It is not about the convicted sex offenders' rights whatsoever. But, you know, I think the Supreme Court will do the right thing.
KING: Chandra Levy, are we going to find the murderer?
WALSH: Boy, that's going to be a tough one. I'm glad to see they impaneled a grand jury. I have to give Dr. Levy and Mrs. Levy credit for going to testify themselves because keeping a case alive -- the parents going before a grand jury, is the only way you can keep it from falling from unsolved homicide No. 200 down to unsolved homicide No. 400 or whatever.
I think it's really going to be a tough case. They're looking at a guy in prison right now who is in prison for attacking two people, two women in that Rock Creek area. I think, you know that they should really -- Well, I can't say it, I mean, his lawyer is not cooperating. You know, I think they're taking a hard look at this case.
But my heart is with the Levys. It is going to be a tough, tough case to solve.
KING: All right. We'll discuss the Catholic Church sex issues now. You talk about pedophiles. You talk about people who mistreat children. What is worse than this? And it seems to keep growing. We learn more every day about this.
WALSH: I think it's about damn time. I can say that because I was raised as a Roman Catholic. My cousin is a Monsignor. There are priests in my family. I went to Catholic high school and I'll say this, over the last 10 years, over 800 priests have resigned because of accusations or proof that they were pedophiles and sexually molested boys or girls.
Cardinal Law covered this up. It's about time he resigned. I don't know why he had to go to the Vatican. I don't care how many times the United States bishops meet, they ought to come up with one conclusion. No. 1, they should apologize to every kid or every adult that has been a victim of a priest.
No. 2, they have paid millions and millions and millions of dollars of hush money to try to keep this from being public. It is the worst violation of trust when your priest sexually assaults you or sexually abuses you when you're a young girl or an altar boy.
And one thing I don't get at all whatsoever, if Larry King sexually assaulted a little boy, or John Walsh sexually assaulted a little boy, both of us trusted authority figures, adults, people in a position of power, we would go to jail. I'll tell you one thing: every one of those priests that sexually assaulted children should go jail. There should be no debate whatsoever.
Just moving them around, sending them to some place to be rehabilitated by the church for two years and then put into another parish where they can reoffend and Cardinal Law knew about priests that had traded cocaine for sex with girls, he knew about pedophile priests that had been moved around in his jurisdiction. I'll tell you what. He should be held accountable for it, too.
KING: Let me get a break and we'll be right back with more of John Walsh. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Remember, according to the FBI, the suspect is probably a white male who wears a size 10 to 11 Rawlings tennis shoe.
And this gruesome revelation from investigators. The killer may be collecting souvenirs from his victims. Missing from Gina Green's home, a small purse like this one.
From Marie Pace, a sterling silver ring similar to this one, a Louis Vuitton wallet with her BMW key attached and her Mississippi driver's license.
And from Pam Kinmore, a sterling silver toe ring like this.
And one more important detail: cops say the killer lives or works in Baton Rouge or travels through the city regularly. We've got to stop him.
If you have any information that can help, call out hot line tonight at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: These guys that kill children, that killed and tortured and skinned people alive. You're collecting their stuff.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Holocaust stuff don't interest me. If I was interested, I probably would.
WALSH: Let me ask you a question. You've some of Ottis Tool's letters, don't you?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No, just art.
WALSH: Don't you have of Ottis Tool's drawings?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I have drawings but no letters. WALSH: You have drawings of Ottis Tool. You know that Ottis Tool was the main suspect in my son's murder? You know that. You know that Ottis Tool sent me a letter? Maybe you don't know this. But do you know that Ottis Tool decapitated my 6 1/2-year-old son? Did you know that?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.
WALSH: He cut my son's head off, allegedly. OK? And he wrote me a letter from prison saying, I'll tell you where the rest of the body is if you give me $5,000.
And you got that (UNINTELLIGIBLE) guy's paintings. How do you think I feel about that?
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KING: John Walsh, what do you make about people who profit off this or murdererabilia kind of stuff?
WALSH: Think it is disgusting, Larry. I'm working on a victims' rights constitutional amendment before Congress right now, before the House and Senate. It's been endorsed by President Bush. It was endorsed by President Clinton. Both attorney generals. Janet Reno endorsed it. Now Attorney General John Ashcroft has.
I think it sends a terrible message that you can be a low life. You can prey upon people, you can torture, you can murder and rape people like John Wayne Gacy who died finally after 14 years on death row in Illinois for killing 33 boys. And while he was in prison, he sold $250,000 worth of his perverted paintings of him torturing young boys. And he used that money in prison to buy cigarettes and sex from other prisoners and to buy whatever you can buy in prison.
What the hell kind of message does that send that you can profit by your crimes? Any low life that preys upon somebody in this country, if he makes a dime from a tabloid, from a movie of the week deal or a book deal, that money should go for the victims. I cannot believe that murdererabilia is legal in this country.
You saw me talking to that guy who actually bought Ottis Tool's paintings, the guy that was allegedly, and I believe, actually killed my son. What the hell kind of message does that send that you can profit on the hurt and the misery of victims? It is just -- it should be outlawed. It's unacceptable.
KING: What you to make, John, of the public fascination with crime? "Law & Order," "CSI," the top shows. (UNINTELLIGIBLE) crime. You put a crime show on, the odds are you're going make it. We are fascinated with it, are we not?
WALSH: We're absolutely -- throughout history people have been fascinated by crime. People have been fascinated throughout every country. Jack the Ripper, serial killers in this country.
That's a natural thing because these people go against our nature. You have boys, you have beautiful young boys. You have grown children, I have children. We can't ever, ever, ever even contemplate -- we cannot even comprehend how people can do this but we're fascinated by it.
But that doesn't mean we condone it, that doesn't mean we want to see it happen. We're fascinated by how these people cross the line. And that's OK. Because I think sometimes it makes people aware of what's out there, that there are these people out there.
I only have two problems, when it is gratuitous, Like "Texas Chainsaw Massacre" and movies like that stimulate these low lives, that show them how to truss up women, and cut their body parts off. And people who profit by it.
The fascination with crime, that's human nature. That's the look at dark side of people's personalities. That's OK.
KING: Like watching shows about Hitler, we're fascinated by it.
WALSH: We can learn from it. We learn that these people are out there. In many ways, I think it educates us that these people can do these type of things.
I don't think there's anything wrong with the fascination of crime. I think it's when people go way overboard with gratuitous type of films that really, really stimulate people like Ted Bundy.
Ted Bundy killed 29 women. He was a collector of horror films. He loved these over the top horror films and, of course, as we just mentioned, murdererabilia. My God, what kind of message does that send?
KING: Are victims getting more rights?
WALSH: In some states victims have more rights than others. That's why I'm working so hard on this victims' rights constitutional amendment. We talk about it on the "John Walsh Show." I was proud of that murdererabilia show because we got thousands of e-mails and thousands of hits on our Web site about people who said, I'm going write my congressman. I'm going write my congresswoman. I'm going to write my senators. What are they doing in Washington? We need a constitutional amendment for victims.
Some states' victims have rights and some states' victims have no rights at the at all. I'll tell you what, the U.S. Constitution's been amended 27 times. Four for the criminals' rights. That's OK. They should have their rights. But nothing has ever been put in the Constitution or the Constitution has never been amended for victims' rights.
KING: The difficulty of it, John, is the fact that the criminal isn't a criminal until he's adjudicated a criminal. So the victim doesn't have a statement in court until the person is guilty.
WALSH: Absolutely. The sad thing, Larry, for example, when that guy is convicted and there comes up the sentencing phase, only 21 states allow victims to make a victim impact statement.
WALSH: For example, the criminal, once he's convicted for like in the Richard Alan Davis case that killed little Polly Klaas, they spent millions of dollars on his trial. They would have allowed him to say anything he wanted. They brought in psychological experts at $1,000 to day to say he should be spared the death penalty because he had acne when he was young, that's why he killed Polly Klaas.
I'm so sick of seeing the perpetrator become the victim. But Mark Klaas only got four minutes to talk about Polly and about Polly's life. And in 25-plus other states, victims aren't given the simple dignity to sit in that courtroom at the sentencing, after the low life that hurt their loved one has been convicted to say, Judge, this guy murdered my child, gave me a life sentence of a heart break, a death sentence for my child and I want people to know this child was a wonderful little person and this guy should get the same sentence.
It really -- I don't want to -- I don't believe in taking anything away from the accused rights. There is lot of people that go to prison that are innocent. I'm a great believer in DNA. I love when it when DNA clears somebody and gets somebody off death row. But I simply want victims to be treated with the same dignity that the criminals are.
KING: Back with our remaining moments with John Walsh, he's one of a kind. Don't go away.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH (voice-over): Chang has several tattoos. They include an eagle and an ying-yang and his right arm. And the word "Wendy" on his chest. Jiang often wears a goatee and is also fluent in Chinese and Spanish. He's worked as a mechanic and likes motorcycles. Chang also has a hair trigger temper that can erupt at any time.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Anything can set him off. If he didn't like the way you looked at him, he'll get in your face. And he'll physically attack you.
WALSH: So if you've seen Anthony Chang be very careful, but call our hotline at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WALSH: If you've seen Mark Samples (ph) or his son Christopher, call us now at 1-800-CRIME-TV.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
KING: We're back with John Walsh, the host of "America's Most Wanted," its 16th year on the air, and "The John Walsh Show," renewed for a second season in syndication, daytime and going up every week.
A couple of other quick things. What do you make of the new police chief in L.A. stopping these high-speed police chases?
WALSH: You know, I know Chief Bratton, and he did a great job here in New York City. He's just the guy for the job in Los Angeles. You know, I think two things. First of all, the media covers these police chases way too much. It really spurs up other jerks to get high or drunk and go out there and try to outrun the police. Innocent people get killed. I think there is better ways to do it. Chief Bratton is going to do that. You call ahead to other jurisdictions, you put the nails across the street. You know, innocent people get killed in these police chases, and I'll tell you what, I think the media has a responsibility. Sure, it makes great TV, but it spurs these other creeps to try to do the same thing.
KING: Speaking of great TV, do you ever worry about you're in the same business -- you're in the media. Do you ever worry about mass media coverage in crime cases? That sometimes they can go too far? They can hinder police work?
WALSH: Well, that was the big question in the sniper case. And Chief Moose was absolutely furious that something leaked out when he was trying to close in on the sniper. There is real a fine line.
When I think law enforcement asks the media, look, please, don't put this on the air, these are things that we need to know and we only need to know, law enforcement, because we need to catch this guy, then don't do it, because it might cost a life. I would hate to be the editor of a newspaper or the general manager of a news division that puts out a -- a news director that puts out a piece of information because they wanted to scoop another network and it cost somebody a life.
But I also know that the media had a lot do with catching John Muhammad. They gave out the tips. That truck driver, I met him yesterday, it was phenomenal. The truck driver was listening to the radio when they gave out the description of the car that Muhammad was driving, and that guy, now there is a real hero, when the cop showed up, they asked him to put his 18-wheeler behind Muhammad's car in case Muhammad tried to back out. That guy didn't know whether Muhammad was going to shoot him or not. And I still am a great believer in the American public.
But I'll tell you what, the media, there is a fine line. And if the cops ask you not to put something out and it could cost somebody's life, don't do it. If they ask for your help, don't worry about scooping everybody else. Do it. The media can catch people. I've learned it for 16 years, the American public's wonderful. We've never compromised a case on "America's Most Wanted," but we caught 735 guys in 31 countries.
KING: How are you doing, John, you were on and were very frank with us about putting together your personal life. How do things go with you and Mrs. Walsh? WALSH: Well, I'll tell you what, I'm blessed that this wonderful woman is still with me, and, you know, we have got these beautiful children. I'm probably happier than I've ever been in my life. And you know, I've made my apologies. I'm doing the best I can. I'm lucky to have her.
KING: You're a stand-up guy in that regard. When you lose a child and one cannot fathom what that must be like in the horrendous way you lost Adam, I ask this honestly, how do you go on?
WALSH: I'll tell you what, I almost didn't go on. And you and I have talked about it. I lost my only child, that beautiful little boy I waited my whole life for. As a result of that, I lost my business. We almost lost our home. It created tremendous problems in our marriage. It created all kinds of, you know, dysfunctional behavior on my part.
But thank God, finally, you know, we worked through it. It's the worst place -- I wish that no one would walk in my shoes. But I think finally I've come to grips with the fact that Adam was the victim and I think what my wife and I have tried to do for 21 years is to honor his memory and to make sure he didn't die in vain.
KING: You do that well. Thank you, John. And happy holidays to you and yours.
WALSH: Happy holidays to you and your beautiful family.
KING: Thank you, John Walsh of "The John Walsh Show" and "America's Most Wanted."
We have got a great lineup of shows this Christmas week and the holidays. We hope you will enjoy them all. Tomorrow night, an amazing program on miracles. Wait until you see this one.
Speaking of wait until you see something, wait until you see "NEWSNIGHT." It's hosted by Aaron Brown, and it's next. Thanks for joining us. For John Walsh and yours truly, good night.
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