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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Viagra for Sex Offenders; Paris Hilton's Ad; Coast Guard Duty; Michael Jackson Trial Update; Recovered Child-Abductee Speaks
Aired May 25, 2005 - 19:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST "ANDERSON COOPER 360": Hey, Lou. Thanks very much. Great show.
Good evening, everyone.
Michael Jackson's defense is done. Which way is the jury leaning? 360 starts now.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The defense rests in the Michael Jackson trial. Tonight, the state's case -- what they proved, and didn't, about what really happened at Neverland.
The runaway bride charged with a felony. Tonight, what happens to Jennifer Wilbanks now?
How come sex offenders are getting Viagra through Medicaid? Should your tax dollars pay for predators to perform?
A kidnapped kid found by police after his picture was published on "Have You Seen Me?" cards. Tonight, nearly eight years later, how the young man has dealt with his childhood abduction.
And, ever wonder what it is like being lost as sea? Tonight, how to survive alone on the unforgiving ocean.
ANNOUNCER: Live, from the CNN Broadcast Center in New York, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360.
COOPER: And a good evening to you.
Fifty witnesses and three weeks later, Michael Jackson's lawyers today rested their case in his child molestation trial. It turns out the famous defendant was not one of those witnesses, though in opening statements his lawyer had suggested that he would.
Plenty of others did talk, however. The people called to try and clear his name read like one of the Hollywood roasts. There was the former child actor, the movie star, and the late night comic who put a plug in for his own show.
Did any of them help his case? Or did the testimony do Jackson more harm than good?
We asked CNN senior legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin to look into it tonight in "Justice Served."
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST (voice-over): One by one, they testified -- three young men the prosecution claimed were victimized by Michael Jackson when they were just boys. All three said they did share a bed with the King of Pop but said nothing inappropriate happened to them.
The last of these witnesses was Macaulay Culkin. When he walked into court, some jurors smiled at him and they listened intently when he recalled his relationship with Jackson. They met when the former child star was nine-years-old and "Home Alone" had just hit the theaters. Culkin said he visited Neverland more than a dozen times over the following five years, and that the two had shared a bed.
MACAULEY CULKIN, ACTOR: Nothing happened. You know, I mean nothing, really. I mean, we played video games. We played in his amusement park.
LARRY KING, HOST, LARRY KING LIVE: Sleep in the bed?
CULKIN: Well, the thing is -- the thing is what with that whole thing is that, oh, you slept in the same bedroom as him. I don't think you understand. Michael Jackson's bedroom is two stories. And it has like three bathrooms and this and that. So, when I slept in his bedroom, yeah, but you have to understand the whole scenario.
TOOBIN: The defense sought to sully the alleged victim when they called Michael Jackson's 12-year-old cousin to the stand. He testified that he saw the accuser and his brother watching pornography and masturbating at Neverland Ranch before the alleged victim claims he was abused. This countered the prosecution's assertion that it was Jackson who first exposed the boy to masturbation. The same witness also told the jury he saw the two boys stealing.
The defense tried to portray the accuser's mother as a thief, as well. One witness said she committed fraud when she lied on a welfare application.
A newspaper editor said she was duped into running a feature story on the accuser's battle with cancer. The piece concentrated on the family's struggle to pay their medical bills, which were in fact covered by insurance.
ANNE BREMNER, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Many great witnesses for the defense, attacking the credibility of the mother and the family. So they did an excellent job.
TOOBIN: Jay Leno testified yesterday and joked about it last night.
JAY LENO, TONIGHT SHOW HOST: Actually there was one kind of embarrassing moment, when I took the stand they asked me to point to the defendant. And I pointed out LaToya.
TOOBIN: Jackson's lawyer said in opening statements he thought Leno was going to say he believed the alleged victim wanted Leno's money. But the talk show host told the jury that even though he had some odd phone messages from the boy, neither he nor anyone in his family asked him for money.
TRENT COPELAND, LEGAL ANALYST: He should have been one of the knock your socks off final flourishing witnesses. He was not.
TOOBIN: One blow to the defense was what the jury didn't hear. Jackson's attorney in opening statements promised the jury that CNN's Larry King would tell them about a conversation he had with the former attorney for the accuser's mother. King told the judge that the lawyer described her as whacko, erratic and was going after Jackson just for the money. But the judge blocked that testimony, saying it was inadmissible.
And there's one more celebrity the jury won't be hearing from. The star of this legal battle, Michael Jackson did not take the stand in his own defense.
TOOBIN: The last witness the defense put on was actor and comedian Chris Tucker. Today he described the accuser as smart and cunning. And he said he warned Jackson to be careful of him and his family.
COOPER: It's fascinating. A lot to talk about. First, I should just point out we put the wrong picture up. We said that was the accuser's mother, that was not. That was another woman involved in the case.
You think the defense has put on a very good defense.
TOOBIN: This was a really good defense, especially in discrediting the conspiracy count against Jackson, anything involving the accuser's mother. The idea that Jackson and his aides conspired to kidnap him. I think that's a hopeless count for the prosecution at this point. The conspiracy count. And, you know, that's very important.
COOPER: Hopeless because they didn't prove it?
TOOBIN: They didn't prove it. That count caused the prosecution more harm than good because it allowed the defense to put the accuser's family on trial rather than keep the focus on child molestation, which is what the strongest part of this case is.
COOPER: We're also joined by Ted Rowlands in Santa Maria, California who has been following this case, really, from the beginning.
Ted, what is the sense there in the Jackson camp? I mean, do they seem confident?
TED ROWLANDS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, they say they are confident. His spokesperson had an interview today with CNN. And they say that they are confident, but nervous because, of course, the waiting game is about to begin when the jury gets this case.
I think anybody that is facing a possible criminal conviction can only be so confident, because you just never know what a jury will do. But I think that they most likely agree with Jeffrey that Thomas Mesereau did a pretty good job of putting on a defense.
COOPER: Jeff, if Mesereau did a good job, how did Tom Sneddon compare?
TOOBIN: Well, I think the issue with the prosecution is not so much how they tried the case, it's whether it should have been brought at all. I thought they did their best with what they could do. But I think this was a very problematic case with a lot of witnesses who had a lot of problems.
The accuser himself was a good witness in that he did look the jury in the eye and say Michael Jackson did this to me. But he also contradicted himself. He had said different things to different people.
The issue with the prosecution is not their performance in court, it's whether they should have brought it at all, I think.
COOPER: But I mean, no case is perfect. You have got to try the case you got.
TOOBIN: Well, but you don't have to bring every case. I mean, there are accusations that sometimes you say well it may have happened but I just can't prove it. I think if there's an acquittal that will be, at least my criticism, not so much one aspect of tactics or another.
COOPER: Ted, how did all these celebrities coming in and out of the court -- Chris Tucker, Jay Leno, all these others -- how did it play to the jury?
ROWLANDS: Well, it really depended on which celebrity was coming in. Chris Tucker, the jury seemed to listen to, but he didn't have the same effect as Jay Leno did.
I mean, Jay Leno, I think is familiar with every one of these jurors. And in the courtroom, everybody was familiar with him. Everyone was waiting on every word he had to say, waiting for him to crack a joke. In fact, today the judge walked in and made a joke about what Leno had joked about the night before, last night, on his show. He had a clear impact on the jury, but his testimony wasn't very impactful on the case.
Tucker on the other hand had a lot of interesting things to say about the case. I don't know that his celebrity helped him in any way, though, in terms of weight. COOPER: Very briefly, Jeff, this goes to the jury when?
TOOBIN: Middle of next week.
COOPER: All right. Jeff Toobin thanks very much. And appreciate it. Ted Rowlands as well.
360 next, the runaway bride. Remember her? She has been slapped with a felony charge facing years in jail. Is that just punishment or overreaction? We're going to take a closer look.
Plus man overboard.
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RICK SANCHEZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: It's amazing when you get here, your line of sight is covered or obstructed by most of these waves. You can't see what is on the other side of the waves and unfortunately in a rescue situation it's harder for them to see you, as well.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Lost at sea, how the Coast Guard brings into action to save lives. Find out how you can survive in the water.
Also ahead tonight, operating near the front line, Dr. Sanjay Gupta reunited with a soldier he saved on the battlefield. Brain surgery done with a regular old drill. An amazing story ahead.
All that ahead, first your picks the most popular stories right now on CNN.com.
COOPER: OK. So maybe she did just take off on a lark back before her wedding. But Jennifer Wilbanks, the now notorious so-called runaway bride, may find it a little harder in the future to be quite so spontaneous. Being in prison does cramp your style in that regard. And if the state has their way, that is where Ms. Wilbanks will be heading.
The latest developments in the case now from CNN's Sara Dorsey.
SARA DORSEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The first time the world saw runaway bride Jennifer Wilbanks, she was hiding her head under a blanket. The next glimpse might come when she turns herself in to to authorities, now that she faces two criminal charges handed down by a Gwinnett County grand jury and a bench warrant was issued for her arrest.
DANNY PORTER, GWINNETT CO. D.A.: They returned an indictment charging Jennifer Carol Wilbanks with one count of the offense of false statements and one count of the offense of false report of a crime. DORSEY: The first charge a felony could land Wilbanks in prison for one to five years, and cost her up to $10,000 in fines. The second charge, a misdemeanor, carries up to one year in jail, and up to $1,000 in fines.
The charges come because Wilbanks told a very tall tale about being abducted and sexually assaulted. She later admitted the story was not true. Her lawyer Lydia Sartain has said in the past that Wilbanks committed no crime and is - quote -- "Addressing physical and mental issues which she believes played a major role in her running from herself." Today Sartain had no comment except to confirm that Wilbanks is still in intensive treatment.
Since her story was exposed as a fraud nearly one month ago, authorities and the public have learned more about her tall tale and her past. In the late '90s, she was charged with multiple counts of shoplifting in the county where her current lawyer Lydia Sartain was prosecutor at the time. Wilbanks was fined and served community service hours. Instead of cashing in, Wilbanks, this might have to cash out.
The mayor of Duluth, Georgia, is asking the 32-year-old bride to be to pay $43,000 for manpower wasted in the search for a woman who was never really lost. The mayor was surprised at today's charges.
MAYOR SHIRLEY LASSETER, DULUTH, GEORGIA: I think I was a little stunned they went for both of the felony as well as the misdemeanor. But we just don't underestimate the grand jury. They are very thorough and do what they believe is to be justice.
DORSEY: Lasseter says she received an offer from Wilbanks' attorney to pay back just over $13,000. An official final restitution agreement has not been reached.
Separately, both Wilbanks and her fiance have said the wedding is still on. No word on if a new date has been set.
Sara Dorsey, CNN, Lawrenceville, Georgia.
COOPER: Time now for a look at other stories making headlines across country. Erica Hill joins us with the latest. Hey, Erica.
ERICA HILL, HEADLINE NEWS: Hey, Anderson.
The Pentagon is denying a report in the "Washington Post" that Donald Rumsfeld gave the go-ahead to shoot down the plane that flew into restricted airspace over the nation's capital two weeks ago. The Pentagon spokesman says Rumsfeld was notified of the situation and was able to make a shoot-down decision, but it never reached that point.
On Capitol Hill, the Senate confirms Judge Priscilla Owen for a seat on the 5th U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals. The 56 to 43 vote, mostly along party lines, came after a deal was made to avoid a showdown over her confirmation. Critics of Owen, who's a member of the Texas Supreme Court, say she is an extreme conservative. Supporters say she's a no-nonsense conservative with a -- long experience as a judge.
In Dallas, Texas, a truck explodes. Look at that. The 18 wheeler's combustible load spilled out and caught on fire Tuesday, when the driver apparently fell asleep at the wheel and rammed a guardrail. Now amazing the driver survived with only various burns. As for Interstate 20, commuters are lucky. Authorities say there was no structural damage there.
Back now to Washington, where a Minnesota teen is the champion of this year's National Geographic Bee. The home schooled Nathan Cornelius won a $25,000 college scholarship. And so in the interest of that, Anderson, we thought we'd give you a little quiz.
COOPER: Oh, great, thank you.
HILL: So here's your question, ready? Queue the "Jeopardy" music. Lake Gatun -- oh, that's lovely. I think I heard that at the dentist once. Lake Gatun, an artificial lake that constitutes part of the Panama Canal system, was created by damming which river, Mr. "Jeopardy" champion?
COOPER: Lake Gatun. I don't know that one.
HILL: OK, the answer -- luckily I do off the top of my head, not, because it's in the teleprompter -- the Chagres River. I know it was at the tip of your tongue.
COOPER: Man, so close.
HILL: So close.
HILL: Did you get a haircut, by the way?
COOPER: I did get a haircut.
HILL: Looks very nice.
COOPER: Well, you know, it's a little tight on the side. But you know what, there's only so much you can do.
HILL: That's your summer do, you know.
COOPER: I appreciate that. Erica Hill, thanks very much. And I appreciate you making me look like a fool on national television.
HILL: I do what I can.
COOPER: All up in here.
HILL: You'll get me back, I know it.
COOPER: Take a note. See you again in about 30 minutes. Coming up next on 360, brain surgery on the battlefield. A badly wounded soldier saved by our own Dr. Sanjay Gupta in the Iraq War. They are reunited today. Find out how Sanjay used an everyday drill to save the man's life. It's a remarkable story.
Also ahead tonight, lost at sea. Do you have what it takes to survive for days in the open waters? We've been hearing so many stories about people lost at sea lately, I thought we'd take a look and see how you should survive if you're ever in that case.
Also a little later tonight, Viagra for sex offenders. Outrage in several states after it's discovered Medicaid has covered sex drugs for dangerous felons. That's right, we're all paying for it. But you're going to meet one doctor who says that might actually be a good thing. We're covering all the angles.
COOPER: Well, one of the best things about this job is being able to tell you stories like this. It's about the snowboarder you see here. This video was taken this -- last month. His name is Jesus Vidana, Jesus Vidana, remember that name.
Two years ago he was a soldier in Iraq. After being shot by a sniper, he was given no chance to survive. He was shot in the head. In fact, Jesus was declared dead not once but twice.
Jesus survived. And it is due in large part to someone very special to all of us here at CNN, 360 M.D. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay was in Iraq at the time, embedded as a reporter with a military medical unit. And when Jesus needed a surgeon, Sanjay Gupta answered the call.
SANJAY GUPTA, CNN MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: On April 8, 2003, 25- year-old Jesus Vidana lay clinging to life after a sniper bullet pierced his helmet during a gunfight, spraying shrapnel into his brain.
A fellow Marine pronounced him dead on the scene. Later on the chopper, he was pronounced dead again, but he was alive, barely. Jesus's pulse was faint.
The closest qualified surgeon was in fact, me, just a few miles away, just outside of Baghdad, covering the Devil Docs medical team for CNN.
JESUS VIDANA, SOLDIER SAVED BY DR. GUPTA: They told us that a journalist from CNN who was performing surgery and I say, a journalist? You know, but, then, yes, he's a doctor.
GUPTA: We rushed into surgery with the most rudimentary tools to save him -- what we had laying around, a drill and IV bag to help clear out the blood clot in Jesus's brain.
No doubt, medical necessity, a life teetering on a fragile precipice, and perhaps fate would come together that day. And after two hours of surgery, Jesus pulled through.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I thank God because I mean -- I thought -- you know, I thought he was going to pass away.
GUPTA: He was airlifted to Spain for more operations and to begin his recovery, and then it was back home for even more operations and rehab to regain some of what he'd lost that day in Iraq -- his ability to walk, talk, feed, and bathe himself. We would reunite nearly a year after our first encounter in Iraq.
How you doing?
VIDANA: Pretty good.
GUPTA: Even then, Jesus' recovery after such a severe head wound was impressive, but he had a long way to go. He still had trouble walking, especially using the left side of his body. And while he may have left the physical war behind him in Iraq, the psychological one remained with him.
VIDANA: Emotionally I think -- I still have, like, a tough time dealing with it. I still have like depression, sometimes, but I'm taking medication for that.
COOPER: Well, but just a couple hours ago Sanjay and Jesus were reunited again. I spoke with both of them, and I began by asking Jesus if he was told what happened when he was shot?
VIDANA: One of the squad leaders from the platoon I was with carried me out along with one of the machine gunners. As they were carrying me out, I started to yell and scream and he put me down and he tried to calm me down. And then they picked me back up. And he just kept fighting -- well, him and the rest of the platoon fought their way out of that area until they had me at a secure site.
COOPER: When you first saw Jesus in his condition, what do you think his chances were?
GUPTA: Well, very poor. You know, he had a weak blood pressure. His pulse was not very strong. He had a significant gunshot wound. And, you know -- Jesus knows as well -- but, you know, there was a very rudimentary setting out there. We're in the tents, sort of, with a lot of sand. And it was very rudimentary, didn't have all the equipment that we would've liked to have had in this sort of situation, trying to perform these operations.
But essentially, you know, the principle was to try to and get the pressure off of his brain. And at the end of the operation, I knew that we had done that. But I had no idea what he would look like several months down the road or a year or two years, now, down the road, either.
COOPER: I mean, you talk about rudimentary equipment. In the piece, you talk about basically a drill and IV bag.
GUPTA: Yes. Well, you know, I had to remove some of the bone -- and I hope you are OK talking about this now.
VIDANA: Yes. I'm fine.
GUPTA: It's a little funny with the -- but you know, that's what the goal was. I basically -- there was these drills there that we actually sterilized the bit. It was otherwise used to put up the tent.
COOPER: Are you serious? That's what the drill -- it wasn't, like, a medical drill?
GUPTA: We didn't have a medical drill there.
COOPER: That's incredible.
GUPTA: Yes. We weren't counting -- or, they weren't, I should say, the Devil Docs, counting on these types of injuries.
So essentially sterilized the bit, removed bone around where he had been shot, removed all the pressure in his brain, and then there was nothing to cover this area with. The only thing sterile in this entire setting was the inside of an IV bag. That, I knew, was going to be sterile for sure. So I essentially cut that and crafted a outer layer of his brain. I don't think that had ever been done before. But as far as how he would do several months or years down the road, couldn't tell.
COOPER: And how are you doing now?
VIDANA: I'm doing fine. I still have some deficits that are expected, I guess, as the doctor can tell you, but otherwise I'm doing well.
COOPER: You see -- you have been snowboarding, I hear.
COOPER: That's pretty incredible. Had you done that before?
VIDANA: Not before my injury, no.
COOPER: And, what do you want to do now? I understand you want to be an occupational therapist.
VIDANA: Yes. That's what I received my degree in before I went to Iraq, essentially.
COOPER: Does this -- I mean, what you have gone through, does it help in any way with what you want to do?
VIDANA: Oh, absolutely. It's given me a lot more insight, I think, the way my injury presented is the way a person with a stroke would have presented. So I've seen -- I've seen a lot of patients since my injury with the stroke basically, in recovery. I can relate to them pretty well. So, it gives me a lot of empathy towards their recovery.
COOPER: Wow. It's such an amazing story. I appreciate you coming in and telling to it us. It's an honor to meet you.
VIDANA: No problem.
COOPER: Good luck to you.
COOPER: And, Dr. Gupta, thanks very much.
GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: A kidnapped kid found by police after his picture was published on "Have You Seen Me?" cards. Tonight, nearly eight years later, how the young man has dealt with his childhood abduction.
And ever wonder what it's like being lost at sea? Tonight, how to survive adrift, alone, on the unforgiving ocean. 360 continues.
COOPER: This week CNN has been covering "Survivor" stories, and there was one that happened late last month that we almost couldn't believe.
You may remember the story of Troy Driscoll and Josh Long, two teenagers who were lost at sea for six days without food or fresh water. They were found a 100 miles from where they started, sunburned, dehydrated and exhausted, but outside of that, in surprisingly good shape. The story got us thinking -- how did they survive?
We asked our Rick Sanchez to look at the perils of being lost at sea, and give us some tips on how to stay afloat and alive.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I got a visual, starboard bow. Coming down.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Get a heaving line ready.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming right. Coming to starboard.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Got him on the radar. Got him on the radar.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up.
SANCHEZ: The U.S. Coast Guard demonstrating their precision. A boat, or boater is lost at sea. Their job is to search and rescue.
As they peer toward the horizon, they know that somewhere out there someone is desperately hoping to be found. MICHAEL GERVISS, U.S. COAST GUARD: We're sent on the scene to respond to a man in the water where a vessel went down. We had got on scene to the last known position. We didn't find him. At that point, we commenced what's called a Victor Sierra Search.
SANCHEZ: Victor Sierra is a search conducted using a series of calculations. Factors like when the boater left, where he was last seen, the wind and current conditions. It is an inexact science that relies as much on persistence and experience as on any particular instrument. And there's no guarantee of success.
(on camera): What's the most difficult thing with your particular job?
MIGUEL SANTOYA, U.S. COAST GUARD: Not being able to save somebody.
SANCHEZ: Not being able to get to them, then finding out they perished?
SANTOYA: Or finding them after they perished and being the one that found them.
SANCHEZ: Do you feel guilty?
SANTOYA: I feel like I failed.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): This boat was lost at sea. It took the Coast Guard more than three days to find it. It drifted aimlessly for 120 miles, from the southern tip of the state all the way to Jupiter, Florida. Using patrol boats and helicopters, the three men on board were finally rescued, taken on to a passing U.S. Naval vessel and eventually on to dry land, where they were reunited with family, some of whom thought they would never see their loved ones again.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was the happiest day of my life.
SANCHEZ: Amid the tears and joy, these men now understand they were extremely lucky. They gave Coast Guard officials almost nothing to go on. They did not leave a general indication of their route or destination. They had no radio to call for help. Their safety equipment wasn't up to date. And they had no flares. A combination of missteps that made finding them almost impossible.
SANTOYA: Sometimes the information is not accurate. Sometimes we'll get a search where the communications get cut off before we get all the details. We don't know what we're looking for or where we're looking for it.
SANCHEZ (on camera): Then it's really like finding a needle in a haystack?
SANCHEZ (voice-over): And the odds get worse if they are looking not for a boat but for a person. We experienced it firsthand by going out about a mile offshore and jumping overboard with nothing more than a life vest.
(on camera): It's amazing when you get here, your line of sight is literally covered or obstructed by most of these waves. You can't see what is on the other side of the waves. And unfortunately in a rescue situation it's harder for them to see you, as well.
SANTOYA: The rougher it is, the harder it is to spot it, especially because if it is choppy up here you may think you saw something for a second and it gets behind a wave you may not see it again for another five minutes.
SANCHEZ (voice-over): That is why it is important to wear a life vest approved by the Coast Guard: bright reflective colors like orange that stand out against the blue-green surface of the water.
Experts also advise that you conserve your energy. Don't splash. Try to keep both arms folded and legs crossed.
(on camera): The longer you are out here the more you increase the chances of dehydration, hypothermia and exhaustion. Together those three things make it more difficult for you to be able to help yourself while the Coast Guard are trying to find you.
(voice-over): As planned, the 41-footer has spotted me in the water and is in the process of executing a rescue operation.
Because we're out so far from shore, I'm figuring they couldn't get to me soon enough.
(on camera): As a human being, once you are in the water for a long period of time you start to realize you have dropped to the very bottom of the food chain. There's about a thousand feet of water under you and who knows what kind of animals.
(voice-over): For us and Coast Guard officials, it is a worthwhile exercise that can save lives. For people who actually lived through this ordeal, it is a moment frozen in time.
"It was like going to hell and back," the words used by boater Daniel Gibbs to describe his three days lost as sea.
Rick Sanchez, CNN, off the coast of Florida.
COOPER: Well 360 next, sex offenders on Viagra using your tax dollars to pay for it. Should the drug be off Medicaid's coverage altogether especially for sex offenders? One doctor says not so fast. We'll talk to him.
Also ahead tonight, kidnapped by his own father. A missing boy found with the help of those "Have You Seen Me?" post cards in the mail. You've seen those. We'll tell you how it happened and how the boy is doing several years on. A little later, Paris Hilton and greasy burgers. Or is it greasy burgers. Either one, you decide. It's one sexy combination, although not everyone is so happy about it. "Inside The Box."
COOPER: Well, it came as a shock to lawmakers and to many of us that our taxpayer dollars are helping convicted sex offenders get Viagra and other sexual enhancement drugs.
This week, we've heard reports criminals from Texas, New York and Florida used Medicaid to pay for impotence drugs and it could be happening in other states as well. Today, New York Governor George Pataki placed a temporary ban on the practice in his state. Senator Charles Schumer also of New York spoke out as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SEN. CHARLES SCHUMER, (D) NEW YORK: It is just mind boggling to think that level three sexual offenders can get Viagra, which may indeed help them perpetrate further horrible crimes. And what we know about level three offenders is this, they almost never change.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Well a bill proposed yesterday on Capitol Hill would not allow any federal program to pay for any drugs prescribed for sexual performance for anyone, sexual offender or otherwise.
This story has provoked a lot of out rage. Easy to understand why.
We don't take sides on the show. We try to report all the angles. So, we wanted to hear the other side in this debate. Is there a legitimate reason to pay for sexual offenders to get Viagra?
Dr. Fred Berlin is an associate professor of psychiatry at Johns Hopkins School of Medicine. He has over 25 years of experience working with sexual offenders. And he joins me from Baltimore.
Dr. Berlin, good to see you again.
Is there a legitimate reason in your opinion someone who is a sex offender should be getting a sexual enhancement drug from the government? On the face of it, it doesn't make sense.
DR. FRED BERLIN, JOHNS HOPKINS SCHOOL OF MEDICINE: Well, whether the government pays for it or not is not so much my issue. But I think people really need to fully understand what we're talking about here from the medical perspective.
Viagra enhances the ability of a man to perform genitally. It does nothing to increase his motivation to engage in sexual activity of either a legal or an illegal nature. I don't know of a single incidence of a documented sex offense having occurred in association with Viagra. One other point, if I could, briefly. If someone wants to commit a sex offense, they're going to do so anyway. It's probably not hard for them to get Viagra off the black market. So, that's not the issue here.
The issue is, who are these men for whom it's being prescribed? Why is it being prescribed? Is there any evidence that it's increasing their risk to the community? Or conversely, is there some evidence that maybe it's helping them to channel their sexual needs into a healthy, consenting, and loving, adult relationship, which may be in the best interests of all of us?
COOPER: What Charles Schumer was talking about, level three sex offenders. I mean, in your experience, I mean, if someone is compelled to have sex with a child or whoever inappropriate, and illegal, I mean, if they're getting a drug that allows them to perform more, isn't that by definition going to encourage them to do it?
BERLIN: No, if I could put it bluntly. It's not a man's genitals that's going to lead him to commit a sex offense. Many sex offenders can commit sexual offenses without even engaging in genital contact. It's what goes on in his mind.
There are certainly drugs, drugs that enhance testosterone, that increase sexual drive, that should not be given to sex offenders. But I've had instances where I've given sex offenders -- voluntarily, they haven't been forced to do this -- medicine to lower sexual drive so they can be in better control of themselves. If, at the same time, they wanted to take Viagra so they could perform in a consenting and healthy relationship, that wouldn't necessarily be a bad thing.
COOPER: As you know we don't take sides. We like to look at all the angles.
I just want to play you -- read you two things. One, something a convicted sex offender had said to CNN, earlier. He said -- quote -- "You give somebody who's got a sexual problem Viagra, might just as well be giving a murderer a gun. Same thing, no different. Stupidity."
And then, Andy Kahan, who works in the Houston Crime Victims' Office had this to say. It's a soundbite. Let's listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANDY KAHAN, HOUSTON CRIME VICTIM'S OFFICE: As someone that used to supervise sex offenders many years ago -- understand that sex offenders are extremely cunning, devious and diabolical. And to me, it bodes no good, particularly for public safety, when have you high-risk sex offenders, those that have been deemed likely to repeat getting their offenses, getting their hands on sexual enhancement drugs.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Why take chances, I guess, some people would say?
BERLIN: Well, I don't think we should take chances. Let me make it clear, I'm not taking sides here. I just want people to be fully informed, so that when they make the decisions they can do so having adequate information.
It's not the case that all sex offenders are devious. I've treated many sex offenders over the years who come completely on their own volition. They're not required to by courts or probation. As I mentioned earlier, many of them take drugs to lower sexual drive to try to be sure they are in better control of themselves. This notion that every sex offender is exactly the same, it's simply not true.
COOPER: So, you are saying, it's got to be done in a case-by-case basis. And then, in some cases, Viagra might actually be good for sex offenders?
BERLIN: I don't see any reason why responsible physicians who are fully informed about a patient's background shouldn't be able to make a decision as to whether or not it makes sense to give Viagra.
Certainly, the first consideration should be public safety, but if there's no evidence that is going to compromise public safety, and that it may help an individual actually channel his sexual needs into a law-abiding, adult, consenting relationship, it seems to me that it makes some sense to be pursuing that course of action.
COOPER: Dr. Fred Berlin, appreciate you joining us with your perspective. It's a controversial idea, and we like looking at all the angles. Thanks very much, Doctor, appreciate it.
BERLIN: Thank you.
COOPER: We're following several other stories tonight, as well. Erica Hill from HEADLINE NEWS joins us with the latest.
HILL: Hey, Anderson. The House has dropped an effort now to limit the role of women in combat zones. Under pressure it voted 421-1 to override language approved by Republicans on the House Armed Services Committee last week. The Pentagon strongly opposed limiting the role of women, saying it would hamper military operations and undermine morale.
La Paz, Bolivia, clashes in the street. Thousands of demonstrators wanting the country's oil industry nationalized have blocked major roads in the Bolivian capital. Police have used tear gas and water cannons to stop the crowds from reaching government buildings.
In, Moscow, Russia, lights out. Large parts of the city were without power today, shutting down subways and trolley buses. A worn- out electricity grid may be to blame. It couldn't have come at a worst time, either. The city is sweltering through the hottest May in 22 years.
And take a look at this. At a South African game park, a rhino and goat have become close companions. They're both orphans, and they share a common love for eating horse pellets. Handlers say they're shocked the two get along so well, but I think it's kind of cute.
COOPER: What would happen if a rhino and a goat mate? Would it be a gyno, or -- I'm not sure -- what would you call it?
HILL: That's something else. I don't know what it would be. I don't know if it would be cute, either.
COOPER: Yeah, I don't -- I don't think -- probably wouldn't work.
HILL: Might not.
COOPER: Best not to think about it too much. Erica Hill, thanks very much.
Coming up next on 360, a missing boy found before he ever realized he had been kidnapped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SAM FASTOW, RECOVERED MISSING CHILD: I was with my dad who had abducted me and I was an innocent bystander.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Kidnapped by his own father, he spent almost a year of his life on the run. Find out how those years affected him later on.
Also, tonight much -- on a much lighter note, Paris is burning. Ms. Hilton is at it again, revealing nothing new of course. But well, I guess everyone has seen just about everything there is that she has to offer. Does it matter, though? We're taking that "Inside the Box." Be right back.
COOPER: We've heard a lot lately in the news about missing children. Here's another reminder to help find them. Today marks National Missing Children's Day, created in 1983 by child advocates, and there's a reason why. On this date in 1979, six-year-old Itong Potates (ph) disappeared from a New York City street corner. He has never been found.
Thanks to the determination of a mother and detective, another abducted boy was found alive, however. CNN's Adora Udoji reports.
ADORA UDOJI, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Sam and his father Steven Fastow seemingly vanished into thin air. It was July 1997. Sam's parents were divorced and he was visiting his dad but never made it to camp the next day.
ABBY POTASH, SAM'S MOTHER: I was scared. It was pure fright. I was -- I could barely stop crying. UDJOI: Sam had no idea his dad didn't have legal custody, no idea his mother Abby Potash was frantic, when they began their odyssey to Niagara Falls.
Child support payments, his father told him, were forcing him to leave and Sam wanted to go.
SAM FASTOW, RECOVERED MISSING CHILD: I was having fun. I was -- I mean, I was 10-years-old. We were spending money. Anything I wanted I could...
UDJOI: It was a big adventure for you.
FASTOW: I didn't understand anything wrong was going on.
UDOJI: But there was a lot wrong. His panicked mother turned to the Internet, The Center for Missing and Exploited Children, the FBI, the police. Within days, a dogged veteran detective, Barbara Stio, was on the case, going first to Fastow's apartment.
What do you find in the apartment?
DETECTIVE BARBARA STIO: That it's empty. No furniture.
UDOJI: And what does that make you think?
STIO: They're gone for a long time. The next thing was bank records, $40 to $45,000 was taken out of Sam's bank accounts. So, they had money.
With all the cash from Sam's college fund, they could be anywhere. By now, the Center for Missing Children had circulated Sam's picture on an ADVO card to 85 million homes. We've all seen them. It showed his name, his age, height along with a picture of his abductor, his father.
And by now, Sam says his father was telling him to use the name Ben Davis and to tell people his mother was dead.
FASTOW: We got to Vancouver, and we stayed in the few hotels and he didn't know what to do. So, we went down the West Coast and ended up in Sacramento.
UDOJI (on camera): And meanwhile you are not going to school or anything.
FASTOW: I'm not going to school. I'm not having interaction with any kids my age, anybody, really. I'm just with my dad.
UDOJI (voice-over): Back in New Jersey, Detective Stio -- like in many missing persons cases -- was getting regular sightings of same Sam, Wisconsin, Washington, California.
STIO: The next great sighting I had was in the San Jose area. Somebody seen him get a haircut.
POTASH: I didn't have any idea if I was ever going to see him again. I didn't have any idea if he was safe, if he was hungry, if he was cold.
UDOJI: She learned from the Center, 2,000 children disappear every day. She learned nearly one out of every seven children on the ADVO cards gets found.
In this case it reached Leslie Williams in Texas, a distant cousin of Sam's dad. Fastow called her not long afterward.
STIO: I knew what was going on, and I said no. And we set up everything and then I called the 1-800 Missing Children number.
UDOJI: The FBI set up a sting at a local Popeye's restaurant, where an undercover agent met and arrested Fastow as Sam watched from a car.
FASTOW: There was a FBI agent there, well basically screaming at me to get out of the car. And I had just locked the door so he was pulling on the door and I didn't know what to do.
POTASH: I was scared and I was excited. It was an amazing reunion. He had grown. And physically he -- I mean he had matured. And he looked at me and he said, God, mom, you look really tired.
UDOJI: All Sam knew back then was that the father he loved was in jail and would stay there for more than a year, and later get probation after pleading guilty to interfering with child custody.
FASTOW: I missed him a lot.
UDOJI: Today Sam doesn't have any contact with his dad. It still hurts, but he's got big dreams for the future -- graduating from a Philadelphia high school this year, then heading to Temple University. He's also on a mission.
FASTOW: I didn't understand that it was my dad who had abducted me and I was an innocent bystander through the whole eight months. So, yes, I was afraid to try to come home. People don't understand. I mean, just because it's your parent doesn't mean it's good.
UDOJI: That's why he wants to get the message out far and wide. Sometimes at events with senators and movie stars.
Abby, too, has dedicated her life to working for the Center for Missing Children helping other families. Sometimes it's fun work. This week at the New York Stock Exchange marking missing children's day. Ringing the closing bell, marking a moment in their lives that could have turned out so differently.
Adaora Udoji, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Well, I should point out CNN did try to contact Steven Fastow, but wasn't successful. The case is now closed for Abby and Sam, but they urge everyone to take just a few seconds to look at those "Have You Seen Me?" cards. Sam says he knows it can make all the difference.
Let's find out what is coming up at the top of the hour on PAULA ZAHN NOW. Hey, Paula.
PAULA ZAHN, HOST, PAULA ZAHN NOW: Hi, Anderson. Thanks so much.
At the top of the hour, we continue our week of "Survivor" stories. Tonight, an actor who many critics say who defines the word cool, Samuel L. Jackson, a commanding presence on screen, whether he's playing a Jedi knight or a cold-blooded assassin. But those roles can't match his real life story, and his successful struggle to throw off years of drug abuse. A survivor, Samuel L. Jackson, straight up at the top of the hour. I hope you'll join us then.
COOPER: Thanks very much. About six minutes from now. Thanks, Paula.
Coming up next, though, on 360, soap suds, a swimsuit, a car, a blonde and, oh yeah, a burger somewhere in there. Did you see the burger? I'm waiting. Yes, I still don't see the burger. Anyway, it will make sense "Inside the Box."
COOPER: So it must have worked this way. The ad agency top guns were sitting around trying to come up with a winner, TV commercial wise, for the new client. And the first thing that popped into their heads, and you can certainly understand why, when you consider what they were selling was, of course, Paris Hilton in a swimsuit washing a car. It makes sense, but only "Inside the Box."
COOPER (voice-over): So can you guess what Paris Hilton is pitching in this television commercial? Hint, it's not Cole Porter, a leather swimsuit or high-end cars.
Did you catch it? That's right. She's performing this particular bump and grind to get you buy some Carl's Jr. Burgers. And by you, we mean men 18 to 34. Her sales style, well, that has some TV watchdogs steaming. They want Paris' ad pulled off the air waves.
BRENT BOZELL, PARENT'S TELEVISION COUNCIL: I was just looking at that ad again, and I think there's probably 1.1 second on that that depict a hamburger. The rest of it is sex. There's -- sex sells.
COOPER: Nobody, it seems, knows that better than Paris herself. Just check out her get-up for providing maid service on "The Simple Life."
PARIS HILTON, MODEL: (INAUDIBLE). COOPER: Or watch her walking the runway wearing, well, very little.
The fact that Carl's Jr. picked Paris as a pitch person comes as no surprise to die-hard ad watchers. The company's latest ads have featured such controversial figures as Dennis Rodman and Hugh Hefner.
HUGH HEFNER, PLAYBOY: I get to live out every man's fantasy.
COOPER: But this is supposed to be about the burgers, Spicy Barbecue $6 burgers to be exact. And Carl's Jr. executives don't seem concerned that their product may get lost in Paris' performance.
BRAD HALEY, CARL'S JR. AND HARDEE'S MARKETING: It was a natural -- it's a natural marriage that our agency, our advertising agency identified. Great looking actress, great looking car, great looking burger. That's pretty much the idea.
COOPER: Did he say Paris Hilton was an actress? Anyway, the watchdogs say it's pretty much porn.
BOZELL: Did she strip? No. Did she have sex with the car? No. But that doesn't mean that it's not - it doesn't go beyond the (INAUDIBLE).
COOPER: The ad guys say, hey, it works.
JORDIN MENDELSOHN, MENDELSOHN-ZIEN ADVERTISING: There's over 3,000 commercials on air. And if someone doesn't notice the ad, it's probably not worth doing.
COOPER: And Paris says this.
HILTON: This burger's really hot.
COOPER: And we say, sorry. There's little hope of escaping Paris Hilton anytime soon, if you're looking anywhere "Inside the Box".
COOPER: What more is there to say? Thanks for watching.
PAULA ZAHN NOW is next.
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