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Charges Against Karr Dismissed
Aired October 5, 2006 - 20:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ MITCHELL, GUEST HOST: Breaking news tonight. The man who authorities say falsely confessed to the infamous murder of 6-year-old child beauty queen JonBenet Ramsey is making headlines again. John Mark Karr walked out of jail just moments ago, off the hook on child porn charges in Sonoma County, California, all because prosecutors say they don`t have enough evidence.
Also making headlines tonight, the congressional page scandal escalates. Florida House Republican Mark Foley out, resigning after alleged explicit e-mails and IMs to teenage boys who were serving as House pages. Those bombshell allegations have sparked a growing scandal, the House taking action tonight, with the Ethics Committee working dozens of subpoenas, while Speaker Dennis Hastert says he`s sorry and admits he could have managed Foley`s conduct better. However, he is not resigning.
But first tonight, the false confessor to the JonBenet Ramsey murder, John Mark Karr, walks free.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Mark Karr has been investigated by the FBI, Interpol, Colorado authorities and California authorities, evidently the Alabama authorities, and not one person has produced one child that they say have ever been molested by John Mark Karr.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. The man who claims he killed JonBenet Ramsey has been ordered immediately released from a Sonoma County jail. He is free. John Mark Karr, who just months ago extradited from Thailand to the United States to face questioning in the child beauty queen`s murder -- he is now a free man.
Let`s go straight out to "the California Chronicle`s" Peter Fimrite for the very latest -- Peter.
PETER FIMRITE, "SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE": Yes, the judge today dismissed the case after the prosecutor, Joan Reese (ph), made a petition to dismiss, because she said she can`t show when Karr used the computer that contained the images that he was charged with.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, isn`t it because they lost the computer, too?
FIMRITE: Well, yes, I mean, that`s the main thing. That`s why she can`t show it. They lost the computer that contained the images. They say they found a mirror image, but the mirror image didn`t have the properties on it -- apparently, didn`t have the properties on it, the dates and times and things that they needed to determine when or if Karr had looked at the images or -- and when he got the images on that computer.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are looking at more extraordinary video of John Mark Karr, presumably walking out of jail. Were you there? And what was it like as he walked out? Because he seems to have a more defiant expression, sort of holding his head up, more than he did, for example, at other appearances.
FIMRITE: Yes, I was there, and it was sort of, you know, a crazy scene with cameramen running around and asking questions. And he didn`t say a word. As far as his demeanor, he seems to be -- he remains fairly calm, I thought, and didn`t really -- he just didn`t really acknowledge anybody. So you know, I don`t know what he was thinking, but he said he might make a statement tomorrow.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, have we turned this man into a celebrity in our upside-down world? I want to go to Alison Arngrim, who is with the National Association to Protect Children. She is a molestation victim herself, and she is famous as Nellie Olsen (ph) on "Little House on the Prairie." Welcome tonight.
You just heard it, John Mark Karr a free man. He`s going to be holding a news conference tomorrow. You`d think he`d just want to slink away and have the world forget about him, but no. Have we turned him into some kind of sick celebrity?
ALISON ARNGRIM, NATIONAL ASSN. TO PROTECT CHILDREN: Well, yes, and that`s what he wanted. This is a guy who talked about wanting to be famous years ago and now he`s succeeded. This is also my "I told you so" moment. I told everyone he was going to walk because child pornography is not a serious crime in California. It`s a misdemeanor. It`s a public offense. And oops, they lost the evidence.
They probably might have kept better track of it if it was, oh, I don`t know, a felony? But it`s not a serious crime. Had he been convicted, he wasn`t going to go to jail because they would have given him time served. Most people who get arrested for child pornography in California don`t go to jail because it`s not a felony, it`s a minor crime, it`s nothing. And we have to change that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, you -- your organization held a news conference today, apparently declaring war on child predators...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... as a result of everything that`s happening right now. Tell us about that news conference. How are you going to declare war on child predators?
ARNGRIM: Well, we`re quite upset. Obviously, the Foley situation -- people like Erin Runyon, who spoke today, and activist David Keith and all of the other people from Protect, these are all people who -- with this caucus on missing and exploited children that Foley was on, having been going to Washington for photo ops. And we feel, well, yes, a little bit betrayed that people knew about this man and were letting the fox guard the henhouse here. So we want to see...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But we`re...
ARNGRIM: ... real action...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to focus on this other sicko, John Mark Karr right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to go straight to Marc Klaas, who lost a daughter to murder and who is the president of Beyondmissing. Thank you also for joining us tonight, Marc.
MARC KLAAS, BEYONDMISSING.COM: Sure.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This has got to be incredibly frustrating for you because this is a man who admits he was obsessed with your daughter`s murder, who actually moved his family to the area in which you lived, and now they can`t even keep him in jail.
KLAAS: You know, that`s absolutely correct. And I`d also like to point out that al though I was not there, I was part of the Protect press conference in Washington, D.C., today and I`m foursquare behind what they`re doing. But also, in California, as a result of a law that was recently passed, senate bill 1128, and the Jessica`s Law initiative that probably will be passed next month, it will most definitely be a felony to engage in this kind of -- in pornography in the state of California.
But absolutely, I am absolutely outraged at this incredible travesty of justice. And this never should have occurred. This individual never should have been brought back from Thailand. I believe that this is probably one of the darkest days for prosecutors in this country since O.J. Simpson was able to finagle out of the crime that he committed because in this instance, we have two district attorneys, that idiot in Boulder, Colorado, and that incompetent in Sonoma County, California, that have enabled this very dangerous predator, per his own admission and per his own sick fantasies that we`ve all heard replayed time and time again, is now able to walk the streets a free man, totally unencumbered by any kind of penalty whatsoever!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Court TV`s Jean Casarez, what happens next? I mean, this man has been known as a transient. Some would call him an ex- pat. He has traveled the world, always trying to connect himself with children, as a teacher. Based on his past, can we predict what he`s about to do in the future?
JEAN CASAREZ, COURT TV: No, I don`t think we can. Remember, he was in Thailand. He was just starting a new job as a teacher when he was arrested and brought to Boulder, Colorado. Now, he was deported from Thailand as an undesirable. And now that country would have to have him back because he has to have a work visa to go back to that teaching job. So whether that can happen is one question. But he may want to stay in this country because I think there`s a chance he could become a very wealthy man.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is truly frightening.
Let`s listen to some of the things that Karr himself said in a phone call to Wendy Hutchens (ph), allegedly, pretty, pretty scary stuff. Let`s listen in.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
JOHN MARK KARR: JonBenet, God, what a powerful thing to just be alone with that little girl, that doll face. You know, she was just so incredible in mind and so unreal in death. She`s just so alive. She`s so alive. She`s so alive. She`s so alive. I mean, she`s wonderful.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He bragged about it, that he had had over 200 little girls in his car, that he had been with them in a sexual manner, that it was his little world. He could go all over the world with this car and he could go incredible places and take these little girls. Parents would let him take their little girls for drives. And he claimed to have molested hundreds of little girls in that car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: He is so crazy, if, in fact, that is his voice.
Let`s go straight out to psychotherapist Bethany Marshall. Is there any way that we can predict what he might do next? Because it`s scary to have somebody like this out on the street. And I say that with the caveat that he hasn`t been charged and or convicted of anything at this point.
BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOTHERAPIST: Yes, we can. There was one very important offender, a sex offender study, where it was discovered that sex offenders on average commit 520 sex acts against a child throughout the course of their lifetime.
Also, John Mark Karr made very powerful adaptations to his illness. He was willing to undergo a sex change operation, and according to one report, he had fantasies of being a nanny so that he could endear himself to families and be close to children.
So we can guess, regardless of how he acts out in the future, he`s going to make further powerful adaptations. Perhaps he will adopt a child from another country. Perhaps he will go to a country where he`s less well-known. Perhaps he will marry a girl who is underage, coerce her into emancipating (ph) herself, and get her to have children so that he can be close to children. But he will continue to groom, offend and be around children for the rest of his life until he`s put behind bars.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you have just totally frightened all of us, I would assume, who are watching tonight.
Let`s go straight out to Lisa Pinto, former New York state prosecutor and a journalist. What can authorities do legally? Can they follow him? Can they keep him under surveillance? Can they get a wiretap? I mean, we`ve heard so much about warrantless wiretaps that don`t require approval that`s going on because of terrorism. What can they do about this real domestic terrorist?
LISA PINTO, FORMER NEW YORK STATE PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, here`s the problem. I don`t blame the prosecutors, Marc. I`m sorry. I blame the judge. Judge Wong (ph) threw out the case because the cops lost the computer. But guess what? There was a Zip drive. The Zip drive had 1,600 images. There`s a history here. The jury could have heard the case and they could have decided what they thought about what he did.
And you know what? Then he would have been registered as a sex offender. He wouldn`t have done a day in jail, Alison, but he would have been a sex offender. He wouldn`t have been able to substitute teach, which is his favorite pastime. And we all know how strict the Thai -- the Thai - - they are in Thailand about adults and sex tourism. So I think there`s nothing you can do with this man except the media, us, get in his face, follow him, take his picture, and follow the story.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but Marc Klaas, what do you make of that? I mean, here you have someone saying, Hey, it`s not anybody`s fault. They should have taken him to trial and they could have won. But you know, the experts are saying, If you lose the compute, that`s the basis of the child porn charges, forget about it.
KLAAS: Well, particularly if the properties that were referenced earlier were missing from those images, you`ve really got nothing to fall back on then.
But I`ll tell you, what -- I guess what Lisa said is speculation. I`ll tell you something that`s not speculation, the fact that Mary Lacey (ph) never should have brought this individual back from Thailand. She could have simply warned the Thai officials about this individual. She could have gone to a male member of his family and taken a DNA sample for purposes of comparison to determined whether or not there was any basis for following up on bringing this guy back to this country, and it turns out there was nothing. There was nothing!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Marc, aren`t children children? I mean, don`t we have to worry about all the world`s children? If this man is roaming anywhere on this planet, isn`t he a threat to children? I mean, I...
KLAAS: Of course!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... theoretically care just as much about children in Thailand as here in the United States. I don`t want to see any kid hurt.
KLAAS: As I said, she could have warned the Thai authorities about this individual, what he was capable of and some of the things -- and the things that he has said, but she chose instead, Jane -- she chose instead to bring this guy back to this country, and he is now walking a free man, in my daughter`s neighborhood. And that appalls me about as much as anything could appall me in this -- and again, as I have stated it before, this incredible travesty of justice.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I understand your rage and I certainly sympathize with it. And this is a fascinating debate because everybody`s trying to figure out what do we do with this guy?
Mike Brooks, former D.C. police, served on FBI terrorism task force, what now? He`s going to hold a news conference tomorrow? He`s going to try to perhaps explain himself away, and then he could just walk out the door and disappear. We don`t know where he goes. We have no way of tracking him?
MIKE BROOKS, FORMER D.C. POLICE, SERVED ON FBI TERRORISM TASK FORCE: He`s gotten just what he wants, Jane. He wanted the attention. He`s got the attention. He still has the attention. But really, there`s not much that law enforcement can do. You know, hopefully, wherever he goes, somebody will recognize his face so it`ll be almost like being a registered sex offender because they`ll know who he is, and hopefully, they`ll keep their kids...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But there were unconfirmed reports that he was going to get a sex change operation.
BROOKS: That`s a possibility, too, but you know, if he has the money to get a sex change operation, hey, let him go for it. He doesn`t know who he is to begin with. You know, this is -- he wants an identity change, he`ll probably go ahead and get it. But I can tell you what. There`s nothing law enforcement right now can do. You know, it`s not like he`s a repeat offender. You know, a repeat offenders group can`t follow him. They can`t set him up. They can`t do anything at all like that. There`s nothing that they can do, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That is so wild because you hear of, you know, all this controversy about terrorism, warrantless search warrants and people say, Hey, well, do you have the right to tap somebody`s phone? But this is a man who poses, according to what he said, a genuine threat, and yet they can`t do anything.
BROOKS: Right. It doesn`t fall under the Patriot Act, so there`s not much they can do since it doesn`t fall under the Patriot Act at all.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s interesting. Let`s go to the phone lines. Amy in Pennsylvania, your question?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Jane...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: ... please tell me, is there anything that John Ramsey can do to make sure that -- that this animal doesn`t go to JonBenet`s gravesite?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow, that`s a fascinating question. Let`s go to Jean Casarez with Court TV. She has covered all of these cases extensively. I think you heard the question. I mean, there is a fear that this man might start sort of haunting these cases and sort of going back and revisiting gravesites. Do you think they can prevent that?
CASAREZ: I don`t think so. He`s a free man. He can do what he wants to do, as a free man, anywhere he wants to in this country. And there is one issue, thought, that has never been resolved. There was a computer, a personal computer that he brought from Thailand with him. And when I was in that Boulder courtroom with that extradition hearing, John Mark Karr wanted that personal computer, and the prosecutor would not give it to him. They said it was contraband. He`d had that computer for probably at least five years, and they would have to get a warrant and it would probably be in a federal jurisdiction, but I`m just wondering if there`s any research being done on that computer, at this point.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Jean, you might have saved the day, giving authorities the idea. Thank you for that.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." Young female victims of Pennsylvania`s Amish country school shootings laid to rest today. Thirty-two -- year-old Charles Roberts IV opened fire in a one-room schoolhouse on Monday, killing five little girls before turning the gun on himself. In suicide notes, he said he molested young relatives and had dreams of molesting again. Family members have denied, by the way, his claims.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
KARR: JonBenet, God, what a powerful thing to just be alone with that little girl.
And I`ve known so many exceptional little girls.
Those little girls are so absolutely beautiful that you`re saying, you know, You`re a doll. You`re candy. I want to eat you. I want to eat -- I want to eat you.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. He confessed to the JonBenet Ramsey murder but was exonerated after DNA evidence said otherwise, but John Mark Karr was not of the hook yet. He was still facing child porn cases in California. Well, now authorities have dropped those California charges altogether. So now Karr, who admits an obsession with young girls, is back on the streets once again.
Now, defense attorney Renee Rockwell has been listening to all of this. First of all, how do you lose a computer when you`ve logged it as evidence?
RENEE ROCKWELL, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: They moved. Is that a good enough reason? They moved from one office to the other office. Did they think it was just someone`s -- an operational computer?
But Jane, even if they had the computer, here`s the other problem and the rest of the story. Nobody can prove when and where -- don`t forget, the state has the burden of proof. You have to prove when he opened that computer up, logged on, got involved in that kiddie porn, and where. What state was he in? If you can`t prove that, you can`t prosecute him in California. That`s what happened.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, the other thing is the defense was claiming that the prosecution was withholding evidence, specifically that Karr`s ex-wife had said she wasn`t sure the computer on which these alleged illegal images were found was operational when investigators took it. She doesn`t know if it worked. Plus, the defense says the printout of the hard drive, they claim, showed that the computer hadn`t been used since 1998, although these charges were filed in 2001. So how strong is this case? Maybe it was a weak case to begin with.
ROCKWELL: Might have been a weak case to begin with. And there you have -- they also attacked the search warrant because they want the informant on the search warrant may not have been mentally stable. But it`s America, and I might not like it and you might not like it, but thank God that the judge threw this out. And Nancy would be going crazy tonight if she was on. But when you have the state having the burden of proof, and if they can`t do it, you`ve got to throw it out. Whether it`s Mark Karr or Mother Teresa, you walk out of the jail when the state can`t prove the case.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think you`re right. Jean Casarez, Court TV, an important point. I mean, we`re all worried about precedents set and all of our freedoms being protected. Well, sure, we want this guy to be put away. We consider him dangerous. If they just proceed with a case that is not substantial, doesn`t it threaten all of our civil liberties, in a sense?
CASAREZ: Oh, definitely. And I think what Renee is saying is completely correct, that you have to determine that he did it and when he did it. But I think the issue is still that the computer was lost. Remember, they just had a copy of that hard drive on the sheriff`s computer. If they had the original computer, then maybe they could have determined those important facts which would have led to a successful prosecution.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s so funny because probably the move was some sort of expansion that was going to make everything better for that particular law enforcement department, and all it did was mess up one their most famous case, or one of them anyway.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." Attorneys for a British man accused of killing his wife and baby girl inside their Massachusetts home move to get his murder charges dropped. Neil Entwistle charged in the January shooting deaths of Rachel Entwistle and their 9-month-old daughter, Lillian Rose. Entwistle`s attorneys claim the prosecution is using unreliable DNA evidence and is fighting the state`s request for Entwistle`s DNA sample.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I read on the Internet that on his current resume he has up there, he brags about (INAUDIBLE) taking care of three little German girls that were, like, 5, 11 and 12, and talks about how part of his responsibility was to bathe them at night and put them to bed. And I cried for hours after reading that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace. One-time prime suspect in the JonBenet Ramsey case John Mark Karr walks free from a California jail just moments ago. Prosecutors say they simply do not have enough evidence against Karr in their child porn case against him.
I want to go to a reporter who was there as John Mark Karr walked away and got into an SUV and drove away with his attorneys. Terisa Estacio with KRON-TV. Paint a picture for us. What was the mood there? Were people from the community standing around outraged, or was it sort of just a media circus?
TERISA ESTACIO, KRON-TV: You know, I think everybody was completely caught off guard about the events that unfolded today. You know, there was a lot of media presence because we`ve been covering this case all along. But the community has been silent only in the sense that they weren`t out there today. They`ve certainly been outraged here in the entire Sonoma County about the whole John Karr case.
But picture, if you will, John Karr walking out of a Santa Rosa jail, and we`ve heard him time and time again in those audiotapes, very precise, saying all kinds of issues about children and so forth, but today, just like he was before, he had nothing to say. I asked him all kinds of questions about what he`s going to do. He said nothing, and all he did do was slide into the SUV.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: These young men and women come to Washington, they look to us as their heroes and people they can look up to. And then we betray their trust by taking advantage of them.
DAVID ROTH, ATTORNEY FOR MARK FOLEY: Mark Foley has acknowledged full responsibility for the inappropriate e-mails and inappropriate IMs. Any suggestion that Mark Foley is a pedophile is false, categorically false.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, sitting in tonight for Nancy Grace. Powerful Florida Congressman Mark Foley steps down, entering rehab after alleged salacious e-mails and IMs to young male House pages go public, sparking a huge scandal. All eyes are on Capitol Hill tonight, as that scandal continues to unfold with lots -- and I mean lots -- of new twists and turns.
Straight out to Charlie Hurt, Capitol Hill bureau chief of the "Washington Times." Charlie, what`s the very latest?
CHARLIE HURT, "WASHINGTON TIMES": Hey, Jane. Probably the biggest news today was that the House Ethics Committee met for about an hour and a half behind closed doors, and came out, and determined that they would launch a full-scale investigation into the entire -- you know, into the program, into the allegations of Mr. Foley`s association with the pages, as well as the Republican leadership`s response to the entire matter.
In that hour-and-a-half meeting, they also unanimously -- this is a panel of five Democrats and five Republicans -- and they came to the unanimous agreement, you know, to prepare some 48 subpoenas for members, staffers and officials in the House, which would include people like officers.
The second big thing is that the FBI got, you know, another step along in its investigation, in its separate investigation into the whole scandal.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I have to tell you that breaking news is coming in fast and furious on this case, literally over our BlackBerries. We`re getting word now -- and we believe this is from the Associated Press -- my producer, Naomi Goldstein, who`s on hand here -- says a former congressional page from Kentucky will reportedly give a sworn statement to military officials re: former Congressman Foley. The former page is now in the military serving in Iraq.
And on top of that, this afternoon, ABC News is reporting, and CNN has not been able to confirm, but ABC News is reporting three more congressional pages have come forward accusing Foley of online sexual approaches. Now, according to that report, those online sexual approaches were very sexual in nature, very salacious nature.
I`m actually losing track, Charles, of how many pages we`re talking about at this point because we don`t know if any of these overlap. Can you give us a sense -- is it half a dozen? Is it more than that?
HURT: Well, I think you put your finger right on it. It`s hard to say. I mean, reporters covering this up on Capitol Hill have been suffering from whiplash, you know, for the last three or four days, just with breaking news constantly.
Right now, of the number of pages that we know of who have come forward and been at least reported by the media, I would put that at about seven or eight right now. But it`s hard to say, because, you know, with this many people coming forward with what appeared to be very credible evidence that they participated in these exchanges with Foley, who knows how many others are out there?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, this kind of scandal, it`s almost hard to quantify. Is there any way to put it in context and compare it to previous sex scandals?
HURT: No, I think that what -- I think that this Ethics Committee investigation will do a lot to sort of quantify what was done, at least on House computers -- you know...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is this going to be televised, do you think?
HURT: No, no.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Like the famous Watergate hearings or...
HURT: Everything that the Ethics Committee does is behind closed doors, although you raise a very interesting point. I would not be surprised in this highly charged political environment if, after a couple of weeks, we don`t start hearing people demanding that they have some sort of open hearings. They`re going to have...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s not even wait a couple weeks. Let`s demand it right now. Why shouldn`t the American people see?
Let`s go to Marc Klaas of Beyond Missing, who lost a daughter. Why shouldn`t the American people be able to see what`s going on in Congress, given the fact that even the speaker has admitted he messed up and he would have done it differently? I mean, he probably didn`t do it the way he should have.
KLAAS: Well, I think that makes perfect sense, Jane. And I can`t give you context, but I can give you an analogy. As my wife said, this is like telling Little Red Riding Hood to beware of the wolf and then locking her in the room with the wolf.
Now, we have to be really clear here. What Foley is a horrible thing, and it may get much more horrible, but it`s beginning to look like the cover-up may be even worse. Here`s what we know: We know, according to A.P., that as far back as 1995, male pages were warning each other about Foley. We know that Mr. Alexander from Louisiana approached the speaker with information about this. We know that Mr. Alexander then approached Mr. Reynolds, another member of the leadership, who approached Mr. Hastert about this.
We also know that this went to the Page Board and that they were concerned enough about it not to share it with the opposition, not to make this a bipartisan situation. So this is red flag after red flag after red flag after red flag, and they chose to ignore it for political expediency.
Now, finally, what I`ve been hearing recently is that this is trying to be put on the shoulders of the Democrats, because what they`re saying is, "Well, the Democrats let this bomb drop at the very last minute so that they could use this as their October surprise."
But I think another way to look at this -- and this is something that people have to pay attention to -- the Republicans came very, very close to getting away with this, because this didn`t break until the very last day of the session, only hours before Congress dismissed itself until next year. And if they`d gotten away with that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Politics aside -- yes, politics aside, look at the fact that you have an advocate saying that she gave a lot of this information to the FBI this past summer and nothing came of it. So you have that, too.
KLAAS: Again, the fox watching the henhouse. This is a terrible situation. This is some of the worst corruption of power I believe that we`ve seen in Washington in an awful long time, because basically it seems like politically expediency has been put ahead of the protection of America`s pages, who, quite frankly, represent America`s children.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marc, let`s go to one of those former pages, Tyson Vivyan. He says that he received explicit IM messages from Congressman Foley.
Thank you, Tyson, for joining us. I was watching you last night. You are a very articulate young man, I must say. According to these new ABC News reports, the three pages served in the classes of 1998, 2000, 2002, but they came forward on their own. They don`t want their names to be used.
Try to put this in context for us in terms of when you served. And did you know anything about these three other pages, or is there any way for you even to even tell, given the fact that they`re anonymous?
TYSON VIVYAN, FORMER PAGE: Well, to address the first question, I served during the `96-`97 academic school year in Washington, D.C. Regarding this latest release regarding these three pages, I was not privy to this. I`ve been in the studio for some time now and haven`t had access to current news.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I mean, back when you were involved in all this, had you heard of other pages having similar experiences, where you might say that there was a handful of others that might be among these three?
VIVYAN: No. At the time and during my tenure in D.C., there was no such rumors of any type of illicit conduct between Congressman Foley or any congressmen and pages. That was not a concern for us at all, and it certainly wasn`t something addressed by the page administration.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: For those who missed it last night, very briefly recap what happened to you.
VIVYAN: Shortly after my return from Washington, D.C., to Knoxville, where I resided, I was contacted by Congressman Foley. He was anonymous. All I had was a screen name. I didn`t have a name, a gender, anything, and very sexual messages from the very beginning, and they continued on for some time, until about three or four weeks later when I insisted -- I wanted to know who was typing this to me, who was conversing with me, and said that, if I don`t know who you are, I`m going to cut off the communication.
He said, "Well, I`m not going to tell you, but if you guess, there`s nothing I can do about that." And through a series of questions and just thinking on my part, I was able to deduce that it was Congressman Foley.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much. And I admire your courage for speaking.
VIVYAN: Thank you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: To tonight`s "Trial 101." Subpoena: the process to cause a witness to appear and submit testimony.
The House Ethics Committee begins an in-depth investigation, issuing nearly four dozen subpoenas to members and aides for testimony and documents related to the Capitol Hill scandal involving former House Representative Mark Foley and young male pages. And we will have more, lots more, on the Foley teen Internet scandal when we come right back.
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MARK FOLEY (R), FORMER FLORIDA REPRESENTATIVE: He is a sick, depraved and unfortunately, at this point, a narcissistic individual who`s probably not going to admit to any form of wrongdoing on his part.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, in for Nancy Grace.
Florida House Representative Mark Foley out of Congress amid a teen Internet scandal rocking Capitol Hill. We`re very happy to have with us tonight Tyron Vivyan. He`s a former page who claims he received explicit messages from Foley.
Thanks for joining us and having the courage to speak up. I know it must be difficult for you, and I always say it`s a dumb question to ask people how they feel, but I want to ask you how you felt when you were going through this. Did it have a psychological impact on you? Have you sought counseling for it? How has it impacted you?
VIVYAN: Personally, on my part, I don`t feel traumatized or in any way affected by the congressman`s actions, fortunately. But the story is not about me. And I want to emphasize that over and over again. The story is about all the pages and Congressman Foley.
What we need to do is we need to try to find a way to get any and all pages that were victims of Congressman Foley to come forward and share their stories, most directly with the government, if they feel necessary, and comfortable with the media. But I don`t want to focus on myself. That`s not my mission here. My mission is to try to encourage other people to come forward and to share my story, as necessary to make sure that this type of behavior is never repeated again on Capitol Hill.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I totally respect that, and I thank you once again for talking about this, because it must be difficult. You mention that they want everybody to come forward.
There is a hotline number for those who may want to report any indiscretions that may have occurred. And that number is 866-348-0481.
VIVYAN: Thank you, I appreciate it. You guys have a good night.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I understand you have to go, and that`s OK. Thank you for joining us, Tyson. Again, the number to call for pages and their families for information or to express concern, 1-866-348-0481.
I want to go straight out to psychotherapist Bethany Marshall. You heard that very proud and courageous and articulate young man talking about how he didn`t want to make this about himself, and that he doesn`t experience trauma, but the family of the Louisiana youngster who had talked about sick e-mails has said they also consider their son a hero, but now leave us alone. They feel that the boy is being harassed by a lot of media attention.
How is this impacting these young people, even if they`re not necessarily aware of it themselves?
MARSHALL: Well, first of all, Tyson is an incredibly intact, resilient, incredible young man, and so I commend him for his response, but most children who are molested do not have the kind of response he has. I think it`s important for the public to know that.
What happens is, when a child is molested, the child has a biological response of sexual excitement at times. And because the child has this response, he begins to feel guilty and confused. "Is it my fault? Is it the other person`s fault?" And this creates a very traumatic situation where he`s afraid to reach out for help, he represses the entire incident, tries to put it out of his mind, and is incredibly traumatized.
And, of course, now there`s all this collateral damages. These kids are going to be humiliated. They`re going to be brought forth into the public. They`re going to have to tell their stories, and there`s a lot of collateral damage.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I want to go to Mike Brooks, former D.C. police who served on the FBI terrorism task force, because Foley is in rehab. He hasn`t been charged with any crime. He is not accused of any physical contact at this point.
And with all these agencies -- I mean, not just the subcommittee, but the Justice Department, the FBI, Florida law enforcement, the list goes on -- investigating him, all these great minds still are not able to say whether he`s committed any crime and, if so, what crime has he committed. Are the laws about child predators just too convoluted?
BROOKS: Well, I`ll tell you what, Jane. It looks like -- the FBI, they have what they call a preliminary inquiry open right now. They don`t even have a full field investigation on this yet.
But they`re interviewing the pages. They`re trying to find out if there was any criminality. Now, for the federal case, it might be very, very difficult for them to make a federal case on just the writings. If there was no traveling, if there was no enticement, they basically are not going to have a crime here. Because on the federal side of things, just the writings, that`s not really against the law.
Now, if it`s writings to entice someone or there`s kiddie porn involved, that`s what the FBI usually goes after, what they call a traveler, someone who will travel to get a minor or have the minor travel to them. And keep in mind, you might have a better case on the state side of things, especially in Florida, where the age is 18.
And, Lisa Pinto, former New York state prosecutor and journalist, we`re all trying to figure out, you know, where do you draw the line? Everybody`s been talking about how "Dateline" you see these people go in, and they`re tackled because they`ve shown up, but yet in this case he may not have committed a crime. The laws are so convoluted.
Let me point to a simple example. The age of consent, it varies from state to state. It could be 16 here, and then you cross the street, and you`re on another state, and it`s 18. So how is it possible, especially when we`re dealing in an Internet age, to figure out what crimes have been committed? And do we need to simplify these laws?
PINTO: I don`t think there`s any way to simplify them without taking away the states` rights. The issue here is, what happened in San Diego, California. There has been reference to the fact that there were text messages between a former page and Foley about time they spent together in San Diego, California.
And I think the local prosecutor there is going to be interviewing that young man to find out his age at the time and what, if anything, occurred between him and the former congressman, because that could be the smoking gun. Furthermore, if he bought a plane ticket, if he made plans to meet any of these young men, we know that Mr. Vivyan and his friends were brought over to the townhouse and partied.
Did they meet out of state? Did he send them a ticket? These are the kinds of things that both a federal and state investigation will uncover. Jane, I don`t think the laws are too complex. This is not Russia. This is America where each state prosecutes its cases according to its own whim and the federal government gets jurisdiction when it crosses over state lines.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, I hear you. But let me ask Alison Arngrim, who is a leader in this movement. Do you think they could be simplified, for example, age of consent, one national age of consent? It doesn`t really make sense in my mind, not being a lawyer, to say, well, it`s illegal to have sex with somebody when they`re this age in this state, but if you walk across the street, it`s legal.
ARNGRIM: Yes, it`s also a little weird, especially since there are Web sites where pedophiles will compare notes on which states have the better age of consent laws. And I also stress there are also huge loopholes in the laws. One of the things we want to see is in Washington funding for these laws that they say they`re going to pass. And I have to tell you, Jessica`s law, big loophole, does not make child porn a felony. It makes it an optional felony. There are people who are still going to charge it as a misdemeanor in California.
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REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: We`re now trying to correct the problem. We`ve asked the Ethics Committee to look into this matter, and we asked for criminal investigations to be opened by the Justice Department, the FBI, and the state of Florida. We have a toll-free number where people can confidentially call, and we`ve reached out to experts around the country to put a system in place to make sure this never happens again.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Jane Velez-Mitchell filling in for Nancy Grace.
New information coming in by the minute. Another new allegation, and again it has not been proved. This is just an allegation that they are investigating now, that Capitol police had to stop an intoxicated Congressman Foley, who tried to allegedly go into the page residence at one point. So bombshell after bombshell.
Let`s go to Renee Rockwell who is always good at putting all of this in perspective as a defense attorney. Do you see this from your years of experience as a scandal that will continue to mushroom or have we peaked?
ROCKWELL: Jane, do the math, OK? Just like the Catholic Church scandal, 90 to 100 pages in a session, two sessions a year. This is going back to 1995. Imagine the 1-800 number that people that are call in, call in. And don`t think that other people aren`t going to get hit by a stray bullet.
You got male pages. You got female pages, 16 years old. I can`t imagine where this is going to end. I just hate it. But to date, nothing criminal yet, Jane. Nothing criminal yet.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I think you raise a good point, as we wrap up. We have to remember that everyone in this country deserves the presumption of innocence. There have been no criminal charges filed in this case. Mark Foley is in rehab tonight. He is grappling with this crisis that has overtaken his party. But it is, in the end, a personal crisis for one man who is a human being of flesh and blood and who is obviously in severe pain.
Tonight, we remember Army Sergeant Bradley Beste, just 22, from Naperville, Illinois. On his second tour of duty, Beste received a Purple Heart medal. He leaves behind a large and loving family, including three siblings. Bradley Beste, an American hero.
We want to thank all of our guests tonight for their insights, and thanks to you at home for tracking these very important cases with us. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell in for Nancy Grace. We hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. Until then, have a terrific and a safe evening.