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NANCY GRACE

"American Idol" Reject Sent Sexual Texts to Boy 12

Aired May 8, 2008 - 20:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: America loves "American Idol." Even contestants who lose become instant superstars. Well, America may love "Idol," but America hates sex predators who prey on children. But what do the two have in common? An "Idol" contestant just booked after police uncover over 120 -- repeat, 120 -- text messages sent to a 12-year-old little boy. And now two 10-year-olds come forward with evidence. And this "Idol" goes from a panel of three judges to empanelling a jury.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American Idol" hopeful Colin Leahy arrested for sending sexually suggestive text messages to a young boy. Leahy, who volunteered at a Brooklyn elementary school, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Leahy allegedly sent text messages to a 12-year-old boy, asking whether or not he was gay and if the child liked boys. Documents show Leahy also allegedly had sexually inappropriate conversations with two 10-year-old boys, reportedly asking one of the boys if he could perform oral sex on the young child.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And tonight: It`s just before Mother`s Day, and we find out she allegedly hires a hit man to murder her own mom, and it`s all caught on tape.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s a murder-for-hire story usually seen in a TV movie, but this one played out in real life in a Tennessee suburb. A 19-year-old thinks of a plot to hire a hit man to take out her own mother, and police say the motive a lucrative life insurance policy. Authorities tipped off by an informant who helps police document the plot on audiotape, wiring himself with a hidden recording device. And that very tape would come back to haunt the alleged teen hit man. Nineteen-year-old Lauren Morrow and her 24-year-old boyfriend also in on the plot, a judge sending the case to a grand jury.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Don`t shoot her in the face, please.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (INAUDIBLE)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You just got to make it look like a robbery.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Well, I`m ready -- $150,000 is a lot of money.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think I can get over the guilty conscience after a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us. Tonight, America loves "American Idol," but America hates child sex predators. He goes from a panel of three "Idol" judges to empanelling a jury.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former "American Idol" contestant arrested for sex chats with young boys. Twenty-three-year-old Colin Leahy faces charges after reportedly asking a 10-year-old boy whether he could perform oral sex on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We arrested Leahy yesterday and the district attorney`s office in Brooklyn charged him with two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An investigation into the former elementary school volunteer also reveals that Leahy sent inappropriate sexually suggestive text messages to a 12-year-old student. In one day alone, Leahy allegedly sent approximately 30 text messages to the child, asking the boy if he had a girlfriend and if he was gay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother told us during the course of the investigation that there were a number of text messages that had sexual references, including one that said, Which way do you go, or, How do you go?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Leahy has since been removed from the school and is facing up to two years of jail time.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Straight out to senior editor with "In Touch Weekly" Tom O`Neil. Tom, it looks to me like "Idol" number 47590 is going to be inmate number 47590.

TOM O`NEIL, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": These charges are very serious, Nancy, especially when you get into the details of what these text messages said. They start out innocent. They say -- as the voice-over here was saying -- you know, Do you have a girlfriend? Do you like boys or girls? But then it gets into things like, Gee, if you could anything you want from me, what would you want? And the boy says, Candy and money. And he said, Oh, I thought you`d say something nasty, like oral sex and money. And then it actually gets worse from there.

GRACE: And as it turned out -- you know, we`re talking about a 12- year-old and two little 10-year-old boys -- the officers had to actually explain to one of them what oral sex meant. That`s how innocent the little boys are. You are seeing video from YouTube.

Back to Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." Tom, how did it all come unglued? How did the police find out about it?

O`NEIL: This one day in early November when the 29 text messages came through in a row, the boy`s mother was with him. And she said, What`s going on there? He was erasing some of these messages. She snatched the phone from him, started seeing the contents of these, started actually answering some of them playfully to see what was really going on, and she turned this over to the assistant principal at the school.

GRACE: Out to Adam Rathe, associate arts and entertainment editor with "The Brooklyn Paper." What exactly are the charges?

ADAM RATHE, "THE BROOKLYN PAPER": The charges against Leahy are two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. One of them is the 12-year- old who he sent the text messages to, another a 10-year-old who he apparently had taken to the movies and wrestled with in the lobby of the movie theater, at one point trying to punch him in the stomach and ended up punching him in the groin.

GRACE: Out to the lines. We are taking your calls live. To Denise in Pennsylvania. Hi, Denise.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hello, Nancy.

GRACE: Hi, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I would like to know if there`s any background check on any of the "Idols" that come on.

GRACE: Tom O`Neil, how does that work? Certainly they do background checks?

O`NEIL: Well, not really. They ask them to fill out forms and `fess up. And then what eventually happens is -- you know, we could spend a whole show going into the scandals that broke out after we found out what they left off those forms.

GRACE: Well, you know, you`re right about that, Tom O`Neil. Just to name a few, there was 23-year-old Amanda Overmyer busted for DUI. She had a blood alcohol of .108. OK. Leroy Wells, 25. He got three years, ten months behind bars, convicted felon in possession of a firearm. Jessica Sierra, 22, no contest to battery and possession of cocaine. Corey Clark, 27 -- he`s the one that claimed to have a relationship with Paula Abdul -- pled guilty to felony ag harassment involving domestic violence. He already had a TRO, I believe, from his wife to protect her, and then he came on the father-in-law`s property, trying to get at the wife.

Now this. This seems to be the most serious to me. Back to Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." And then wasn`t there an "Idol" contestant that was posing nude on line and that became uncovered, too?

O`NEIL: Yes, well, that was in the second season of "Idol." And that was Frenchie Davis, and that`s where -- they were a little more prudish back in those days. They actually removed her from the show. But look, even a winner of "American Idol," Taylor Hicks, remember, he was charged with possession of marijuana, and he won the contest.

GRACE: OK. Let`s take a look at the audition. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up: Is Colin Leahy the next Clay Aiken?

COLIN LEAHY, CONTESTANT: What I have in common with Clay is I`m also a camp counselor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am (ph) Clay. His name was Colin Leahy.

LEAHY: I love to make people happy and smile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some similarities, but not with the voice.

LEAHY (SINGING): One step closer to heaven, baby, means one step closer to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE: Well, Colin, that is just about as bad as it can possibly get.

LEAHY: Yes. It`s all right.

COWELL: I can`t think of anything I have actually hated more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Oh! That hurts! That was Leahy`s audition on "American Idol" from YouTube, and for once, I agree with Simon.

Out to the lines. Ynisha in Georgia. Hi, Ynisha.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. This is Ynisha.

GRACE: Hello. What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: First of all, I would like to say that the twins are gorgeous.

GRACE: Thank you very much.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And second of all, how long has this been going on? And third of all, why is this "American Idol" -- why is he sending them explicit text messages from the get-go? And I think he ought to be charged to the fullest extent.

GRACE: To Dr. Bethany Marshall, psychoanalyst and author. Bethany, she asked first, How long has this been going on? This, in my mind, is the tip of the iceberg because we`re just touching (ph) him. The mom happened to look on the text messages and find these. We have no idea how long it`s been going on.

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST: Well, you`re right. It`s an excellent question. You know, male sex offenders who offend against prepubescent boys molest on average 10 to 13 years before they`re caught. And usually, the offending behavior starts in childhood. They often commit around 270 acts against 150 victims over the course of a lifetime.

Thank God for the mother for intervening. And you know, Nancy, this kid reveals his perversion at the very beginning of the "Idol" interview because he says, I`m a camp counselor. So he`s confessing from the get-go his wish to be around children.

GRACE: You are seeing video of "American Idol" from Freemantle (ph) Media North America. While they have launched a ton of successful singing careers, the show has also seen its share of contestants who have been in trouble with the law like Leahy, now facing child endangerment charges.

It`s just my question -- let`s go out to Pat Brown, criminal profiler and author. Pat, we know of these two attempts. Well, really three. We know of these three, the two 10-year-olds and the 12-year-old. How far back do you think this goes? This is all we know of so far.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Well, I said that (INAUDIBLE) you know, you`re looking way, way back. He`s probably acted out with young children when he was a little bit older than that child that he was assaulting. And then he`d work his way to teenagehood, and maybe he was messing around with kids who were maybe 10 or 11. And then he gets older, and the problem is it`s the Peter Pan thing, like we`ve seen with the Michael Jackson case and we`ve seen with John Mark Karr.

You get a little bit older, and then what do you do? You can`t play with those boys anymore and get away with it as easily. So then you have to ingratiate yourself in jobs like working with camp counseling or schools. You`ve got to be the big brother, and you got to find those little kids out there whose parents want somebody to help them out and they don`t realize that what they`ve got is a predator.

GRACE: As of tonight, no molestation charges yet. Everybody knows America loves "American Idol," but America hates child sex predators. And you are looking right now at a shot of an "Idol" contestant now busted on endangering the welfare of a child after steamy text messages to a 12-year- old boy surface.

We are taking your calls live. Out to Nat in Minnesota. Hi, Nat.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My question is, he`s a volunteer at a school. Did the school do a background check on him?

GRACE: Excellent question. Back to Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." How exactly did he get access to all these kids?

O`NEIL: He had actually worked at the school the year before, and then he returned this year in a non-paid capacity just five or six times as a counselor, or a volunteer. And what he was doing with one of the two 10- year-old boys, for example, was he was helping the kid prepare for a speech he had to give in front of a class. And it was from that 10-year-old boy that he got the phone number of the 12-year-old boy who got the 120 text messages.

The point I`m making here, Nancy, is the boy who got all the messages never gave his phone number to this guy.

GRACE: Well, you know, helping prepare him for a speech, does that include questions like, Are you gay?

(LAUGHTER)

GRACE: Do you like boys or girls? I thought you wanted -- and I`ll put it euphemistically for the airwaves. I thought you wanted someone to have oral sex with. That`s not what he wrote at all. What do you mean, help him with a speech? He wasn`t helping him with a speech.

O`NEIL: Well, that`s what -- that was the pretense of their original involvement. And then he asked the parents of these boys, Can I take your son to the movies? And they went to see movies like "The Bee Movie" and "The Nightmare Before Christmas." And it`s while he gets them out of the home and on his own turf, at some neutral place like a movie house, that these conversations take place.

GRACE: Now, wait a minute. Bethany Marshall, it`s my understanding that he was a para-professional at the school, like a teacher`s aide. Then they found out they didn`t need so many aides and they cut his position. Then he volunteered to work with the children. Isn`t that kind of a red bell of alarm to parents, when a para-professional of this nature then wants to take your kid to movies and Burger King? I mean, there`s quite an age difference between them.

MARSHALL: Note to parents. No one should be more interested in your child than you are. And if you think it`s too good to be true or odd that someone wants to spend time with your child, yes, it is odd. What 23-year- old wants to be around boys on a consistent basis? And really, what it is, it is just an elaborate form of grooming. That`s all it is.

GRACE: Well, when I was prosecuting, I used the phrase the "buddy system," where you become the child`s buddy. I first became cognizant of it when I had a molester who had a mentally handicapped little boy victim. And the little boy knew how to play video games. He would give the little boy rolls of quarters and take him to video arcades and then take him home and molest him. He became his friend, his buddy, and the little boy slowly but surely began to trust him.

And here you see this guy, while he`s not charged with molestation at this juncture, taking these kids to Burger King, taking them to movies. I don`t know what the parents thought was going on.

To Joe Bodiford, former sex crimes prosecutor, joining us out of Tampa, Florida. In answer to the caller`s question, do schools actually do background checks on everyone, everyone working in that school?

JOE BODIFORD, FORMER SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Well, if they don`t, they should. This is becoming increasingly, increasingly and increasingly more of a problem in our society. We`re dealing -- and I`m in Tampa, which is the -- you know, the heartland for predatorial teachers, apparently. And I use the term predatorial because this guy was absolutely a predator, and based on what you guys were just saying. But they should do more.

GRACE: Very quickly, Bethany, can somebody like this guy, this "Idol" contestant, "American Idol" contestant -- do you actually get some kind of gratification from just texting a child?

MARSHALL: Well, what he was trying to do is turn the boys on. But in his own perverse way because he confuses what it means to be an adult with what it means to be a child, he attributes adult sexuality to the child. So for instance, I believe he showed a picture of a woman on his cell phone to one of the kids and then asked him explicit questions about the girl. So somehow, he`s attributing mature adult sexuality to a child.

GRACE: Let`s unleash the lawyers. Joining us, Mickey Sherman, defense attorney and author of "How Can You Defend These People?" Good question. And Richard Herman, veteran defense attorney, somewhat flamboyant in the courtroom. Let`s go to the lawyers. First of all, to you, Richard Herman, what`s your defense?

RICHARD HERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Nancy, put your seatbelt on for this one. He`s charged with two "A" misdemeanors. These are not felonies. He has no prior criminal history. There`s going to be a deal made. He`s not going to see one day in prison. He`s going to be put into some court-ordered therapy, and that`s going to be the end result here, Nancy.

GRACE: OK. To Mickey Sherman. I don`t know what part of that question Herman didn`t understand. And my question is, what`s the defense, somebody else sent the text messages?

MICKEY SHERMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, first of all, did he touch them? I think there was one inadvertent touching. Are you trying to say...

GRACE: That`s your defense?

SHERMAN: Are you trying to say that people go on these reality shows are creepy and weird? I mean, that`s very hard to buy.

GRACE: That`s your defense?

SHERMAN: No, my defense is that he didn`t do anything to this young man, other than the steamy text messages...

GRACE: If your kids...

SHERMAN: ... which 98 percent of America is doing.

GRACE: If your kids got a message like this, what would your reaction be?

SHERMAN: I`d be ticked off, and I`d be screaming at the school. And also, my wife wouldn`t be giving him permission to take him to the movies, OK? What about the parents` responsibility? I`m not trying to shift at all, but they allowed this guy to take them to the movies...

GRACE: Oh, here we go! There`s his defense, everybody! Blame the victim. Let`s blame the parents. OK, I knew I`d shake it out of you.

SHERMAN: Not a problem.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: His mother told us during the course of the investigation that there were a number of text messages that had sexual references, including one that said, Which way do you go, or, How do you go?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Former "American Idol" contestant arrested for sex chats with young boys. Twenty-three-year-old Colin Leahy faces charges after reportedly asking a 10-year-old boy whether he could perform oral sex on him. An investigation into the former elementary school volunteer also reveals that Leahy sent inappropriate sexually suggestive text messages to a 12-year-old student.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: We are taking your calls live. Out to Paula in Canada. Hi, Paula.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m just wondering, if he`s turned on by younger boys now, is he -- when he gets older -- going to be turned on to younger boys then, too, if he doesn`t get the help that he needs now?

GRACE: Good question. Everybody, you`re seeing "American Idol" video. It`s from Freemantle Media North America. And as you know, they have launched a lot of singing careers. They`ve also seen their share of contestants who have had trouble, trouble with the law, like Leahy, now facing child endangerment charges.

To Dr. Bethany Marshall. What will happen if his attempts are thwarted? What will happen as he ages?

MARSHALL: Well, caller asked a good question. With sex offenders, it`s really important to know the deviant arousal pattern if you`re going to treat them, although they don`t really get better. So his deviant arousal pattern is prepubescent boys. So he probably tries to arouse them, and then as they get older, he`ll just drop them like a hot potato and go to increasingly younger boys. So he`ll be older, 30, 40, 50, and he`ll stay in that age category in terms of sexual preference for the rest of his life.

GRACE: Well, for once, I think we can all agree with Simon. Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Coming up: Is Colin Leahy the next Clay Aiken?

COLIN LEAHY, CONTESTANT: What I have in common with Clay is I`m also a camp counselor.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I am (ph) Clay. His name was Colin Leahy.

LEAHY: I love to make people happy and smile.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Some similarities, but not with the voice.

LEAHY (SINGING): One step closer to heaven, baby, means one step closer to you.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK.

SIMON COWELL, JUDGE: Well, Colin, that is just about as bad as it can possibly get.

LEAHY: Yes. It`s all right.

COWELL: I can`t think of anything I have actually hated more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: That is Colin Leahy`s audition on "American Idol" from YouTube. Now he is facing charges of child endangerment after police uncover explicit messages, as well as two 10-year-olds coming forward.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the boys is 12 years old, and Leahy text messages him and asked him in the text something relating to oral sex. With the boy, the 10-year-old boy, the boy said that Leahy had asked him.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "American Idol" hopeful Colin Leahy arrested for sending sexually suggestive text messages to a young boy. Leahy, who volunteered at a Brooklyn elementary school, is charged with two counts of endangering the welfare of a child. Leahy allegedly sent text messages to a 12-year-old boy, asking whether or not he was gay and if the child liked boys. Documents show Leahy also allegedly had sexually inappropriate conversations with two 10-year-old boys.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: And now he is facing charges, child endangerment charges, going from an "Idol" panel of three to empanelling a jury on these charges. And there`s no telling how many children he had access to as a camp counselor.

Out to Shane in Iowa. We`re taking your calls live. Hi, Shane.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, my question is, what he`s doing is no different than those on-line predators. Why is he only facing two years? Plus, he offered the boy money. To me, that is prostitution.

GRACE: I agree, or at least solicitation of a minor. Everybody, you`re seeing video from YouTube.

OK, Mickey and Richard, let`s take off your defense hats, if possible, right now. Why is this only -- why are these only misdemeanors, Mickey?

SHERMAN: He didn`t touch anybody. There was one possible inadvertent touching. All he did was talk on the cell phone via text messaging, suggestive talk and inappropriate talk. But you know, the charge of assaulting a child, you`ve got to touch them. He didn`t get that far.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We arrested Leahy yesterday and the district attorney`s office in Brooklyn charged him with two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor. So he will be going through the court system with those charges.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Former "American Idol" contestant arrested for sex chats with young boys. 23-year-old Colin Leahy faces charges after reportedly asking a 10-year-old boy whether he could perform oral sex on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We arrested Leahy yesterday and the district attorney`s office in Brooklyn charged him with two counts of endangering the welfare of a minor.

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: An investigation into the former elementary school volunteer also reveals that Leahy sent inappropriate sexually suggestive text messages to a 12-year-old student. In one day alone, Leahy allegedly sent approximately 30 text messages to the child, asking the boy if he had a girlfriend and if he was gay.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The mother told us during the course of the investigation that there were a number of text messages that had sexual references, including one that said, which way do you go, or how do you go?

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Leahy has since been removed from the school and is facing up to two years of jail time.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: We are taking your calls live.

Back to Tom O`Neil with "In Touch Weekly." He said that he had a lot in common with Clay Aiken. I`m sure Aiken`s really happy to hear about that, but what he`s referring to is that they had both been camp counselors, is my understanding. About how many children do we know of, Tom, that he was exposed to as a camp counselor?

O`NEIL: That`s a very good question we don`t know. But we -- in the case of camp counseling...

GRACE: God help us.

O`NEIL: But we do know, Nancy, that there are a lot more kids at that school that he was in touch with. There`s not just one, two, and three, there are several others, too, that are now being looked into it.

GRACE: And to Adam Rathe, associate art entertainment editor at the "Brooklyn Paper," are you a little stunned that he`s only facing two misdemeanor charges?

ADAM RATHE, THE BROOKLYN PAPER, ASSOCIATE ARTS AND ENTERTAINMENT EDITOR: Absolutely. Yes, I think that, you know, the whole community of (INAUDIBLE) in Brooklyn is probably stunned when someone like this is able to have contact with a school full of children. You really don`t know how many he could have affected.

GRACE: And we only know of these three.

Out to the lines, Kevin in Oregon. Hi, Kevin.

KEVIN, OREGON RESIDENT: Nancy, how are you? You`re so.

GRACE: I`m good, dear.

KEVIN: Your show`s awesome.

GRACE: Thank you.

KEVIN: I think you rock. A couple of things, though. Do you really think it`s practical for "American Idol" to do a background check on everybody that auditions? This guy just auditioned and he didn`t get past the first person.

GRACE: Oh, oh, oh, you know what, I`m holding back. But a resounding yes. You know how easy it is to run a background check? You put in the name, you put in the approximate height, weight, you put in the DOB, it spits it out. It is so easy. You can get it through public access, if you want to pay 25 or 50 bucks. It is so easy. And they`re raking in the money, Kevin.

Back out to the lines. Floyd in Pennsylvania. Hi, Floyd.

FLOYD, PENNSYLVANIA RESIDENT: How you doing? How you doing?

GRACE: I`m fine, dear. What`s your question, Floyd?

FLOYD: I just want to show, I love your show, and God bless your children.

GRACE: Thank you very much. I really appreciate that.

FLOYD: The question I want to ask you is, why do the parents allow these (INAUDIBLE), this guy to go with their kids? Like you said, you can run a background so easy. And with -- this guy only gets a misdemeanor charge. He should be charged with a felony and lock him up and throw the key away.

GRACE: You know, very interesting.

What about it, to Tom O`Neil, with "In Touch Weekly"? What do we know about what happened after or frankly before the text messages were uncovered? How much contact did he really have with these three kids?

O`NEIL: He had a lot with the first two, the 10-year-old boys. He was actually, as I said, he was mentoring one of them in terms of the speech. He was helping another one with homework, and they in turn introduced him to the third. They also went to Halloween parties together, the first two 10-year-old boys. So I think the parents trusted him because he was an authority figure.

GRACE: Everybody, you are seeing video from Fremantle, and, of course, "American Idol" has been responsible for many, many singing careers, and now many, many that have had brushes with the law.

Bethany Marshall, why do parents let their kids go with, for instance, an assistant at a school?

BETHANY MARSHALL, PSYCHOANALYST, AUTHOR OF "DEALBREAKERS": Because they go into denial. And they don`t think it could happen to their child. But what this mom did, fortunately, with the 12-year-old, she saw him deleting text messages, and that`s when she began suspicious -- became suspicious and began to look at the text messages, so she did not go into denial and she did what every good parent should do.

Always contact the authorities, don`t tolerate secretiveness in your child, and let your child know that what is happening to them is wrong.

GRACE: Let`s go out to a special guest, Perry Aftab. He`s the executive director with WiredSafety.org. He is an interactive safety expert.

Perry, it`s great to have you with us tonight. Perry, how can parents monitor their children`s text messages?

PERRY AFTAB, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, WIREDSAFETY.ORG, INTERACTIVE SFETY EXPERT: Well, Nancy, right now there isn`t any really good technology. We`re working with McAfee, the software giant to create some. But you have to do it the old-fashioned way. Take their cell phone, look at it, see who they`re text messaging, take it away from them when they`re home and should be doing other things. Talk to them often about who they`re talking to and what they should do if things come at them.

And then you need to recognize that old-fashioned parenting, and congratulations on yours now, we need to now recognize that our kids are using technology that allows people to communicate with them in a private way.

GRACE: Yes, I`ve got to tell you something, Perry, when I first heard that all these kids had cell phones, I was a little taken back. But that`s the reality. And with us tonight, Parry Aftab, the executive director of WiredSafety.org.

Can you explain the contents of some of these messages, Perry?

AFTAB: Absolutely. They were sexually implicit. I think maybe there are some federal charges that we can bring here as well. But these are digital communications. And a lot of our kids are getting them. We`re finding lots and lots of sexual predator cases are coming to our kids through text messaging.

So if they reach out to the kids in a very personal media, a private media, where often parents have no idea what`s going on. It allows you to talk to the kids when they`re out of sight of the parents and groom them, as we`re -- some of the other profilers. This is a great way into the kids. You can try different things, you can send them images, you can show them pornography, and child pornography. You can make them promises and see where they go. And it if doesn`t work there, you log off and you find someone else.

GRACE: Take a look at his audition on "American Idol."

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RYAN SEACREST, HOST, AMERICAN IDOL: Coming up, is Colin Leahy the next Clay Aiken?

COLIN LEAHY, FORMER AMERICAN IDOL CONTESTANT: What I have in common with Clay is I`m also a camp counselor.

RANDY JACKSON, AMERICAN IDOL JUDGE: I am Clay, his name is Colin Leahy.

LEAHY: I would make you happy and smile.

JACKSON: Some similarities, but not with the voice.

LEAHY (Singing): One step closer to heaven, baby, means one step closer to you.

SIMON COWELL, AMERICAN IDOL JUDGE: All right, Colin.

JACKSON: OK, OK.

COWELL: Well, Colin, that is just about as bad as it can possibly get.

LEAHY: Yes. It`s all right.

COWELL: I can`t think of anything I may actually have hated more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: I guess, Paula thought it was great. That`s Leahy`s audition on "American Idol" off YouTube.

Back out to the lines. Rue in South Carolina, hi, Rue.

RUE, SOUTH CAROLINA RESIDENT: Hi. Love your show, Nancy, and.

GRACE: Thank you.

RUE: .I want to congratulate you on the beautiful twins.

GRACE: I am blessed. I am more blessed than I certainly deserve to be, Rue. What`s your question, love?

RUE: My question is, since Mr. Leahy seems to be only charged with misdemeanors, and if he is, for whatever reason, found guilty, which I certainly hope that he is and think that he should be charged for something more than just misdemeanors, will he have to register as a sex offender?

GRACE: Oh, excellent question.

To Joe Bodiford, former sex crimes prosecutor, if you`ve got a misdemeanor of this type, do you have to register?

JOE BODIFORD, FMR. SEX CRIMES PROSECUTOR: Most of the states are going to stay no to that. I believe that just as a misdemeanor offense, he`s not going to be required to register but.

GRACE: Ouch.

BODIFORD: So that Rue knows, if he`s up -- if he`s got two years of possible sentence, he could get one year in jail and one year on probation and that might work.

GRACE: I wonder if they could stack them, Joe Bodiford, instead of running them concurrently, run them consecutively and on each one, stack a year plus a year.

BODIFORD: Yes, I think they could, under law in most states, they could, because it`s two different victims and they could have two separate charges.

GRACE: Yes.

BODIFORD: Sure.

GRACE: And very quickly, Pat Brown, can authorities go back and retrieve every text message Leahy has sent?

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER, AUTHOR OF "KILLING FOR SPORT": I wouldn`t say they could retrieve every one. Obviously, if you can get hold of the cell phones, that`s the best way. There is some new technology so after you`ve deleted messages, you can use it and find the binary numbers, and sometimes they`ll have archives with the companies, but not for very long.

GRACE: Very quickly to tonight`s case alert. We need your help in the search for missing children. 15-year-old Candice Brown and her 1-year- old baby girl, Alexys. Vanishing from Dickenson, Texas, April 8th. Investigators say the two could be in the north Texas area. Candice is 5`4", 160 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. Alexys, 22 pounds, black hair, brown eyes.

Take a look. If you have information, call Crimestoppers, 281-480- TIPS.

When we come back, just before Mother`s Day, she allegedly hires a hit-man to murder her own mom and it`s all caught on tape. Motive, money, of course.

And tonight, we salute our troops.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JIM WEISKOPF, FISHER HOUSE FOUNDATION: I`m Jim Weiskopf with the Fisher House Foundation. I am joined today with my beautiful granddaughter, Amanda, and we`re going to give our salute to my daughter, Captain Alexander Chase and her aunt.

Say hi to your aunt.

AMANDA, GRANDDAUGHTER: Hi, Aunt Alie(ph).

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(NEWSBREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

UNIDENTIFIED REPORTER: Colleen Stribel here hugs her daughter Lauren Morrow after her release from jail on bond last year. Police say Morrow, her boyfriend, Andrew Bland, and a hit-man Joshua Stubblefield, planned to kill Morrow`s mother. But Stribel doesn`t want her daughter prosecuted. Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe can`t believe Stribel didn`t change her mind after hearing secret recordings made of the three plotting the hit.

LAUREN MORROW, ALLEGEDLY HIRED HIT-MAN TO KILL MOTHER: Don`t shoot her in the fact, please.

JOSHUA STUBBLEFIELD, ALLEGED HIT-MAN: Well, you can always a closed casket.

MORROW: OK.

ANDREW BLAND, LAUREN MORROW`S BOYFRIEND: You just go to make it look like a robbery.

STUBBLEFIELD: Well, I`m ready, $150,000 is a lot of money. I think I can get over the guilty conscience after a while.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

GRACE: Right before Mother`s Day, we find out about a plot uncovered a couple of months ago. She allegedly hired a hit-man to kill her own mother. Her request, don`t shoot her in the face. OK. That`s a heck of a Mother`s Day gift.

Out to Clay Kerry, reporter with the "Tennessean." What do we know, Clay?

CLAY KERRY, REPORTER, TENNESSEAN": Miss Morrow and Mr. Bland, her boyfriend, and the alleged hit-man were all in court yesterday for a preliminary hearing in Wilson County. The three of them were there and they played some recordings of some wiretaps that were picked up during this investigation. The judge in that case ended up binding the charges over to the grand jury. So a decision will come down within the next few weeks on whether or not there`ll be an indictment and that case will move forward.

GRACE: Joining us also tonight is Sheriff Terry Ash. He`s with the Wilson County`s Sheriff`s Office.

Sheriff, thank you for being with us. How was the plot uncovered?

SHERIFF TERRY ASHE, WILSON COUNTY SHERRIF`S OFFICE: Well, Nancy, it was uncovered through an informant who had given us some information about an individual wanting to buy a weapon to actually commit this homicide. And of course, our involvement began working through our informant, we eventually was able to seek out Mr. Stubblefield.

We posed as the seller of a weapon, we were able to pass that weapon on to him and then we took him down. And from there, he began to cooperate with us and then we set the tape recordings up between the other two individuals.

GRACE: Sheriff, that`s a lot of good police work. That took some effort. And as a result, this woman is still alive.

Sheriff, it`s my understanding that the mom refuses to believe this was all really happening.

ASHE: You know, it`s a little bizarre to us, but there are consequences for these type of actions. Had we had not done that, I mean I suspect I would have been on your program and you`re be asking me how come we didn`t act on the information. So you know, we`re going to pursue this case. You know, it is rather strange case with her becoming rather hostile towards us now.

But the one thing I do know is that she`s alive and if she wants to continue to travel down this path as far as her daughter`s concerned, that will be something the court will have to make some decisions on.

GRACE: Yes, it`s very tough, sheriff, as you well know, to prosecute a case when the victim is not on board with the prosecution. But you know, I think a jury would understand the thinking of the alleged victim in this case. If you have any doubts, it`s caught on videotape.

Take a listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MORROW: Don`t shoot her in the fact, please.

STUBBLEFIELD: That`s understandable. (INAUDIBLE) Well, you can always a closed casket.

MORROW: OK.

BLAND: You just go to make it look like a robbery.

STUBBLEFIELD: Well, I`m ready, $150,000 is a lot of money. I think I can get over the guilty conscience after a while.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

GRACE: Back out to Sheriff Terry Ashe. Sheriff, again, thank you for being with us. What was the alleged motive in this case?

ASHE: Well, it was about money in an insurance policy. And when I first heard that transcribed tape, I actually heard the live tape, it was rather bone-chilling to me to hear a daughter talk about her own mother in those respects. And at the same time, this is a very long-running tape. This is -- it`s almost an hour`s worth of our investigators working within this time frame.

At any time, you know, she could have said, I don`t want to go through with this, but she was very persistent about it, and then after we apprehended her, there was no remorse on her part without me going into the details of her statement, there was no remorse shown.

GRACE: Let`s go to two additional lawyers joining us tonight. With us, veteran trial lawyers both out of the Nashville area, Jack Lowry Sr. He is the attorney for the daughter, Lauren Morrow, and Frank Lannom, he`s the attorney for Joshua Stubblefield, the alleged would-be hit-man.

Thank you, gentleman, for being with us.

Jack Lowry, in my mind, you`re between a rock and a hard spot. What`s your defense?

JACK LOWRY, SR. ATTY. FOR LAUREN MORROW, ALLEGEDLY HIRED HIT-MAN TO KILL MOTHER: Well, Nancy, I think, first of all, the tapes speak for themselves. So I`m not here to defend the statements that were made on the tape. First of all, these are statements that certainly, as a lawyer, I don`t condone, and I wished that my client had not made some of the statements on the tape.

However, having said that, the question`s going to be whether these statements reach the level or the threshold of a criminal offense.

GRACE: OK.

LOWRY: And I don`t think they do, because she`s charged with a conspiracy to commit first-degree murder, and in this instance, the law requires that there be a plan.

GRACE: OK.

LOWRY: .and they -- these statements by these children fall short of a definitive plan to kill this lady.

GRACE: OK. Now, I understand you`re saying the plan is not concrete enough, and as you call them children, but I understand that she is 19.

To Frank Lannom, the attorney for the would-be hit-man, maybe your conspiracy law is different than the one I`m familiar with, but doesn`t conspiracy require a plan and an overt act, such as obtaining the weapon?

FRANK LANNOM, ATTY. FOR JOSHUA STUBBLEFIELD, ALLEGED HIRED HIT-MAN: Well, it -- I`m sorry, was that question directed.

LOWRY: I`ll let Frank answer.

GRACE: That`s for Frank.

LOWRY: OK.

LANNOM: Well, it does require an overt act, but the most important thing in this case is it requires an agreement. And as the sheriff said, they used some really good criminal investigative techniques to tape record these things. And the tape recordings actually exonerate Mr. Stubblefield. He`s recorded over and over as saying, I don`t think I can do this, I`ll probably back out, I`m not going to do it. And finally he says, well, if I don`t do it, "What do I do with the gun?" They said, you can keep it. He said, "Great, a free gun."

So the tape exonerates Mr. Stubblefield because there was no agreement.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

GRACE: It`s Mother`s Day and allegedly she hires a hit-man to kill her mother.

Out to Sandy in West Virginia. Hi, Sandy.

SANDY, WEST VIRGINA RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy, how are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

SANDY: Well, the sheriff pretty much already answered my question by the mother have money?

GRACE: Oh, yes, it was an insurance policy.

SANDY: Yes. Now I just have a comment.

GRACE: OK.

SANDY: I don`t understand why money is more important than a human life, especially your mother.

GRACE: Especially your mother.

Sandy, I got to tell you, if it weren`t for my mom, you know, I don`t know where I`d be right now. I agree with you.

Desiree in Nebraska. Hi, Desiree.

DESIREE, NEBRASKA RESIDENT: Hi, Nancy.

GRACE: What`s your question, dear?

DESIREE: Yes, I was just wondering. What does her mother think of all this? Is she taken back by all of it, or is she just.

GRACE: That`s an excellent question. In fact, one of our producers just spoke to her, and she said even if her daughter is convicted she`ll still be right there beside her and she knows in her heart that she would have never gone through with the act.

Sheriff Terry Ashe, you know, you`ve got to be careful when you`re arranging a hit there at the waffle house. What were they thinking?

ASHE: Well, I think money was driving the ultimate part of this and then she had a real strong disagreement with her mother over the man in her life. But you know, Nancy, there`s another victim here. There`s a small child that she has that a victim here also. And the mother -- or now the grandmother -- would continue to live in this environment and have this threat, maybe.

GRACE: Yes.

ASHE: .who knows, forever hanging over their head. This amazes me.

GRACE: With us, Wilson County Sheriff Terry Ashe and two veteran trial lawyers out of Nashville, Jack Lowry Sr. and Frank Lannom.

Gentlemen, thank you for being with us. I`m sure we`ll talk again.

But let`s stop and remember Army Sergeant David Hart, 22, Lake View Terrace, California, killed, Iraq. On a second tour, awarded the Bronze Star. Loved base guitar, drums, nighttime hikes with his brother, and mission trips around the globe. Leaves behind parents Sherry and Jack, brother, Daniel, sister Sarah, widow, Nicole. The pair in meeting when they were just 12 years old.

David Hart, American hero.

Thanks to our guests, but especially to you for inviting all of us into your homes. I`ll see you tomorrow night, 8 o`clock sharp, Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.

END