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Mayes Manhunt Ends In Mississippi Woods; Restricting "Gay Therapy"; Violent Day In Syria; Guilty Verdict In Hudson Murders; "Stand Your Ground" Sentence; Edwards Motion Denied; New Surfing Record; JP Morgan Loses $2 Billion; Romney Hazing Incident; Barney Frank Interview

Aired May 11, 2012 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, HOST, "A.C. 360": Erin, thanks.

Good evening, everyone.

We begin tonight keeping them honest, with a vague hypothetical apology from Mitt Romney about an incident almost 50 years ago he says he doesn't remember. Romney was in North Carolina today trying to shift focus back to the economy with his speech at a manufacturing plant -- the speech in which he used the word future at least four times.

But it is Romney's past, his very distant past, actually, all the way back to his teenage years, that got the headlines.

It's today's front page, The Washington Post -- "Romney's pranks could go too far." An article that paints a young Mitt Romney as remembered by his classmates is frankly something of a bully. Romney was asked about it in North Carolina today.


MITT ROMNEY (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Well, I think I was one who did some stupid things in high school, and if anyone feels that they were offended by that, I certainly apologize for that.


COOPER: Well, the stupid thing in question, the one getting all the attention, concerns a student at the Michigan prep school Romney attended. A student names John Lauber who was reportedly relentlessly teased for his presumed homosexuality and for having long bleach blond hair. Five of Romney's classmates told "the Washington Post" what they remembered about a day in 1965, a day that, quote, "they came upon Lauber tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors."

Now, the story broke yesterday when "The Washington Post" posted it online ahead of today's printed edition. We did not talk about it last night on this program frankly, because we had questions about how valid it is to bring up something someone did nearly 50 years ago when they were in high school. Those questions, though, have not gone away. So we'll let you decide for yourself tonight whether this story itself is relevant to a presidential campaign or not.

What we want to focus on is Romney's response to the story. We heard what he said in North Carolina today, apologizing, quote, "If anyone feels they were offended." But on FOX News yesterday, Romney said even more, including response to accusations the incident amounted to gay bullying since the victim was thought to be gay. Take a look.


ROMNEY: I had no idea what that individual's sexual orientation might be. Going back to the 1960s, that wasn't something that we all discussed or considered. So that's simply just not accurate. I don't recall the incident myself, but I've seen the reports and not going to argue with that. There is no question but that I did some stupid things when I was in high school. And obviously if I hurt anyone by virtue of that, I would be very sorry for it and apologize for it.


COOPER: So Romney says he doesn't remember the incident, five of Romney's classmates remembered it well enough to go into great detail to "the Washington Post" in separate accounts, all these years later. We can't ask John Lauber to corroborate the details. The post reports his sister says he died in 2004.

But, obviously, memories can fail. There is no disputing that or the fact that a lot of people do stupid things in high school. Romney's far from alone in that admission. Which seems contradictory in Romney's statement, however, saying on the one hand he does not recall the incident and on the other hand recalling that he had no idea whether John Lauber's sexual orientation was what -- what the sexual orientation was per received to be back then.

As for Romney's saying he's sorry if anyone is hurt or offended, can we just retire that kind of apology. It's basically the "I'm sorry if you were offended" apology which we hear time and time again. It makes it a none apology, a watered down way to say you're sorry that makes it seem like you're not really sorry, even though you may be. Most people see right through it because we heard it before, a lot of times. Listen.


SEN. JOHN MCCAIN (R), ARIZONA: I'm sorry that there is at least one of my colleagues that can't take a joke and so I apologize if I offended him.

ARNOLD SCHWARZENEGGER, ACTOR: Anyone out there that feels offended by those comments, I just want to say I'm sorry, I apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I offer an apology to those offended by my words.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If anyone is offended, I deeply apologize.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I'm sorry if I offended a congressman.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I apologize if it offended anyone.


COOPER: If I did really offend you, I am sorry. Yes, I'm guilty of it myself. And for that, I apologize.

A lot to talk about though. I spoke to CNN chief political analyst Gloria Borger, CNN contributor, Erick Erickson, editor in-chief at and CNN political contributor and democratic strategist James Carville.


COOPER: James, this is something that allegedly happened 50 years ago. Should there be a statute of limitations on things that happened to candidates when they were in high school, or even college?

JAMES CARVILLE, DEMOCRATIC STRATEGIST: You know, I guess so. Look, things happen in the '60s, you know, that certainly wouldn't be acceptable now just this being one of them.

But I don't find -- what I found kind of troubling was his response. All his responses are kind of predictable and political. And probably would have had been able to give him a better response.

But I don't think is going to be a big issue between now and the end of the election. The thing I only caveat is people are going to start looking for other stories like this, you know. That's the result of this.

COOPER: To you his response, what, that he doesn't remember it, but it wasn't anything about whether or not the guy was gay and he's sorry if somebody was offended.

CARVILLE: Sorry if it happened. I mean, I'm a little bit older than Romney. I would have remember something like this in high school. That's not -- you -- that's something that you wouldn't forget. And the idea that the response is just so harsh and so political and so predictable, well, I don't remember it happening, but, if it did happen, feel bad about it, I'm sorry for it, that doesn't seem like a very good response.

Now, it is not the end of days, just like his response from Rush Limbaugh, calling that woman a bad word. He says, well, I wouldn't have said that. Just everything that he does just oozes predictability and just politics. It is kind of different if he would have a different take other than the predictable take.

COOPER: Eric, a, is this a valid story, and, b, what do you think of his response? Do you believe that he didn't remember?

ERICK ERICKSON, EDITOR IN-CHIEF, REDSTATE.COM: I think the story -- yes, I think the story is BS. And I think his responses is the response you give when you think a story is BS, given by a bunch of people who "the Washington Post" danced around the fact they're all largely Democrats now and they are not going to vote for Romney. And one guy told another magazine that "the Washington Post" failed to respond that he hadn't liked Mitt Romney since Mitt Romney refused to give him a car ride when he was 16 years old.

COOPER: But, the Romney campaign though, is not denying the story. You're saying it is BS. I mean, you are saying BS. They are not saying --

ERICKSON: I think it is absolutely BS. Well, of course, they don't want to say. He doesn't remember it, so they want to say that he doesn't remember it because then of course "the Washington Post" begins the infamous reporter tactic of dribbling things out and trying to make it sound like there is something there when I don't think there is something there.

COOPER: But, Eric, I mean, if it was something that happened, do you believe he wouldn't remember it? I mean, if somebody held somebody else down and cut their hair, do you think that is something that would be remembered?

ERICKSON: If it happened, he would absolutely remember that. Everybody remembers things like that from when they're in high school.

COOPER: Gloria, what do you make of this?

GLORIA BORGER, CNN CHIEF POLITICAL ANALYST: Look. I think what is relevant here, and we have no way of knowing, you know, did Mitt Romney really remember, didn't he remember, what is really relevant here is how he talks to me is how he talks about it now, that's how people make decisions when they vote about a candidate's character.

And the way he's been talking about it is just odd to me because he could say, you know, I don't remember it, when I was a teenager, I was kind of a jerk sometimes, and what were regarded as pranks then are completely abhorrent now. If this did occur, I'm horrified by it. I would never want a child of mine to behave that way -- to behave that way. And use it as a teachable moment to say, I'm against all forms of bullying, it is unacceptable to me, it should be unacceptable in this country.

COOPER: Eric, go ahead.

ERICKSON: Well, James would be familiar with this back in 1992 when the George H. W. Bush campaign decided they wanted to run on Bill Clinton being a draft dodger, a womanizer, not a good governor of Arkansas and all sorts of things. And the Bill Clinton campaign kept the focus on the economy.

And the question for me is will Mitt Romney be able to keep the focus on the economy this time around.

CARVILLE: Well, you know what, I think -- I remember that campaign fairly well. And when we had the draft dodger story, we had a press conference right there. We took out an ad in the paper, you know, Bill Clinton went on "60 minutes." We dealt with it and compare this to Jeremiah Wright story and President Obama goes right out and deals with it. Every time it is something comes up -- if a democrat did this, I would still vote for them. This is not like a voting issue. What it is insight of Romney, I don't remember it, but if it did, it didn't happen, and could have done something along the lines of what Gloria talked about, something that Joe talked about in his column, it's just everything -- it is everything is so Wesley and parsed and political. And that's all. It is not the kind of event itself, you know?

BORGER: Remember George W. Bush's response on the DUI story, right? Which came in the 11th hour of the campaign and if I recall, it was when I was young and irresponsible, I was young and irresponsible. I don't think that explanation would sit today. Do you?

CARVILLE: Better than the one that Romney gave.

COOPER: Well, there is a difference -- to some people there is a difference between something, you know, somebody does to themselves and something, you know, a physical act somebody does to somebody else.

BORGER: Absolutely.


BORGER: Totally agree.

CARVILLE: I don't think -- again, I go back and my point is that the actual what he did is abhorrent and people's lives, but people 50 years ago in high school, I think -- I just think the response is ill lust tiff of something not very good. That's what I think of Mitt Romney.

ERICKSON: I think it is the response you give when you don't believe the story.

BORGER: Or when you want to end the story. One or the other.

ERICKSON: Yes, that too.

COOPER: All right. Eric, James, Gloria, thank you.



COOPER: Also today, Mitt Romney talked more about his views on same sex adoption and for a candidate who gets dinged by his opponent for flip-flopping this probably won't help.

Listen to what he said in an interview with WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina, when he was asked how his opposition to same sex marriage squares with his support for gay adoptions.


ROMNEY: Well, actually, I think all states but one allows gay adoption. So that's a position which has been position by most of the state legislators and legislatures, rather, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.


COOPER: He's not saying whether or not he supports it there, he's saying he's acknowledging where gay adoption is legal. Just yesterday, the Romney's seemed to go farther saying he does support. Here is what he said on FOX News.


ROMNEY: If two people the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and want to adopt a child, in my state, individuals of the same sex are able to adopt children.

In my view, that's something which people have the right to do. But to call that marriage is in my view a departure for the real meaning of that word.


COOPER: Well, back in 2005, Romney seemed to oppose the idea of same sex couples raising kids. At an event in South Carolina, he said, quote, "today same sex couples are marrying under the law in Massachusetts. Some are actually having children born to them. We've been asked to change their birth certificates to remove the phrase mother and father and replace it with parent and parent b. It's not right on paper and it's not right in fact. Every child deserves to have a mother and father.

Also new tonight, an indication of how's President Obama's announcement supporting same-sex marriage is sitting with voters. The first national poll since the president's comments has just been released and the Gallup poll, 13 percent said the president's support for same-sex marriage makes them more likely to vote for him. 26 percent said less likely. 60 percent said no difference.

California could soon be the first state to put serious restrictions on the controversial practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation. "360" followed the impact this therapy had on former patients coming up.

Let us know what you think. We're on facebook, Google plus. Should this story about what Romney allegedly did 50 years ago in high school, should it matter to voters? Follow me on twitter @andersoncooper. Let's tweet about this. Let me know what you think.

Up next, a shocking confession from JPMorgan Chase. The bank lost $2 billion in a risky bet. And the banks learn anything from the financial meltdown five years ago? We'll talk to Congressman Barney Frank next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: "Keeping Them Honest" tonight, some very serious questions whether this country's biggest banks learned any lessons from the fiasco that brought the country to its knees five years ago. JPMorgan Chase, America's largest bank has made a shocking confession, lost a whopping $2 billion over the past six weeks. $2 billion.

The massive loss stems from the very risky bets the same kind that cratered the economy in 2007. So, how did the banks learn anything?

Investors seem to ask the same question today as shares of JPMorgan chase fell nine percent. The Dow also tanked when the market opens rebounded but closed down 35 points. The debacle by JPMorgan is so bad that the CEO, Jamie Dimon, held an after-hours conference call Thursday with reporters and industry analysts. Listen.


JAMIE DIMON, CEO, JPMORGAN CHASE: We've had teams from audit, legal, risk and various control functions all from corporate involved in an extensive review of what happened. We have more work to do, but it is obvious at this point that there are many errors, sloppiness and bad judgment.


CEO Jamie Dimon, admitting errors, sloppiness and bad judgment. Finally, a confession from him "Keeping them Honest," Dimon downplayed concerns just by some along calling the buzz about potential losses a tempest in a teapot. It's a quite a big teapot right there.

We wanted to talk about this with Congressman Barney Frank. Dimon and executives at other banks have been furiously lobbying lawmakers and regulators to weaken new rule scheduled to take effect, the Volcker rule. And it aims to end risky trading by banks for their own profit.

The rule is part of the Dodd-Frank act passed after the financial meltdown. The bill was co-sponsored democratic congressman Barney Frank. I spoke to him earlier.


COOPER: Congressman Frank, is this a Specter of the repeat of the financial crisis of 2008?

REP. BARNEY FRANK (D), MASSACHUSETTS: No, we have things in place that will prevent that from happening. It is a reminder, however, that it was important that we adopt the rules we adopted, that mean 2008 can't happen again or unlikely to happen again and those who said, oh, you overreacted, we know what we're doing.

COOPER: The CEO of JPMorgan, Jamie Dimon, who is one of the fiercest critics of the law that you co-authored, the Dodd-Frank Wall Street reform and consumer protection which is essentially puts tighter regulations on Wall Street. Actually argued the law likely caused his bank up to $600 million a year.

I just want to play something he said in the conference call last night about the company's losses.


DIMON: We operate in a risk business and obviously it puts egg on our face and we deserve any criticism we get. So feel free to give it to us, we'll probably agree with you. But we think we run a pretty good company with pretty good risk control and pretty risk management. We're not in a business where we're not going to make mistakes. It is unfortunate. It plays into the hands of a bunch of pundits out there, but that's life.


COOPER: What is your take on his explanation?

FRANK: First, I want to say to a certain extent he's right. He's a good CEO and it is a well run bank. That's precisely why we need regulation. In other words, what he's telling us is even in a very well run institution, as his is, unlike a kind of rogue operation like countrywide, these kind of mistakes will happen. That's why we have safety nets. That's why we say to him, you have to hold more capital than you would have on your own because these mistakes will happen. That's why we say when you're engaged in these derivative trades, we want people to post margin so if somebody can't make it up, we don't have all these kinds of problems.

Secondly, I would say and you quoted the right figure, the economist, British magazine the economist joining in this criticism of how we overrated these guys said, you know what, it is going to cost JPMorgan Chase flaunt to $600 million a year as if that was an enormous sum.

Well, they just lost $2 billion. They just lost about five times that or four times that through their own errors. What it shows is that in fact if we have made them spend 400 to $600 million a year in the first year, it costs more to set these things up, to comply and save billions of dollars in losses, that's a pretty good deal.

COOPER: For a lot of people who don't follow this as closely as you do, can you explain how a big bank like JPMorgan losing $2 billion, how it affects people out there, how it affects regular people who don't own stock in the company? And what is the danger?

FRANK: The danger would be none of this is $2 billion, but if they lost so much that they couldn't pay their debts, that's why I say we begin with the requirement they keep more capital. As far as the average individual, if you're not a shareholder in JPMorgan, you know, if you are not a shareholder, it will not be going to probably hurt you.

On the other end, if you're trying to get a loan from JPMorgan Chase, this may make it tougher because the funds they have available for loans may shrink. But that's why we said we want you to have more capital, we want -- here is what we said in the bill to a great extent.

We want you to be better prepared in case you make mistakes. They were arguing, oh, no, don't worry about it, we know what we're doing. We say, even the smartest of you, you're doing things that are so inherently risky, you've got to be better protected.

And as they said, we said to the Republicans, the fact that the American institution is doing this overseas is no reason to say they're not subject to regulation.

COOPER: Congressman Frank, I appreciate your time. Thank you.

FRANK: You're welcome.


COOPER: Two girls are safe tonight after a terrifying ordeal with a man who kidnapped them. Tonight, dramatic new details about their rescue in the woods of Mississippi next.


COOPER: California could be the first state to put serious restrictions on the controversial practice of trying to change someone's sexual orientation. A "360" Follow-up and the impact this therapy had on some former patients.


COOPER: Crime and punishment, new details about what went down in the Mississippi woods where nearly two week manhunt for this man, Adam Mayes, ended in just about 24 hours ago. We reported the breaking news as it was unfolding last night.

Now, Mayes had been on the FBI's ten most wanted list for just a day when a tip led a S.W.A.T. team to Mayes and his captives. 12-year- old, Alexandria Bain and her 8-year-old sister, Kyliyah. Mayes allegedly killed their mom and older sister, strangled them. Both girls are safe now with relatives, what they have been through is hard to imagine.

Here is how a police sergeant who took part in the rescue described the moment they were found.


MASTER SERGEANT STEVE CRAWFORD, MISSISSIPPI HIGHWAY PATROL: I began giving commands, the little girl picked her head up, the other little girl picked her head up after another command. Mr. Mayes began to raise his head. I could see a weapon in his hand. I yelled gun three times loud to let my team know there was a weapon involved.

We ordered Mr. Mayes to drop the weapon numerous times. Mr. Mayes raised to his knees, never pointed the gun toward any of us or the children. At that time he took his life.


COOPER: Martin Savidge has been covering the story from beginning tonight. He retraces the final minutes.


MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: The manhunt for Adam Mayes ended on a Mississippi dirt road. Despite a nationwide alert, authorities had always felt that days really hadn't gone too far and it turns out they were right because where we are now is barely two miles away from where his victims' bodies were found, at his home.

Authorities say it was a tip Thursday that led them here, as it happened there was a S.W.A.T. team nearby. Police patrols have been through this area, at least once before, with no result. And it is ease why toy see why. Because of the thick underbrush, it is possible for them to walk within a few yards of somebody and not even know they were there.

And other than some general directions, we don't know where in the woods the final drama played out. But there are signs we're getting close. I found this. It's a military style red smoke grenade. And if you take a look on the ground here, you can see where it was set off.

Now, according to the FBI, when Mayes was found, they set of red smoke to alert other authorities and search crews in the area. This means that we're close, but we're not there. That's when I meet Ronald Roberts.

You lived here all your life.


SAVIDGE: He was having dinner when he realized something was up.

ROBERTS: Blue lights, sirens, gravel flying, screaming cars, all turning in front of our house.

SAVIDGE: Roberts knows these woods like the back of his hand. And we pick up a trail.

ROBERTS: There is a boot print right there.

SAVIDGE: Yes. Also looks like there is dog prints.

ROBERTS: You got some.

SAVIDGE: According to authorities, the S.W.A.T. team divided in two and made their way through the woods. The trail we're on shows a lot of foot traffic.

ROBERTS: See that?

SAVIDGE: A lot of boot marks?

ROBERTS: Yes, yes.

SAVIDGE: Stepped on branch and things. The S.W.A.T. team knew they were on to something when they came across one of the kidnapped girls laying on the ground. That would have been Alexandria. And then they saw Mayes. They told him to put his hands where they could see them. Instead, he pulled out the gun and shot himself.

ROBERTS: Walk down there and see what you see. That's obviously been somebody down through there.

SAVIDGE: And suddenly there it was the tip with all the flies, the exact place in the middle of the woods.

So, judging by this blood on the ground that we found here, this would be the spot that according to authorities Adam Mayes shot himself. Now, in keeping again with their account, the young girls would have been laying on their stomachs directly in front of it.

You quickly realize two things. That phone call tip that came in from the public probably saved the lives of Kyliyah and Alexandria Bain. But, not before the two girls who had witnessed the deaths of their mother and older sister and watch one other person die.

ROBERTS: I wish the man could have been saved. I wish it hadn't happened. I wish those other two lives could be brought back. But it can't. They met their maker. I hope they were ready.


COOPER: Martin Savidge joins me now.

Three additional arrests have been made in connection with the case. What do we know about them?

SAVIDGE: Well, authorities maintained that even though their prime suspect, of course, killed himself, that there is still an active investigation under way. So now we have these three arrests that have been announced.

Apparently one person was accused of giving false information, misleading information to authorities. The other two are thought to have been some way provided the weapon to Adam Mayes that he eventually used to take his own life.

COOPER: There is also like a $175,000 reward for whoever gave up information about Mayes' whereabouts. What do we know about that?

SAVIDGE: Well, of course, you know, the finding of these two girls alive and well are the answer to just about everybody's prayers here. And that's the first thing they say. The next thing they talk about is they wonder who is the person that gave that information that led to the finding of Mayes and who is going to get that $175,000. They are still waiting to hear the answer to that.

COOPER: All right, Martin, appreciate the reporting.

A tragic story on so many levels. Bobbi Booth is Adam Mayes' sister- in-law. We talked to her couple of times this week. She joins me again tonight for another exclusive interview.

Bobbi, what do you know about where Alexandria and her sister Kyliyah are tonight, how they're doing?

BOBBI BOOTH ADAM MAYES' SISTER-IN-LAW: I'm not. I have no idea. I haven't got any reports on the girls more than you have.

COOPER: You spoke to the sheriff's office today about possibly visiting your sister Teresa in jail. What did they tell you?

BOOTH: That she has to be in jail for seven days before I'm able to visit with her. But that she was able to make phone calls.

COOPER: She --

BOOTH: She doesn't remember --

COOPER: Sorry. She is charged with first-degree murder. You are saying, your sister doesn't remember what?

BOOTH: She doesn't remember numbers well, so I don't think she's remembering any of the phone numbers to contact anybody.

COOPER: If you're allowed to visit her, what do you want to say to her?

BOOTH: I want answers. I want to know if Adam forced her to do this, you know, if so how did Adam force you to do this. I'd like to know, you know, details as to what happened.

COOPER: What was their history like?

BOOTH: -- and understand more. He was abusive to her.

COOPER: Physically abusive?

BOOTH: Physically abusive, mentally abusive, very controlling.

COOPER: And what is she like? You said she has trouble remembering numbers.

BOOTH: Right. She graduated from high school, but she graduated with a special ED diploma. She's mentally challenged. She's always been a slow learner. She's dependent.

And I think Adam has always kind of fed off that because, you know, if he beat the mess out of her and then say I love you, honey, she kind of accepted it and went on.

COOPER: Police say she was in the garage when Adam Mayes strangled the two women.

BOOTH: That's what I've heard.

COOPER: Does that seem possible to you?

BOOTH: No. I don't want to believe that.

COOPER: They also say she was in the car, even drove the car with the girls in it.


COOPER: If she --

BOOTH: Then again, I don't want to believe that. I want to believe that she was forced to do that in some way.

COOPER: When you heard that Adam Mayes had shot himself, taken his own life, what did you think?

BOOTH: I didn't care. The kids were safe.

COOPER: Were you surprised that he would kill himself?

BOOTH: No. He's a coward. He didn't want to accept in face what he had done. So he took the easy way out.

COOPER: And now your sister and his mom and some others are facing the law. What do you think is going to happen to your sister?

BOOTH: My sister and his mother are going to carry the weight because people want justice and I understand it. If my sister took part in this, I want her to be punished, but I want her fairly punished. And I want people to understand the whole story and not just bits and pieces of it. Like the sheriff's department has been feeding us.

COOPER: Well, Bobbi Booth, sorry you've been going through this. Thank goodness those two girls are safe. Thank you for being with us tonight, Bobbi.

BOOTH: Thank you.

COOPER: California lawmakers are taking on controversial therapy that claims to turn gay people straight. Despite evidence some people say it ruined their lives. We'll take a closer look. Our "360" follows next.


COOPER: Justice for Jennifer Hudson and her family, a verdict in the murder trial. Her brother-in-law accused of killing the Oscar winner's mom, brother and nephew. We'll have the latest ahead.


COOPER: Lawmakers in California are moving forward with the bill that if it passes would make the state the first in the nation to put strict limits on so-called reparative therapy.

Those who practice this reparative therapy claim they can change people's sexual orientation, turning their gay patients straight. Some people who underwent reparative or conversion therapy said they feel they benefitted from it.

There are plenty who feel it caused them irreparable harm. The American Psychological Association into this and their report warns patients are at risk of worsening anxiety, depression even suicide.

It was certainly the case with one family we spoke with last year. Randi Kaye has our "360" Follow.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): When Ryan Kendall was 13, his mother read his diary and discovered he was gay. That was the beginning of the most painful years of his life.

RYAN KENDALL, RECEIVED REPARATIVE THERAPY: For years I thought that God hated me because I was gay.

KAYE: Ryan says his parents were determined to change him. They signed him up for what is called reparative therapy, with the National Association for Research and Therapy of Homosexuality otherwise known as NARTH.

Reparative therapy aimed at changing sexual orientation has been used for decades as a way to turn potentially gay children straight.

KENDALL: Every day I would hear this is a choice. This could be fixed.

KAYE (on camera): And did you believe that?

KENDALL: I never believed that. I know I'm gay just like I know I'm short and I'm half Hispanic. And I never thought those facts would change. It is part of my core fundamental identity. So the parallel would be sending me to tall camp and saying if you try really hard, one day you can be 6'1".

KAYE (voice-over): Ryan says he was treated by Joseph Nicolosi, a clinical psychologist who today is still associated with NARTH.

KENDALL: The refrain was the religious one this is something that makes God cry that this is something your family doesn't want for you.

KAYE: At his office, outside Los Angeles, we asked if Nicolosi remembered treating Ryan Kendall about 14 years earlier.

JOSEPH NICOLOSI, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I'm not familiar with the name at all.

KAYE (on camera): His parents have provided bills from your office. There have been checks written to your office, but no record?


KAYE: He says that your therapy was quite harmful. He said you told him to "butch up," quote/unquote.

NICOLOSI: Never. That's not our language.

KAYE: When somebody says people like yourself others are trying to get the gay out of people.

NICOLOSI: That's a terrible way of phrasing it. I would rather say we're trying to bring out the heterosexuality in you.

KAYE (voice-over): Nicolosi says he's kept hundreds of children from growing up to be gay. He credits this man, George Rekers, a researcher and big believer that homosexuality can be prevented.

Rekers worked as a doctoral student at UCLA in the 1970s in a government-funded experimental program later called "Sissy Boy Syndrome."

Rekers treated a boy named Kirk Murphy. To turn around Kirk's so- called sissy behavior, Kirk was repeatedly asked to choose between traditionally masculine toys like plastic knives and guns or feminine ones like dolls and a play crib.

If he chose the feminine items, Kirk's mother would be told to ignore him. Kirk's siblings told Anderson, his outgoing personality changed as a result of the therapy.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He had no idea how to relate to people. It is like somebody just walked up and turned his light switch off.

KAYE: George Rekers considered Kirk a success story writing his feminine behavior was gone, proof Rekers said that homosexuality can be prevented. Kirk's family says he was gay, and never recovered from the attempts to turn him straight.

In 2003, Kirk took his own life. He hanged himself from a fan in his apartment, he was 38. Our producers tracked George Reekers down in Florida.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you say to the family if they say that the therapy that you did with him as a child led to his suicide as an adult?

GEORGE REKERS, PSYCHOLOGIST: Well, I think scientifically that would be inaccurate to assume it was the therapy. But I do grieve for the parents now that you told me that news. I think that's very sad.

KAYE (on camera): According to the American Psychiatric Association, the potential risk of reparative therapy is great including depression, anxiety, and self-destructive behavior.

The association says therapist alignment with societal prejudices against homosexuality may reinforce the self-hatred already felt by patients.

(voice-over): Dr. Nicolosi says his therapy isn't harmful and he only treats people who want to change. Not true, says Ryan Kendall.

KENDALL: It led me to periods of homelessness, to drug abuse, to spending a decade of my life wanting to kill myself. It led to so much pain and struggle and I want them to know that what they do hurts people, hurts children, has no basis in fact, and they need to stop.

KAYE: Randi Kaye, CNN, Los Angeles.


COOPER: Digging deeper now, I'm joined by Dr. Jack Drescher, he is psychiatrist who has written and edited many books dealing with gender, sexuality and mental health in LGBT communities.

And Ryan Kendall who we just met in Randi's piece, he is now studying political science at Columbia University. He is hoping to be a lawyer one day to advocate on behalf of kids. Ryan, you were in this therapy for years, correct?

KENDALL: No, I was in the therapy for a period of a year to a year and a half, from about the age of 14, 14 1/2 to 16.

COOPER: And the doctor, Dr. Nicolosi, he essentially -- what was he saying was the cause of you being gay?

KENDALL: I know that Nicolosi tends to blame the parents in his therapy saying that a distant mother or overbearing mother and distant father caused that.

I didn't really engage on the issues of homosexuality with him because I just didn't buy what he was telling me, which was once again that being gay is -- there is something wrong with it, that it can be fixed.

COOPER: This idea, Doctor, that he -- that this doctor knows the origins of homosexuality and that it lies in the parents of a distant father. I mean, that seems antiquated and without evidence.

DR. JACK DRESCHER, PSYCHIATRIST: There is no evidence the people who practice these therapies tell the families they're beliefs, nothing based on fact.

We don't know today what cause homosexuality. We don't know what causes heterosexuality. I think it is a shame, you know, for parents who love their children to take their -- to take those children to therapists who are going to blame the parents when it is not their fault.

COOPER: You know, hearing your story, it is so horrible to think about for years you considering suicide based after going through this therapy that what did it make you feel about yourself?

KENDALL: I mean, it is a terrible world when you think there is something fundamentally wrong with you, when you think God doesn't love you because of who you are, when you think you're perverted or dysfunctional.

So you grow to hate yourself eventually in a lot of ways. You internalize all of that messaging that you're not good enough, you're unlovable and that plays out in very damaging emotional consequences and LGBT people's lives. It certainly didn't mine.

COOPER: Doctor, every -- I've interviewed a number of people who have been through this reparative therapy and some who still claim to -- that it worked, claimed they're no longer gay.

And the more you talk to them. They'll finally admit they still have same sex orientation. They're still attracted to people of the same sex. They're just forcing themselves, repressing themselves so they don't act out on it. That doesn't seem like a healthy way to live.

DRESCHER: Well, people who have been through the treatments don't call themselves heterosexual. They call themselves ex-gay because they're not really heterosexuals the way conventional heterosexuals --

COOPER: They don't have that, like, in the -- their heart is not attracted to somebody of the opposite sex.

DRESCHER: Usually not. I mean, some people -- some of these people may be bisexual by nature, they have attractions to both, but the truth of the matter is that their identity, who I think I am as a person doesn't necessarily have to match what their attractions are.

That's how people survive in this way. They say, you know, I used to be gay, I'm still attracted to men, but I'm not gay anymore. They're still attracted to men. So what does that mean?

COOPER: So if they're entering into marriages or forced not to have relationships with people they're attracted to, what does that do to a person?

DRESCHER: For some people, it can be very harmful. Some people have gone into marriages, had children, never lost their attractions then got divorced, sometimes religious people who get divorced.

COOPER: A number of the people who even have run these so-called ex- gay organizations have now come forward and said, actually, it doesn't work.

DRESCHER: Many of the leaders of the ex-gay movement are stepping away from their earlier claims that everybody can change. Most people believe that very few people can really change.

COOPER: For you, what was the hardest part, Ryan?

KENDALL: I mean, there is no way to tell you what was the hardest part, I mean, was it losing my family? Was it hating myself? Was it being suicidal or depressed for 12 years, not being able to go to school until now?

I mean, there is no worst part. It was a terrible decade in my life. And I'm one of the lucky ones who survived. So, you know, the therapy itself is a terrible thing to do.

It lets families believe there is this false hope that their kid can be straight and normal and it is damaging, it destroyed my family. COOPER: You know, we've done this piece on the so-called sissy boy experiments and some of the allegedly scientific research that is used by this group NARTH, when you start to scratch away at it and look at the details of it.

I mean, they were still using George Rekers experiments and he was claiming success with Kirk when in fact Kirk had committed suicide and his family didn't even know until the years later that Kirk was this alleged success story of George Rekers.

DRESCHER: There is a lot of misinformation transmitted by the people who offer these treatments. The American Psychological Association had a report that came out in 2009 no scientific basis that any of these treatments work.

COOPER: Is legislation the right answer? Do you believe it is in California?

KENDALL: I certainly believe that legislation is appropriate in this instance. I mean, what is at stake here are lives especially kids' lives. I think it is irresponsible for organizations to offer this therapy when it is not supported by science, when there is anecdotal evidence of harm, when we know that changing someone's sexual orientation is not an appropriate goal.

You know, recently President Obama came out in support of marriage. That's because society increasingly realizes that LGBT people, people who are gay like myself, are just like anyone else and pretty soon we'll realize that means we treat them equally, we don't try to make them who they're not because it is not possible and we give them equal rights.

COOPER: Doctor, do you think there should be legislation?

DRESCHER: I've been speaking with my colleagues in California, psychologists and psychiatrists. There is concern about the wording of the particular legislation. Something has to be done. The legislation is one good thing. It made it a national issue.

We're talking about it on the air tonight and in the newspapers. I think my personal opinion is that if you have the regulatory agencies, the people who watch people's medical licenses, psychology license.

If those people are informed about the issues, then perhaps those people can take it up when the complaint is made against someone who does this kind of treatment.

COOPER: We'll continue to follow it. Dr. Drescher, appreciate it. Ryan Kendall, thank you very much.

A verdict today in the murder trial of Jennifer Hudson's brother-in- law. Did the jury find him guilty of killing the Oscar winner's mom and brother and nephew? We'll have the latest ahead.


COOPER: "The Ridiculist" is coming up, but first, Tom Foreman joins with the "360 Bulletin" -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, a deadly bomb blast in Syria exploded at an office of President Bashar Al Assad's ruling Baath Party. It happened in the city of Aleppo where earlier in the day state media reported authorities foiled a suicide bomb plot.

Guilty on all counts, that's the verdict in the trial of Jennifer Hudson's brother-in-law. The jury has convicted William Balfour in the murders of Hudson's mother, brother and 7-year-old nephew.

A "360" follow, a Florida judge handing out a 20-year sentence to a woman who fired a warning shot in an effort to stop her abusive husband. Marisa Alexander unsuccessfully tried to use Florida's controversial stand your ground law.

The judge in the John Edwards trial refused a motion to throw out the charges against him and sets the stage for Edwards' lawyers to start laying out their defense very soon.

A new record in the world of surfing. After months of -- look at this guy. Months of deliberations, a group of surfing experts announced that Garrett McNamara rode the largest wave ever. It happened last November off the coast of Portugal. The wave was 78 foot high and, let me see, carry the one, plus two, that makes it a foot and a half higher than mine. That is a new world record.

COOPER: That's amazing though. That's incredible. I understand you do, like, huge ultra marathons. Is that true, Tom?

FOREMAN: Yes, I do those. Not on waves.

COOPER: What is the longest you've run?

FOREMAN: Fifty five miles.

COOPER: That's crazy.

FOREMAN: It took a while. You should come out. We would have a good time.

COOPER: Yes, right. How long does 55 miles take?

FOREMAN: About 12 hours, well, 55 miles took about 13 hours.

COOPER: Was it flat?

FOREMAN: No, good Lord, no. It is through the woods, on dirt trails, you go over rocks and leaves and fall down and run through creeks.

COOPER: That sounds cool, but crazy.

FOREMAN: It is a lot of fun. It's very good fun. You should come out. We'll have a good time.

COOPER: I don't think so. I don't think I could do it. Tom, thanks. We'll be right back. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Time for "The Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding shows that book kids on live TV. Don't get me wrong. Kids are great. I love kids. I know they say the darnedest things, but they have the darnedest bathroom emergencies.

Take for example, this morning's third hour, not confused for the fourth through tenth hours of the "Today" show. Natalie Morales was attempting to interview the world's youngest member of Mensa, a 3- year-old named Emmy Lynn who has an IQ of 135, which is pretty impressive.

It turns out Emmy Lynn had more important things on her mind.


UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: My belly hurt. My belly hurts.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, too many doughnuts in the green room. That's not good.


COOPER: Now right there, I would have bailed. You can already tell what's coming. Al Roker and I would have been halfway to the emergency exit by this time. Not Natalie Morales. She was not letting the world's smartest toddler dump out of that interview.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does she like these other cards here. What is this one?


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sweetie, obviously to raise a 3-year-old with such a high IQ, it takes a lot as a parent, right?

UNIDENTIFIED CHILD: I have to go poop.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She has to go to the bathroom.


COOPER: That would have made a segment, where are Kathie Lee and Hoda when you need them? A tip for Emmy Lynn though, I'm not saying you should have pooped on the set, but they have plenty of money for a new sofa. But if you want a lesson on how to get out of an interview, look no further than the vomiting balloon boy, Falcon Heene.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They told me it was for some TV show. That's what he was running to. That's what he was referring to when -- when he made that statement. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And I know I want to point out that the sheriff's office said last night, a few moments ago, he got ill. Let's take a break so your family can gather itself.


COOPER: That's how it's done. When you're up against Meredith Vieira, bring your A game, you got to do it sometimes. I should be the last person to offer advice about how to handle kids on TV.

In fact, Natalie Morales, just be glad you do not have to fill in for Larry King the night Nancy Grace decided to bring her twins for a visit.


NANCY GRACE: Anderson, are you ready?


GRACE: Who should I try to let them -- here he goes.

COOPER: Would you want these kids to follow in your footsteps?

GRACE: Here she goes.

GRACE: I want to do whatever makes them happy. Here she goes.

COOPER: Want a piece of paper? Uh-oh. Uh-oh.

GRACE: Anderson, what did you do to him?

COOPER: I didn't do anything.

GRACE: Daddy.

But, you know, Anderson, trying to work with two children is not easy.

COOPER: Tell me about it. I'm sweating like dripping sweat.


COOPER: Yes, what do you want for me? Try hanging out with Nancy Grace and her kids. As for the "Today" show, they took a commercial break, so disaster averted for the time being, until the next time when the television gods decide to unload on the "Ridiculist".

That does it for us. We'll see you again one hour from now. Another edition of "360," 10:00 p.m. Eastern. I hope you join us.