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Anderson Cooper 360 Degrees

The Gospel of Judas?; Polygamy in America; Trailer Backlash in New Orleans

Aired April 06, 2006 - 22:00   ET


JOHN ROBERTS, CNN SENIOR NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: We are going to take it one step further for you in the next couple of hours.
HEIDI COLLINS, CNN ANCHOR: That's right. We are going to have a rare look inside the dark and mysterious sect that practices polygamy. Some have called it the Taliban of America.

ROBERTS: We are going to have that story for you tonight, and some breaking news as well.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are in a high-risk potential today.

ANNOUNCER: Watching the radar, watching the skies, waiting for warning, another tense and bump night in Tornado Alley.

Scandal at Duke, as tensions are rising on campus and off.

REVEREND WILLIAM JOSEPH BARBER II, NAACP: We have never asked for a rush to judgment. But we do not want a delay in justice.

ANNOUNCER: New details on the accused and the investigation, and a question: Are student athletes across the country beyond the law?

And 2,000 years after their story began, a stunning challenge to the Gospel truth.

MARVIN MEYER, PROFESSOR OF BIBLE AND CHRISTIAN STUDIES: He was the one disciple who understood Jesus Christ.

ANNOUNCER: A newly revealed document and one timeless question: Did Jesus ask Judas to betray him?


ANNOUNCER: Across the country and around the world, this is ANDERSON COOPER 360, live from the CNN studios in New York.

Sitting in tonight, Heidi Collins and John Roberts.

COLLINS: All those stories are coming up.

But we begin tonight with breaking news in Tornado Alley, where, once again, it's shaping up to be a dangerous and frightening night, Nebraska, Kansas, Oklahoma in the crosshairs. At least 15 tornadoes have already touched down.

Rob Marciano is standing by at the tornado center in Norman, Oklahoma.

Rob, what's the latest?

ROB MARCIANO, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Heidi, things continue to pop tonight and tomorrow looks to be fairly busy as well.

I want to start by saying we were given rare access to -- to the Storm Prediction Center here in Norman, Oklahoma, on such a busy day. Do you hear that? There are sound effects that have been going off all day. Each sound effect means a different thing, possibly a warning, a storm report, or -- or a watch box announcement.

Give you a little tour of the Storm Prediction Center. This is one of the forecast physicians right here. We have a number of forecasters working tonight. That's one of the generals forecasts -- a forecasters, a mesoscale forecasting.

When you hear that cha-ching, that cash register, that means that a storm report has come in, kind of saying that their -- their forecast has verified. That cash register has been going up -- on all night long.

All right, this is what their main -- concerned with. They do -- they do convective outlooks and tornado and severe thunderstorm watches. Each one of these watch boxes means there's a potential for seeing a tornado to out -- a tornado to pop up in one of these boxes. Many of these are going to begin to expire. But, as they expire, the ones to right begin to take over.

Let's talk to Steve Corfidi, who is one of the lead fore -- forecasters.

Your job is to develop these watch boxes. What is your greatest concern tonight?

STEVE CORFIDI, FORECASTER, STORM PREDICTION CENTER: Well, tonight, Rob, it looks like the worst of the threat is probably starting to wane across the Missouri Valley area, parts of Nebraska, Iowa, and northern Missouri.

The threat, we think, is going to be across southern Missouri and northern and western Arkansas. And there will be a potential for a strong tornado or two into the wee hours maybe as far east as Jonesboro area.

MARCIANO: And tomorrow?

CORFIDI: And, tomorrow, it looks like the storm should spread east into the Tennessee Valley, or redevelop in that area, particularly across northern Mississippi, northern Alabama, and perhaps north Georgia by later in the day, and, again, a threat of tornadoes across that area, very large hail.

MARCIANO: Very good. We will look for that tomorrow, unfortunately, another busy day.

So, you're seeing right now some of the video from storm damage in Oklahoma. We have seen storm damage in -- in Kansas -- 19 confirmed reports of tornadoes tonight. Once the Specific develops these watch boxes, they kind of pass the baton to the local forecast offices.

Now, Kansas, a -- a number of tornadoes being reported in -- in that area as well. Once the National -- the National Weather Service offices and those local areas have it, they're in charge of issuing the warnings, the more immediate warnings to -- to the local communities -- so, definitely a concerted effort here involving a lot of people.

But it all begins right here, Heidi. You talk about Kansas. For -- for weather people, this is kind of like lifting the curtain on the Wizard of Oz of severe weather here. It's fascinating to see. And these guys do a heck of a job. That's for sure. And it will be a busy night today and a busy day tomorrow -- back to you.

COLLINS: Boy, they sure do, and giving everybody the warning and the time that they need to get out of the scary situation, if at all possible.

Rob Marciano, great stuff. Thank you.

And, of course, we will keep following the dangerous storms tonight, because CNN is your severe weather headquarters.

ROBERTS: Other news now -- new developments in a story that has already seen plenty, new background on the members of the Duke University lacrosse team accused of raping a young woman last month -- questions, too about how the investigation is being handled. Those questions have been simmering for days now in a stew of race and class and allegations that student athletes -- and not just at Duke -- get special treatment.

Whatever the reason, tensions have been growing. And, today, it showed.

CNN's Jason Carroll reports now from Durham, North Carolina.


JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Durham City Council members question why it took so long to begin investigating allegations that lacrosse players raped a young woman, shouting racial slurs at her. And the city manager put up a defense.

PATRICK BAKER, DURHAM, NORTH CAROLINA, CITY MANAGER: But, when it comes to allegations of sexual assaults, we -- the -- the basic rule of thumb is that we work at the -- the complaining witness' timetable.

CARROLL: But the NAACP also questioned the pace of the investigation and criticized those who raise questions about the alleged victim, an exotic dance who attends another university nearby.

REVEREND WILLIAM JOSEPH BARBER II, NAACP: We have never asked for a rush to judgment. But we do not want a delay in justice. We cannot tolerate vigilante justice. We cannot tolerate vilifying the victims.

CARROLL: Meantime, Duke University continued stepping up its response to the allegations and to complaints it wasn't tough enough on the lacrosse team right after the alleged attack.

Duke's president formed five committees to look into several areas, including the university's response to the allegations and the lacrosse team's culture. Court documents show more than a dozen players have been cited for underage drinking.

MALE: I think That many people knew about -- knew in general about a history of boorish behavior and -- and underage drinking. The question is, did it or didn't it rise to the level where it should have been dealt with more -- more -- more effectively in advance?

CARROLL: All of this follows Duke having to deal with yet another damaging accusation involving one of its lacrosse players. Not long after the alleged rape, lacrosse player Ryan McFadyen allegedly sent a graphic e-mail describing plans to have another stripper the following night, saying, "I plan on killing the bitches as soon as they walk in and proceeding to cut their skin off."

OMARI WALLACE, CLASSMATE OF RYAN MCFADYEN: He was a good guy. He -- he -- he seemed to be a really good guy.

CARROLL: Omari Wallace says, the e-mail's tone doesn't match the McFadyen he knows as an outgoing friend.

WALLACE: The fact that I knew him, the fact that he was, you know, somewhat close to me, like we -- we have -- we have -- it's just I -- like, I'm really -- like, I'm really speechless about the whole situation.

CARROLL: The university suspended McFadyen. The lacrosse team's coach, Mike Pressler, resigned. Through his attorney, Pressler says he is no more a guarantor of the behavior of 18- to 21-year-olds than are parents of that age, also saying his resignation should not be viewed as if he did something wrong.

Duke law professor Jim Coleman is chair of the committee looking into the culture of the lacrosse team.

JIM COLEMAN, LAW PROFESSOR, DUKE UNIVERSITY: I think our greatest challenge is going to be able to do this job without speculation, without people sort of pushing conclusions on us, before we have had a chance to determine what the facts are.

CARROLL: Coleman says the committee will review disciplinary records from the past five years and interview current and former players. They have three weeks to come up with their findings. And they also have their skeptics. CATHERINE SANGER, STUDENT, DUKE UNIVERSITY: I won't be satisfied until it's clear what exactly went on.

CARROLL: The players say, nothing went on. They are waiting to see if the district attorney says otherwise and files charges.

Jason Carroll, CNN, Durham, North Carolina.


ROBERTS: Jason Carroll is joining us now live from Durham.

Jason, let me say, first of all, you have done a terrific job digging on this story.

Second, when are we expected to hear about the committee's findings regarding the lacrosse team's culture?

CARROLL: Well, there are several committees that are looking into just what you asked about, the one that we referred to in the package.

We are hearing that May 1 is the day that they're going to have their findings available. But, of course, John, the findings that most people out here are waiting for are the results of those DNA tests -- those DNA test results expected back some time next week.

ROBERTS: All right, Jason Carroll, in Durham for us tonight -- Jason, thanks. Good job -- Heidi.

COLLINS: It almost goes without saying student athletes often have a very different college experience from the rest of the student population.

At a big football or basketball school, they have added pressures, high-stakes games that could shape the rest of their lives. The question, though, do perks and privilege and other special treatment lead to athletes, male athletes, behaving badly? And, when they do, are they more likely to get away with it?

CNN's Tom Foreman investigates.


TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the world of sports, of teamwork, fair play and effort, the accusation has never been proven. No one has definitively shown athletes are predisposed to improper sexual behavior, or that competitive culture spurs sexual violence.

MIKE TYSON, BOXER: Come and say it to my face.

FOREMAN: But, even when athletes are directly accused of such behavior, victims' advocates say, sports figures are so admired, proving the charges is tough. ALISON KISS, PROGRAM DIRECTOR, SECURITY ON CAMPUS INC.: And, if a student is sexually assaulted by a high-profile athlete on her campus, I could definitely find it more difficult to report in that case. And I would guess, maybe nine times out of 10, she may not, because of the ramifications.

FOREMAN: Research by the U.S. Department of Justice found so much sexual violence on campuses, that college women are at a higher risk of sexual assault than their non-college bound peers.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, touchdown, Rutgers.

FOREMAN: And a study by Rutgers University suggests, nationwide, athletes may help lead that trend, if only by their attitudes towards sex and their influence among students.

That study found many male athletes routinely describe women through sexual slurs. Some struggle, turning on and off the violent behavior connected to their sports. And these athletes widely believe accidental rape is possible, that is to say, rape in an overheated moment, for which they feel no one is to blame.

Sarah McMahon was involved with that study.

SARAH MCMAHON, RUTGERS UNIVERSITY: Sometimes, alcohol was used to explain how that may happen. But there was a general kind of lack of accountability, lack of understanding of what consent means. And I believe that is connected to a sense of entitlement, that, if you're not going to be held accountable, that you can kind of disassociate yourself from what actually happened.

FOREMAN (on camera): Rutgers has emerged as a national leader in the movement to change what many might consider a traditional jock mentality, and many other schools are following their lead.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Most rapes are planned and motivated by aggression and dominance.

FOREMAN (voice-over): Some high-profile athletes are now using their influence to promote social and sexual responsibility. Is it working? No one really knows, just like no one knows if each sports sex scandal reveals rare and terrible behavior or something that is all too common.

Tom Foreman, CNN, Washington.


ROBERTS: Accidental rape, now there is a term I have never heard before.

COLLINS: Yes, me either. No.

ROBERTS: A new battle is boiling over in New Orleans.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) DANATUS KING, PRESIDENT, NEW ORLEANS NAACP: ... ought to utilize every available inch of space that we have in this city to place trailers, every available inch of space, until we get all of our people back home in this city.


ROBERTS: The problem is, at least one neighborhood is suing the city to keep those relief trailers out of their sight. Is this just another case of the haves vs. the have-nots, not in my backyard? We are "Keeping Them Honest" tonight.

COLLINS: Also, the 1,700-year-old document that is challenging the Gospels, as many people know them. Could these pages really hold the secret to why Judas betrayed Jesus?

ROBERTS: And a rare look inside a forbidden lifestyle -- for 15 years, she shared her husband with four other wives. She says polygamy was her prison, until she finally escaped and started a new life -- her story coming up on 360.


COLLINS: Seven months after Katrina, a new dispute is boiling over in New Orleans. For months, we have been reporting on the delays and mistakes that have kept thousands of trailers from reaching homeless Katrina refugees. Now a new problem, where to put them, it's a dispute that's once again underlining the deep divides in the city.

Tonight, CNN's Susan Roesgen is "Keeping Them Honest."


SUSAN ROESGEN, CNN GULF COAST CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Ed Markle house came through Katrina pretty much OK, a Colonial brick manor in a private gated subdivision. It only lost a few shingles. But the hurricane has left him with something in the neighborhood that he and his neighbors don't want. And he can see it from the bedroom window.

ED MARKLE, HOMEOWNER: It looks just like the Guantanamo prison.

ROESGEN: Actually, it's a FEMA trailer park sitting right up against the mansions behind the concrete wall.

MARKLE: Would you like to live behind a -- a -- with a -- with a trailer park in your bathroom? Would you enjoy that? How else would you define destroying a neighborhood?

ROESGEN: When Ed and his neighbors got wind of the proposed trailer site last month, they complained to the city, and the city told FEMA to put the trailers someplace else.

(on camera): This is where the city said FEMA should put those trailers, about a mile away from the mansions. But FEMA managers say they didn't get that order until it was too late. (voice-over): FEMA officials would not go on camera with CNN, but released a statement, saying, "To stop the development of this site, when we are 80 to 85 percent complete, will jeopardize our efforts to provide housing to displaced citizens in the aftermath of Katrina."

In fact, no one has moved into the trailers yet, but the neighborhood is furious. And so is New Orleans Mayor Ray Nagin. He says FEMA consistently ignores what's best for the city.

RAY NAGIN (D), MAYOR OF NEW ORLEANS: And I'm expressing my dissatisfaction, my outrage, and my demand that this foolishness stops.

ROESGEN: Flanked by city council members, the mayor says, that's it, no more FEMA trailer group sites anywhere in the city. And he wants every FEMA employee who has been dealing with the trailer sites in New Orleans kicked out.


ROESGEN: But the head of the local NAACP says the city is sending the wrong message to the 34 families who are supposed to live in these trailers and the wrong message to tens of thousands of New Orleans evacuees who would like to come home.

KING: That's selfish. It's un-Christian, and it's wrong. It's wrong. We ought to utilize every available inch of space that we have in this city to place trailers, every available inch of space, until we get all of our people back home in this city.

ROESGEN: Ed Markle and his neighbors say, there's plenty of space that's not right next door.

MARKLE: If it's something that we have to endure, it's something we will endure. But, in a situation when all you have to do is move the same facility across the street, or even down the street, why does one have to endure that?


COLLINS: So, Susan, what's going to happen? Will the trailer park actually open?

ROESGEN: You know, Heidi, we just don't know. Right now, FEMA and the city have really locked heads on this.

We do know that FEMA says it has spent more than $1.5 million getting the site ready. And FEMA is threatening to sue the city to get that money back if this place doesn't open. The mayor of New Orleans has said, no way; he's not paying FEMA a dime.

But, Heidi, here is something else to consider. This is a really busy road behind me, right along the trailer site. And there's some concern for the safety of the families who might move in here living so close to so much traffic. COLLINS: Sure, very understandable.

All right, Susan Roesgen, one of the reporters who have contributed to our Peabody Award-winning coverage of Hurricane Katrina, coverage that continues today.

ROBERTS: Tonight, a new translation of an ancient scroll, what could it mean for Christianity? We will explore the so-called Gospel of Judas in just a moment.

But, first, Erica Hill from Headline News joins us now with other stories that we're following tonight.

Hi, Erica.


More than four-and-a-half years after 9/11, human remains are still being found at ground zero. Construction workers discovered 74 bone fragments on a damaged skyscraper near the World Trade Center site. Officials say it is the largest discovery since cleanup of the building began last fall. The skyscraper is being prepared for demolition.

A stunning accusation today in Washington -- Vice President Cheney's former chief of staff, Lewis Scooter Libby, says President Bush himself authorized the release of classified information on Iraq. That is according to court papers filed today in Libby's perjury case. The information stopped short of saying whether the president authorized exposing the name of CIA operative Valerie Plame.

And the congresswoman who got into an altercation with a Capitol Hill police officer has now apologized to her fellow lawmakers. Representative Cynthia McKinney of Georgia say -- quote -- "There should not have been any physical contact in this instance." McKinney is accused of hitting an officer at a security checkpoint, after he didn't recognize her and tried to stop her. A grand jury is examining the case to see whether charges should be filed -- John.

ROBERTS: Much ado about a hairdo, Erica.


ROBERTS: And, of course, now people want to know who this -- who was this guy who was with her today who was roughing up reporters as they were trying to ask her questions?

COLLINS: Yes. He said he was a -- a police officer somewhere, but we didn't hear where. Hmm.

Erica, thank you.

New questions tonight about two people very familiar to Christians, Jesus and Judas Iscariot. The Bible says Judas sold Jesus out. But an ancient document, newly translated, tells a different story. Could it be that Judas was simply doing what Jesus asked? ROBERTS: Plus, a polygamist on the run -- we will take you inside his fringe religious sect and tell you why the FBI is searching for him -- all that and more when 360 continues.


COLLINS: One week from tonight, Christians will be preparing for Easter. And they will be observing -- excuse me -- the events leading up to the crucifixion of Jesus. Key to that narrative are the actions of the disciple Judas Iscariot, who, according to the Bible, betrayed Jesus by turning him over to authorities.

But, today, along comes a bombshell, a newly translated ancient manuscript that challenges what we think we know about Judas.

Here's CNN's Delia Gallagher.


DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH AND VALUES CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): He's one of the most reviled men in history, his name synonymous with betrayal, condemned by Dante to the inferno, but has Judas gotten a bad rap?

MARVIN MEYER, PROFESSOR OF BIBLE AND CHRISTIAN STUDIES: Generally speaking, he's portrayed as a -- a negative kind of figure in the New Testament, to be sure, because it is said that he is the one who turned Jesus over, betrayed Jesus to the authorities, and is thus responsible, in a way, for the arrest and the crucifixion of Jesus.

GALLAGHER: But now a 1,700-year-old document offers another view on this event. The Gospel of Judas, discovered in Egypt in the 1970s, has been translated and made public only today.

Marvin Meyer, an expert in ancient texts, was part of the translation team.

MEYER: He was the one disciple who, according to this Gospel, knew Jesus best and understood Jesus best of all of the disciples.

GALLAGHER: The Gospel of Judas was not written by Judas. The Gnostics, a group whose members believe the physical world was evil, wrote this Gospel in the 3rd or 4th century. The translation, for the first time, depicts Judas' side of the story. It says Jesus told Judas to betray him, that this would fulfill a divine plan and put Judas above the other apostles, saying, "You will exceed all of them, for you will sacrifice the man who clothes me."

MEYER: Jesus says, you will exceed all of the others, that is, all the other disciples. You will sacrifice the person who clothes me. That is to say, you will turn over the body, so that the -- the true spirit of Jesus can come to complete expression.

GALLAGHER: James Robinson is the author of a book called "The Secrets of Judas." He believes the Gospel of Judas has little historical credibility, because it was written a century after Jesus died.

JAMES ROBINSON, AUTHOR, "THE SECRETS OF JUDAS": It doesn't have any valid records of what went on in 30 A.D., and, therefore, doesn't change our reconstruction of what we think did happen in 30 A.D.

GALLAGHER (on camera): You think it's just a story?

ROBINSON: It's just mythology, yes.

GALLAGHER (voice-over): So, does it change anything? Will Christian churches change their teachings? Some say a 2nd century bishop has already revealed the Judas Gospel as false.

FATHER DONALD SENIOR, PROFESSOR OF NEW TESTAMENT STUDIES, CATHOLIC THEOLOGICAL UNION: The wager of most of Christian tradition is that the Gospels, the New Testament Gospels, present a generally reliable account. So, that's why, I think, early on, someone like Irenaeus, the bishop of Lyons, and -- around 180, says that this Gospel is erroneous, these claims are erroneous, and really should be of no interest to Christians. I think that still basically stands today.

GALLAGHER: Will these findings bring Judas a new image? Could they cleanse him of his bad rap?

MEYER: The jury's out when it comes to Judas. And this provides us with the occasion, then, to -- to reopen discussion and to find out what we really want to conclude.

GALLAGHER: Nearly 2,000 years after Judas and Jesus walked the Earth, discoveries are still being made. Tales about one of the most intriguing relationships in Christianity are still being told.

Delia Gallagher, CNN, New York.


COLLINS: The National Geographic Channel is premiering the documentary "The Gospel of Judas" on Sunday night.

And here's some raw data now on the Bible. It is the best- selling book of all-time, with more than six billion copies sold. To put that in perspective for you, the second-best selling book is "Quotations From Chairman Mao Tse-tung," with 900 million copies. In the late 1960s, it was mandatory for every adult in China to own a copy of that.

And number three on the list, "The American Spelling Book" by Noah Webster, with 100 million copies sold. First published in 1783, it was the preferred English textbook in American schools through the 19th century.

See, you just keep watching, and the stuff you learn is remarkable.

(LAUGHTER) ROBERTS: I -- I know. And there is no end of intriguing tales about the Bible.

COLLINS: That's true.

ROBERTS: This book, this Gospel of Judas this month -- next month, of course, "The Da Vinci Code."


ROBERTS: All that stuff going on.

COLLINS: That's true.


ROBERTS: And coming up here on 360, a startling look at polygamy in America.


PAUL MUSSER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: I had to sit down with my children and say that the prophet told me that I can no longer be your father.


ROBERTS: A profile of a polygamist, and the one man who has extraordinary power over his followers.

COLLINS: Plus, she was one of five wives and, after years married to a polygamist, she finally escaped in the dead of night -- her story coming up on 360.


ROBERTS: It was outlawed more than 100 year ago, but today there are as many as 50,000 polygamists in America. They say God gives men the right to marry more than one woman.

One of most famous polygamists is a church leader on the run. Today, authorities charged him with rape today. To the police, he's a criminal, to his followers, a prophet, the chosen one.

Here's Anderson Cooper.


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice over): It's easy to see the isolation of this community along the Utah/Arizona border. What's harder to grasp is the total domination that one man, Warren Jeffs. Has over the 10,000 people who live here. They're part of a Mormon sect of polygamists, who call themselves the FLDS, the Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints. They call Warren Jeffs the prophet.

The mainstream Mormon Church banned polygamy in 1890 and doesn't associate with this sect.

PAUL MUSSER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: I had to sit down with my children and say, that the prophet told me that I can no longer be your father. And that was the toughest day of my life.

ISAAC WYLER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If young men, or something like that were called to stand in front of bullets for Warren, they wouldn't even hesitate.

COOPER: This is one of the few photographs of Warren Jeffs, a seemingly ordinary man but one with extraordinary power.

DR. DAN FISCHER, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If there were a Taliban of America, I would say this is it.

COOPER: Warren Jeffs hasn't been seen in more than a year. The FBI has been searching for him since June on charges of fleeing prosecution in Arizona for arranging marriages involving underage girls. Utah has now frozen the assets of Jeffs polygamous sect, which the attorney general says is worth about $100 million. In the FLDS, reality is filtered through Warren Jeffs.

SAM ICKE, FORMER FUNDAMENTALIST CHURCH OF LATTER DAY SAINTS MEMBER: If the law comes in and takes over, or anything happens to them, it is all a test sent from God, through Warren. Everything is a test, because they believe that the afterlife is going to tell the truth. And they believe that once this life is over then they're going to be -- they're going to be either celestialized, which is you know, given the highest degree of glory in the kingdom of heaven, or they will damned forever to hell.

COOPER: Sam Icke is no longer part of the FLDS community. He was expelled by the prophet when he was 18.

ICKE: The thing that actually got me kicked out was, you know, I kissed this girl and then she told. You know, told everybody what was going on. I got a call from the leader, Warren Jeffs, and he told me to come and talk to him about it.

I left, went home, and within the next day or so, he called my dad and told him that I had to leave.

COOPER: Sam is one of several young men asked to leave the community. They are called the "Lost Boys." What happened to them is to some a question of math. Too many boys are competing in a polygamous world, where some men have 10, 20 or even 30 wives.

MARK SHURTLEFF, UTAH ATTORNEY GENERAL: They trump up charges against these boys, but the bottom line is they don't want them there competing. They are told that not only are the being kicked out of their homes, and from the community, the only community that they've ever known, but that they're going to burn in hell. Talk about "Lost Boys," that term, is absolutely applicable. These boys think that they have no chance in this life or in the afterlife. FISCHER: They're extremely strict.

COOPER: Dan Fischer, a successful dentist near Salt Lake City has created the Diversity Foundation to help the "Lost Boys", who have banished from the FLDS in recent years. He says he has names of 400 young men.

FISCHER: Some actually expelled out in which they are given no more than an hour or two to be out of town, pack their bags, take whatever they can carry, and be gone. And with the communication that they're not welcome back.

COOPER: But those who defend the FLDS say the "Lost Boy" issue is overblown. In a statement, Rodney Parker, an attorney who has represented the FLDS since 1990 said -- quote -- "The number is completely unsubstantiated as well. The label 'Lost Boys' is a characterization that I don't think most of the people it's applied to would agree with. They say: 'I chose to leave, this wasn't for me.'"

ICKE: Well, when I turned 18 I was kicked out, dumped on my head.

COOPER: Sam Icke lives under the protective wing of Dan Fischer, who actively supports about 60 "Lost Boys," some with jobs, housing and schooling. Fischer was once part of the FLDS and had two wives, but he divorced one and left the sect 12 years ago. He's known Jeffs for years.

FISCHER: In the last few years, where this society has become a apocalyptic, at a fanatical level, it has set the stage for crazy things to happen and people accept it, believing that their salvation is on the line if they don't do as their told.

COOPER: The absolute power Jeffs wields destroyed the life Paul Musser loved. He was married for 23 years and hat 13 children. Jeffs told him suddenly, five years ago, that he was unfit to get his wife into heaven.

MUSSER: He just said that she needed somebody to exalt into the celestial kingdom and that I couldn't. And I kept asking him -- I asked him at least three times, if I could repent or make it right with him. And he just said, well, you don't have time to repent. And so that was it. He told me to move out, and my wife and family would be given to somebody else.

COOPER: What happened next may be hard for anyone outside the sect to understand. Musser told his family goodbye the next day.

MUSSER: I just hugged and kissed all my children. Told them that I love them very much. That I wasn't good enough to be their father anymore, according to what the prophet said.

COOPER: Since then Paul Musser has had a change of heart.

MUSSER: As time went on and as I saw my family given to this one man, and then he fell out of favor. And then she was given to another man. So, she's been with two men, besides me. And I just said to myself, this is wrong.

WYLER: This is a fanatical religion. I mean, if you go back and look in Mormon history and see some of the things that's been done in the name of religion. It's no different now.

COOPER: Isaac Wyler was in a group of 21 men told to leave their families by Jeffs at a routine church meeting.

WYLER: That's the kind of control that is here. So being kicked out and losing your wife and children is -- it's a big thing, but it's not like throwing your life away. To die for the prophet? To die for God? Yeah, that would make -- that would be an honor.

COOPER: We wanted to talk to people with a positive view of their lives inside the FLDS community. But David Zitting, mayor of Hildale, Utah, and a member of the FLDS for more than 20 years, said that's not likely to happen.

"The citizens of this community have gone through many years of dealing with the media in various forms," he told us. "And what they have experienced in this has caused them to not to want to make statements to the media or be interviewed by the media because it has in the past tended to be more fabricated and non-factual."

Jeffs' absolute control seems linked to his followers belief in his divine power. Wyler's daughter once asked him if Uncle Warren was Jesus Christ.

WYLER: And I says, no. What would give you that idea? And she says, teacher so and so -- because I don't give the teacher's name -- says that he's Jesus Christ and he's returned. Jesus Christ returned and he's going to be killed.

COOPER: In a country founded on the separation of church and state, it is hard to fathom a community where the church is the state. And hard to understand why polygamy is rarely prosecuted, even though it is a felony in Utah.

SHURTLEFF: The problem is, how do we put every single polygamist in the state in jail and then what do we do with tens of thousands of kids? I don't have the resources to get involved in that. I want to focus on the most serious crimes being committed in the name of religion.


COLLINS: And, coming up, she was one of five wives to a man she hardly knew.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I get in the car with this strange man, 32 years older than me. And we're going to get married that day, and drive to his house to meet his family.

(END VIDEO CLIP) ROBERTS: And that is when the nightmare began. It took years, but she finally escaped the world of polygamy. How did she do it? We will find out -- coming up on 360.


COLLINS: Before the break, we profiled a fugitive polygamist known as the prophet. His followers were his disciples, including the woman you are about to meet. She managed to escape that life.

And, tonight, she is telling her story of control and absolute submission as one of seven wives.

Once again, here's Anderson Cooper.


COOPER (voice-over): Carolyn Jessop grew up in a polygamous family in the FLDS sect in Colorado City, Arizona. She dreamed of going to college and becoming a pediatrician. Her father went to ask the prophet for permission and was told Carolyn Jessop had to get married first. That was nearly 20 years ago. The prophet then was Rulon Jeffs, Warren Jeffs' father.

CAROLYN JESSOP, WIFE OF POLYGAMIST: I didn't really know what to do with it. It's just like you can see something really bad's coming down, you can see your life going in a direction that's the worst place you'd ever want it to go, but yet there's nothing you can do to stop it.

COOPER: The man chosen to be Carolyn's husband, a 50-year old man who already had three wives and would eventually take several more.

JESSOP: I get in this car with this strange man, 32 years older than me, and we're going to get married that day and drive to his house to meet his family. It was like watching a horror movie, except for I was in the front seat of it.

COOPER: Carolyn moved in to her husband's home.

JESSOP: It was bad from the beginning. I mean, there was few if any happy moments. You're not allowed any form of birth control. And to say, you know, I really can't handle it, I'm having too many children, I'm having them too fast is a mortal sin. And so of course, if your husband sees you as worthy and he wants to father a baby with you, then it is considered a sin unto death to refuse him.

COOPER: She had eight children in 15 years, including a son who was severely disabled. Eventually there were five wives in her home and 54 children. Life became more extreme when Warren Jeffs took control of the sect after his father's death in 2002.

JESSOP: A lot of things changed when he took over. The children were pulled out of public schools and everybody was put into private schools. And then they burned all the books. COOPER: Shortly afterwards, at the age of 35, Carolyn started thinking about the unthinkable -- escape.

JESSOP: Living in these polygamous homes -- or the one that I lived in, was like living in a police state. Everyone reports everything on everybody else.

COOPER: One night she had a unexpected opportunity. Her husband was out of town and all eight children were home. She called a brother in Salt Lake City.

JESSOP: He said, you know, Carolyn, I will do anything and everything I can to help you, but if I leave right now the soonest I can be there is at 5 in the morning. I just said, will you do it? And he said, I'll be there, but I don't want to come into the community. So he wanted me to drive three miles outside of the community and meet him at a store, it was called Canaan Corner.

The next issue was not letting the children know. There is no possible way they would have come with me knowing what I was doing. They were terrified of the outside world. So I had to come up with a story. So I got them up about 4:00 that morning. And I told them Harrison was extremely sick and that I had to take him to the doctor, which was common, that was life. And -- but I told them Arthur is here and so I want to get family pictures, so everybody is coming with me this time.

One of Merrill's other's wives walks in on my oldest daughter getting dressed and starts demanding answers. And so, about 4:30 that morning, I hear over the intercom, Merrill wants to talk to me on the phone. I knew I was -- I knew they were on to me.

COOPER: Carolyn began piling her children into the van.

JESSOP: The last person I went and got was Harrison, I took him off his oxygen, put him in his car seat, and I thought everybody was there. I got in the front seat and I was just about to put the key in the ignition.

COOPER: But her oldest daughter was missing.

JESSOP: Honestly, it was one of the most difficult decisions I've ever had in my life. I mean, because I knew I was out of time. And do I leave her? Do I leave one and save seven? Or do I go back in and get her and none of us get out.

COOPER: She made a split-second decision and ran inside her house.

JESSOP: But she didn't want to come. And she was crying and she said, you know, Mother there is something you're doing that's wrong. Why doesn't Father know what you're doing?

COOPER: Carolyn grabbed her daughter and pulled her into the van. JESSOP: After I got out of the community then the realization that my van was completely out of gas. So, it was like just making it on a prayer that I could get three miles out of town. And about a mile before I got to Canaan Corner the van was sputtering. It was definitely out. But I made it there.

COOPER: She met her brother and reached safety. Her life began all over again.

JESSOP: I have something now that I've never had in my life before. I have hope.

COOPER: Carolyn had to fight a bitter legal battle for custody of her children. But in the end she prevailed. They all live together near Salt Lake City.

JESSOP: I think that one of the things that the outside world doesn't understand about the world that I come from, is that they see the polygamous lifestyle as an issue about religious freedom, religious rights. But what I've experienced is its basically about human rights issues. You're not supposed to think. You're supposed to be willing to be perfectly obedient. To me, I see it as a life of slavery.


ROBERTS: An unbelievable story. And her escape is almost like a Hollywood script.

COLLINS: It just goes on and on.

ROBERTS: It's just every suspenseful moment that you could imagine.

COLLINS: I know. Good for her, though.

ROBERTS: From a life of slavery to a world of freedom, how Carolyn Jessop is doing three years after her escape. It's an incredible story. We are going to talk with her live -- next on 360.


ROBERTS: Before the break, you saw the dramatic story of Carolyn Jessop, one of seven wives to a polygamist who lived in a family with 54 children. After years of that life, she started to think about leaving it forever.

One night, when her husband left, she did just that, escape.

And Carolyn Jessop joins us now live from Salt Lake City.

Carolyn, I said that that -- that escape read like the most dramatic Hollywood script you could imagine. How difficult was it for you take that step?

JESSOP: It was very difficult. It -- for me, it was like jumping off a cliff, and I didn't know where the bottom was.

First of all, I didn't know that I could get away. The risk was enormous. And I ran the risk of maybe never being able to see my children again, if I was caught. So, it was -- I had to get to a point where the worst thing I could imagine that could happen, if I did that, would not be -- was not as bad as what I knew would happen if I stayed.

ROBERTS: What would have happened to you had you have been caught?

JESSOP: Well, that's difficult to say, because I was one of the first women that ever tried this.

And the -- the biggest thing that probably would have happened is, I would have been separated permanently from my children. I wouldn't have been allowed to leave.

ROBERTS: Weren't you worried about being declared mentally ill by the local doctor and -- and put into an asylum?

JESSOP: That's definitely a potential. But I knew I was not mentally ill. And once I would have gotten to the asylum, I don't believe they would have taken me.


JESSOP: But they could have done things to restrict my abilities to leave the community. And they could have isolated me from my children.


How are your children doing now? Your eldest daughter, Betty (ph), as we saw in that piece preceding interview, was reluctant to leave. I read that she still wants to go back.


Right now, she's holding very tight to the fundamentalist beliefs. She still dresses in the fundamentalist clothing when she goes to high school. And she's very determined, as of right now, that that is the lifestyle that she wants for herself. And when she's 18, she plans to go back.

ROBERTS: Are you -- are you going to try do anything in the next couple of years to talk her out of it?

JESSOP: Well, yes.

I -- I have tried to discourage her from going back. And it has created a huge rift in our relationship. And I do have her in counseling. And she has been in counseling ever since we have left.

ROBERTS: The Fundamentalist Church of Latter Day Saints, is it a religious organization, or is it a cult? JESSOP: I see it as a cult, because I have studied cults since I have left, and it meets every description of a dangerous and destructive cult. It meets the guidelines.


So, the way that you got out was to escape. But -- but what do you think is -- is the key to ending polygamy among that religious sect, cult, whatever you want to call it?

JESSOP: Well, I think that they're -- they need to prosecute the crimes that are going on in polygamy. There needs to be a check and balance. And, right now, there is not one.

The -- the lifestyle is illegal. And, so -- but the state of Utah and Arizona is looking at such an enormous cost to prosecute polygamy. But there are many crimes being committed in polygamy that should be prosecuted.

ROBERTS: Right. I have also read that -- that you believe that education may be a key as well?

JESSOP: Yes. Education is a big key.

Right now, the children are being pulled out of public school -- the public school system. And the education that they're receiving is not much, if any, of an education. My children, when I came to Salt Lake, were extremely behind in school.

ROBERTS: Right. Well, knowledge is power.


JESSOP: ... basic skills.

ROBERTS: Knowledge is certainly power.

JESSOP: Right.

ROBERTS: Carolyn Jessop, thanks very much for joining us to tell your story. We appreciate it -- Heidi.

COLLINS: And what a story it is.

Now the story of a girl who vanished at age 14 and spent 10 years behind the walls of a neighbor's house -- coming up, her alleged captor in court, and the stories that are coming out about the conditions of her captivity.

ROBERTS: Plus, he says he hates a leaker. Now the president is accused of being, in so many words, the leaker in chief. But would that be a crime?

Some answers -- when 360 continues.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) ROBERTS: Good evening again. Anderson Cooper is off this week.

I'm John Roberts.

COLLINS: And I'm Heidi Collins.

Tonight, an inside look at catching the bad guys who use the Internet to prey on children.


ANNOUNCER: Catching the predators.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All right, partner, you're under arrest for attempted molestation.

ANNOUNCER: As Congress takes up the problem of preying on kids in cyberspace, we will show you how cops are putting the sting on suspects.