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$660 Million Settlement Reached in Catholic Church Sexual Abuse Case; Dorm Room Murder Cover-Up?

Aired July 16, 2007 - 15:00   ET


ESTHER MILLER, ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIM: People think it's because of money. You know what the money does for us victims? The money pays for our therapy. It's going to pay for me to get better.


KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Time, it seems, heals no wounds for Catholics sexually abused by priests. And money is not a miracle cure either.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: But the nation's largest Catholic archdiocese comes up with the nation's largest sex abuse settlement to date. Victims say it's a start.

PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone. I'm Kyra Phillips at the CNN Center in Atlanta.

HOLMES: And I'm T.J. Holmes, sitting in today for Don lemon. And you are in the CNN NEWSROOM.

PHILLIPS: It's a landmark settlement in hundreds of sex-abuse cases abuse by Catholic priests in this country's largest archdiocese.

CNN's Kara Finnstrom was in a Los Angeles courtroom this morning when the deal was done.

Kara, bring us up to date.

KARA FINNSTROM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, it is a record settlement, but plaintiffs and their attorneys tell us that their work to bring about real reform within the Catholic Church is far from over. They tell us they are worried about protecting future generations of Catholic children.

Now, here's what did happen today. An attorney for the plaintiff tells us that essentially all of the cases now have been settled. That is with the exception of some lawsuits against a number of religious orders who declined to be part of this settlement. December 1 has been marked as a date for all these plaintiffs to get their payments.

And, finally, in a measure which these plaintiffs say is very important for them, some of these confidential records of the priests accused will now be released. Mahony had fought releasing those. But these plaintiffs say it's a very important part of telling what's been a long and painful journey for them.

And those plaintiffs have been gathering outside of this courthouse, and sharing their thoughts on this big day.


MILLER: It's really long and hard. And the pain is still inside of me. It never goes away.

I was abused by the then Deacon Michael Nocita. Cardinal Manning, Cardinal Manning decided to postpone his ordination from the deaconhood into priesthood for one year, only so that he could go on and abuse other victims.

Through SNAP, I decided not to kill myself. I heard Mary Grant on SNAP. I was sitting in a parking lot all by myself, wanting to just die, go away forever, so the pain would stop.

JOHN KING, ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIM: I, myself, am Catholic. In fact, this is the only paper that I could find. It's a confirmation. It's worthless. Their religion, as far as I'm concerned, worthless. And the way I can see it, Mahony is about as cold as a pimp's heart.

Thank you.


FINNSTROM: And many of those plaintiffs did pack that courtroom today, some sobbing, others mumbling in disgust under their breath when the church attorney said that he wished all of this had been resolved much more quickly.

One other note, Cardinal Mahony was there. He sat silently in the courtroom as that settlement was reached -- Kyra.

PHILLIPS: So, can you tell us more, Kara, where this money for the settlement is going to come from and how the church is going to handle it financially? Obviously, there are a number of Catholics saying, well, when I tithe, is that where my money's going to go, for these settlements?

FINNSTROM: Well, what we have learned at this point actually came from Cardinal Mahony yesterday. He said that this is going to be split up. The archdiocese will pay for some of it. Some of it will be covered by insurers, and then some of it is going to be covered by those individual orders where priests have been accused.

What we did learn also yesterday is that the archdiocese does now plan to sell off some of the property in order to meet its portion of this, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: All right, Kara Finnstrom, thanks.

Six hundred and sixty million dollars is a lot of money, but would this settlement let too many people off the hook? Up next, we are going to talk with a former monk about the Los Angeles Catholic Archdiocese and alleged sex abuse.

HOLMES: Well, in Georgia, time is literally running out for death row inmate Troy Davis. He's due to be executed tomorrow for the shooting death of a police officer in Savannah almost 20 years ago. He swears he's innocent.

And now many of the prosecution witnesses swear he's innocent as well.

CNN's Rusty Dornin reports.


MARTINA CORREIA, TROY DAVIS SISTER: I'm trying to answer all these e-mails and things about Troy.

RUSTY DORNIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): On a mission, Martina Correia works 18-hour days with one aim -- to save her brother Troy's life. Troy Davis was convicted of killing Savannah police officer Mark MacPhail in 1989. He is scheduled to be executed on Tuesday. There was no physical evidence, no murder weapon found. Correia says that alone should cast doubt on the jury's guilt verdict.

CORREIA: When you only have eyewitness testimony, you have no physical evidence. People have fallacies and we make mistakes.

DORNIN: A case of mistaken identity -- that's what Davis' lawyers and supporters claim. This was the scene in 1989 in this parking lot at the Greyhound bus station in Savannah, Georgia. Some witnesses say Davis and two other men were following a homeless man across the street harassing him. Off-duty officer Mark MacPhail ran out to break up the fight. That's when some witnesses claim Troy Davis shot the policeman twice and ran.

In Savannah, the manhunt was on. Davis surrendered to investigators days later.

(on camera): Since Davis' conviction, the defense claims seven witnesses have changed and sometimes even contradicted their own story. During the trial, the defense claims it was another man that shot MacPhail in this parking lot. Now some of the witnesses are pointing their finger at the same man, claiming that fear of reprisal and police coercion caused them to accuse Davis.

(voice-over): Monty Holmes is one witness who changed his story. Now he claims he was coerced by police.

MONTY HOLMES, WITNESS: They are trying to get me to say he did it. Well, he didn't do it.

DORNIN: Major Everett Ragan headed the homicide investigation back then. He dismisses allegations of coercion and for witnesses changing the stories, he doesn't believe it.

MAJ. EVERETT RAGAN, SAVANNAH, GA. POLICE DEPT. : There's no doubt in my mind we arrested the right person. DORNIN: There's no element of doubt that it could have been the other man?


DORNIN: Sergeant David Owens has no doubts either. He was a close friend of the victim, a man everyone called Mac. It was Owens you see here trying to save MacPhail's life in the back of the ambulance in 1989. Owens now hopes the victim won't be forgotten.


HOLMES: And Rusty Dornin here live with us now.

All right, Davis has had several options, I guess, for appeals. And they all have not gone well for him.

DORNIN: They have all failed.

HOLMES: And today he had another option, another shot at it...


DORNIN: Well, now, right now, the parole board for Georgia is hearing a clemency hearing. And this morning his family and several of those witnesses have went forward to give their evidence.

They came out just a little while ago, and they were supposed to give a press conference about this whole thing and they apparently had an abrupt departure, no comments for the press. The prosecution right now is giving their evidence and the parole board could make a decision tonight. And what they will do is they won't pardon him, but they could commute his sentence.

Of course, Friday night, late Friday night, a superior court in Chatham County, in Savannah, Georgia, denied his request for a new trial.

HOLMES: So, as far as courts go, is he pretty much done?

DORNIN: Well, lawyers now trying to appeal that.


DORNIN: But I talked to the court clerk and he said Davis' lawyers faxed it, and they don't accept faxes. So, he's definitely running out of options at this point.

HOLMES: Well, how is he doing with all -- knowing that he's running out of time, running out of options? You talked to him over the phone.

DORNIN: I spoke to him on Friday afternoon on death row. He said -- I asked him about the trial initially. Why didn't he blame the other man in the beginning? Let's listen.


TROY DAVIS, DEATH ROW INMATE: Because I didn't want to be labeled as a snitch.

DORNIN: And that's the only reason?

DAVIS: Yes, which is stupid.

DORNIN: How are you preparing for the idea that these efforts to save your life may not work?

DAVIS: I put it all in God's hands, just staying prayerful.


DORNIN: And, from what we understand, Davis' family is visiting him on death row today for his -- what may be his last full day, because he's scheduled for execution tonight.

HOLMES: And that was an amazing answer. You could tell by your reaction you were shocked.


HOLMES: You didn't want to be -- that's it? You didn't want to be a snitch?

DORNIN: That's right.

HOLMES: That's it.


DORNIN: He didn't even bring it up until years later, when the affidavits came out from these other witnesses claiming that he didn't do it.

HOLMES: All right. We will see how this plays out.

Rusty Dornin, thank you very much.

DORNIN: Mm-hmm.

PHILLIPS: An update on a strip mall fire that we were telling you about just outside of Los Angeles, California, actually in Alhambra. This was a videotape of that fire that was taking place in a business building this morning in a strip mall there in Alhambra.

Firefighters were sent to Ninth Street and Bali (ph) Boulevard just after 9:00 p.m. California time. We're told now one firefighter was injured in this blaze, nine businesses gutted by the flames. The investigation takes place now into what caused the fire. We will continue to update it.

HOLMES: Well, right now, Mahmoud Abbas just might be the United States' best friend in the Palestinian territories. President Bush has just announced a $190 million aid package aimed at bolstering the Palestinian president's government against a resurgent Hamas. He also called for a U.S.-chaired Middle East peace conference.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I will call together an international meeting this fall of representatives from nations that support a two-state solution, reject violence, recognize Israel's right to exist, and commit to all previous agreements between the parties.


HOLMES: And, earlier today, Palestinian president Abbas met with Israeli Prime Minister Ehud Olmert. They discussed some things Israel is doing to help support Abbas. They include releasing 250 Palestinian prisoners from Israeli jails and granting amnesty to more than 100 wanted militants in the West Bank.

PHILLIPS: Scenes of death and destruction -- a pair of strong earthquakes jolt northwest Japan, as well as Tokyo, 150 miles to the south.

Buildings collapsed. Roads buckled. At least seven people are dead, more than 800 injured. The quakes, both with a 6.8 magnitude, were centered off the coast 10 miles or more below sea level.

The first quake triggered an automatic shutdown of three reactors at one of the world's largest nuclear plants. A small fire broke out in the plant's electrical facility and radioactive water leaked from one of the reactors.

Here's how Reuters correspondent Dan Sloan saw it go down.


DAN SLOAN, REUTERS REPORTER: Often accidents have happened, and the actual acknowledgement of the danger has come considerably after the fact. Certainly in this case, Tokyo Electric Power is saying that there is no danger to the community at large. They said the same thing at the time of the shutdown, and also at the time of the fire.

They're sticking with the story and essentially said the same thing in a press conference this evening. But, without question, this will be something that is watched not only tomorrow but in days to come, because many of these nuclear facilities are located in areas that are so seismically active like Niigata where this earthquake took place.


PHILLIPS: Nuclear regulators in the U.S. say they are ready to send experts to help, if needed.


HOLMES: Meanwhile, somewhat cooler temperatures and higher humidity out West are a big boon for firefighters. Their priorities are down to 35 large fires in 10 states. The biggest, the Milford Flat fire in central Utah. It's been burning a week-and-a-half. But firefighters say they expect to have it fully contained tomorrow.

PHILLIPS: A college dorm room, a shocking crime scene, allegations of a cover-up by school administrators. Why did officials at East Michigan University tell fellow students and the murder victim's parents she died of natural causes? The disturbing story -- straight ahead.


PHILLIPS: Well, the deal's done, $660 million to hundreds of people who have accused priests of abuse. It's the largest settlement to date for the Roman Catholic Church. A judge in Los Angeles giving his blessing just a short time ago.


LEE BASHFORTH, ALLEGED ABUSE VICTIM: Seven years old in the picture with Michael Wempe. It was the day of my first communion. It was a very important day in mine and my family's life. And all of that faith and all of the hope in that little boy's face was taken away, thanks to Michael Wempe and to evil men like Roger Mahony that gave sanctuary to people like him and still provide him sanctuary today, in terms of financial support.


PHILLIPS: And this comes a day after Cardinal Mahony delivered this message to his victims.


CARDINAL ROGER MAHONY, LOS ANGELES ARCHDIOCESE: Once again, I apologize to anyone who's been offended, who has been abused in the Catholic Church by priests, by deacons, religious men and women or laypeople in the church. It should not have happened and should not ever happen again.


PHILLIPS: The court calls for victims to receive their share of the settlement by December 1. It also orders the public release of all church files on the priests involved. Those files could reveal how much church leaders really knew about the abuse and what they learned about it and what they did about it, if anything.

HOLMES: And joining us now from San Diego, Richard Sipe, a former Benedictine monk who left the church to become a psychotherapist. He served as an expert witness in a number of church abuse cases.

Sir, thank you for being with us.

Let's start with the money. Can money help in healing when you're talking about sexual abuse?

RICHARD SIPE, ADVISER TO PLAINTIFFS' ATTORNEYS: Well, money is money. It's a story, and it -- compensation, to give compensation for all sorts of malpractice, and this is what this is, malpractice in the church.

But $660 million is always a big story, whether it comes out of Vegas or New York, whether it has to do with a lottery winning or whether it has to do with this. But it's the story behind the money. For instance, what about the $400 million that the Archdiocese of Los Angeles has spent on legal fees and public relations in the last four years? They could have made this settlement, this same settlement, four years ago.

HOLMES: Well, some of the victims today we heard after the settlement was agreed to and accepted by the judge talked about the money a little bit and saying it doesn't really help and that Mahony and the church got off by just writing a check. So, why go that route? Why sign off and settle if it still seems like there is, I guess, not really peace or any kind of a settlement or a kind of feeling that the church and Mahony is really paying, if you will?

SIPE: You know, you don't understand the power of the church. You're fighting city hall. You're fighting eternal city hall.

And what you or I or even 500 victims do standing against this is, is, we are saddled by a kind of impotence because the opposition is so great. Governor Keating from Oklahoma, who was the American bishops' choice to hand -- to chair their board of investigation...


SIPE: ... he said that the Catholic Church, the Catholic bishops, especially in California, operate like Cosa Nostra. And this is absolutely true.

HOLMES: Well, let's see here, then. We have a record settlement and like you said, money is money. We're talking about it. It's news, this big of an amount.

So, this big settlement, this record settlement, does it change anything? Is it going to change how the church deals with sex-abuse cases in the future? What does it change? Does it change anything?

SIPE: It's a step toward the resolution, toward the finding of truth, and toward the bishops taking accountability for their actions.

Don't forget that what was before Cardinal Mahony was to sit on the witness stand, before a judge and before a jury, and to be examined. And he cannot tolerate that. He can't withstand that. And maybe he can't withstand that without going to jail. I mean, it is -- his back was against the wall. HOLMES: So, do you believe the abuse is still happening in churches? Have -- we seen these settlements over the years, and -- there have been some reforms put in place by the church. Some would argue how effective they are going to be. But abuse still happening? How widespread, how wide-scale do you think it is?

SIPE: Look, abuse is still happening. It will continue to happen. Certainly the damper has been put on it since 1985 and especially 1990. And that's across the board. That's not just in the Catholic Church.

HOLMES: So, how are they ever going to stop that? Is it going to need outside oversight?

SIPE: Well, in the grand jury set up, in the 12 grand juries set up in three dioceses, they did set oversight. They said that the bishops cannot handle this problem themselves. In two archdiocese, Boston and Philadelphia, they said, well, there's probably indictable material here, but the way the state laws are set up, we can't pursue it.

Somebody said just today that the church will not change until there's a bishop in jail.

HOLMES: Right.

SIPE: And I think that this is probably true. In 1990, Father Rossetti, set up St. Luke Institute, that treats these priests...


SIPE: ... he told a group of victims -- they said, father, what's it going to take for the church to change? He said, the church is not going to change until it's threatened with bankruptcy.

Now, we know that the church is getting around bankruptcy in certain places. It -- it means that the bishops have to take responsibility for what happens in their diocese. Look, this isn't a new problem. We have documents from 1050 that outline this specifically, you know?


HOLMES: All right.

Well, it's certainly, like you said, the documents go back and the history goes back, the victims, as we have seen, going back years and years and years. It's a problem that they are trying to deal with and a lot of folks trying to get dealt with. And now -- but we see this record settlement today.

And, Mr. Sipe, Richard Sipe, we appreciate your time and your expertise, and lending us some of your knowledge on this subject. Thank you so much.

SIPE: Keep up the good work. LEMON: Well, sir, we appreciate you. Thank you so much.

SIPE: All right.

PHILLIPS: Well, severe weather across the country, including tornado conditions, for some. Rob Marciano updates us straight ahead from the Weather Center.

You're watching CNN, the most trusted name in news.

And it sounds like the plot from a bad country song, a singer shot inside a bar, her estranged Army sharpshooter husband on the loose -- the latest on the manhunt straight ahead.




HOLMES: Also, a college dorm room, a shocking crime scene, and allegations of a cover-up by school administrators. Why did officials at Eastern Michigan University tell students and murder victim's parents that she died of natural causes?

That story just ahead.


SUSAN LISOVICZ, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We're in the middle of the peak summer driving season, so demand, of course, is high. Meanwhile, oil prices, which play a big role in gas prices, have been steadily rising. Today they were up 22 cents, just a few dollars below the all time high -- $74 and change a barrel -- Kyra?

KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN ANCHOR: Well, now you're talking short-term.

Any improvement over the long-term?


Bottom line, no.


LISOVICZ: Because, again, you know, talking about demand, and this is something we have driven home now, it seems like years. We're talking about high demand in these emerging industrial nations like India and China. And according to a new report, energy prices could remain high for decades. A draft report of a government study says the world's traditional oil and gas supplies are unlikely to keep up with demand over the next quarter century. The news first reported in this morning's "Wall Street Journal".

Oil industry executive says the world must develop as many supplemental sources of energy as possible. So you're hearing from oil industry executives saying, hey, let's explore biofuels and nuclear power, as well as conservation, to meet demand.

Those conclusions follow a medium-term outlook by a different group, The International Energy Agency, which predicts a supply squeeze by 2012, just five years from now as demand increases from overseas, not only China and India, but other developing nations, as well.


HOLMES: Also, a college dorm room, a shocking crime scene and allegations of a cover-up by school administrators.

Why did school officials at Eastern Michigan University tell students and the murder victim's parents that she died of natural causes?

That story just ahead.


PHILLIPS: Hello, everyone.

I'm Kyra Phillips live at the CNN World Headquarters in Atlanta.

T.J. HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And I'm T.J. Holmes sitting in today for Don Lemon.

She went away to college. She did not return home alive.

PHILLIPS: Her murder cost the university president his job.


Randi Kaye has the shocking story.

You're live in the CNN NEWSROOM.

HOLMES: It's a scandal that rocked Eastern Michigan university -- a student raped and killed in her dorm room. Months later, the school's president fired amid allegations of a campus cover-up.

Our Randi Kaye spoke with the victim's parents last month.


RANDI KAYE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Last December, Laura Dickinson, a healthy, athletic 22-year-old, was found dead in her dorm room.

BOB DICKINSON, FATHER OF MURDERED STUDENT: A very healthy 22- year-old girl just doesn't die. KAYE: And yet, he says, school officials led them to believe she died of natural causes. And though skeptical, Laura's family would bury their daughter, unaware officials at Eastern Michigan University had actually been burying the truth.

(on camera): Do you remember having some conversations with university officials at all about how your daughter died? And do you remember what they told you?

DEB DICKINSON, MOTHER OF MURDERED STUDENT: The only thing they said was there was no evidence of foul play.

KAYE (voice-over): The university stuck to that story for more than two months -- no foul play. But, in fact, campus police were investigating Laura's death as a murder, even though no one told Bob and Deb Dickinson, or students still on campus.

What they didn't know was that Laura had been found on the floor of her room, naked from the waist down, legs spread, a pillow over her face, semen on her leg.

The medical examiner's scene report, obtained by CNN, clearly states "foul play suspected." And this lab report from the state police suggests murder.

So why weren't the Dickinsons told what really happened?

(on camera): Do you think as her parents you had a right to know that she may have been murdered?


KAYE: If campus police were investigating this as a murder, why wouldn't the university warn students and faculty? Instead, the day after Laura's body was discovered, university officials posted this message on the school's web site. It reads, in part, "At this point, there is no reason to suspect foul play. We are fully confident in the safety and security of our campus environment."

In the more than two months that passed between the body being discovered and a suspect being arrested, this message was never updated.

(voice-over): It turns out, police had identified their suspect within three days of finding the body -- 20-year-old Orange Taylor, a student at the school. Incredibly, university and campus police kept silent.

It wasn't until Taylor was arrested February 23 that her family and students heard the truth -- Laura died from asphyxiation.

Taylor is charged with murder and rape. He denies the charges.

These are pictures of him entering her dorm about 4:30 a.m. The day she was killed. Here, he's in the stairwell just across the hall from her room about 90 minutes later. Police now admit his DNA matches the semen on her leg.

After the arrest, students demanded answers.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you don't know for sure, don't say. Or if you do know, don't lie.

KAYE: The school started damage control. JOHN FALLON, UNIVERSITY PRESIDENT: I feel pretty good about the way the university handled this.

KAYE: Keeping them honest, we asked to speak with university president, John Fallon. He refused. In fact, neither the university nor campus police would tell CNN why they kept Laura's murder a secret.

The victim's father, Bob Dickinson, says after the arrest police told him revealing details might have compromised the investigation.

The school's board of regents ordered an independent investigation. It found the school violated federal law because it failed to timely and properly warn the campus community.

It also found both the university and campus police may have made a conscientious decision to label the investigation as a death investigation, not a homicide.

(on camera): Do you feel, Deb, that you were -- that you were lied to and misled?

D. DICKINSON: I'm sure they don't think that I was lied to, because they may say that I didn't ask all the questions. But they knew that they told us nothing to find out this horrible thing that happened to our daughter.

How could they just think that was OK to not tell us?

KAYE (voice-over): It wasn't OK. But even the family admits, not knowing their daughter had been murdered was easier to handle than the truth.

Randi Kaye, CNN, Ypsilanti, Michigan.


HOLMES: And you can see more of Randi Kaye's reporting tonight on "A.C. 360".

Innocent people dying on the streets of New Orleans -- Anderson Cooper looks at what are calling the storm ravaged city's collapsing justice system. That's tonight, beginning at 10:00 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: No furniture, no electricity, no brakes -- the perils of being in the Iraqi police department.



CAPT. HENRY MOLTZ, U.S. ARMY: It's been two years. So in two year's time, they've been bombed out three times. Three different I.P. Stations completely destroyed.

(END VIDEO CLIP) PHILLIPS: Iraq's most dangerous police stations -- that story still to come.


HOLMES: Coming up on a quarter until 4:00 here in the CNN NEWSROOM.

Here are some of the stories we're working on.

It's been five plus years in the making and now it is official. A judge has approved a $660 million settlement between L.A.'s Roman Catholic Archdiocese and more than 500 people who say they were abused by clergy. It's the biggest payout of its kind.

Also, thousands of people in northwest Japan spending an anxious night in government shelters. A powerful earthquake has killed at least seven and injured hundreds. It's caused a leak at a nuclear plant, but officials don't think there's a health risk.

Also, he's a trained sniper and he is now on the run. Wyoming police are looking for National Guardsman David Munis, suspected of killing his estranged wife in a sniper style shooting. She was singing with a band at a Cheyenne bar when she was shot.

PHILLIPS: Well, Senate Democrats are going to do everything they can, including an all nighter tomorrow night, to try and get enough votes to pass that amendment to bring troops out of Iraq. They pretty much know Republicans are going to filibuster this move.

Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid had this to say just a few moments ago.


SEN. HARRY REID (D-NV), MAJORITY LEADER: This week, we'll make Republicans to answer for their refusal to allow an up or down vote on the most important issue facing our country today. We're going to work today. We're going to work tomorrow. We're going to work tomorrow night. We're going to continue working on this until we get a vote on this amendment.


PHILLIPS: And, of course, as soon as that vote happens, we'll take it live and tell you how it turns out.

HOLMES: Gutted buildings, burned out cars and lost lives -- this is a mostly Kurdish market in the northern Iraqi city of Kirkuk. A suicide truck bomber there killed at least 80 people and wounded 170 others. The blast left a crater surrounded by dozens of mangled bodies. Minutes later, U.S. and Iraqi forces found and defused a car bomb near the Kirkuk's main hospital.

There's been a rise in big attacks in northern Iraq since the new U.S. security push in Baghdad. PHILLIPS: Before they can serve and protect, Iraqi police need to be able to survive. Right now police southeast of Baghdad can barely keep a roof over their heads.

CNN's Frederik Pleitgen reports that's where the U.S. Army comes in.


FREDERICK PLEITGEN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: (voice-over): This is arguably one of the worst police stations in Iraq, in Jurf al-Sakhr, west of Baghdad. There's not a single piece of furniture in the building. The officers sleep on the floor. And the only radio is powered by a car battery.

But the sheer existence of this police headquarters is a big success for captain Henry Moltz. He says he spent months to get this far.

MOLTZ: It's been two years. So in two years' time, they've been bombed out three different times -- three different I.P. Stations completely destroyed. This is the third that we have established. So it seems that this place is -- it's rudimentary. It doesn't have furniture. It doesn't have good electricity. But it's something. We've got a flag on top of this building. We've got I.P.s back here, into this town, guys who are willing to fight for Iraq and for Jurf al- Sakhr.

PLEITGEN: This is what's left of the last police station -- reduced to rubble by an insurgent bomb that killed several officers and left Jurf al-Sakhr, an insurgent stronghold without a police force.

(on camera): Every time this unit tried to set up a police department, insurgents would come and bomb the building. So now they're trying to set up a new police force basically from scratch, and that's proving to be a very difficult process.

(voice-over): A flag over the station's machine gun positions on the roof, but not much more. U.S. troops say without American support, the Iraqi police unit wouldn't last a day, even though the officers try to display confidence.

"There's no danger here," the policeman says, "because the coalition forces, the Iraqi Army and the Iraqi police are working together to kill the insurgents. The bad guys are now outside the city."

But it's only with the protection of the Iraqi Army and U.S. soldiers that the Iraqi officers can even walk the streets of Jurf al- Sakhr. The policemen live in constant fear of being killed. Even so, Captain Moltz says they've made significant progress in the past weeks. And, he says, he believes eventually they will be ready to take over security in Jurf al-Sakhr.

MOLTZ: Absolutely. Very soon. I mean, as soon as we get more I.P.s in here, which are coming, and as soon as we can get them what they need to run the station on their own, these I.P.s will take over this area.

PLEITGEN: But Moltz also said he knows there will be setbacks along the way in a town that hasn't had a police force for more than two years.

Frederik Pleitgen, CNN, Jurf al-Sakhr, Iraq.


HOLMES: Well, a thumbs up from the U.N. nuclear watchdogs visiting North Korea's main nuclear reactor. They verify it has been shut down, as Pyongyang announced over the weekend.

The chief U.S. nuclear envoy will meet with his North Korean counterpart tomorrow to discuss well, what happens next. And they'll continue the dialogue, as six party talks resume on Wednesday.

A North Korean official says Pyongyang is ready to start disabling the rest of its nuclear program, but wants Washington to lift sanctions and remove the country from the U.S. list of state sponsors of terrorism.

Well, your submissions for the CNN/YouTube debate coming up.

The news just keeps on coming. We, of course, just keep bringing it to you, right here in the CNN NEWSROOM.


PHILLIPS: To the campaign trail and the mad dash for cash. Second quarter fundraising totals are in and the Dems dominate.

Barack Obama leads the pack, raising more than $32 million. Hillary Clinton is a close second, with $27 million. John Edwards is a distant third, followed by Bill Richardson and Christopher Dodd.

Now, on the Republican side, Rudy Giuliani leads the way, raising $170 million. Mitt Romney follows with $14 million. John McCain raised $11.2 million, but spent most of it, leaving him with less than $2 million now.

HOLMES: Well, what would you ask the Democratic presidential candidates if you could ask them a question?

Well, you certainly can, and a lot of you h.

CNN teaming with YouTube for the upcoming presidential debates. We've been collecting your questions for the candidates.

Here's just a preview.


I'm Zuni Abraham (ph) from San Francisco, California. In 1979, President Jimmy Carter gave his now famous malaise speech, where he said: "The erosion of confidence in your future is threatening to destroy the very social and political fabric of America."

Is that true today?

Is America on the right track or are we in a malaise?


I'm Stephanie (ph).

We're in the Bay Area, in my bathroom, because it's one of the places where I use compact fluorescent light bulbs. I use these to decrease my personal energy use. And I hear politicians to talking about alternative energies as a way to decrease our energy impact as a whole.

But my question for you is how is the United States going to decrease its energy consumption in the first place?

In other words, how will your policies influence Americans rather than using special light bulbs to do this?


HOLMES: Well, those were well thought out questions. Well, you can send yours in, as well. I think we're still taking those.

Are they still submitting them?

Yes. Join John Roberts and Kiran Chetry with more on your video questions. That is tonight and every night this week at 8:00 p.m. Eastern.

PHILLIPS: Well, it's the last place that you'd expect to find a man wearing Speedos. But we've got the pictures and an explanation coming up.

Plus the closing bell and a wrap of all the action on Wall Street, straight ahead.


COLLINS: Well, you don't see too many people wearing Speedos at the North Pole. Lewis Pew wore his, though. He took the plunge up there to call attention to global warming. Pew has done several cold water swims, but says the one was -- this one, rather -- was the coldest ever -- 29 degrees. He swam about half a mile in an area where the polar ice has melted -- Susan Lisovicz, what do you think about guys in Speedos?

Dig it?

No? Yes?

LISOVICZ: Oh, boy, you're putting me -- well, I would say on Olympic athletes or people who can do things like swim.

PHILLIPS: So basically on someone who has a good looking bod.

And this guy doesn't look too bad.

LISOVICZ: Six pack abs, yes.

PHILLIPS: T.J. Do you wear Speedos?

LISOVICZ: No pot belly. No -- and, yes, I think he would -- yes, he would definitely cut it.

HOLMES: This is where I leave, right?

LISOVICZ: He burns --


LISOVICZ: He burns a lot of calories on that one just staying warm.

PHILLIPS: That's right, you do. You burn thousands, as a matter of fact. Anyway --


You know, I was on vacation. I was -- I was not quite that far north, but I was just south of the Yukon. The water there was 50 degrees and that was bone chilling. And, no, I certainly did not put my naked toes in.

PHILLIPS: But you did a little trout fishing, I understand.



LISOVICZ: Two 16 inch rainbow trout, Kyra.

PHILLIPS: Listen to her. She's talking like such a guy.

Two 16 inch rainbow trout. Nothing like a sailfish.

LISOVICZ: I landed them.

Nothing like a sailfish.

LISOVICZ: I landed them.

Yes. I mean I actually had someone measure the fish just so I could say that, I swear. Because it's not a fish tale.