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Ed Department Investigating USC; Daring Rescue From Burning Car; Exotic Dancer Gets Money Back; Update on Anthony Weiner.

Aired July 24, 2013 - 11:30   ET



PAMELA BROWN, CNN ANCHOR: Two female students who say they were raped accuse the University of Southern California of trying to sweep their claims under the rug. That accusation has led to a civil rights investigation by the Department of Education. And it is not just USC. Women on numerous campuses across the country with similar claims are coming forward with their stories.

Our Stephanie Elam joins us now from the USC campus.

Stephanie, are these women saying the university is basically trying to cover up these crimes?

STEPHANIE ELAM, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Hi, Pamela. I don't know if they would use the word as much as covering it up as they would say that they bungled. I spoke to two seniors with the Student Coalition Against Rape. They say that consistently the University of Southern California allegedly has failed to follow its own rules as far as code of conduct when a student reports being raped. They say on numerous occasions the university bungled or shelved or misfiled a complaint coming in from a student saying they were raped. They also allege that it is in very rare cases an assailant goes to being suspended or expelled from the school. So that's one thing they're looking at.

Now, we got confirmation from the Department of Education saying that they have begun a federal investigation into how rape cases are handled here at USC. This was all prompted because these women, along with their 77 members, and group there, went on to file a complaint with USC.

One of these women, Tucker Reid, told me that she has proof in an e- mail, and also recorded conversations with the assailant with him admitting they did not have consensual sex.

Take a listen.


TUCKER REED, USC STUDENT: Very interesting to note that a victim can come forward with a binder of evidence that supports their claim that they were subjected to a violent attack but the school will choose to believe a completely unsubstantiated claim from a male student who denies it.


ELAM: Now, for its part, USC said in a statement, quote, "The University of Southern California takes all reports of sexual violence extremely seriously and has many resources available to assist students that experience unwanted sexual contact. We thoroughly investigate and take appropriate disciplinary as well as interim remedial action."

The university said that previous investigations have resulted in a wide variety of sanctions, including the dismissal of students. They also say they welcome this current investigation.

Another senior, another founding member, Alexa Schwarz, who I spoke with yesterday, she claims that what happened to her in 2010 -- how she feels about it turned from shame to sadness for rape victims going through this alone. She also said she wants to hear from the university directly.

Hear from her.


ALEXA SCHWARZ, CO-DIRECTOR, STUDENT COALITION AGAINST RAPE: I would like to prevent other rapes from occurring on my campus while I'm still here, while I can create change.

We want to work with USC. We would love to work with USC to create a safer campus.


ELAM: We did confirm with the Department of Education they have other universities that they are investigating as far as these rape charges. But because these investigations are open, Pamela, they are not giving us any further details.

BROWN: Stephanie Elam, thank you so much for that report.

These are serious accusations with serious implications for USC and other colleges and universities because of the federal Title IX law. We will talk about this.

Let's bring in our legal team. In New York, attorney and former criminal prosecutor, Faith Jenkins, and in Los Angeles, attorney, Brian Kabateck.

Nice to see you both again.


BROWN: Faith, let's start with you.

You have prosecuted similar sexual assault cases. If these allegations are true that the universities are not thoroughly investigating these claims by these women, what do you think the reality is, these administrators are just trying to protect the school's reputation and enrollment?

JENKINS: The universities have a duty to report if there are sexual assaults taking place on their campuses. What they are investigating in their internal investigations and finding that these claims are without merit or that there is not enough evidence to go forward, then they are not reporting those sexual assaults and guess what's happening. They are keeping their crime numbers low. Oftentimes, with colleges, this is an ongoing problem. A motivating factor for not publicly reporting the sexual assault cases like they are required to do is they want to keep the crime numbers low because it impacts it is reputation of the university.

BROWN: These, as we mentioned, very serious allegations, Brian. One student saying that she had been raped at a paternity party and allegedly told by a Bay police officer, quote, "Women should not go out and get drunk and expect not to get raped." Another woman claims she was told that she wasn't raped because her attacker stopped. Can you believe that kind of insensitivity?

BRIAN KABATECK, ATTORNEY: It is really incredible to believe, particularly in that metropolitan area like Los Angeles, where the police on the campus are actually sworn police officers under the laws of the state of California. And then the university actually released a statement and part of the statement released it said that these students could have gone to the LAPD, Los Angeles Police Department, if they didn't think they were getting satisfaction with the police at the campus. And the campuses are actually police.

This is Title IX of the federal government law. That means that any student who attends a university has a right not to be discriminated against based on their sex. If the federal government gets serious about this, they can take extreme action, including coming in and taking over the police operations of the university, they can shut down the -- whatever kind of discipline system the school has itself. These are very, very serious allegations. And we will see how wide this spreads.

But I agree with Faith. This is directly designed by universities to promote their schools and get quality students to come to their schools. And they don't want this kind of bad information out there in the public.

BROWN: It is just so disturbing to think that that could be the reality of -- we are dealing with. As you pointed out, Brian, some serious implications for these universities.

Quickly, what alternative do these women have if administrators or police fail to investigate?

KABATECK: Well, the first thing that the -- they can do certainly can go to the Los Angeles Police Department. I understand in some cases they at least have now and the police are investigating. They also can bring civil suits. They can bring civil suits against the university, against the administrators of the university and against the fraternity in the one case where the rape was reported in the fraternity house, and ultimately and obviously against the person who committed this horrible crime. So the women have both civil and criminal remedies at their disposal. But it is not the same as if they had done it exactly at the moment that the rape had occurred or the alleged event occurred.

BROWN: All Right. The statute of limitations, Faith?

JENKINS: One of the complainants did go to the police and the district attorney's office found there was not enough evidence to go forward with a criminal case. However, the school's obligations are separate and apart from that. Under federal law, they are required to have programs in place to address sexual assault claims. And one of the allegations in the complaint is the school simply did not follow their own policies and procedures in investigating the claims and taking actions against the perpetrator who is also a student at the school.

BROWN: Let's be clear, the onus is on the university to look into these allegations. And we still have a lot to learn from this and will most certainly will be following the story.

Faith, Brian, thank you.

JENKINS: Thank you.

BROWN: Coming up, performing with a crocodile. Definitely a profession that takes courage to say the least, especially when the crock snaps at your head.

Plus, take a look at this dash-cam video. Look to the other side of that. Massive smoke and flames engulfing a vehicle. Those deputies saved that driver. They join me up next.


BROWN: We have dash-cam video of a heroic rescue in Orange County, California. Sheriff's deputies pulled a man from a burning car just moments before it exploded into flames.

Take a look.




BROWN: Turns out the driver was having a medical emergency resulting in the crash. And if the deputies had been was just few minutes late, he wouldn't have made it.

Deputies Shayne Stiefel and Gilbert Lascurain are joining me. They rescued the victim and are here live from Orange, California.

Thank you both for being here and talking about this.

As we saw in that video, it was a daring rescue. You both risked your lives saving the driver. What was going through your mind in that moment when you were trying to get the man out of that car?

DEP. GILBERT LASCURAIN, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: Well, once we decided to go ahead and pull him out because the flames began to get large, we just wanted to the make sure we moved quickly but safely. We had no idea what he was going to do with -- whether he would be combative or not because it was kind of a bizarre scene once we pulled up.

BROWN: How about you, Officer?

DEP. SHAYNE STIEFEL, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF'S DEPARTMENT: There were a million things running through our minds when we approach a scene like that. The guy's actions inside the car were so strange. It was creating a million different things. Is he going to hurt us when we approach? Is he trying to hurt himself? Is he trying to flee the scene? When we approached, there was no more time to wait. We basically had to enter the car and pull him out.

BROWN: You make an interesting point. It is such a bizarre situation. You don't know if this man has a gun or what is going on. How are officers normally expected to act in scenarios like this?

STEIFEL: Our safety -- you know, in normal situations like this, we are thinking of our safety first. Like I was saying earlier, his actions were so bizarre. When we pulled up, the guy was pressing on the gas pedal as if he was trying to flee the scene. When we initially made a voice contact with him, when I made voice contact with him through the window, he looked at me and attempted to light a cigarette. I couldn't see one of his hands. When we made a decision we had to go into the car and pull him out once the flames entered the cab of the vehicle -- when we were approaching a car and can't see someone's hands, we are just not comfortable. It got to a point where if we waited any longer, we weren't wanting to deal with what could have happened after.

BROWN: Absolutely. You said, just make sure I heard that correctly, you said he was trying to light a cigarette?

STEIFEL: Yeah. Upon first contact with him, after he had started depressing the gas pedal and spinning the front wheels, I started to order him to get out of the vehicle. It looked like he was uninjured. He looked over at me and had a cigarette in his mouth and tried to light it as I'm ordering him to get out of the car.


He's still in the hospital. Have you made contact with him? Have either of you spoken to him since the incident?

STEIFEL: No. We have been unable to.

LASCURAIN: We haven't had any contact. All we heard is he's recovering and hopefully he gets to 100 percent.

BROWN: He certainly owes you his life. You are our heroes in a lot of people's eyes, including his, I'm sure. Thank you so much, Deputy Shayne Stiefel and Deputy Gilbert Lascurain. Thank you.

$1 million cash and a stripper. Why police confiscated it and a judge gave it back. That story is up next.

And the must-see video. A crocodile show where the beast doesn't exactly follow the script.

We are going to be right back with those stories and more after this break.


BROWN: Exotic dancing may not be the most lucrative career but it worked out pretty well for Taryn Misha (ph) of California. She amassed more than $1 million over 15 years. It is about $66,000 a year. She lost it all in a traffic stop because police believed it was drug money. And now a judge ordered the police to give the money back with interest.

Attorneys Brian Kabateck and Faith Jenkins joins us once again.

I had to say this story so interesting to me. Basically, there was a traffic stop. Police pulled them over. Find all of this cash in the back seat.

Brian, do you think that police had a right to be suspicious here?

KABATECK: Oh, yeah. I mean, this case reminds people that what we do as lawyers is interesting and changes every day. A police officer stopping someone that has $1 million in cash, driving a car across the country, that's called probable cause. That may be the dictionary definition of probable cause.

Now, the person obviously has a right to go to court to make the claim for their property back, which they did in this case, and got the property back. Ultimately, when a police officer finds a million dollars in a car, my only question is, was it all in singles?

BROWN: You know, they were wrapped in hair bands. According to the story, they had initially lied about it, saying there was than anything in the car, no money, and then police found it. You look at that and the fact the drug sniffing dog did detect drugs on the cash apparently.

But still, Faith, what do you think about this, what's your reaction?

JENKINS: It is not illegal to have a million dollars in your car and drive across the country. There were no drugs or drugs paraphernalia. It was just cash. The judge did the right thing by giving the money back. Asset forfeiture is a common legal action prosecutors take when they believe money a product or proceeds of illegal activity. Here, there's no illegal activity. No one was arrested and charged with a crime. No criminal act that was committed. These people simply had a million dollars. The government certainly has an incentive go after the money because when you forfeit cash like this, the money goes to the government. The district attorney's office may get the money. There's a lot you can do with a million dollars.

Simply put, there's no crime here. Having money and having that kind of cash is not illegal activity in and of itself.

BROWN: Faith, do you think police have a right to be suspicious given the other circumstances, that the driver said we don't have any money and they found money in the car?

JENKINS: Again, it's not illegal. I understand it's suspicious. Maybe they don't believe in putting money in the bank. This woman says she's a stripper. It's proceeds from stripping. There's nothing illegal about that. The right thing, she got to keep the money with interest. The government has to pay the interest because they never should have confiscated.

BROWN: Let's talk about taxes. Do you think the IRS will check on her?

Brian, what do you think?

KABATECK: I think there's a file that's been opened up at the IRS sometime in the last 48 hours on this case as soon it hit the major media. I think the people will look into this. Because, while Faith is right, it isn't illegal, there's nothing that's wrong, but there's lots of questions raised. Why isn't this money put into accounts? It was transferred from California to New Jersey to open up a nightclub. This looks like it warrants a tax investigation to find out where it came from and what was going to happen to it and what was going on with it.

But she's got her money. She's probably opening her nightclub now. And we'll see where it goes next.

BROWN: We sure will.

Thank you so much, Brian Kabateck and Faith Jenkins. Appreciate your analysis on that.

No matter how many times you stick your head into a crocodile's gaping mouth, sooner or later those jaws will get you. This trainer in Thailand -- take a look here -- has been doing this stunt for years, believes the animal got spooked when his hand slipped. His face required about 30 stitches. But he's already back at work.

When we come back, CNN has new sound from New York City mayoral candidate, Anthony Weiner. This, as we're learning more about his recent texting incident. More must see video. This ride in a hot air balloon is anything but romantic. The story behind these pictures here up next.



BROWN: -- have called for him to drop out. Here is what he told us a short time ago.


ANTHONY WEINER, NEW YORK CITY MAYORAL CANDIDATE: There's been people since the moment I got in this race that didn't want me to run. There's people who didn't want me to run at the very beginning. But a lot of people have been crying out for somebody to talk about issues important to the middle class. And a lot of the same people who weren't crazy about me running in the first place now want me to get out, including my opponent, who surely didn't want me in the race in the first place.


BROWN: One of those who wants Weiner out of the race is mayoral candidate, Bill de Blasio. He says enough is enough. "I'm calling on Anthony to withdraw from this race for the good of the city that I know he loves as much as all of us." Again, Weiner is saying this is behind him and he's staying in the race.

All right. Here is the video you have to see. This is the look and sound of the Southwest jet liner crashing from inside the cabin. A passenger onboard shot it as the Boeing 737's nose landing gear collapsed on Monday. Sparks showered the runway at New York's LaGuardia Airport. 10 people suffered minor injuries. The NTSB is conducting a full investigation.

Some other dramatic video to show you, this time from the Netherlands. It's an unhappy ending to a balloon ride a few miles outside of Amsterdam. You can see the balloon going down in a lake. Definitely, not the plan. There were 11 people in the basket. Two went to the hospital. It isn't known what caused the balloon to come down in the water.

In war time, they say anything can happen. Vietnam War vet, Urban Miyares, knows that first hand. During a patrol, his platoon came under fire. He was the only survivor. In today's "Human Factor," he revealed what saved his life and how it dramatically changed his life.

Dr. Sanjay Gupta has his story.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In was 1968. Infantry Platoon Sergeant Urban Miyares was on patrol in Vietnam.

URBAN MIYARES, VIETNAM VET: As we're going out, I hear mortars coming in and machine guns going off.

GUPTA: Then something odd happened.

MIYARES: I feel myself falling face first into a rice patty and that's it. Two days later, I woke up in the military hospital and they said I was lucky. They found any a body bag.

GUPTA: You heard that right. Urban was put in a body bag, presumed dead because he was unconscious. An astute combat medic discovered him still breathing.

MIYARES: The diagnosis was diabetes.

GUPTA: Urban hadn't been hit by the enemy. He passed out from the effects of the disease. He was the only soldier in his platoon to have survived.

MIYARES: If it wasn't for diabetes, I wouldn't be here.

GUPTA: The 45 years since have been a roller-coaster ride as well. He's been legally blind since the 70s. He lost most of his hearing. He needed a kidney transplant. Sailing kept him afloat.

MIYARES: When I went to Vietnam and came back so sick, I never thought I would get into sailing again. So I met two gentlemen in wheelchairs, Vietnam War veterans.

GUPTA: The three started Challenge America. It's a therapeutic sailing program for people with disabilities, primarily veterans.

MIYARES: Sailing is therapeutic. There's nothing like being on the water and be nature. No one is going to jump out of a hole and shoot at me.

GUPTA: The program now has 27 modified sailboats based in San Diego. Urban's goal is to help the world see people with disabilities as equals.

MIYARES: It's nice. You get front-of-the-line privileges, like I say. But that's not really what we're doing. We want to be equal with you. Give us a chance to prove that we can do it. You may be surprised.

GUPTA: Dr. Sanjay Gupta, CNN, reporter.


BROWN: Good inspiration.

You can watch "Dr. Sanjay Gupta, M.D.," Saturday afternoon at 4:30 or Sunday morning at 7:30 eastern time.

Thank you so much for being here with us.

AROUND THE WORLD is next. Have a great day.

SUZANNE MALVEAUX, CNN ANCHOR: He's been hiding out in a Russian airport for more than a month. When will NSA leaker, Edward Snowden, get his walking papers?

MICHAEL HOLMES, CNN ANCHOR: And a security nightmare. Pope Francis insists on being near his flock but the crowd is making it difficult to keep him safe.

MALVEAUX: Also Queen Elizabeth meets her great grandson for the first time. And there's no shortage of family members ready to meet the little prince and help out if they can, including Aunt Pippa and Uncle Harry.


MAX FOSTER, CNN ROYAL CORRESPONDENT: Harry will clearly be protective. And he's also expected to be the fun uncle.



MALVEAUX: Welcome to AROUND THE WORLD. I'm Suzanne Malveaux.

HOLMES: And I'm Michael Holmes. Thanks for your company.

It looks like Edward Snowden will be staying in the transit area of the Moscow airport for now. A few hours ago, it got complicated. Russian media reported the NSA leaker would be allowed to leave the airport and enter Russia.

MALVEAUX: Now Snowden's lawyers said he hasn't received the paper work for this temporary visa.

I want to bring in Phil Black who is joining us from inside that airport.

Phil, what do we know about Snowden's status right now?

PHIL BLACK, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Well, Suzanne, his asylum application is in. We expect an answer on that at some stage can within the next three months or so. And at any point within that three month period, he could receive permission to leave the airport into Russia officially while that application is still being processed. We now know that looks very unlikely to happen.