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American Morning

New Revelations in Foley Scandal; Looking for a Motive in the Pennsylvania Amish School Shooting

Aired October 04, 2006 - 08:00   ET


ANDREA KOPPEL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Andrea Koppel on Capitol Hill.
As the Foley fallout continues, I'll tell you how one Democratic candidate is using the scandal to her political advantage.

JOHN ZARRELLA, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm John Zarrella in West Palm Beach.

The Foley scandal continues to expand. But Republicans say they're not conceding this district to the Democrats.

ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Allan Chernoff in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where the Amish are dealing with a horrific schoolhouse shooting.

What could possibly motivate anyone to commit such a crime?

New details are emerging.

SOLEDAD O'BRIEN, CNN ANCHOR: And the North Korean nuclear threat -- leaders around the globe are weighing in on what to do next.

Those stories and much more ahead on this AMERICAN MORNING.

Welcome back, everybody.

I'm Soledad O'Brien.


We're glad you're with us.

Republicans this morning in a DEFCON 1 damage control operation. They're trying to stop the Mark Foley e-mail page scandal from spiraling out of control. The key question this morning, what did Republican leaders in the House know and when did they know it?

The question is leading many to call for the House speaker, Dennis Hastert, to step down. But he's not budging.

We get the latest details now from our Congressional correspondent, Andrea Koppel, who joins us from Capitol Hill -- Andrea, good morning.

KOPPEL: Good morning, Miles. Well, following those calls for Speaker Hastert to resign, the Speaker and his allies spent much of yesterday and will likely spend a lot of today behind closed doors working the phones, digging in and doing big time damage control while other Republicans spent a lot of their day distancing themselves from the Speaker.


KOPPEL (voice-over): In Cincinnati, Ohio...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: John Boehner, welcome to the program.

KOPPEL: The second ranking Republican in the House took aim at the chamber's top Republican.

REP. JOHN BOEHNER (R), OHIO: I believe I talked to the Speaker and he told me it had been taken care of. And in my position, it's in his corner. It's his responsibility.

KOPPEL: Appearing on a syndicated radio show and in a startling move, Boehner broke ranks with Speaker Dennis Hastert.

BOEHNER: The clerk of the House, who runs the page program, the Page Board, all report to the Speaker. And I believed that it had been dealt with.

KOPPEL: But at the same time, Boehner said he disagreed Hastert should resign. In a letter to the editor of "The Washington Times," Boehner suggested: "whoever leaked the sexually explicit instant messages exchanged between Congressman Foley and an underage page had a political agenda."

Speaker Hastert agreed and in a separate radio interview, warned if he's forced to step aside, the Republican Party could suffer.

REP. DENNIS HASTERT (R-IL), SPEAKER OF THE HOUSE: There are some people that are trying to tear us down. We are the insulation to protect this country. And if they get to me, it looks like that, you know, they could affect our election, as well.

KOPPEL: In fact, the Foley scandal is now ammunition in at least one Democrat's campaign ad. Minnesota Democrat Patty Wetterling rolled out this ad Tuesday.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It shocks the conscience. Congressional leaders have admitted covering up the predatory behavior of a congressman who used the Internet to molest children.



KOPPEL: Now, Democrats are quick to point out that Patty Wetterling has been a chief children's advocate for the last 17 years and that's one of the reasons that she was so quick out of the box.

Now, as far as Speaker Hastert is concerned, some of his allies came out late yesterday to voice their support. Among them, John Shadegg of Arizona, Henry Hyde of Illinois and, of course, the number three Republican in the House, Roy Blunt -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: There's an idea floating around that Hastert might say he will serve out his term and then not resume as Speaker, assuming the Republicans maintain control of the House of Representatives.

What do you hear about that?

KOPPEL: There are reports that Speaker Hastert -- that's certainly one option that we've been hearing that is out there for him. But as things stand right now -- and, of course, Miles, this situation is continuing to evolve and anything could happen. But as things stand right now, Speaker Hastert says that he isn't going anywhere.

M. O'BRIEN: Andrea Koppel on Capitol Hill.

Thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: The latest revelations in the Mark Foley scandal come from Foley's attorney. He says Mark Foley was molested by a clergyman when he was a teenager and that the former congressman is gay.

CNN's John Zarrella live for us in West Palm Beach, Florida with more -- good morning to you, John.

ZARRELLA: Good morning, Soledad.

As you can see, we brought the CNN Election Express down here to West Palm with us. And it was right here yesterday that Mark Foley's attorney, David Roth, didn't offer any details, didn't offer any proof, but said that Mark Foley was not using it as an excuse for his inappropriate e-mails, but that, in fact, Mark Foley had been abused as a teenager.


DAVID ROTH, FOLEY'S ATTORNEY: As is so often the case with victims of abuse, Mark advises that he kept his shame to himself for almost 40 years. Specifically, Mark has asked that you be told that between the ages of 13 and 15, he was molested by a clergyman.


ZARRELLA: Now, Roth said and reiterated and emphasized that Mark Foley is absolutely not a pedophile, has never, according to Roth, had any contact, physical contact, with teenage boys. But he also said that Foley actually entered that rehab facility last Friday night and that he, Roth, was there at the rehab facility when Foley was admitted, but he wouldn't say where it was. Now, this here is the sample ballot from St. Lucie County, Florida, which is an optical scan county, so we actually have a physical ballot. And this is the problem the Republicans face. You can see that right down here is Mark Foley's name on the ballot. And that's what's going to appear on the ballot in November. It will not be changed to the new candidate, Joe Negron. It can't be. It's too late. So people, Republicans have to be educated, as the Republicans have said, the party folks here have said, to make sure that they bubble in Mark Foley's name, because doing that will be a vote for Joe Negron.

The other part of the dilemma for Republicans is that right at the very top of the ballot is Katherine Harris's name, running for U.S. Senate, against Democrat Bill Nelson, and that has been controversial, of course, as well, because Katherine Harris, the former Florida secretary of state, who certified the 2000 election for President Bush, many Republicans did not want her name at the top of the ballot for concerns that would energize Democrats to go out and vote -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Well, I can see lots of concerns on that ballot there. You actually have to physically vote for Congressman Foley even if you want to vote for the guy who's replacing him.

ZARRELLA: Correct.

S. O'BRIEN: John Zarrella for us this morning.

Thanks, John.

President Bush is pressed to respond to the Foley scandal. He's on a campaign swing through the West Coast. Today, he's in Scottsdale, Arizona.

CNN White House correspondent Elaine Quijano is there traveling with the president -- good morning, Elaine.

ELAINE QUIJANO, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

President Bush is wrapping up his West Coast campaign push today, as you noted, with stops here in Arizona, as well as Colorado.

The president is hoping to focus attention on national security amid that continuing political fallout over the Mark Foley scandal.

Well, on Tuesday in Stockton, California, President Bush spoke out about the situation for the first time.


GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I was dismayed and shocked to learn about Congressman Foley's unacceptable behavior. I was disgusted by the revelations and disappointed that he would violate the trust of the citizens who placed him in office.

(END VIDEO CLIP) QUIJANO: Now, the president also made clear he is standing by House Speaker Dennis Hastert. The president's comments coming on the same day that the conservative "Washington Times" newspaper had called for Speaker Hastert to resign his speakership.

But President Bush, Soledad, clearly trying to quell concerns of a Republican leadership just five weeks out from the Congressional mid-term elections -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Elaine Quijano for us this morning.

Thank you, Elaine -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: In Pennsylvania, four young Amish girls are still in critical condition this morning, all victims of that schoolhouse shooting. Five died in the attack and now we're learning more about the shooter, Charles Roberts, a very disturbing motive.

Our senior correspondent, Allan Chernoff, is in Lancaster County this morning -- good morning, Allan.

CHERNOFF: Good morning, Miles.

Yes, police believe that they have uncovered a possible motive in this horrific shooting -- trouble deep inside of a man who, on the surface, appeared to be an ordinary father.


CHERNOFF (voice-over): Minutes before milkman Charles Roberts shot 10 schoolgirls and killed himself Monday, he revealed his deepest, darkest secret to his wife Marie during their final phone conversation. Twenty years ago, he claimed, he has sexually molested two of his very young relatives when they were three or four years old, a claim that police are still working to confirm.

As he held the schoolgirls at gunpoint, Roberts told Marie where his suicide notes to his wife and three children were located and that he would not be coming home.

In this letter to Marie, Roberts wrote he had dreamed for two years of molesting children again.

Police say Roberts may have planned out to carry out his dreams at the Amish schoolhouse.

COL. JEFFREY MILLER, COMMISSIONER, PENNSYLVANIA STATE POLICE: It's very possible that he intended to victimize these children, in many ways, prior to executing them and killing himself.

CHERNOFF: Roberts also spoke in the note to his wife about his anger that his first born daughter, Elise, died only 20 minutes after her birth.

MILLER: Roberts was angry with god for taking Elise, as outlined in his suicide note, stating that it had changed his life forever and he was not the same since it happened. Roberts expressed hate toward himself and toward god.

CHERNOFF: Police quickly arrived at the schoolhouse and authorities say Roberts panicked and began shooting the girls execution style.


CHERNOFF: Funerals for the five girls are planned for tomorrow and Friday -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Allan, what is perhaps most interesting in all of this is the reaction of the Amish community. Every right to have tremendous, deep anger with the outside world. And what I hear time and again is just the opposite from them.

CHERNOFF: Yes, it's almost incomprehensible to so many Americans. But the Amish are just a wonderfully forgiving people. And even as they plan to lay to rest some of their children, they are speaking of forgiveness, of the need to move on and simply accept what god has willed -- Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: Allan Chernoff in Lancaster County, thank you very much -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: North Korea's stated plans to test a nuclear bomb on the front burner at the U.N. Security Council today. Meanwhile, North Korea's neighbors are now scrambling for an appropriate response. The nuclear threat is likely to top the agenda when the Japanese prime minister, Shinzo Abe, heads to China on Sunday and then on to South Korea on Monday for his discussions with his counterparts. Abe says any test would be unacceptable.

China is also weighing in, calling for North Korea to tread lightly and to rethink any plans for a nuclear test. South Korea urging a calm but tough response. This morning, they went ahead with a planned aid shipment to the north containing 6,400 tons of cement.

Let's get right to the forecast with Chad at the CNN Center -- good morning.



S. O'BRIEN: Coming up this morning, so how are the people in Lancaster County coping with the deadly schoolhouse shootings?

We're going to talk to a pastor who's met with relatives of both the victims' families and the killer's family, as well.

Plus, more on the Mark Foley scandal. We'll talk to one Republican who's suggesting that a drastic measure be taken to help solve the problem. We'll tell you what that is ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) S. O'BRIEN: Back to Lancaster County in Pennsylvania now to talk more about that deadly shooting that took place on Monday.

The Reverend Bob Schenck met with both the shooter's family and the family of two of the victims.

He joins us this morning.

Nice to see you, Reverend.

Thanks for talking with us, as always.

It's nice to get a chance to talk with you.


S. O'BRIEN: Give me a sense, sir, of who you had an opportunity to sit down and, I guess, both listen to and also guide spirituality, as well. SCHENCK: Well, I visited with the Roberts family and I spoke mostly with Charles Roberts's parents and his brother-in-law, had quite a long conversation. And I had a very nice exchange, actually, watching that family. It's a very loving family. This is a Christian family. They are church people.

And, as you can only imagine, they're quite -- quite devastated. I did not see Mrs. Roberts, only because the -- she had been advised to rest. As you can imagine, it's an overwhelming situation for her.

Bias visited with one of the families of the victims and had the privilege, really, of being right there, actually, at the moment they were preparing their daughter's body for burial. And it was a deeply moving experience I'll never forget as long as I live.

S. O'BRIEN: Gosh, I can imagine.

Let's start with Charles Roberts's family.

Were they able to -- did they tell you that they -- that they believe that he was more troubled in the last weeks or so? Did they see a change in him? Did they give you any clue, you know, to the question that everybody is asking, which is why?

SCHENCK: Well, as a minister, I won't talk about the most intimate parts of the conversations that went on there, only to say that they had no indication at all that he had any predisposition toward this kind of violence. I did talk with others who have known Charles Roberts for quite a long time. And they did detect that he was a troubled man.

One person who had had almost daily encounters with him said that she noted that he never looked into anyone's eyes. He never looked into anyone's faces. And she knew that there was something deeply troubling about him, although she did say -- she was very careful to say that Charles Roberts was not an evil person, that he was a deeply troubled man, that he had, in her words, the sort of modest words of the Amish, that he had problems of the heart.

S. O'BRIEN: It's so baffling to me, I have to admit, that the family members of the victims, of the little girls who were killed, have been so forgiving. Explain that to me. I think that's hard for a lot of people to understand.

SCHENCK: Well, there's a very deep ethic within the Amish community that they are raised with from small children that you forgive your enemies. And, in fact, as we were standing next to the body of this 13-year-old girl, the grandfather was tutoring the young boys. He was making a point, just saying to the family, we must not think evil of this man.

It was one of the most touching things I have seen in 25 years of Christian ministry.

S. O'BRIEN: The Reverend Bob Schenck joining us this morning.

It's nice to see you, sir.

Thank you for talking with us.

SCHENCK: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Coming up on the program, AMERICAN MORNING'S Delia Gallagher will join us live -- Delia, what are you working on?

DELIA GALLAGHER, CNN FAITH & VALUES CORRESPONDENT: Miles, it's the holy month of Ramadan for Muslims, a religion which is attracting a growing number of converts in this country.

You'll meet some of them when AMERICAN MORNING continues.


M. O'BRIEN: Since the 9/11 attacks, we've told you numerous stories of Muslims being unfairly singled out for retribution and discrimination by angry Americans. As a result, you might conclude the number of Muslims in this country would be on the decline.

But as it turns out, it appears just the opposite is happening.

AMERICAN MORNING'S faith and values correspondent, Delia Gallagher, joining us with this story -- good morning, Delia.

GALLAGHER: Good morning to you, Miles.

According to one report, there is, on average, one conversion per mosque every month in this country. With about 1,500 mosques in the United States, that's an average of 18,000 new Muslim converts a year.



GALLAGHER (voice-over): Allison Poole (ph) says this phrase three times in Arabic and then in English.



EL-GAMAL: But god.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And I bear witness...

EL-GAMAL: And I bear witness...


EL-GAMAL: That Muhammad...

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: ... is the messenger of god.

EL-GAMAL: ... is the messenger of god.

GALLAGHER: And her conversion ceremony is complete. She's now a Muslim.

Moments later, she'll marry Sammy (ph) and become Allison El- Gamal. But Allison, who was raised a Southern Baptist in North Carolina, says faith, not marriage, made her want to become a Muslim.

EL-GAMAL: I think for a long time I've been looking for something. There's been like a piece missing, always one little thing that maybe wasn't right.

GALLAGHER: At a ceremony marking the Muslim holy month of Ramadan, she explained why Islam appeals to her.

EL-GAMAL: I think because it's much more about peace. I'm praying five times a day. It's kind of hard to go out and say bad things or do bad things when you're praying five times a day.

GALLAGHER: The imam who married Allison says he's seen more American converts recently, in part because of the prominence of Islam in the news.

FEISAL ABDUL RAUF, IMAM: Well, it may sound paradoxical, but what happens is that when something becomes more in the news, people tend to want to know about it.

GALLAGHER: Allison says she was already on a spiritual quest when she began to hear a lot about Islam post-9/11.

Barbara Cartabuke, another recent Muslim convert, says 9/11 also played a part in her conversion.

BARBARA CARTABUKE, MUSLIM CONVERT: After 9/11, I thought this is the time when people really have to start looking for real answers, to get away from everybody fighting back and war. You have to start looking toward god.

GALLAGHER: Barbara says through Islam, she found a one-on-one relationship with god she was unable to find as a Roman Catholic.

CARTABUKE: And I always felt when you go to church you're praying to Jesus or you're doing Hail Mary's. You're not -- I used to think, well, where's god?

GALLAGHER: She says her family has been mostly supportive of her conversion.

Allison says her family is completely behind her decision, but occasionally she's reminded that not everyone is.

EL-GAMAL: I was walking around down near the World Trade Center. And this woman walked by and she said, "I want to just go bomb those Muslim bastards."

And I heard her say it and it just -- it really struck me, because I was like you know what? You know, that's me.


GALLAGHER: Now, some studies suggest that the number of Muslims in the United States now slightly outnumbers adherents to Judaism, both religions making up about 1 percent of the total U.S. population, as compared to about 80 percent Christians in the United States.

M. O'BRIEN: It's interesting seeing so many women, because a lot of us would look at the Muslim faith and see inequalities in the faith, as it relates to women.

Not so?

GALLAGHER: Well, they wouldn't necessarily see them as inequalities. They are separate. In the mosques, for example, the women are in the back. They pray behind the men. But they don't consider that an inequality, necessarily.

But it is true that the growing number of converts are majority women.

M. O'BRIEN: And they call it a reversion, right?


M. O'BRIEN: Tell us about that.

GALLAGHER: They're called reverts, not converts, because in the Muslim religion, they actually consider that in a certain -- to a certain extent, everybody is already Muslim, in the sense that if you believe already in the one god, as Jews and Christians do, then for Islam, you are -- in a certain sense you already have that seed of Islam within you. And so all you need to do is say this prayer to become a full-fledged Muslim.

M. O'BRIEN: Interesting.

Delia Gallagher, thanks for dropping by. GALLAGHER: Thank you.

M. O'BRIEN: Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Ahead this morning, we're going to meet a 5-year-old boy who is already his father's hero. We'll tell you how he practically got behind the wheel and saved his dad's life.

And we've all heard of wedding horror stories, but this one takes the cake. That newlywed couple right there had to battle the parents to get to the wedding. It's a strange one. We've got that story ahead.

Stay with us.


M. O'BRIEN: Happening This Morning, China urging North Korea to hold off on announced plans to test a nuclear bomb. The U.N. Security Council is set to discuss the matter later today.

Secretary of State Condoleezza Rice is in Israel for talks with Israeli and Palestinian leaders. She'll meet first with Palestinian President Mahmoud Abbas. Rice wants to show support for Abbas in his standoff with Hamas hardliners.

And American Roger Kornberg won the Nobel Prize for chemistry this morning. He won for research on how cells use genetic information to produce proteins.

Good morning. I'm Miles O'Brien.

S. O'BRIEN: And I'm Soledad O'Brien.

A series of deadly bomb attacks rocking Baghdad again this morning. At least 12 people are dead, 70 more wounded in the coordinated attacks. It's just another example of the deadly violence that is rocking Iraq and has been over the last month.

Let's get right to Cal Perry.

He's live for us in Baghdad this morning -- hey, Cal, good morning.

CAL PERRY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Good morning to you, Soledad.

Insurgents 12 days ago, at the beginning of Ramadan, pledging an up tick of violence, pledging to hit U.S. forces where it hurts. They pledged spectacular attacks.

Major General Caldwell, who briefs the press here on Baghdad, is doing so right now.

Here's what he had to say moments ago about insurgent attacks.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) MAJ. GEN. WILLIAM CALDWELL, U.S. MILITARY SPOKESMAN IN IRAQ: In September, we did see a rise in sensational attacks. Last week, we also saw the highest number of vehicle-borne improvised explosive devices this year, that were both found and cleared, and those that were detonated.

The number of IEDs, or improvised explosive devices, is also at an all time high. But Iraqi security forces and coalition forces continue to find and clear a portion of these devices.


PERRY: Now, as the general said, IEDs, that is roadside bombs, at an all time high, many of them being cleared by forces. But a lot of these roadside bombs finding their mark. Deadly for U.S. forces. In just the first three days of October, Soledad, 14 U.S. troops dying in combat. The weapon of choice oftentimes for insurgents, those very same roadside bombs -- Soledad.

S. O'BRIEN: Oh, the news is so depressing there.

Cal Perry for us.

He's in Baghdad.

Thanks, Cal -- Miles.

This morning Republicans all across the country are scrambling to political battle stations, trying to fend off further damage from the Mark Foley page scandal. Here's the latest. The ex-congressman's attorney says Foley is gay and was molested by a clergyman when he was a teenager. The attorney denies Foley ever had any sexual contact with any minor.

Meanwhile, the finger pointing among Republican leaders continue. The number two man in the house, John Boehner, says it was House Speaker Dennis Hastert's responsibility to deal with Foley. That said, Boehner says Hastert should not resign. Hastert told the Rush Limbaugh radio audience he's not resigning, just trying to do the right thing. And another Republican leader, John Shadegg of Arizona, released a letter vouching for the speaker. He says calls for Hastert's resignation are unwarranted and fundamentally unfair.

While Hastert and other Republican leaders come under fire for the handling of the Foley scandal, this morning a call for the 177- year-old congressional page program to be eliminated. Republican Congressman Ray Lahood would like to drop the program altogether. He joins us from Peroria, Illinois.

Congressman, good to have you with us.

REP. RAY LAHOOD (R), ILLINOIS: Good morning, Miles.

M. O'BRIEN: After all these years, why would you suggest dropping the page program now? LAHOOD: Well, look it, Miles, this program was flawed when the Democrats ran it. We know that Gerry Studds, a Congressman from Massachusetts, was involved with a young boy in a homosexual activity. And there was Congressman from Illinois that was involved with a young page a couple decades ago. And we see what's happened now with former Congressman Foley and his activities with pages.

To send 15 and 16-year-old boys and girls to Washington, D.C., it's an antiquated system. And my idea is let's suspend it, send the pages home, and have some scholarly people in Washington really evaluate the program and bring it into the 21st century. It just -- it's a program that simply is flawed. It has its flaws. We should fix it. And then if it's a valuable program, perhaps bring it back.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, that's kind of a sorry state of affairs. In essence, what you're saying is that members of Congress can't be trusted to be around young people.

LAHOOD: Well, that's pretty obvious. It's pretty obvious with respect to Mark Foley and it was pretty obvious a couple decades ago when other members of Congress were involved with young boys and girls. And these young men and women come to Washington, they look to us as their heroes and people they can look up to, and then we betray their trust or some members betray their trust by taking advantage of them. And we should not subject young men and women to this kind of activity and this kind of vulnerability. And what I'm saying is let's have some scholarly people in Washington really look at the program.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, well...

LAHOOD: If it has value...

M. O'BRIEN: But it certainly has value. There's been great opportunity for many teens over the years and they've risen to high ranks in politics. Let me ask you about one other thing, though. What about the interns? If you're going to get rid of the pages, would you suggest getting rid of the internships?

LAHOOD: Well, look it, the internship program is far different. These are college students. The internships are not high school students. They're college students.

M. O'BRIEN: But they're young people, nonetheless.

LAHOOD: All the interns...

M. O'BRIEN: They're young people.

LAHOOD: But they're obviously, Miles, they're much more mature, and they're not teenagers. They're kids that are in college, perhaps their sophomore or junior year, they're 20, 21-year-old students who are majoring in political science. They know they want a career in government and political science and they're testing it out. It's a far different program. M. O'BRIEN: But I, as a parent, if I had a college-aged son or daughter at this point, might be a little nervous about having them in contact with congressmen given what has been going on.

LAHOOD: Well, look it, I don't know of any incidences where members of Congress have violated the trust of interns. I know of instances where members of Congress have violated the trust of teenaged boys and girls. And that's really what I'm trying to go after. And I think it makes sense.

M. O'BRIEN: All right, let's shift gears here a little bit. You're a friend of Speaker Hastert. Can you here right now offer unequivocal support for the speaker in his job, in his staying in his job?

LAHOOD: Absolutely. The speaker has handled some very tough situations, whether it's the Tom DeLay, whether it's the Duke Cunningham, whether it's the Bob Ney. The speaker brought us through 9/11. He's helped the president with some major legislative initiatives. He has been a very, very good speaker, a very strong speaker, and has been able to deal with ethical conduct of members of Congress, including some people who were really his friends, including people like Tom DeLay, Bob Ney and Duke Cunningham.

He's done a good job. He's been a good leader. He's been a good speaker. This idea that he should resign is just absolute nonsense and it's just a lot of political fodder for people who want to make hay 35 days before the election.

M. O'BRIEN: Well, a lot of people making the hay are Republicans. Look at this in the "Washington Times" this morning. You probably saw this. Tony Blankley, an old Capitol Hill hand, formerly on the Newt Gingrich staff, he says this: "Defending Denny Hastert's decisions is ethically wrong, would undermine our party's commitment to the defense of traditional moral values, and is politically stupid in the bargain." Is he speaking to you there?

LAHOOD: He's not speaking to me, but, you know, Tony used to work for Newt, and I did I want see him writing that kind of stuff about Newt when it was -- some of the things were disclosed about Newt. So, you know, I don't know what he's after here. But I think when you look at Speaker Hastert's record and what he's had to deal with -- 9/11, ethical conduct on the part of at least three members of Congress -- he's done an extraordinary job.

And he has the support of the members of our conference. It's unanimous. You don't see one member of the Republican conference calling for the speaker's head. And he will be around. He'll continue to be our speaker and he'll continue to be a strong leader.

M. O'BRIEN: Quick final thought here. Are there going to be other shoes to drop here? What do you predict?

LAHOOD: I have no doubt that there are people in your business that are doing a lots of investigative reporting and I have no doubt that there will probably be other disclosures. M. O'BRIEN: Congressman Ray Lahood of Illinois, thanks for your time, sir.

LAHOOD: Thank you, Miles.


S. O'BRIEN: Newlyweds Julianna and Perry Myers in Provo, Utah, they finally tied the knot. Boy, was it tough to get there, though. On the eve of their intended wedding date, Julianna's parents said, honey, want to go shopping? Julianna gets in the car. The parents grab her and drive.

Here's Elizabeth Hur. She's with our affiliate KTVX.


PERRY MYERS, HUSBAND: About as happy as you can be, right?

ELIZABETH HUR, KTVX REPORTER (voice-over): The newlyweds were nothing but smiles today, showing off their wedding bands and talking about how happy they are together.

P. MYERS: We're just glad the way it ended and that she just came back and she was OK. And we've gone forward since then.

HUR: Perry Myers' wife Julianna admits her parents tried to talk her out of the wedding.

JULIANNA MYERS, BRIDE: They have their concerns, their reasoning.

HUR: And when Julianna wouldn't budge, she says her parents offered to take her shopping the day before her wedding.

J. MYERS: I was totally confused and manipulated. Now I see what they did. It was kidnapping.

HUR: Authorities agree. Instead of shopping, they say the Redds forcibly took their daughter on a long drive, all the way to Colorado, and tried to change her mind. Julianna says her parents finally turned back when she made this promise.

J. MYERS: I said I will not call him.

P. MYERS: I think it's just sad. It's so sad that this has to happen like this.

HUR. By the time Julianna returned to Provo, she had missed her wedding, and police had begun their investigation.

J. MYERS: Honestly, I don't understand. It had nothing to do with Perry. It is honestly a mental issue, and we are concerned about it, and that's why we want them to press forward with charges to hopefully get help in that way.


S. O'BRIEN: That was Elizabeth Herr of our CNN affiliate KTVX reporting. Julianna's parents -- their names are Lemuel and Julia Redd -- they're charged now with second-degree felony, kidnapping and if they're convicted they could face 15 years in prison.

M. O'BRIEN: Wow. I can see why she wants them to get help, but that's more than she bargained for.

S. O'BRIEN: That's some kind of help they're going to be getting. Wow.

M. O'BRIEN: All right. We'll keep you posted on that one.


S. O'BRIEN: Coming up, the Pennsylvania school shootings. Why did the gunman target girls at an Amish school? Psychologists take us inside the mind of a killer.

Plus, a closer look at the investigation into the Mark Foley e- mail scandal. We'll explain why it may be impossible for Foley to cover his digital tracks. Stay with us.


S. O'BRIEN: There are chilling new details about Charles Roberts, the gunman who killed five Amish schoolgirls before he killed himself. Just before his suicidal rampage on Monday, Roberts reportedly told his wife he'd molested two young relatives 20 years ago, when he was 12 years old, and that he'd had dreams of molesting again.

N.G. Berrill is a professor of forensic psychology at John Jay College here in New York City.

It's nice to see you.


S. O'BRIEN: The picture that's been painted, I think, is pretty complex. You hear about molestation. You hear about a daughter who was born nine years ago who died 20 minutes after her birth. Investigators say thoughts now coming out about molesting again. Does all of this add up to you as a motive?

BERRILL: Well, in a disturbed way it does, and it's hard to get inside the mind of someone who is terribly disturbed. If this fellow at age 12 molested cousins, living in a very conservative community, Christian community, sort of laboring under the guilt, perhaps the remorse for doing this, his daughter dies. Not shortly thereafter, but after she's, I think, was several hours old. Perhaps in his disturbed mind there was a connection between the two of those. This was retribution maybe from God for being such a bad person. Throughout the years, you know, holding on to this, festering and fighting perhaps even more impulses to make contact with kids. You know, it really results in a pressure cooker.

S. O'BRIEN: People have said -- at least the officers when they hold their press conferences, talk about this Amish schoolhouse as sort of being a crime of opportunity. It was a place he could go, where there were kids. And yet, you think, well, he's the guy who was the milkman and the victims were kids who were on his milk route. I mean, he knew these kids.

Do you think it was sort of this crime of opportunity, just one location, or do you think that this schoolhouse was specifically targeted?

BERRILL: It might be a little bit of a crime of opportunity, but if you accept the premise this is sort of a psychological autopsy, that he's been festering and feeling angry, self-recrimination, maybe hatred toward God what have you.

S. O'BRIEN: Yes, and he said that in notes, angry with God.

BERRILL: There you. So feeling this hatred, bottled up, not knowing where to go it. And you see that these innocents, the Amish, known as very simple, Christian people innocents, perhaps a very easy target, a group of people where he could vent his rage rather easily, knowing that he wouldn't encounter any real resistance. So I think there's a deeper meaning here. I think there's a communication about his feelings about himself, perhaps his religion, perhaps God as well. So I don't think it's just purely random.

S. O'BRIEN: The wife apparently saying she had no idea. Coworkers said, you know, he seemed a little despondent, but then, you know, toward the end of the week, seemed to perk back up again, seemed happy once again.

How do people who clearly have a lot going on inside their heads manage to operate as if nothing is happening before they snap, or whatever word you use for it, and then go on a mass spree. And not only in this case, but the BTK case, where his wife seemed to have no idea. I mean, there's, you know, case after case, where the people closest, who don't seem like -- I mean, are they in denial?

BERRILL: Well, look, people can compartmentalize. And you know, the weird ideas, the murderous thoughts, the self-condemnation, stuff that this guy obviously couldn't talk about. He was ashamed of himself. There was no place to go with this. And they shunt it aside, they put it aside, and we see what we want to see. You know, you can't look into someone's face and know what horrible thoughts they're having, what fantasies they're having, murderous fantasies, whatever. So it's a cliche almost in this country where we hear after the fact, the morning after, gee, he seemed like a regular guy, he planted tulips, et cetera. So what? We don't know what's in people's heads.

S. O'BRIEN: Police say he had no criminal record. Kind of seems to have come out of in some ways nowhere. Does that make it harder for a community to recover when it seems that, you know, sort of anybody could be a psychopath. BERRILL: Well, yes, it's much more frightening, because it seems like there's no logical cause and effect. We as human beings want logic. We want to impose logic on the universe. And when there is no logic to impose, somebody does something crazy, unexpected, horrible. It's frightening. It's horrible.

It is frightening. N.G. Berrill, thanks for talking with us this morning. Appreciate it, as always -- Miles.


M. O'BRIEN: Coming up, Jackie Chan kicks butt on the big screen. He's about to face some new competition in real life at Starbucks. We'll explain that coming up.

Can we say butt on the air? We can go do that, right?

S. O'BRIEN: Yes.

M. O'BRIEN: OK. It's OK. Back with more in a moment.


S. O'BRIEN: Also ahead this morning, we'll take a look at our top stories, including the Foley fallout. The story takes a twist today, and a secret from Foley's past is revealed. Plus, House Speaker Dennis Hastert is responding to pressure to step down. We'll tell you what he's saying. All ahead on AMERICAN MORNING.


KOPPEL: I'm Andrea Koppel on Capitol Hill, where, as the Foley scandal drags on, House Republican leaders are finding themselves at risk of becoming collateral damage and are doing what they can to stay out of the crosshairs.

ZARRELLA: I'm John Zarrella in West Palm Beach. As the Foley scandal expands, the Republican party here says they're not conceding the 16th congressional district to the Democrats.

CHERNOFF: I'm Allan Chernoff in Lancaster County, Pennsylvania, where the Amish community is dealing with a horrific school shooting. What could possibly motivate someone to do such a crime? The police here believe they have an answer.

BARBARA STARR, CNN CORRESPONDENT: I'm Barbara Starr at the Pentagon. Eighteen U.S. troops have died in Iraq in the last 96 hours. What are American commanders saying about the violence? I'll tell you on this AMERICAN MORNING.