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Aruban Investigators Travel to Alabama to Interview 21 Friends with Natalee the Night she Went Missing on her High School Senior Trip to Aruba Nearly a Year Ago. Judge Faces Criticism for Lenient Sentences for Child Molester
Aired January 24, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Is there finally a break in the Natalee Holloway case? Aruban investigators travel to Alabama to interview 21 friends with Natalee the night she went missing off her high school senior trip to Aruba nearly a year ago. And based on a brand-new tip, police now launch a search of the western tip of the island.
And tonight: Three judges in contempt for letting child molesters walk free, no hard jail time. What can we do to stop them?
Good evening everybody. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. Tonight: Shame on you! Three judges let convicted child molesters walk free, no hard jail time. Unacceptable!
But first tonight: Can the Natalee Holloway missing girl case be cracked nearly one year later? Aruban investigators finally come to the U.S. to question friends who were there, there in Aruba with the 18-year- old Alabama beauty. And tonight: A new tip leads Aruban police to search the island`s western stretch of dunes.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY`S MOTHER: I just know that we have -- we have to have answers.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Natalee was only with Joran towards the end of the night. Everyone was getting in taxis at the same time, and it was really chaotic.
JORAN VAN DER SLOOT, ARRESTED AND RELEASED IN HOLLOWAY CASE: She was drunk. I had stuff to drink, too. She wanted to go with me. I wanted to go with her. It was totally consensual. I had something to drink and she had something to drink.
GEORGE "JUG" TWITTY, NATALEE HOLLOWAY`S STEPFATHER: The reason there`s no evidence is because the people didn`t do the right thing in the beginning. And I want the prosecutor or somebody to step up and say, Look, we made a mistake.
ARLENE ELLIS-SCHIPPER, ARUBAN ATTORNEY: God forbid that they cannot determine what criminal offense has been committed. The case remains open.
VAN DER SLOOT: I knew her for one night. I should have just stayed home and this wouldn`t have happened to me.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: We will not let this go until we take Natalee home. It will never end.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Can the case of this girl, Natalee Holloway, be solved nearly one year later? Tiny steps, baby steps, but could they have a giant impact in the investigation or a disappearance of a U.S. girl, Natalee Holloway?
Straight to investigative reporter Pat Lalama. Pat, what`s going on?
PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: Boy, I`ll tell you what. The way I characterize it, we`ve got big old jumper cables attached to this case because it`s gotten new life again, and hopefully, some sort of resolution to it. Here`s the bottom line. We`ve got new searches, as you mentioned. They`re going to be bringing in new kind of equipment so that they can go deeper into new areas. They`re going to bring in cadaver dogs. They`ve got new information from a tipster. They`ve come to America to interview 21 people who were with her that night.
Think about it, Nancy. That night, it was probably one big sea of inebriation. Even the cops down there admit there are inconsistencies in the stories of the witnesses. They want to come back, cross the T`s, fill in the gaps. And will all of this put together, perhaps something new and maybe an answered prayer for this poor family.
GRACE: But Pat Lalama, nearly a year has passed. I don`t want to be a naysayer. I want it to be successful. But why are Aruban officials just getting to the U.S. nearly a year later? And please, whatever you do, don`t say red tape. Don`t say it!
LALAMA: No, I won`t say it because from the beginning, it looked like just a lot of bad work to me. I mean, a lot of covering up, a lot of making excuses. There`s some pressure -- I think there`s pressure coming from somewhere, You better get this done, you better -- I mean, you`re telling me after all this time, suddenly, somebody comes forward with new information, I`ve got the thing that`s going to solve this? Baloney! I mean, there`s just -- there`s pressure being put on this government to get it done, and hopefully, it`ll be the answer.
GRACE: I`m hearing in my ear we are now being joined by Natalee`s mother. You know her well, a tireless crusader in the search for her daughter. Beth Twitty is with us tonight. Welcome back, Beth. It`s nice to see you. Beth, let`s get right down to it. Why, finally -- not that I`m kicking a gift horse in the mouth -- forget about it. But why, Beth, are they finally coming to Alabama to question all these kids that were there with Natalee when she disappeared?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Nancy, I wish I could answer that. You know, the best I can tell is -- you know, they`ve always said there`s been some holes in some of the students` statements that were made early on, and what they want to do is see if they go through here, fill in the holes, and from what I`m hearing is, hopefully, this will lay the foundation that they can proceed further in this investigation and go after these three suspects.
GRACE: Now, Beth, when you have spoken with Natalee`s friends, what have they told you about the night she went missing?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Nancy, they haven`t told me anything different today as they did July the 29th, that first time I came home. I mean, you know, I think they were as forthcoming with information as they could be. I don`t think that it`s anything that the students neglected to give. You know, whether it`s something authorities neglected to obtain from the students -- now, that might be the answer. But you know, the students have done as well as they could. They`ve always been willing to come forward at any time with additional information. They have always been...
GRACE: What did they tell you -- for the viewers just joining us, what did they tell you about the night Natalee went missing?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, we knew it was real chaotic when they were leaving Carlos and Charlie`s. I mean, it was a mass exodus, and they were all climbing into cars, cabs, trying to get rides back to the Holiday Inn. And you know, I know they had -- you know, they had been drinking. I mean, we already had -- we already knew full well that -- you know, the condition that Natalee was in when she left Carlos and Charlie`s. And you know, I think that Deepak and Joran just slipped her right out of Carlos and Charlie`s into the back of that car, and I truly feel that Natalee felt that she was climbing in the back seat of a cab with Joran Van Der Sloot. She had no idea she was getting in a car with Deepak and Satish Kalpoe.
GRACE: And On her behalf, Beth, there on the island, the cabs do look just like regular cars. They do.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Oh, absolutely. I mean, they run the gamut on two doors, four doors, minivans, you know, nice car, you know, older model cars. They`re just so unmarked, Nancy.
GRACE: Here`s what Joran Van Der Sloot had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How do you leave a girl on the beach?
VAN DER SLOOT: Well, I told her I had to go home. I had school the next day, and I thought maybe she`d understand. She told me, no, she wanted me to stay there with her because the next day, she was leaving and she wanted to stay that whole night. I told her, no, I had to go. I even -- I even lifted her up to carry her back to her hotel, and she told me put her down. I left her there. I sat down next to her, talked to her a while. And I called Deepak to ask him if he could come pick me up, which Deepak didn`t do, but...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Was she angry?
VAN DER SLOOT: She wasn`t -- she wasn`t angry. If it`s anything, she was probably more, you know, upset that I -- that I -- that I was leaving her there and -- I don`t know what reaction she had. I don`t know.
At the time, I didn`t -- I didn`t feel it was a bad idea. At the time, I really didn`t. It didn`t seem wrong. It didn`t seem -- of course, now I look back at it, and I think, Oh, (DELETED) I`m an (DELETED). What did I do? But there`s nothing I can do about it now. If I`d have that moment back, I would have made sure she got back to her hotel safely, but I can`t -- I can`t change that now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Well, actually -- to Natalee`s mother, joining us, Beth Twitty -- there is something he could do now. Haven`t police just invited him and the two Kalpoe brothers back in to speak to them, and the three of them refused to speak to police just recently?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Oh, you`re exactly right, Nancy. And can you believe the word "invitation"? I mean, after all, these men are suspects. You know, they can be reinterrogated at any time, and it`s not by invitation. The authorities can reinterrogate these individuals at any given moment. They`ve had new evidence that`s been brought forward, but they have just not chosen to act upon it.
GRACE: When you say there`s new evidence, Beth, what are you talking about?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, I think everyone had known when this taped interview came out from Deepak Kalpoe, you know, Aruba was trying to claim it had been manipulated, but it was simply untrue. There was one version, of course, that had been edited for television. And secondly, you know, their timelines had been destroyed through -- through various witnesses that had come forward, and Aruba just chose to ignore each time their alibis were destroyed. So they have had reasons to warrant the rearrest and reinterrogation of the suspects all along.
GRACE: To Jason Oshins, defense attorney. The Aruban government makes it sound like it`s an engraved invitation, that they invited the three to come back and speak to them again and they refused, and that`s just the end of it?
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I don`t know if it`s the end of it. I mean, certainly, from the perspective of the family, we`d certainly like the Aruban government to be, you know, more focused in their investigation and not be so soft on their citizens. I mean, the fact that they`re coming back here is great, to fill some in some background, as we talked about, but if they had suspected from the beginning that it was American citizens involved, they would have aggressively pursued that. And in fact, they should have turned inward to their own citizens in terms of being aggressive.
GRACE: To Harold Copus. He`s a private investigator, former FBI agent. Harold, a lot is being discussed about these three being requestioned, or at least the Aruban authorities trying to requestion them, but they have refused. Explain to me, what do you think the new evidence is on which they`re basing the new questions?
HAROLD COPUS, FORMER FBI AGENT: You know, I don`t think there`s any way we can tell that. They`ve had a lot of this information for some time. It just appears to me have failed to act on it, like Beth said. It`s now to say to these guys, We`re going to bring you back in, let`s talk to you one more time, and you cannot escape the questions, the hardball questions that need to be asked.
GRACE: Well, since they said no, they`re not coming in, I don`t think there`s going to be any hardball questions. Here`s what Joran Van Der Sloot had to say.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
VAN DER SLOOT: She had a lot to drink at Carlos and Charlie`s. She grabbed my hand and took me with her for me to take jelly shots off her. And afterwards, she asked me to buy a shot for her, buy her something to drink, which I did. And that`s all I saw that she drank. I didn`t see her drink anything else. But from the day -- from earlier, when I was with her friends at the Excelsior casino at the Holiday Inn, the whole group was already drinking from 5:00 in the afternoon. And I didn`t really see her at that moment. I didn`t even really notice her at that moment. But I guess they came here to have a good time, to celebrate and (INAUDIBLE) their graduation also, and they might have all gone a little too far. I don`t know.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you mean jelly shots with her? You mean off of her body?
VAN DER SLOOT: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How does that work? Can you tell me?
VAN DER SLOOT: I don`t know. I never did it myself before. She grabbed my hand and took me with her and asked me if I wanted to take jelly shots off her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And how does it work? I don`t understand.
VAN DER SLOOT: And she climbed on the bar. She laid down on the bar and she called the bartender by name, and he got a jelly shot for her. And then I took a jelly shot off her.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t understand. Is it on her belly? Is it on...
VAN DER SLOOT: On her belly, yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: On her belly button?
VAN DER SLOOT: Yes.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And then what do you do?
VAN DER SLOOT: And then you basically lick it off.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Joining me now by phone, Natalee`s father, Dave Holloway. Welcome, Dave. Thank you for being with us. Dave, where is Joran Van Der Sloot right now?
DAVE HOLLOWAY, NATALEE`S FATHER: I understand he`s in Holland, going to college.
GRACE: What`s your reaction to the fact that the Aruban authorities tried to bring these three back in for questioning, and they refused to come in, and authorities basically said, Oh, OK. Never mind.
HOLLOWAY: Well the prosecutor was told not to talk to the press, and it seemed like Steve Cohen knew all the answers and knew more than -- about the investigation than we did. And we called the prosecutor, and she told us that that was all wrong, that they could not bring him in, that it had to be an invitation. So that`s where all the confusion was. Steve Cohen said that they were going to interrogate them, when, in fact, they cannot.
GRACE: Well, you know, back to Beth Twitty, Natalee`s mother. It may be like here in the United States, in the sense that once someone is identified as a target or a suspect, they`ve got a 5th Amendment right to remain silent. They don`t have to talk to police if they don`t want to.
Beth, what can you tell us about a new search of the western end of the island?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, from what I had understood, that there were one or two witnesses that have come forward with some new information. Supposedly, these are still outside the circle of the suspects, but that there may be friends of Joran Van Der Sloot. And I think that that is what has warranted the search of the sand dunes, Nancy.
GRACE: And back to Harold Copus. It`s almost a year later. Bringing in cadaver dogs at this point, what good would that do?
COPUS: Well, the only good that will do now is if they actually find a body or skeletal remains in those dunes, at least the dogs can alert on that. The dogs really weren`t brought in quick enough and weren`t used, probably, from what I understand, properly initially. Maybe it`ll be done right this time.
GRACE: To Pat Lalama, investigative reporter. You said, Pat, that there are going to be additional searches, I understand not with divers because the search is going to be so deep in the water...
LALAMA: Right. Right.
GRACE: ... and divers don`t go 800, 1,000 feet deep.
GRACE: So what type of equipment is being brought in to search this water? And where is the water?
LALAMA: Well, the water is a couple of miles outside or off the coast. We`re talking about depths of 600 to 800 feet, as you mentioned. And you know, this goes with a rumor -- I hate to give it any more substance than that -- but the rumor that the same night that she went missing, a fisherman later discovered that there was a fishing net, a catch net and a knife missing, that his hut had been broken into, and that led to all kinds of speculation that someone, some people may have, in fact, tried to bury her body at the bottom of the ocean. That`s going to require the deep sea equipment to try to find it, to see if that`s the case.
GRACE: Right. Beth, when you hear the discussion, talking about bodies, talking about being buried deep in the ocean floor, how do you keep going? How do you reconcile with that?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Oh, Nancy, I mean, what we want is, we want justice. And you know -- and we have to recognize the fact that, you know, this crime has been committed on the island of Aruba, and we know the perpetrators. We know it`s these suspects, Deepak and Satish Kalpoe and Joran Van Der Sloot. And you know, we just have to, though, keep going, Nancy, because the only way we will get justice for Natalee is if we do keep going. I mean, if we give up, absolutely nothing will happen. Nothing.
GRACE: We`ll all be right back, including Natalee`s mother and father. Please stay with us.
To tonight`s "Case Alert." The body of an unidentified little girl has been found in a vacant dumpster now nearly two weeks ago. Please help us. You are looking at a police composite photo. The child`s identity still a mystery. The child believed to be just 2-and-a-half years old. If you have information on this little girl, please help us. Call Crimestoppers, 702-385-5544. There`s a $44,000 reward.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GEORGE "JUG" TWITTY: The reason there`s no evidence is because the people didn`t do the right thing in the beginning. And I want the prosecutor or somebody to step up and say, Look, we made a mistake. We didn`t arrest them the second day, like we should have. We let them go for nine days. We gave them a chance to clean the car. We gave them a chance to hide everything, to set up everything, to set up their stories, point the fingers at the two black security guards. Somebody -- you know, that`s the reason there`s no evidence. Had they gone to the -- and impounded that car that day -- the FBI told us there was blood all in the car. The prosecutor said the FBI said there was blood in the car, but for some reason or another, when they sent it off, they say now it`s all cleaning fluid. Well, who knows. I know they had nine days to clean the car.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Tonight, stunning new developments in the search for an American girl, Natalee Holloway. Remember, Natalee went on her high school senior trip to Aruba with all of her classmates. She disappeared after being seen at a bar, Carlos and Charlie`s, never seen again.
In a stunning development, Aruban authorities are now traveling to the U.S. to requestion and question initially many of the young students that were there with Natalee the night she went missing. Why? Why the stunning move now? What is the new evidence? And not only that, based on a tip to police, an extensive search is now planned for the western tip of the island, all sand dunes.
Straight back to Beth Twitty, Natalee`s mother. Are you encouraged? You`ve got to be, Beth. And where do you think this is going? Do you think there are actually new leads on the three suspects?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Nancy, I always have to remain guarded. I mean, after the month of December, it was just horrible, what Steve Cohen put the family through. I mean, we were just...
GRACE: Who is this Steve Cohen person?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, he`s basically paid for my Aruba. He`s a spokesman that represents the island of Aruba. I mean, he`s there for their tourism. And I mean, it was just absolute inhumane, how we were treated that month. We were just taunted with the possibility of these reinterrogations. Of course, they never happened. You know, Nancy, we just have to stay so guarded.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: I just can`t do it again.
GRACE: Beth, have you been burned in effigy yet? I think I have.
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Yes. Well, I tell you, Nancy, it just -- I don`t know how much they think that we can take.
GRACE: I`ve got in my hand right here a card that is handed out at Carlos and Charlie`s there on the island of Aruba. It says, "Remember, any drink can be served in a yard." A yard is apparently -- what is it, Ellie (ph), a giant, humongo...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It`s like a big, tall drink.
GRACE: OK. Well, OK. That`s encouraging. To Dave Holloway, Natalee`s father. The atmosphere that night -- all these kids had had something to drink. They were there at this bar, but they all remember her leaving with Joran Van Der Sloot. And there`s no question that in the back seat were the Kalpoe brothers, correct, Dave Holloway?
HOLLOWAY: It was Joran and Natalee in the back set...
HOLLOWAY: ... and the Kalpoe brothers in the front.
HOLLOWAY: There`s no question about that.
GRACE: So Dave, you and I have talked on other occasions. You and Natalee`s mom, Beth Twitty, feel firmly that there has been a cover-up of sorts. Do you see these developments as a turn-around? If so, why?
HOLLOWAY: Well, early on in the investigation, I met with Paul Van Der Sloot, and he had mentioned to me -- he pointed the fingers at a certain Mountain Brook student. And I don`t know why or what or what the reason is, and maybe the police are looking into that. I`m not real sure.
GRACE: You mean you think the police are going to try to blame a fellow student? That wasn`t even the last person with Natalee.
HOLLOWAY: I think he was grasping for straws and trying to point the finger somewhere else besides the three suspects. Well, I got news for him. Every time they go out on a limb, it always breaks off and gets right back to the three suspects. Every time.
GRACE: Something has prompted Aruban authorities to renew their efforts to solve the mystery of a missing American girl, Natalee Holloway. We are not giving up! Why is there a new search of the west tip of the island? Why are new facilities being used, new techniques being used to try to find Natalee`s body? And why are all of the classmates now being requestioned?
To tonight`s "Case Alert." We are on Supreme Court watch. Today, the Senate Judiciary Committee recommends the Senate confirm Bush`s Supreme Court nominee Samuel Alito. The 10-to-8 vote split -- guess what? -- right down party lines. Not one Democrat voted to support Alito, not one Republican voted against. Full Senate vote expected at the end of the week.
And on the docket tonight, Saddam Hussein`s trial, set to resume today, now delayed until Sunday. Ramsey Clark, former U.S. attorney general, now on Hussein`s defense team, blames it on the court.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RAMSEY CLARK, ATTORNEY FOR SADDAM HUSSEIN: The trial`s never been on track. He was saying they`ll complete the case this year and they will -- the butcher will get his due justice this year. But look what you`ve got. It`s pure chaos. You had Dewey (ph), who`s the -- the -- he said the trial will be finished in a -- in two months or less, and there`s no way that that can happen.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: I want her friends to go on. I don`t want her friends -- you know, her poor little roommate is saving her bed in a her dorm room. I mean, enough is enough, you know?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: That`s Natalee`s mother, who is with us tonight. The reward for Natalee`s safe return, $1 million, $250,000 for information on her whereabouts.
Beth, do you get the sense that investigators are now trying to tie up loose ends, wrap up the case in order to press charges?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: I have to believe that, Nancy. I just have to hang onto that because why else would you subject 21 of these young adults to this again, Nancy, reopening old wounds for no reason? I cannot accept that, Nancy. I have to believe that they are firming the foundation so they can proceed forward with this investigation and file charges against these suspects. I have to believe that, Nancy.
GRACE: Beth, have they given you any indication that that is the case, or are you just believing because you have to?
BETH HOLLOWAY TWITTY: Well, I just can`t imagine subjecting these young adults to this, as you say, almost a year later, I mean, or eight months later. You know, why do that to these students? Don`t do this for no reason. This has to be -- this has to be laying the foundation to proceed forward in the investigation, Nancy. It has to.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): Judge Edward Cashman was speaking to a packed Burlington courtroom. Most of the onlookers were related to a young girl who was repeatedly raped by 34-year-old Mark Hulett of Williston. The sex abuse started when the girl was seven and ended when she was 10.
Prosecutors were seeking a sentence of at least eight to 20 years behind bars, in part so Hulett could be punished.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Punishment is a valid purpose. The state recognizes that the court may not agree or subscribe to that purpose of sentencing, but the state does, and the state thinks that that is a very important factor for the court to consider.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE (voice-over): But Judge Cashman explained that he is more concerned that Hulett receive sex offender treatment for rehabilitation, but Hulett does not qualify for in-prison treatment, so the judge sentenced him to 60 days in prison, and then Hulett must finish sex treatment when he gets out or face a possible life sentence.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: We are talking about Judge Edward Cashman out of Vermont. Cashman`s sentencing a sex offender who repeatedly sodomized a little girl, age 5 years old, to up to 60 days behind bars. He may not do 60 days, but up to 60 days. There has been an outcry like no other.
Now, tonight, we learn of other judges doing similar activities. To Pat Lalama, investigative reporter, bring us up-to-date, Pat.
PAT LALAMA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: You know, Nancy, these judges - - it seems like they`re holding unilateral kangaroo courts. But the public`s saying, "You`re all a bunch of donkeys` you-know-whats." Finish the sentence.
Here`s the deal. First we start with Cashman, and you just explained what happened there. Then let`s go to Massachusetts, where Suzanne Delvecchio, the judge on the bench there, says that a 26-year-old young man, Greg Pathiakis, who was a teacher, by the way -- a teacher, mind you - - had oral sex with one of his students. But you know what? And it was called rape. He was charged with rape. He was charged with having pornography, et cetera, et cetera.
GRACE: Child pornography.
LALAMA: Yes, yes, yes, enticing a minor. It goes on and on. But do you know what she said? She said, "Well, you know, this was downright consensual," and if you had waited a few weeks, this would have been consensual, because the teenager would have been 16. So, yes, I know...
GRACE: What would the picture -- wait, wait, wait.
LALAMA: Yes, yes?
GRACE: OK. So the kid was 15 at the time. He was about to turn 16.
GRACE: So the judge`s reasoning was he was almost 16, but what about the child pornography? How do you explain that away?
LALAMA: Well, I guess none of that really matters to this judge. And it`s -- I mean, it`s so exasperating, because it seems as if they`re just suspending what the law states and going out on their own because they don`t like the way the system works.
Which bring us to the other judge in Wisconsin, Alan Bates. He`s dealing with yet another person in a position of authority at a school who runs the music and theater program. And this guy, his name is Mr. Hoff -- his first name escapes me at this point...
LALAMA: ... this man -- thank you very much -- this man says to one of the young men, one of the students, "Hey, going for a boy`s night out. Let`s all go. I`ll pick you up." The kid gets in the car. There`s no other kids. He says, "What`s up?" The teacher says, "Oh, they all -- you know, they were busy. They couldn`t make it." Then he wants the kid to take his shirt off.
GRACE: So it`s just a party with the teacher and the little boy?
LALAMA: Which -- yes, so it turns out to be the two of them, although he is a teenager. He is a teenager. But then they end up at the guy`s apartment. The guy says, "I`ll give you 20 bucks to take your shirt off." The kid says it`s an easy 20 bucks. The guy comes up behind him. There is no penetration, et cetera, et cetera.
And the judge says, "Hey, you know what? Probation." There you go, Nancy.
GRACE: So didn`t this teacher tell the student he liked Justin Timberlake to take his shirt off?
LALAMA: Yes, he did. Yes, he did. And you know what?
GRACE: So he comes up behind him. I kind of lost you. You got fuzzy on the facts.
LALAMA: I`m sorry.
GRACE: Did he -- did he -- did he fondle the...
LALAMA: He comes up behind him.
GRACE: Did he fondle the boy?
LALAMA: He did not with his hands, but apparently he was aroused and he was pushing himself up against the young man.
GRACE: OK, OK, OK, OK.
LALAMA: Well, you asked for facts, Nancy.
GRACE: I did. I did.
LALAMA: And I gave them to you.
GRACE: I did. I haven`t had my second cup of tea just yet. Speaking of Cashman, take a listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JUDGE EDWARD CASHMAN, VERMONT: Then I discovered it accomplishes nothing of value. It doesn`t make anything better. It costs us a lot of money. We create a lot of expectation, and we feed on anger.
The one message I want to get through is that anger doesn`t solve anything; it just corrodes your own soul.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He should pay for what he did to my baby. It`s not fair. She`s not even home with me, and he could be home for all this time and do what he did to (INAUDIBLE)
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: And what the mother of that child was talking about is that the perpetrator that sodomized her daughter, aged five, repeatedly was still at home. Let`s take a look at what the judge has to say. "I am aware that the intensity of public criticism may shorten my judicial career, but to change my decision now simply because of negative sentiment would be wrong."
Well, to Bryan Hershman, defense attorney, how about changing his judgment because it was wrong?
BRYAN HERSHMAN, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, I have a problem with the characterization of these cases. I wasn`t directly involved in any of them; I don`t know the facts, nor do I know the law in these respective states.
I do know the law in my own state, however, and there`s a psychosexual deviancy program which has had less than a 2 percent rate of recidivism. I think, as a public, what we need to do is weigh our thirst to punish these people versus the expense in punishing them, as opposed to letting them stay in the community where they won`t re-offend. This is a very treatable population.
GRACE: Why do you say they won`t re-offend? Why are you saying that?
HERSHMAN: This is a very treatable population. In this state, there was a legislative study done and what we call our SOSA program (ph). There was less than a 2 percent rate of recidivism. And all of these people, under new legislation that`s pending, would be looking at 25 years at a horrific expense to the citizens of this state.
I don`t like sexual deviance either. And if anybody ever did anything to one of my kids, God forbid, I don`t think the police would have a chance to get to them.
GRACE: Well, you know what? You can`t have it both ways, Bryan. You can`t say, if your kid was a victim, hell hath no fury, but, on the other hand, let`s give them treatment and let them walk the streets. So which one do you want, Bryan?
HERSHMAN: What I want is that, if somebody does something to one of my children, I would not sit in judgment. I would have somebody wearing a black robe who would follow the law...
GRACE: OK, that`s not what you just said.
HERSHMAN: ... as I suspect every one of these judges did. And I think it`s unfair to focus on a little bit of information.
GRACE: OK. I don`t know what you mean by a little bit of information. All of these offenders have pled guilty. The facts are no longer even in question. There`s no fact-finding issues. They have pled guilty.
HERSHMAN: But the law is...
GRACE: No, I can read the black and white letter of the law. I have a copy of it, be happy to fax it to you.
Very quickly to...
HERSHMAN: I`d like to see it.
GRACE: ... to Alison Arngrim, with the National Association to Protect Children, Alison -- as you may know her as Nellie, like I do, from being the star of "Little House on the Prairie" -- Alison also a child molestation victim -- Alison, when you hear these judges sentences, your skin must crawl.
ALISON ARNGRIM, MOLESTATION VICTIM: I`m appalled but not surprised in the least. This a national problem. I know of about several more judges than the three you`ve mentioned. And read about them at Protect.org.
We`re also seeing a terrible problem with prosecutors, Nancy, who, unlike you, are walking people every day. Less than 5 percent of cases even wind up before these judges. They`re let go before them.
You have a mindset where people really don`t think that crimes against children are deserving of the same level of justice as other crimes. I would ask any of these people who`ve been making these statements about punishment not being any good, and need for therapy, and spending too much money to attempt to apply that logic to bank robbery, murder or terrorism.
GRACE: And to Dr. Edward Dougherty, I truly, after prosecuting child molestation cases, do not believe that pedophiles can be rehabilitated.
EDWARD DOUGHERTY, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, Nancy, I agree with you. The problem with pedophiles is it`s very, very difficult. You have repetitive and compulsive behavior that is very difficult to change.
Now in some of these cases, where you have a child under the age 13, and that`s what identifies a pedophile. They go for prepubescent kids. The other thing that alarms me is that teachers taking advantage of adolescents.
Now, everybody knows in the teaching profession that adolescents are confused, vulnerable, and easily impressed. We teach it in child development courses. And for a 44-year-old man, a teacher with the kind of experience this person has, to take advantage of a 16-year-old and say it`s OK because he`s almost 17 is totally wrong and a slap in the face of every teacher that works.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We were actually talking about it at work this morning. And it just does not feel as if justice was done. It seems like a really serious crime with a pretty small consequence.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I was dismayed to see that someone who had committed such a heinous crime against a young child would be given less of a prison sentence than, for instance, someone who got a second term DWI.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRACE: Vermont Judge Edward Cashman is having a rehearing, kind of like a redo -- we don`t have that in criminal law -- this coming Thursday after he sentenced a guilty, pled guilty, convicted child molester to 60 days behind bars, 60 days behind bars, after sodomizing a 5-year-old girl repeatedly.
Now, who will ever forget the name Joseph Duncan, Shasta and Dylan Groene? A judge -- let me give you his name, Judge Tom Schroeder -- out of city of Detroit Lakes, Becker County, Minnesota, had this guy come before him just before he allegedly murdered the little boy, raped the little girl.
He was told -- this judge was told, and I`m reading from the transcript -- "Judge, he is, of course, a registered sex offender." I`ve got it right here, a certified copy of the transcript. The judge let him go on low bail, and he went and scoped these children out with night goggles. One of them is dead. The rest of the family dead. And the little girl growing up as an abuse victim.
And then, Elizabeth, remember Jessica Lunsford, John Evander Couey? Another judge gave this fine young fellow light treatment. What did he do? Skipped town and ended up snatching 9-year-old Jessie Lunsford, who was buried alive after being molested.
That is what happens, Alison Arngrim, when judges are soft on sex offenders. That is what happened. You lived. You lived through the pain. But you lived. These children didn`t even live.
ARNGRIM: This what happens. We let these people out constantly, and everyone talks about therapy and, if they come up with something, I`d really like to see it. But the Catholic Church spent millions of dollars on therapy for their priest pedophiles, and that doesn`t seem to be going very well, to put it mildly.
Children are as deserving of justice as any other crime victim. And what`s happened -- what Cashman and these others have done is created a two-tiered system where child victims just simply don`t have the same rights in their courtroom as adults.
GRACE: Joining us from Boston is Robert Jubinville. He is the defense attorney for Gregory Pathiakis, sentenced by Judge Delvecchio. What do you say in defense of your client? That`s a pretty light sentence.
ROBERT JUBINVILLE, ATTORNEY FOR GREGORY PATHIAKIS: Well, what I say, Nancy, is that the judge who handled this case is a senior judge in the superior court. She`s well-respected by both prosecution and defense. She looked at all of the facts in this case and made her decision.
And you may not agree with it, but she made it based on the fact that the initiator here was the student, that he had sent e-mails to the 23- year-old teacher requesting and suggesting what sexual act to do. He also indicated he was 18 in the e-mails.
GRACE: Well, certainly the teacher knew how old his own student was. And, sir, what about the child pornography? Are you suggesting the student planted that on his computer? Your child pled guilty to child pornography.
JUBINVILLE: No, I`m not suggesting he planted anything on his e-mail. The fact of the matter is the pornography was of teenage individuals. We never did have a trial to prove that.
GRACE: No, no, no. Your client pled guilty to possession of child porn.
JUBINVILLE: Well, Nancy, he had to plead to all of it. He couldn`t parse it out.
GRACE: Couldn`t he go to trial? Couldn`t he go to trial?
JUBINVILLE: He`s either going to plead to one charge, which is all of them, or he`s going to take a trial on all of them.
GRACE: OK. All right.
To Tim Cruz, he`s the Plymouth County district attorney who prosecuted the case, welcome, sir. Thank you for being with us. And you and I both know nobody is forced to plead guilty in this country, all right? And child pornography is not teenager pornography. Child pornography is little children. Would you agree with me on that, Tim?
TIMOTHY CRUZ, PROSECUTED GREGORY PATHIAKIS: Oh, absolutely, Nancy. This individual had graphic sexual photos of young boys on his computer in various stages of undress and various sexual acts. He was in possession of child pornography. He also had sent nude photos of himself to the defendant in this case.
So obviously what we have here is a situation where we have a 24-year- old man dealing with a 15-year-old child. And you can call a young adult or a child. This young boy, who`s obviously at that age very confused, dealing with a man that`s much older than him from his school. And this situation evolved, and it`s just -- really, it`s just not right.
GRACE: And the reality is, Jason Oshins, when you`re talking about statutory rape in this jurisdiction under 16, a child cannot consent. That would be like a 9-year-old going out and buying a Mercedes. They can`t enter into a contract.
JASON OSHINS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, the very nature of a statutory charge is that they can`t consent, no matter how short of being of age they are. But, Nancy, you and I both know, in relation to what we just talked about, that prosecutors come up with package deals that defendants have to take at any time.
GRACE: Well, wait a minute. Wait a minute. I`ve got the prosecutor right here. What about it, Tim Cruz? Tell me. How did this plea deal, or was it a deal, go down with Judge Suzanne Delvecchio?
CRUZ: There was no deal. Our recommendation was four-to-eight years state prison of which he would do four, no less than four, and potentially up to eight, with five years probation from and after, with all the appropriate treatment that would have been at that time.
We thought it was important that an individual that abused his authority as a teacher that this individual go to jail. And that`s why we made that recommendation. And we were more than happy to try the case, but the defendant pled guilty. And that`s what he got.
GRACE: And that`s the way it works, right, Tom? A defendant that goes before a judge and says, "I want to plead guilty, judge. I don`t want to go to trial." You don`t have a plea deal. In my old jurisdiction, you call it a blind plea, because you don`t know what you`re going to get.
But apparently they knew that this judge would give them a light sentence, is that correct?
CRUZ: Well, they certainly had (INAUDIBLE) and talked about the case. But, you know, our recommendation is our recommendation. In any case, we don`t plea bargain. And, you know, try the case and let the chips fall where they may. We`re willing to do that. We`re willing to do that in this case and every other case. In this instance the defendant pled guilty.
GRACE: Tim -- everybody, with me, Tim Cruz out of Plymouth County D.A.`s office; he prosecuted this case -- were you surprised when the judge gave such a light sentence on child porn?
CRUZ: Well, I mean, I think you have to look at the totality of the circumstances in this case. I mean, and that`s why, when you look at the statutory rape in conjunction with the possession of child porn, the enticing of an individual, as well as the dissemination of the nude pictures...
CRUZ: ... when you look at that total package, in conjunction with a teacher-student relationship, that`s really what`s disappointing in the sentence.
GRACE: Incredible. Five years probation is what this guy got.
Very quickly, tonight`s "All-Points Bulletin." FBI, law enforcement across the country on the lookout, Juan Rodriguez, wanted in connection with the 2004 Oregon murder of 24-year-old Jose Campos (ph).
Rodriguez, 27, 5`11", 185 pounds, brown hair, brown eyes. If you have info, call the FBI, 503-224-4181.
Local news next for some of you. But we`ll all be right back. And remember, live coverage of a 16-year-old New Mexico boy on trial for the shooting death of his family, Court TV, 3:00 to 5:00 Eastern.
Please stay with us, everyone, as we pause to remember Lance Corporal Dimitrios Gavriel, just 29 years old, an American hero.
GRACE: We at NANCY GRACE want very much to help, in our own way, solve unsolved homicides, find missing people.
Take a look at 4-year-old Cermen Toney, last seen, East St. Louis, Illinois, November 6, 2005. If you have info, please East St. Louis Police Department, 618-482-6767, or go to beyondmissing.com. Please help us.
Tonight, as angry as we have all been talking about judges giving incredibly lenient sentences on convicted child molesters -- convicted, they have pled guilty. There is no doubt as to the facts or the guilt.
Let`s go, let`s finish up tonight with a voice of a victim, a child molestation victim, a child star that now has devoted herself to other victims. Alison Arngrim, formerly Nellie on "Little House on the Prairie," last word to you, Alison.
ARNGRIM: Well, yes, it is very upsetting to me to see children who lived through exactly what I did being denied most basic justice under the law. It`s disgusting.
And to remind people: Judges are either elected or appointed by people who are elected. And if they`re not doing their job, get rid of them. Very easy. People get rid of judges all the time. And if people started voting on behalf of the protection of children, we would see a very different group of people in office.
GRACE: Alison, when you were a child and you were molested, has it haunted you, in the sense that you felt no one was there to help you?
ARNGRIM: Absolutely. And all of these predators tell these children we`re hearing about in these cases the same things I was told, that no one will believe you, and that the predator has ultimate power. And what these judges are doing is backing up that message and saying, "The molester is right; no one is going to help you. They do own you."
GRACE: Right. To Judge Cashman, to judge Alan Bates, to Judge Suzanne Delvecchio, we`re talking to you.
I want to thank all of my guests tonight. But our biggest thank you is to you, for being with us, inviting us into your homes. Coming up, headlines from all around the world. I`m Nancy Grace signing off for tonight. I hope to see you right here tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp Eastern. And until then, good night, friend.