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Nancy Grace

Caregivers Caught on Video Abusing Handicapped Patients

Aired August 21, 2007 - 20:00   ET


NANCY GRACE, HOST: Tonight: Caught on video, handicapped patients, unable to even speak, being beaten and slapped, taunted over and over by whom? Oh, no, not some street thug, but by trusted caregivers, men and women working there in the nursing home. Tonight: Thugs busted, caught on videotape. And let me tell you, video doesn`t lie.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nassau County police say these group home health aides repeatedly attacked and beat a 50-year-old autistic woman, and it was all caught on tape. Police say the videocamera in a vent caught aides hitting, kicking and slapping the woman at least four times, employees of the home even taped hitting the autistic woman in the head with a shoe and a wooden coat hanger. Police say after one beating, a health aide noticed the camera in the vent and stole it. While these two health aides are in custody, two suspects are still on the run tonight.


GRACE: And tonight: A Boy Scout one step away from Eagle Scout status vanishes into thin air en route to a Sunday afternoon troop meeting, the boy`s disappearance rocking the upscale Cincinnati neighborhood. Tonight: Where is Boy Scout Tony Beard?


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Fifteen-year-old Boy Scout Tony Beard was last seen leaving his home just days ago, headed to his Boy Scout meeting. Tony never made it to that meeting and hasn`t been heard from since, his computer, camping gear and money all left behind. Police analyzing that computer for potential clues while an Ohio community still waits and prays for Tony`s safe return.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They have listed him as a critical missing now, which gives a little more attention to the case. It basically means that we don`t know where he is, of course, and that there is a danger to his life. His life could be in danger at this point. They don`t have any evidence that there is any foul play, but they`re not ruling it out. Thy don`t have any evidence that there is, they don`t have anything to show that there isn`t.


GRACE: Good evening. I`m Nancy Grace. I want to thank you for being with us tonight. First, an epidemic, violence on the helpless. And the thugs are paid health care professionals, busted, caught on video.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nelly Gedeon and Johny Djhon-Felix are now under arrest, charged with endangering an incompetent person and second degree harassment. Cops say at least four licensed health care workers beat a severely autistic woman over and over. They say the owner suspected the abuse after noticing bruising on the 50-year-old victim, so she decided to set up surveillance cameras in an air-conditioning vent. A week later, she called police. Gedeon, they say, pounded on the victim`s head using a shoe. Djhon-Felix, cops say, hit the same woman on a separate occasion, sometimes grabbing and shaking her by the hair.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How can anybody react to this -- I mean, this is absolutely unbelievable.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant then noticed his actions were being recorded, and he removed the camera from the air-conditioning vent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thankfully, at that point, cops say, they were getting a live feed of the ordeal to the police station, putting a stop to what no one expected behind closed doors.


GRACE: Not only was there violence in that nursing home, but just last week, another, another example of an epidemic on the handicapped, on the disabled, a 90-year-old man beaten severely, caught on videotape. Look at this! Thank God that there was video to catch this beating. And this is just the tip of the iceberg. Tonight, two alleged offenders at large for beating an autistic 50-year-old woman, unable to cry out in pain, to whimper, to tell her family about what was happening. Only when the nursing home noticed suspicious bruises did they take it upon themselves to install a secret videocamera in the room.

I want to go out to Michael Frazier, crime reporter with "Newsday." Tell me about the 50-year-old lady.

MICHAEL FRAZIER, "NEWSDAY": How`re you doing? The lady, she -- we don`t know her name, of course, but the lady is unable to communicate with anyone, so this was a really difficult case for the nursing home. However, the executive director of the nursing home, PLUS home in Uniondale, she noticed bruises after about two weeks, and she thought she would put up the camera. She put it in the AC vent, and she caught at least four -- on four occasions, these beatings occurring. Now, there`s been some question to why the woman waited two weeks, and she says she just wanted to do a thorough investigation and...

GRACE: Well, I`ve got to tell you, Michael -- Michael Frazier, crime reporter with "Newsday" joining us -- that was one of my first questions, why did they leave a camera up hidden in the woman`s room for so long? But it`s also my understanding, Michael, when I asked that very same question, that as soon as they would see the autistic lady getting abused, that person, that alleged offender, would be let go. They would be terminated or suspended right then. And then they kept the camera there to see what else they could learn. And boy, did they learn a lot, Michael Frazier. Tell me about the bruises on this helpless lady.

FRAZIER: Well, they were all over her body. Some of the attacks was she was kicked in the buttocks. They hit her in the head with a shoe, her body. They used a wooden hanger. So the evidence -- you know, there was bruises there. It was evidence. And like I said, after two weeks, the executive director of the home noticed these bruises and decided to set up the camera. She also waited another week to contact police, and they immediately -- when they had the tape, there was no question who was at fault. The two...

GRACE: Horrible.


GRACE: And what`s so amazing to me is this just wasn`t one health care worker. We know of at least four within this one facility. And remember, just recently, we brought you this story, another attack in a nursing home on the disabled. Take a listen.

Caught on video, attacks on a helpless individual in a nursing home. And it seems to me the people you trust the most, doctors, nurses, caregivers in these nursing homes, are now the ones being arrested.

I want to go out to Donald Schweitzer, former detective. Donald, what can you tell me about the two still at large?

DONALD SCHWEITZER, FORMER DETECTIVE, SANTA ANA POLICE DEPARTMENT: The only thing that we know is that we will find them, or the police will find them. They`re not going anywhere. The employment records will show where they were living prior to their employment. Unless they left the state, I think that the police will find them with no problem.

GRACE: Well, what I don`t understand is police are not releasing any individual -- any information on the two individuals still at large. Why?

SCHWEITZER: Well, the police are going to be tight-lipped unless they have a reason for making their statements public. If they want the public`s help, they`ll make statements. Otherwise, a good investigator is going to keep their cards close to their chest. In this case, they have no reason to make the identities known. I can`t say for sure why they would not publicly state it, but I`m sure they`ve got reasons that would impact their investigation.

GRACE: Joining us tonight is Lawrence Carter-Long, the director of advocacy for the Disabilities Network of New York City. You may know him, as I first did, as the poster child for cerebral palsy. And it is a real honor to have him speaking out on behalf of the disabled and the handicapped.

Lawrence Carter-Long, this is an epidemic, an epidemic in nursing homes, in home health care, paid individuals coming into the home. What`s going on, and how do we stop it? There are laws on the books, but my God, if the nursing home hadn`t thought on their own to put in a secret videocamera, we wouldn`t have a case.

LAWRENCE CARTER-LONG, DISABILITIES NETWORK OF NEW YORK CITY: Absolutely. What would we do without videotape? Studies will show you that as many as eight out of every ten disabled women have been abused at some course in their lifetime. So what we`re talking about is a situation within these nursing homes, within these assisted living facilities, where low expectations, low pay, bad training is a breeding ground for abuse.

There is no national registry for these so-called caregivers, as there is for, let`s say, sexual offenders. So what happens is, they go from job to job, bouncing around from position to position without being adequately followed, screened or really gauged as to what their competency is to do this type of work. And this allows this type of abuse to continue.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Violet in Connecticut. Hi, Violet.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Hi, Nancy. Love your show. Congratulations on your twins.

GRACE: Thank you, love. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: My question is, don`t they do really good background checks on these people before they hire them?

GRACE: Violet, that was my very next question. Michael Frazier, what kind of background checks were they doing in this particular nursing home where the 50-year-old autistic lady was attacked? And I don`t mean just once, by at least four health care -- professional health caregivers, four separate people attacking her, beating her mercilessly. What kind of a background check?

FRAZIER: Right. All four had criminal background checks in this instance. But still, you know, that`s just a record. They were enough to get them the job. There was no -- they had no previous crime.

But I also want to point out that this nursing home, according to Nassau County police, had no other violations before this instance happened. And also, I want to point out that there was only -- there`s 10 patients in this residence...

GRACE: Michael! Michael, Michael...


GRACE: They had to put in a secret camera, all right? How do you expect these people to communicate with their families? This woman is autistic. She couldn`t speak. I mean, so to me, for you to sit there with a straight face and tell me there hasn`t been any other violence -- man! Come on!

FRAZIER: Well, I`m telling you what Nassau County police are telling me.

GRACE: OK. Well, I appreciate that.

FRAZIER: I`m not an investigator, just a reporter.

GRACE: I appreciate that. I appreciate that...


GRACE: ... they`re saying there are no other incidents. I say -- and it`s not just about this nursing home, Michael Frazier.


GRACE: I give them a big round of applause for taking it upon themselves -- a lot of nursing homes would have tried to cover it up, OK? I know that for a fact.

FRAZIER: Well, she also...

GRACE: Not this nursing home. They tried to find out about it and went to their own lengths of installing a secret camera.

FRAZIER: Right. But I think in the case in Baltimore that you guys have been pointing out as well today, I think there was a relative involved with that case, with...

GRACE: It was a paid health care individual coming into the home. Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ten residents with a range of disabilities occupy the PLUS group home. Neighbors know it as a friendly place and a welcome one. Two of those seemingly friendly employees, Nelly Gedeon and Johny Djhon-Felix, are now under arrest, charged with endangering an incompetent person and second-degree harassment. Cops say at least four licensed health care workers beat a severely autistic woman over and over.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The owner suspected the abuse after noticing bruising on the 50-year-old victim, so she decided to set up surveillance cameras in an air-conditioning vent. A week later, she called police. Gedeon, they say, pounded on the victim`s head using a shoe. Djhon-Felix, cops say, hit the same woman on a separate occasion, sometimes grabbing and shaking her by the hair.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The defendant then noticed his actions were being recorded, and he removed the camera from the air-conditioning vent.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Thankfully, at that point, cops say, they were getting a live feed of the ordeal to the police station, putting a stop to what no one expected behind closed doors.


GRACE: Let`s go straight back out to the lines. Donald in Michigan. Hi, Donald.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi. My question is, are autistic people in institutions more likely to be abused than other disorders or less likely, or about the same?

GRACE: You know, Donald, interesting question because the 90-year- old, where the family was actually paying -- it was not a family member, as you just heard, that was beating the 90-year-old. That`s not a family member, OK? That`s a paid health care professional coming into the home. He`s not autistic.

The other video that we`re going to show you in just a moment that we investigated earlier, that guy not autistic. But this 50-year-old woman, autistic.

I want to go back out to Lawrence Carter-Long. Lawrence, what can you tell me regarding the nature of the disabilities of these various people? Is there any one particular disability? I don`t think so.

CARTER-LONG: Well, I think one of the major problems with all of the individuals that you`ve talked about here is their inability to communicate. Many of them were nonverbal, and so they couldn`t specify exactly what was being done to them. So much attention has to be paid by the people in the facilities, or by family members, to look at bruising, to see if anything changes in their behavior, if they`re acting more frightened, or if they`re more afraid in someone`s presence.

You know, these types of situations, again, as you said at the top of the hour, are epidemic. Four to five times higher are the rates of abuse for people with disabilities than that of the general population. If we do not properly screen, if we do not properly train the people working in these facilities or in the homes, we are sending the signal, we are sending the message that it`s OK to abuse people living in assisted living facilities, and that`s something that shouldn`t happen.

GRACE: Joining me tonight, a special guest, Lee Grossman, Mr. Grossman the president and CEO of the Autism Society of America. His son has autism. He knows what he`s talking about. Mr. Grossman, thank you for being with us.


GRACE: What was your first response when you learned about this story, about the 50-year-old lady being beaten not just by one bully, but by four paid health care professionals inside a nursing home?

GROSSMAN: This is a terrible visual example of -- and is indicative of so many of the calls that we get on a daily basis from parents around the country. This is not unique. What makes this one particular incident unique is the fact that they caught it on tape. And what we`ve experienced with the -- with people with autism is because of their lack of communication -- and I`ll agree with everything that Lawrence said -- is that they`re typically subject to bullying, abuse and victimization. Our autism community is well aware of this and is trying to address it, as well.

GRACE: Back to the lines. Miriam in Illinois. Hi, Miriam.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How`re you doing, Nancy?

GRACE: I`m good, dear.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I love your show. Nancy, (INAUDIBLE) a caregiver. I`m very shocked and I`m sad what`s happened, what I see on the TV. You know, these people should be fired (ph) on the board of nursing. And my question is, why they was beating on these people? Why? And another thing, they should have camera on the rooms because I work in a facility where they was abusing people bad, people with Alzheimer`s. I work with Alzheimer`s people. They need to (INAUDIBLE) certify people, train people, and pay them good wages so they motivate to work because they are not motivated. The pay is not good, and they just do it for the money and they don`t care. I want to know why they were beating these people and what...

GRACE: Miriam?


GRACE: You said you`re a paid health care professional. What do you do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m a caregiver. I`m a CNA. I work in a facility assisted living and I work with Alzheimer`s people.

GRACE: Well, growing up, my grandmother was a paid health care professional in a home for the disabled. And I`m very familiar with nursing homes, homes for the disabled, group homes. And I`ve got to tell you, Miriam, I know it must be shocking to you the way it is when I find out a lawyer has committed malpractice, I`m just sick in my stomach. You must feel the same way, watching this and other video.

I want to ask that question to our professional tonight, clinical psychologist Dr. Andrea Macari. Why? Is it a sense of power to beat on, to abuse a disabled or a handicapped person that can`t even speak?

ANDREA MACARI, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: You know, Nancy, I don`t even think it`s about a want of power, I think it`s more that these people are so untrained and uneducated that they are ill-equipped to be put in this situation.

GRACE: We don`t know what their education is.

MACARI: But Nancy, having worked in these types of settings, usually you only need a high school diploma.

GRACE: Wa-wa-wa-wa-wait! Andrea, you have no idea what their education is. That`s a huge stereotype.

MACARI: No, no, no. No education in terms of mental illness. It`s usually not a requirement to hold this type of position. It takes years to be able to train to deal with people who have this type of chronic mental illness. One of those girls, one of the perpetrators, was only 20 years old. How much education could she have had?


GRACE: You are seeing secret surveillance video of an attack on patients in a health care facility in Anaheim. Tonight, we are highlighting an epidemic of violence on some of the most helpless members of our society. the handicapped and disabled, in homes, in nursing homes and health care facilities, even in their own homes, attacks by paid health care professionals.

Out to the lines. Steve in Tennessee. Hi, Steve.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hi, Nancy. How are you?

GRACE: I`m good, dear. What`s your question?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: First I would like to say this is just absolutely horrible.

GRACE: Steve, I can hardly even stand to look at it.


GRACE: It`s just so hurtful.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is just disgraceful, you know? And my question is this. We spend thousands and millions of dollars for videos in courtrooms and schools, school buses. Why do we not -- why do the nursing homes or places like that -- why do they not put up cameras to where...

GRACE: SOP, standard operating procedure. Steve, we`re going to go right back to you after the break. Stay with me, Steve.


GRACE: You are seeing secretly obtained cell phone video out of a nursing facility in Anaheim, the patients here mentally disabled. They couldn`t even speak to tell their family that they were being beaten and taunted. Now a 90-year-old in Boston, home health care worker beating him severely. A 50-year-old autistic lady in Long Island, same story. All these are paid health care professionals.

Steve, your question -- let me get this straight -- was why don`t they put up videocameras SOP, standard operating procedure, right, Steve?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Right. And then one other question.

GRACE: Quickly.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I wanted to know, is there not a law where these people would be charged? I want to know if they`re going to be charged with assault or...


GRACE: Steve, you`re going to fall off of your chair! The people out in Long Island and the 50-year-old autistic lady victim, max 12 months.

I want to go to Lawrence Carter-Long. You have an explanation as to why no videocameras in every room?

CARTER-LONG: There is not a day where something doesn`t come across my desk which is an incident much like these. It`s a case of out of sight, out of mind. They`re not required to videotape these facilities. And so as long as they don`t videotape these facilities, they can pretend it`s not happening. Look at the case in Long Island. They -- not on the first incident, not even on the second incident when they supposedly videotaped. But no, no, no, after the fourth incident. They waited a week later before going to the authorities.

What these facilities are doing by and large is not protecting the patients, they`re protecting themselves in case of a lawsuit. What we need to do is throw the book at these people.

GRACE: I couldn`t agree any more. And Susan Moss, why just one year these four are facing in Long Island?

SUSAN MOSS, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: It`s outrageous that this is only a misdemeanor. This is like beating up Corky from "Life Goes On." It is outrageous. What is also disturbing is that these were four individuals. This isn`t an isolated case. In this one small facility, four separate people beat this woman, and only a year`s time at most.


GRACE: You are seeing secretly recorded cell phone video out of a nursing facility in Anaheim. This victim couldn`t even speak to tell his family he was being systematically beaten and abused by health care facility workers.

And here, this family paid to have this health care professional come into the home in Boston. And what does she do? Beats the daylights out of a 90-year-old man, unable to communicate, bedridden, in his own home! Caught on secret surveillance video. They would never have known had it not been caught on video. Thugs, thugs with a degree, busted.

Now we know about a 50-year-old woman in Long Island, in an exclusive nursing facility, just a few patients there. This autistic lady, unable to speak out, beaten by not one, two, three, but four employees. Four health caregivers, on separate occasions. Finally, the health care facility itself installed a secret surveillance camera after noticing horrific bruises all over the 50-year-old woman`s body.

Let`s unleash the lawyers. In addition to Susan Moss, joining us is Joe Lawless, veteran trial lawyer out of Philadelphia. And Doug Burns, former federal prosecutor, current defense attorney in the New York jurisdiction.

Doug Burns, without this video, there wouldn`t be a case. And please explain to me, in your capacity as a defense attorney, why these four are only looking at one year behind bars.

DOUG BURNS, DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes, you know, I`m very glad you asked me that. First of all, you`re right, the video is the key. And the only defense avenue would be to, you know, if the video`s grainy and you can`t see it. That doesn`t necessarily go to guilt or innocence; it goes to provability.

As far as the one year, let`s not get carried away. Under the New York state, under the penal law, it is one year. But if serious...

GRACE: Hold on, what did you just say, let`s not get carried away?


GRACE: Let me see (ph) Doug Burns, please. What do you mean let`s don`t get carried away?

BURNS: Let`s not say willy-nilly, oh, it`s a misdemeanor. Because if serious injury results, it`s a felony, OK?

GRACE: Well, I`m telling you, the fact is, they`re facing -- the charges they are facing is one year behind bars.

BURNS: Yes, because there`s no serious injury.

GRACE: What about it, Sue Moss?

MOSS: You`ve got to be kidding me. No serious injury? We wouldn`t even know -- this woman can`t even tell us how badly the beatings were. The only thing we`ve caught are four examples. There were more than four examples by these people`s own co-workers came forward and say that there were more examples than that.

GRACE: Well, what is concerning me, Doug Burns, for there to be an aggravated assault, fists can be used. It doesn`t have to -- when did you get out of law school?

BURNS: I love the way you -- I just graduated last week. 1983.

GRACE: Because you know, it doesn`t have to be anymore...

BURNS: OK, listen to me...

GRACE: ... it doesn`t have to be a gun or a knife.

BURNS: I`m not saying it is. You have to look at the injuries.

GRACE: Fists can be determined, as I was saying...

BURNS: Look at the injuries and if they are serious...

GRACE: ... an aggravated assault can be effected...

BURNS: ... it`s a felony.

GRACE: ... by fists.

BURNS: Read my lips: It`s a felony if it`s a serious injury.

GRACE: To Joe Lawless. Isn`t it true that the statute, not only in New York, but across this country, says that fists, basically any weapon, can be a deadly weapon in an aggravated assault? And a serious injury is obviously constituted by severe bruises all over the 50-year-old`s body.

She doesn`t have to lose a limb. That would be aggravated battery. I`m talking about aggravated assault, Joe Lawless.

JOE LAWLESS, ATTORNEY: Absolutely. And I don`t see any reason why these people haven`t already been charged with a felony. The use of a deadly weapon, which is a closed fist, on the vital part of a human body can clearly be a felony.

But more importantly, Nancy, I think what this indicates is that there are legislatures around this country that should start thinking about enacting laws that protect the elderly from this kind of abuse, so if there is actually serious bodily injuries...

GRACE: Hello! They`re on the books. There are laws protecting...

LAWLESS: Well, they are not being enforced, obviously.

GRACE: ... the elderly on the books. Now, Doug Burns...

LAWLESS: They are not being enforced.

GRACE: ... is it your understanding under the law...


GRACE: ... that there has to be a broken limb or the loss of an organ, such as an eye or a kidney? You`ve got to have a colostomy bag? Is that your belief about what aggravated assault is?

BURNS: That`s interesting. Did I use any of those terms tonight? I said that under the New York Penal Law Section 260.34, causes serious physical injury to such person. And unlike Susan`s analysis, you don`t get it from the victim; you analyze the injuries objectively. And if it meets the statute, it`s a felony. If it doesn`t, it doesn`t.

GRACE: What do you think about severe bruising all over her body? You don`t think that`s serious injury?

BURNS: Well, that may very well be. But why did they charge a misdemeanor? I haven`t reviewed the whole file.

GRACE: That`s what I`m asking you.

BURNS: Excuse me?

GRACE: That`s what I`m asking you.

BURNS: I have no idea. I don`t know the facts of -- I haven`t looked at the medical reports.

GRACE: Let`s go out to the lines. Eileen in Vermont. Hi, Eileen.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy, how are you?

GRACE: Well, you know what, frankly, I`m very disturbed. Because, you know, this past week when I was gone, I ended up at two fantastic hospitals -- Apalachicola, Tallahassee. I went right in. I spoke to the nurses, I spoke to the doctors. Totally trusted them. And look at these people. They can`t speak for themselves. Look at them. Look at them, caught on videotape. How many more are out there, Eileen, that are not caught on videotape?

What`s your question, dear?

CALLER: My question is, how long are we supposed to put up with this kind of behavior, and what and when can we do something about it?

GRACE: I want to go back out to a specialist, Lawrence Carter-Long. You probably knew him when he was a child. And I did from far away. He`s the poster boy for cerebral palsy.

Lawrence, it pains me to even see this. But it`s the truth. These cameras don`t lie. What can we do, Lawrence?

CARTER-LONG: These -- remember, these are only the ones that we`ve seen videotaped. What about all those other abuses who weren`t videotaped?

In addition to having a disability and working at the disabilities network, my mother is a home care worker. My sister is a registered nurse. So I know this inside out, probably more intimately than most people. They would be the first to say that we should have the penalty severe and harsh for this type of behavior.

You`ve got to keep in mind that, for somebody who has autism, emotional abuse, long-term trauma might be worse than the physical abuse. And the fact that they can`t tell you should not be an indicator that something isn`t being done.

GRACE: Back to Lee Grossman, president and CEO of the Autism Society of America. What are the characteristics, what are the drawbacks, disabilities of someone with autism? This 50-year-old lady had severe autism.

GROSSMAN: Well, she obviously can`t communicate and that`s typical of people with autism.

I would say that the fact that she can`t communicate what her injuries are should not be a reason not to prosecute these people fully and intensely. She, I would imagine that this abuse is probably just a small example of what she`s experienced over her life, over a period of perhaps weeks. And the emotional damage that is the result of this is perhaps very severe.

And we need to change these laws, so that these people are protected. So that they can go into a facility and be trusted by those caretakers.

GRACE: I agree. I agree. Leo Grossman with us tonight.

Back to the lawyers, Susan Moss, Joe Lawless, Doug Burns.

Doug Burns, isn`t it true that there`s a possibility, if someone is arrested on a police charge, that those charges can be upgraded at a grand jury? This is not the end of the story.

BURNS: Absolutely. That`s what I was trying to say. And I apologize for getting a little hot.

GRACE: Oh, please.

BURNS: If they look...

GRACE: Look, everybody`s hot on this case. And (inaudible) video.

BURNS: Absolutely. But look, Nancy, if you look at the medical reports, and there are serious injuries, which are extremely likely, as you said, if you`re sitting somebody with a fist hard, then they will almost undoubtedly upgrade it to a felony.

GRACE: Out to the lines. Keitha, New York. Hi, Keitha.

CALLER: Hi, Nancy. I don`t have to ask you how you are, because I know. I`ve watched you enough. You`re upset. I am, too. And it`s pathetic. I don`t see how anybody can even bring education, that they`re not educated. You don`t have to be educated to be a...

GRACE: To know that this is wrong.

CALLER: ... cruel person. And I think that you have to be their voice. If they don`t have to be a person that`s watching out for them, then you have to be their voice.

GRACE: You know, you brought up a really interesting point, Keitha. There`s not a double standard, a two-tiered justice system for people that have their master`s degree or their Ph.D. and those that don`t. These are all paid health care professionals. You`re right.

Very quickly, Cindy in Nebraska. Hi, Cindy.

CALLER: Yes, Nancy. I love you. Thank you for doing what you`re doing.

My question is this: I am witnessing abuse and neglect in a nursing home here in Omaha, Nebraska. I`ve taken it to the state level. They sent me a letter saying that nothing was found. That`s impossible. What do you do next?

GRACE: What do you do, next, quickly, Donald Schweitzer?

SCHWEITZER: Nancy, I hate to tell people this, but most of the places that I`ve visited are flea bags. Most of the health care centers for the disabled...

GRACE: But wait a minute, Donald, that`s not fair. There are a lot of very upscale...

SCHWEITZER: No, Nancy, I`m telling you...

GRACE: ... nursing homes.

SCHWEITZER: ... there might be some, there might be some, but most of them are inferior. They`re not places you want to bring your loved ones. Be very careful of which ones you select.

GRACE: When we come back, to Ohio. A Boy Scout vanishes on the way to a Sunday afternoon local troop meeting. Where is the missing scout?



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There is a park here, and he was known to camp there. He was known to go there. And he has experience camping out. About 115 or so volunteers, including other scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, all turned out, volunteers, family, neighbors, even strangers came out. They walked through this large park looking for him. And they didn`t find any trace of him there.


GRACE: A Boy Scout just one step away from gaining Eagle Scout status. You know how hard that is? Disappears on a Sunday afternoon, on his way to troop meeting.

This kid is extremely intelligent. He`s fast-tracked through school. He`s highly intelligent. All A`s.

I want to go out to Jon Leiberman with "America`s Most Wanted." Tell me about when he was seen last, Jon.

JON LEIBERMAN, AMERICA`S MOST WANTED: (inaudible) more critical, because, as you know, pedophiles and abductors look to prey on kids who are vulnerable. This kid clearly vulnerable.

What we know is, a week ago Sunday, the kid Tony goes to church with his parents in the morning, as he always did, came home from church, put on his Scout shirt, it`s (inaudible), with his troop emblem on the shoulder. And he grabs his backpack and he leaves out of the house, headed to his troop meeting in the afternoon. He never shows up at the troop meeting. He has a job interview (inaudible). Never shows up at that. And he just vanishes. And as you know (inaudible).

GRACE: With me is correspondent with "America`s Most Wanted," Jon Leiberman. With our weather, you`re taking a hit, Jon.

Jon, so I understand that there was in fact a troop meeting scheduled. To Donald Schweitzer, is that confirmed? Was he definitely on the way to a scout troop meeting?

SCHWEITZER: All the reports indicate that he was. He was geared up, packed up, ready to go. This is very sad for the family, because if this kid was running away, he would have told his friends. He would have told his girlfriend. There was no sign at all that he was having any problems with his family. So it doesn`t look good at this time.

GRACE: Donald, I have no reason, based on the facts that we have read, to think the boy is running away.

SCHWEITZER: That`s what I`m saying. It`s sad, because you almost hope that he was running away. It looks like he hasn`t. He hasn`t communicated any problems. He hasn`t communicated to his own girlfriend. So, you know, it doesn`t look good.

GRACE: Take a listen to this.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They don`t have any evidence that there is any foul play, but they`re not ruling it out. They don`t have any evidence that there is. They don`t have anything to show that there isn`t. He`s been a good kid. Boy Scout, Eagle Scout. He`s very intelligent. He`s advanced for his age. And he has experience camping out. But for him to stay away for this period, for this length of period, is quite unusual.

There is a park here, and he was known to camp there. He was known to go there. And he has experience camping out.

It`s about 115 or so volunteers, including other scouts, Boy Scouts, Cub Scouts, all turned out, volunteers, family, neighbors, even strangers came out. They walked through this large park looking for him. And they didn`t find any trace of him there.


GRACE: Out to Joe Lawless, defense attorney out of Philadelphia.

Joe, you have had a lot of cases where computers are searched carefully. Explain how that works.

LAWLESS: Well, what will happen is a forensic expert will go in and get into the hard drive, start opening files. And I`m sure in this case with Tony, they`re looking for e-mails to friends. They`re looking for any record that he might have kept. They`re looking for a diary or web blog he might have kept, to try to get some clue to see if there was something troubling him that would have caused him to just take off and disappear like that, in the hope that that`s what it is, instead of what it looks like. But what they`re looking for right now on the computer are clues to his disappearance.

GRACE: Back to Jon Leiberman with "America`s Most Wanted." Jon, what else can you tell me about the boy`s disappearance?

LEIBERMAN: Well, let me tell you this, Nancy. When we talk about runaways, we talk about kids who are going to grab everything and go. What we know about this kid is, in his room, he left behind, when he left, he left behind his cell phone, he left behind a bunch of cash because he got paid in cash from his summer job, he left behind all of his camping gear.

If this kid wanted to disappear, he was smart enough to have grabbed all of his camping gear and all of his cash and gone. And that`s why we`re concerned, because it just doesn`t look like a runaway situation.

GRACE: With me, Jon Leiberman from "America`s Most Wanted" tonight. A Boy Scout, one step away from making Eagle Scout, disappears on a Sunday afternoon walking to troop meeting.

We`ll be back on the missing Boy Scout with the tip line, but first, "CNN Heroes."


ANA DODSON: My parents adopted me. I would have probably either been on the streets or in an orphanage.

I was born in the hills of Cusco, in Peru. My mom first got me when I was four weeks old. I really wanted to go see an orphanage in Cusco. I felt this great pull toward these girls who had nothing. And I was like, wow, I could have been one of these kids.

But there was this one girl, Gloria, who came up to me and she said, "Ana, I know that you`ll never forget me, and I know that one day you`ll help us."

That just really made me decide I need to do something.

My name is Ana Dodson, and I started an organization called Peruvian Hearts that helps orphans in Peru.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Hello, Ana. I want to tell you that you`re a good friend with a big and generous heart. They have given us vitamins, and we`re now in very good health.

DODSON: We have sent a stipend of money for food and for their education. Each day after school, a tutor comes over for three hours. We`ve done renovations, painted the orphanage. And there are 19 children right now. The change that I`ve seen in them is amazing. One girl said, we`re now getting fat because of the vitamins.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE (through translator): Anita, I will always carry you in my heart. No matter what happens in life.

DODSON: This orphanage, it is to the point where these girls can dream.



GRACE: That tip line for missing Boy Scout Tony Beard, 513-352-3040.

And now, a cause dear to my heart. This weekend, the Strides for Life lung cancer run/walk.

With me here, Laurie Carson, president and founder of Lung Cancer Research Foundation. Laurie, tell me what you hope to gain this weekend.

LAURIE CARSON, PRESIDENT, LUNG CANCER RESEARCH FOUNDATION: Thank you, Nancy, first of all. It`s wonderful to see you again. Nancy is our honorary chairman. So it`s just delightful to be here.

I hope this weekend that Strides for Life, the three-mile fun run/walk that is hosted by the Lung Cancer Research Foundation will be able to not only raise awareness for lung cancer, but also to raise critical funding for research.

GRACE: Isn`t it true that lung cancer has now surpassed breast cancer as the No. 1 killer of women?

CARSON: It is the leading cause of cancer death in women. It kills more women than breast cancer and all gynecological cancers combined.

GRACE: You know, I didn`t know that. I hear so much about breast cancer and so little about lung cancer, Laurie.

CARSON: Well, that`s one of those things that we at the Lung Cancer Research Foundation are committed to doing is raising awareness, because lung cancer is very prevalent, but it is overlooked and underfunded.

GRACE: You know, Laurie Carson and her foundation, Lung Cancer Research Foundation, isn`t just talking about it. They`re doing something about it.

This weekend, where, when, what time, Laurie?

CARSON: Sunday, 7:30, registration, out in Southampton, Long Island. The race starts at 9:00. It`s three miles. Everybody of every ability -- runners, walkers, people with baby carriages, dogs -- everyone, come out and support the cause.

GRACE: I will be there. And as (ph) the saying goes (ph), if I can do it for three miles with these twins, you can do it to raise money for lung cancer.

Let`s stop and remember Army Corporal Kory Wiens, 20, Independence, Oregon, killed, Iraq. Wiens and a 3-year-old Labrador, Sergeant Cooper, the first military dog team being killed in action. Trying to locate explosives and weapons, buried together in Wiens` hometown. Leaving behind grieving parents, Kevin (ph) and Gina (ph). Brothers, Kevin, Tyle (ph), sister Lindsay (ph).

Kory Wiens, American hero.

Thanks to our guests, but especially to you for being with us. See you tomorrow night, 8:00 sharp. And until then, good night, friend.