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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Could Aja`s Murder Have Been Prevented?; Sandra Bullock Planning to Divorce Cheating Hubby?

Aired March 30, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, a horrifying discovery in the tragic search for little Aja Johnson. A little girl`s body was found rotting inside a car. It appears Aja`s step-dad kidnapped this little girl, murdered her in cold blood, then killed himself, leaving only a rambling note. Tonight, we`ll go inside the mind of a monster.

And bullied to death. Was a 15-year-old girl insulted and harassed to the point of suicide? She was found hanging in her closet. Now nine of these alleged teen bullies have been charged in her death. So what took so long? Why didn`t adults step in before this girl committed suicide?

Also, has Sandra Bullock finally had enough? Sources say the Oscar- winning actress is calling it quits, and she`s leaving Jesse James. Tonight, we`ll go inside Hollywood`s latest marriage melt-down.

Plus, we`ve all seen the party pictures, but is Lindsay Lohan really a ticking time bomb? Her dad says yes, and he`s worried for her life. Tonight, is Lindsay the poster child for relapse?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fast-breaking developments tonight in a tragic heart- wrenching discovery in Oklahoma. It`s the very outcome we`ve all been dreading for two long months. Police have found two bodies, an adult and a child in an isolated wooded area near Oklahoma City. Authorities believe they are 7-year-old Aja Johnson and her suspected kidnapper, 47-year-old Lester Hobbs.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m out here east of Norman in the woods. There`s a white Paseo car out here with a license plate 577-BPW, and it looks like a body -- I`m not going to get any closer. It looks like a body wrapped in a blanket right beside it.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One body was found inside the car, a white Toyota Paseo, the very car Lester Hobbs was last seen driving. The child`s body was reportedly found outside that car nearby. No positive IDs yet, but Aja`s dad says, "I know it`s her," because he saw her little blue jacket on the ground in these aerial shots.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

J.J. JOHNSON, AJA`S FATHER: As a parent, you know, and the love for your child, it always burns in you. And for some odd reason that fire went out. And I had -- I had a funny feeling that something would happen like this. I had a funny feeling that the gutless person that he was, he would do something.

Now I know she`s going to be in a better place. And those thoughts that used to go through my head, you know, what he could be doing to her, torturing her, doing this, doing that, you know, that I don`t have to think about no more.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two months ago, investigators launched a massive manhunt for Lester Hobbs. They say he murdered his estranged wife by beating her to death with a hammer, before kidnapping her young daughter Aja, a child he reportedly despised.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JEANNIE LOUGHRIDGE, AJA JOHNSON`S GREAT AUNT: I think deep down we all knew, and it`s better that Aja is with Jesus and didn`t have to endure anything from Lester other than -- than what she did.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Could this precious, innocent little girl`s death been prevented? I want to hear from you at home. Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel: former police officer, Marc Harrold; psychiatrist Dr. Janet Taylor; and joining me by phone, Jennifer Newell, the public information officer for the Norman, Oklahoma, Police Department.

But first, delighted as always to have investigative journalist Michelle Sigona, MichelleSigona.com.

Michelle, I understand you have uncovered some new information. What is the very latest?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Well, at this point, an investigator who is one of my sources that was on the ground last night, Jane, does say that the body does appear to be Aja. Her body was outside of the vehicle, and the other body inside of the vehicle appears to be Lester Hobbs.

Now, from what I`ve learned is that they may have been there for about a week after the death of Tonya Hobbs, after Tonya was murdered. It appears that possibly Lester did, in fact, drive this car to this location. He parked there. But if you remember, there was a major ice storm that came through the area during that time. So there was some damage also to the vehicle. He may not have been able to get out of that particular area after the storm passed through.

And at some point, it does appear that Aja was murdered, and then Lester Hobbs did, in fact, take his life. Also inside that vehicle, they found the second murder weapon that was used in the Tonya Hobbs murder.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is it?

SIGONA: From what I`ve learned is that it is a knife. Tonya Hobbs was murdered with a hammer and with a knife. The hammer was found at the scene where Tonya was murdered, and then the knife was actually possibly found out here at this particular location.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do we have any idea of how the child was killed? Don`t tell me it`s a knife. That makes me sick to my stomach.

SIGONA: We do not know as of yet. Again, we`re still waiting for the official medical examiner`s report. Investigators do have Aja`s dental records, and they are processing Lester`s fingerprints.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me get in, Michelle, and ask you this. This child apparently could have been alive for a while, a couple of weeks, because her body is decomposed, but that would take it back a month. We still have an entire month before that. I mean, this happened in January that her mom was killed and she was abducted.

And, you know, my fear is what happened to this child over the time that she was alive before she was killed.

Jennifer Newell, you are with the Norman Police Department. I know that this sicko, Lester Hobbs, had a paddle with this little child`s name on it. He reportedly despised her. He reportedly forced her to eat jalapeno peppers. Do we have any idea what this child endured before she was tragically murdered?

JENNIFER NEWELL, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, NORMAN POLICE DEPARTMENT (via phone): No, ma`am. And remember that the Oklahoma State Bureau of Investigation was the lead investigator in the case that started in Geronimo. The Norman police department wasn`t called into this until yesterday.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Let me ask you this, then. Authorities believe the adult and child have been dead for several weeks, possibly a month. Let`s listen to this, and then I`ll ask you a question.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JESSICA BROWN, PUBLIC INFORMATION OFFICER, OKLAHOMA STATE BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: We have found two bodies. We have not positively identified those due to the rate of decomposition. Of course, the medical examiner is out there. They will determine the positive I.D. on Hobbs with fingerprints, and on Aja Johnson, possibly with dental records. We have no reason to believe it is not those two people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, Jennifer with the Norman Police Department, Lester had at one point lived in Norman. There was a massive manhunt for him that went on for months. This was 90 miles away from where he disappeared with little Aja. Did police search this area before? Why did nobody spot this car for almost a month?

NEWELL: Well, first of all, you have to remember that Norman is over 192 square miles. Now, we do know that he apparently lived in the area. That`s what we`ve gotten calls about. We checked the area. We extra patrolled the area.

One of the difficult things is the area where the car was actually found, it was very easily seen from the air, but as we know, you know, the guess is -- the educated guess is that that car has been there for over a month. I can`t say that we`ve had helicopters in the area over the month. We never got anything that exact. I know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. But the helicopters did spot the car. So I mean...

NEWELL: The helicopters -- it was very easy for them to see from the air, but listening to the gentleman who called 911, it was actually very difficult to get to. It was not something that you would be able to see just as a casual passer by.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right. All right. Thank you, Jennifer. Hang on.

I want to go to my big issue tonight. Follow-up failure. This story is so heart wrenching because it could have been prevented. Aja`s mom, Tonya Hobbs, knew this guy was abusive.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

RICHARD GOSS, AGENT IN CHARGE OF OKLAHOMA BUREAU OF INVESTIGATION: He has been described to us as a cowardly abuser who only confronts people of a lesser stature than himself. This is exemplified by his criminal record, or he has a history of only assaulting women and children.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonya, little Aja`s mom, filed for a protective order against Hobbs. But get this: she didn`t show up to the hearing. Aja`s dad had filed for full custody of Aja with supervised visits, but the mom convinced him to let her take Aja to a birthday party.

And now we have surveillance video that shows Tonya hours before she was beaten to death with a hammer by Lester Hobbs, holding hands with the monster who then beat her to death. Marc Harrold, she went right into the lion`s den with her precious child in tow.

MARC HARROLD, FORMER POLICE OFFICER: Yes, these things, you can never understand it. The people around them, after the fact, everybody says, "Yes, the guy was pure evil. Yes, we knew this; yes, we knew that." But the steps aren`t taken, the intermediate steps to separate the child from this person.

I don`t know exactly what happened in this custody battle. I`m not sure why she was allowed to continue to be with this man alone and all that.

But the thing is, sometimes you`ve just got to admit, some people are pure evil, and the criminal justice system doesn`t seem to be doing a good job in certain cases of really getting those people off the streets.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And I don`t want to speak ill of the dead. This is a tragedy for the mom, but it`s a cautionary tale. If somebody has threatened to kill you and your kids, don`t go visit him.

Everybody, stay right there. We`re going to have so much more on this gruesome discovery. New information. I want to hear from you.

Sheba, Illinois, hang in there. We`ll get to you after the break: 1- 877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, a teenage girl, bullied and tormented so badly she killed herself. Should her teenage bullies be charged with her death?

But first, a father`s nightmare becomes reality. Reports say little Aja`s body has been found, apparently killed by her drifter step-dad. We will go inside this monster`s sick and twisted mind, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: Aja was really loved by lots of people, you know? She touched a lot of people`s hearts the short time she was on earth, you know? She touched a lot of people.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOHNSON: I need my little girl back. She`s missing. I love her dearly. And she needs her medication. Please, Lester, if you`re listening or anyone out there who know where is she is, please return her.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aja Johnson`s desperate father begging for her safe return. She was abducted in late January by her abusive, horribly abusive stepfather. And tonight, horrific discovery. Police have found two bodies, an adult and child. They believe those are 7-year-old Aja Johnson and her captor, Lester Hobbs.

And of course, we all shudder to think what might have happened to little Aja in the days or weeks before she died when she was at the mercy of this monster, who reportedly hated her and had a paddle with her name on it. What -- what a nightmare.

Sheba, Illinois. Your question or thought, ma`am?

CALLER: Hi, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

CALLER: I`ve got a question. My question is, what in the good Lord`s name would make a mother take her child to a place that she knew -- and this woman had to know that this man was dangerous. And I hope the last words out of her mouth would have been, "Aja run."

And then secondly, why was this guy -- why was he running loose? I don`t get this.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. He has an extensive rap sheet. He served time for assault and battery with a deadly weapon. Dr. Janet Taylor, he -- he beat the mom. He threatened to kill the mom and the kids. Why would she bring her child into the lion`s den?

DR. JANET TAYLOR, PSYCHIATRIST: Well, he`s a sociopath. And certainly, one characteristic, possibly, of his manipulativeness, but it`s real testimony to why, if you have an order of protection, you need to keep it. Because the best predictor of future violence is past violence. And he is a violent man who should never have been around that young child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, he is a violent man. Dead tonight, it is believed. Relatives say this monster, Lester Hobbs, beat Aja`s mom. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ALICE DUNKIN, AJA JOHNSON`S GRANDMOTHER: I never thought that he would go that far. You know, he would beat her up, slapped her and black eye and all this, but I didn`t think he would go as far as murder.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Michelle Sigona, apparently, the father, the biological father we heard from of little Aja, had custody, and the mom was supposed to have supervised visitation but somehow convinced the father or got the child away to visit Hobbs?

SIGONA: That`s correct. Back in December, J.J. Johnson was granted full custody of Aja. And he had a pretty good relationship with Tonya. And from what I`ve learned from family members, is that Tonya convinced him to take Aja that Friday and to actually keep her overnight. She said that they were going to a cousin`s birthday party.

And so she took the child out to -- out to Lester Hobbs` residence, and he didn`t see the child that day and did become a little bit nervous and anxious. And then we know the rest of the story from there, unfortunately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, I have to go back to Dr. Janet Taylor. Apparently, there was a long note, a rambling note that was found with these bodies. And it`s believed that it was Lester Hobbs -- not a suicide note, even though it`s believed he committed suicide, but some kind of rambling note, making excuses and blaming everybody else and possibly including this child.

What kind of a personality -- what`s the psychology of an adult who blames a 7-year-old child for his problems?

TAYLOR: Well, he`s a classic sociopath: antisocial, can`t take responsibility, blames everyone and including an innocent child that he subsequently murdered. And it just fits into that whole narcissism and antisocial. There`s no rhyme or reason. You can`t treat that with therapy. You just have to lock them up if you get to them in time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Aja`s father and authorities repeatedly begged, begged Lester Hobbs, just let Aja go. Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOSS: Release Aja now. Simply drop her off at a Target, a Wal-Mart, a K-Mart or any other busy store where she will be safe. Attach a note to her clothing that simply states, "Call police, Amber Alert, Aja Johnson."

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Marc Harrold, you`re a former police officer. That would have been easy enough: just leave her somewhere. Why couldn`t this man do that?

HARROLD: Well, you know, he is a sociopath, but a lot of it probably had to do with having control. He`s a bully, and he takes situations that he can control, and he lords it over people. He always picked on people, and he always was violent towards people who couldn`t fight back.

And my guess is he liked, in a perverse way, having people beg him to do this, beg him to do that, seeing the father`s anguish. He probably took pleasure in that, because he had that ultimate control over another human being, and he had control over all these people searching for him. And this is sort of -- this is who he is. He`s a monster.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michelle Sigona, is it possible that he killed this child and then waited a certain amount of time before he killed himself? And during that time wrote this note? What do you know about the note?

SIGONA: Absolutely. One of my sources did tell me that he does think that there was a lapse to where -- to where Lester did, in fact, possibly murder Aja, allegedly, and then go into the car and spent maybe a day or two compiling his thoughts and writing out this letter.

And again, it wasn`t really so much a suicide note. I have not seen it, but this is what I`ve learned. It was more the blame game. And I also -- early on, investigators had said that Hobbs` own family members say he always considers himself the victim and never takes responsibilities for his actions.

So he was compiling his notes and his thoughts and sort of blaming Tonya`s mother and her sister for their strained relationship, and you know, sort of doing that -- the typical cycle that we see, Jane, that the abusers do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`ve got to learn from it.

SIGONA: We do.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The assaulters always think they`re the victims.

Fantastic panel, thank you so much for your insights.

Cue the circus music. Joslyn James says she`s going to the Masters. That`s right. The alleged mistress/porn star says she is going to see Tiger in Augusta.

Plus, from one toxic marriage to another, has Sandra Bullock finally had enough?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Fast-breaking news. Are you sitting down? Radar Online says yet another woman plans to come forward and confess to having an affair with Jesse James. That would make it five alleged mistresses. This could be the final straw.

Radar Online also reporting Sandra Bullock is ready to pull the old plug on her five-year marriage.

Meantime, her husband, who appeared on NBC`s "Celebrity Apprentice," is desperate to save their marriage, and Jesse is telling his sob story to anybody -- and I mean anybody -- who will listen, even a cop who pulled him over on the 10 Freeway. It must have helped, because he didn`t get a ticket.

Ken Baker, executive news editor with "E!", what do we know about Sandra`s alleged divorce plans?

KEN BAKER, EXECUTIVE NEWS EDITOR, "E!": What we know for sure is this, Jane, is that she has not seen Jesse James since March 15. So it has been a long time.

In fact, it was within 48 hours of even finding out that there may have been some sort of affair that was going on behind her back that she just left. They share a home just south of Long Beach in Sunset Beach, a section between Huntington Beach and Long Beach. She fled there. We have not seen her. We haven`t seen a celebrity go missing whose amidst a scandal like this since Tiger Woods went disappearing for about 45 days. So Sandra has really gone underground, and she definitely has not seen him.

Now, the other thing that we just found out today is that she is seriously considering filing for divorce, but look, there is no rush to this. This woman is reeling from it. She has a career to attend to. She has a life, and suddenly she was literally blindsided by this, no pun intended. And it`s been a very difficult time for her.

Now, meanwhile, Jesse James, he`s continued to just go about his daily life. We`ve seen him virtually every day, you know, taking his kids to school, going to work at his garage in Long Beach, dealing with the paparazzi, dealing with the police coming, trying to break up these crowds that keep following him everywhere.

But what`s clear is these two, Jesse James and Sandra Bullock, they are not together right now. And I think it doesn`t take a genius to assume that these two are separated right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Right, and I just pray for her sake she has a prenup and an ironclad one. The woman -- let`s switch gears to the Tiger. This is -- the woman who is on a mission to make Tiger Woods` life as miserable as possible is now going to, apparently, be on hand for Tiger`s return to golf. Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JOSLYN JAMES, CLAIMS AFFAIR WITH TIGER WOODS: Tiger pursued me, and over time, I fell in love with him. And he told me he loved me, too.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Ken, she`s headed to the Masters?

BAKER: Well, I`ll tell you this. She`s not going to get within, you know, a couple miles of that first tee, where Tiger is going to tee off or he`s scheduled to tee off in about a week from now.

But the thing is this, is that this woman -- what is her motivation besides her being talked about on cable networks? I mean, this is really a sad situation.

Look, it was a bad thing that happened, allegedly, between them, but she continues to go in front of cameras and talk about this and literally now stalk him down in Augusta, Georgia, while the guy is trying to get his career back and trying to work on his marriage? It just kind of reeks of just not only distasteful, but disgusting at the same time.

And I don`t know. I mean, we can look into her past. I`m not blaming her; I`m not blaming him. It`s a terrible situation. But Tiger is doing something at least a little bit smart. He`s going to hold a press conference on Monday before he`s supposed to start playing on Thursday and is going to disarm all this, because by the time he plays golf, he`s going to have talked about this already so many times. We`re all going to be sick of it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And she`s going to be performing at an Atlanta strip club. Thank you, Ken Baker.

A Massachusetts teenager virtually bullied to death. Nine of her classmates now facing criminal charges. What did teachers do? Anything?

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a slew of charges against nine teenagers in a horrific story of bullying. Prosecutors say a beautiful high schoolgirl killed herself after being relentlessly bullied. Fifteen-year-old Phoebe Prince hanged herself in her closet in her family`s home back in January. Get this -- her 12-year-old sister found the body. Nine students are now charged in connection with this case.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELIZABETH SCHEIBEL, PROSECUTING ALLEGED BULLIES: The investigation revealed relentless activity directed towards Phoebe, designed to humiliate her and to make it impossible for her to remain at school. The bullying for her became intolerable.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two of the accused bulliers, the young men, are charged with statutory rape. Seven more students are also reportedly charged.

The D.A. says the bullying began after Phoebe, a freshman, who had just moved to America from Ireland had a fling with a popular senior, a football player. The tormenting reportedly included calling her a, quote, "Irish slut", sending her nasty text messages, knocking books out of her arms, scrawling her face out of photos and hurling a drink at her on the very day of her suicide.

Tonight, there is outrage in Massachusetts where it all happened and all across the country. What did school administrators know and when did they know it and what did they do? The school tells ISSUES, quote, "We have taken disciplinary action with an additional small group of students and they have been removed from the high school," end quote.

So now it`s more than nine teens against one. And this just in to ISSUES: the mother of one of the accused girls, a 16-year-old, says her daughter never lifted a hand to Phoebe. What`s more, she says Phoebe called her daughter names.

I`m taking your calls, 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic panel: Darren Kavinoky, attorney and legal analyst for the hit show, "The Insider"; Barbara Coloroso, bullying expert who was called in to train officials at this very high school; via Skype, Jodee Blanco, one time bullying victim who says she, in fact, attempted suicide over the bullying. Jodee is the author of this fabulous book, "Please Stop Laughing at Me".

Jodee, you have been in Phoebe`s shoes. Tell us what was going through this desperate teenage girl`s head before she killed herself.

JODEE BLANCO, AUTHOR, "PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT ME": Hopelessness. Not just hopelessness because there were students who were bystanders, Jane, but hopelessness because the teachers themselves were the bystanders. This girl had nowhere to turn. And after a while, you don`t just loathe the students who are attacking you.

I just didn`t hate my classmates who were putting me through hell. After a while, they made me hate myself. And that`s the hopelessness and desperation she felt. And when teachers themselves are the bystanders, you see nothing but the abyss before you. That`s exactly how I felt.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Of course, you start hating yourself. You get low self-esteem and you start thinking maybe they`re right. Maybe they`ve got a point. Maybe I`m no good.

Look at that beautiful girl. Prosecutors have a theory about what lit the bullying fuse.

Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

SCHEIBEL: It appears to have been motivated by the group`s displeasure with Phoebe`s brief dating relationship with a male student that had ended some six weeks previous.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Prosecutors say the bullying was relentless. Mean text messages, harassment on Facebook. Her booked dumped. Her face scrawled from photos on the very day she died. Phoebe was reportedly bullied in the library, hallways and on her walk home.

After she killed herself, some students reportedly mocked her death on Facebook. One girl allegedly bragged about playing dumb with detectives. Also, get this, when one female student spoke out against the bullying to a TV crew, that student was then allegedly slammed into a locker and punched in the head.

You know, Barbara Coloroso, you are the expert on bullying. This sounds like a campaign of terror. Is this group of middle class teenagers a gang? You know, gangs aren`t just in the inner city. If it quacks like a gang, is it a gang?

BARBARA COLOROSO, TRAINED OFFICIALS AT SCHOOL OF BULLIED GIRL: It`s criminal bullying is what it is. And it never had to get to that point. It needed to have been stopped when it began.

And as your other guest said who wrote that wonderful book, there are six scenes in this tragedy, and before the third scene, bullies don`t have to work on their target. Targets start beating themselves up. "I`m no good, I`m dumb, I`m a loser." And they succumb to the bullying unless there`s some visible sign that the bullies are being held to account, and that this kid can go to school and home and have some safe harbor.

With cyber bullying today -- you and I used to be able to go home and get away from it. With cyber bullying, it`s 24/7. She never got away from it, no respite.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Parents in the town where Phoebe attended high school are up in arms over how the bullying was handled by school officials. Listen to this from CBS.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Who`s pulling the strings here? Are they trying to pull the wool over our eyes? When is enough, enough?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They knew that there was a problem and they just ignored it. That`s telling me they`re not doing their job.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok.

Darren Kavinoky, faculty and administrators have not been charged even though officials admit they knew about the bullying and that Phoebe`s mom complained about two of the alleged bullies. In reaction, the school says, quote, "all bullying/harassment reports and the responses we`ve taken to those reports are now electronically logged in."

Well, big whoop. That`s it? Here`s my big issue. Who`s to blame here: the school, the administrators, the parents of the alleged bullies, the teenagers themselves, all of the above? Darren Kavinoky.

DARREN KAVINOKY, LEGAL ANALYST, "THE INSIDER": Yes. It`s a really fascinating legal problem. As to the school there may be some civil liability. Generally speaking, third parties don`t have an affirmative duty to protect others unless there`s a special relationship. And certainly, being a student at that school could trigger the special relationship.

The challenge that prosecutors are likely going to face in this case and we`ve seen these bullying prosecutions attempted before. The real problem is that in between the bullying and the suicide, there`s free will. And that may prove to be the undoing for the prosecutors.

As cruel as kids are, and I have my own stories from childhood. I`m sure we all do. And so my heart goes out to the family and this poor girl who suffered. I can`t even repeat some of my childhood nicknames on the air. But it`s going to be a tough road for prosecutors in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God, this stomach-churning story conjures up - - we all know the movie, "Mean Girls" which starred ironically a person we`re going to talk about in the next segment, Lindsay Lohan.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God. I remember this.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I haven`t looked at that in forever.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Check it out Katie. It`s our burn book. We cut out girls` pictures from the yearbook and then we wrote comments.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: (INAUDIBLE) is a gross little biatch.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Dawn Schweitzer is a fat virgin.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Still half true.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Amber (INAUDIBLE), she made out with a hotdog.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jodee Blanco, I`m trying to understand what makes these kids so mean. And what makes these bulliers tick. Now, obviously we know when we`re teenagers, conformity is everything. Everybody wants to fit in and those who don`t fit in and who stand out for some reason get bullied.

This girl had just arrived from Ireland. Ok. Teens, we know, travel in packs. We know that there are more than nine kids allegedly involved in this campaign of terror against this girl. And we know there are strengths in numbers because something that you might not have the guts to do alone, if you`re with a pack, well, that`s why they call them gangs. They feed off each other.

BLANCO: And, I think --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Go ahead.

BLANCO: And I think, Jane, I want to point out something that bullying is the desperate need to fit in, in many cases run amuck. So a lot of these kids, not necessary the fundamental nine, but other kids who were peripherally involved, they get so caught up in the excitement of fitting in, the excitement of being included by the others in this drama, that they don`t think about the effect it`s going to be on the target.

And I have to say something here. I travel across the country and I visit hundreds of schools and share the story of my school years and the hell I went through at the hands of my peers. And I see this all the time, that there are so many kids who are being bullied as badly as Phoebe.

They complain to the schools, they complain to administrators and it`s like a black hole. There`s no accountability. And that`s what has to change.

It`s not only about kids going to teachers and going to administrators and reporting the abuses, it`s about the kids knowing what they should expect. If the child reports something to the school --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s called expelled. That`s what I called it when I was a kid.

Barbara, ten seconds, they should expel kids who bully, period.

COLOROSO: They have to be held accountable, and we have to say to them -- there are three characters here -- and she`s right -- bully, bullied, bystander. There are no innocent bystanders.

What were they doing there in the first place? And the group mindset, that trap of comradeship is only broken when kids are willing to stand up and speak out and know they will get the support from adults who say no more, not here, never.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right.

COLOROSO: This is safe harbor for every kid.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to stay on top of this with developments as they come in. Watch in the coming days.

Thank you, fantastic panel.

Next, is Lindsay Lohan -- you know of "Mean Girls" -- in a drug- fuelled downward spiral? Her dad says yes, she is. And now he`s fighting to save her life.

We`re taking your calls 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KEN BAKER, EXECUTIVE NEWS EDITOR, E!: People are really getting concerned. And I think that they do have reason to be concerned. People love her, they care about her. And what they`re seeing is someone who doesn`t seem healthy.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, the very public downfall of Lindsay Lohan. Will her estranged dad stage an intervention? Michael Lohan said, it`s quote, "do or die time". He claims Lindsay is an addict and he plans to fly to L.A. next week to try to persuade her to go back to rehab.

Lindsay lashed out at her dad on Twitter yesterday, tweeting quote, "Anyone else have a father that sells fake stories on them for money and never pays child support? Don`t you think he`d learn after years of being in jail on and off?"

Her dad responded, quote, "I love you and I want you to turn your life around. If not, I`m going to do all I can to make it happen involuntarily."

Oh, well. Lindsay`s friend told TMZ, quote, "This is serious. If she doesn`t get help soon, she is going to die."

Recent photos like this one have fuelled rumors of a big-time relapse. The paps caught her taking a nasty tumble during a night of partying last week.

In the past few weeks, Lindsay admitted to using cocaine, went to three different rehab centers and got arrested twice. That`s in the past couple of few years. Has this troubled starlet finally hit bottom?

Straight to my fantastic panel: and joining me Alison Triessl, defense attorney, she`s also CEO of the Pasadena Recovery Center where VH1`s "Celebrity Rehab" is filmed.

But first to Ken Baker, executive news editor of E! Ken, what is the very latest on the Lindsay dramarama?

BAKER: Well, you know, the latest is Michael Lohan came out this afternoon. He basically called his daughter an addict; said that she`s addicted to prescription medication and maybe interactions with drugs and alcohol of non-legal drugs, that is. And she basically -- Lindsay is just mortified.

And also Lindsay`s mother Dina who is Michael`s ex-wife -- is just really lashing out at Michael and saying this is inappropriate. This is evil. You shouldn`t be doing this in public. And most counselors that we`ve spoken to at E! News say this is the wrong way to go about it.

But I have to tell you, Jane. I have spoken to Michael Lohan as anyone in the celebrity media has because he`s reached out to a lot of people about this for a very long time and I`ve looked him in the eye. And I don`t doubt his sincerity, but I think the execution of it is really desperate and it`s really too bad that he has to go to these lengths in order to get a message to his daughter.

Now, at the same time, Michael Lohan himself, he`s got a lot of issues he`s been dealing with. He`s a recovering addict himself. And it gives him credibility in this field, but I think what the question is, should a father be going in front of the press like this and speaking out about this very deeply intimate personal issue and struggle that Lindsay may or may not be having. It appears so but we don`t know. Is this appropriate? Most people look at it and say no, it`s not appropriate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well - -yes, I think you raise some excellent point. Now, Lindsay got a slap on the wrist after a DUI arrest back in 2007. Police say she commandeered an SUV with a couple of guys inside. And one of them claims she ran over a guy`s foot. She allegedly sped after another car driven by her assistant`s mom.

Here is that woman`s frantic 911 call. Listen to this.

(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)

911 OPERATOR: Ok, what`s going on there?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t -- we were -- we were just about to park our car, we were coming home and out of nowhere a huge, white GMC came up and (INAUDIBLE) --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Ok, that`s ok. We`re coming --

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: -- we`re at 4th and Wilshire. We`re coming down right now. We`re being followed by a GMC. The gentleman jumped out of the car.

911 OPERATOR: And what did he do?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Oh, my God, sir, they`re following us. We need help.

(END AUDIO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, police say Lindsay was drunk and allegedly had cocaine in her pocket. Now, this was her second DUI.

Alison Triessl, what did she get? Three years` probation. Now, in my opinion and let me ask you, wouldn`t a tougher sentence have helped her in the long run, perhaps even more than rehab? Because that light treatment, doesn`t that reinforce the whole notion of she`s terminally unique, the rules don`t apply to her?

ALISON TRIESSL, CEO, PASADENA RECOVERY CENTER: Well, sure. I mean, this is somebody who`s obviously entitled. And when you talk about her father, the problem is that she doesn`t trust her father. And you`ve got - - first of all, she`s surrounded by too many yes people. They are always telling her yes, you can have whatever you want; you can do whatever you want.

She needs a trained interventionist and not -- she doesn`t trust her father -- she needs someone who she trusts and who will deal with her straight and say, "You have a serious problem and you will die if we don`t take care of it." That`s what she needs.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, I think it goes way beyond that. People have been telling her that. I mean, apparently her friends have been telling her that over and over again. But the fact is that -- I just gave you that whole scenario. A poor inner city kid would have probably been charged with carjacking, assault with a deadly weapon, drug possession. That kid would be up the river for a couple of years now.

TRIESSL: You are absolutely right. In a case like that, where someone takes someone else`s car, runs somebody over, they`re charged with assault with a deadly weapon. And not only is it a strike, but you lose your license for life if you`re convicted of that charge. So absolutely, this was not treated as any other person in the criminal justice system. And --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lindsay --

KAVINOKY: Hang on one second. I`ve got to chime in on this. Just because she received probation doesn`t mean that she avoided all consequences. Probation is a fancy way of saying that your butt belongs to the court and they still have something to hang over your head.

There were terms and conditions associated with her probation, but all of that is in the past.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, wait a second --

KAVINOKY: What`s really going on right now is that she needs an intervention right now as we sit here today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I`ve got to say that she is still on probation for her 2007 DUI. And, in fact, Darren Kavinoky, a judge added a year to her three-year sentence because she failed to complete a court-ordered alcohol education class.

So I mean --

KAVINOKY: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- what we`re talking about is somebody who repeatedly breaks the rules and there are no consequences.

KAVINOKY: Well, there are consequences. If she were to break the law, then there`s a lot of jail time hanging over her head. But the reality is, is that she should not be in a position at all where she`s consuming any alcohol or drugs, legal or illegal.

And these situations, the situation of addiction, it always gets worse. It never gets better. And we can debate whether or not Michael`s been wise in how he`s handled it --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wait a second. I`ve got to bring out the big gavel now because we`re going to go to break.

In 60 seconds we`re going to have so much more on Lindsay`s condition. It`s rough.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

JUDGE JEANINE PIRRO, HLN GUEST HOST: You know Lindsay`s father, right?

JILL ZARIN, REAL HOUSEWIVES OF NEW YORK CITY: I do. I actually do.

PIRRO: Is he worried about this girl?

ZARIN: Of course he`s worried. You know, I`m really happy to say that Michael`s not talking about it now because he`s trying to develop a relationship with his daughter so that she`ll hear him. But you know at 18 years old, that`s it, you`re done. I mean there`s nothing a parent can do.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was Jill Zarin, New York housewife on Joy`s show making some interesting points.

You know, even the LAPD is now scared for Lindsay. Officers who know her told TMZ they considered putting her on a 5150 hold. That involves an involuntary mental evaluation for somebody considered a danger to themselves or others.

Britney Spears was put on a 5150 hold a couple of years ago. You remember all of this drama. Here she is, tied down to a stretcher and rushed to a hospital. Britney appears to have made a full recovery, and we certainly congratulate her on that.

But I have to ask, Dr. Janet Taylor, why doesn`t somebody step in and do the same for Lindsay?

DR. JANET TAYLOR PSYCHIATRIST: Well, you know what, when someone has an addiction, it`s hard to make them go involuntarily for treatment unless it is court-mandated. And in fact, if she did break the probation and didn`t get her prescribed alcohol treatment, that would be an in to get her some help. The key is to get her in, hopefully, and so that she can stop this spiral she`s on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s no secret. Celebrities get special treatment and celebrity addicts are no exception. Amy Winehouse was arrested for drugs in 2007. And was refused a visa to attend the Grammys, but she was still allowed to leave her rehab so she could perform at the Grammys via satellite.

Now, I argued about this, some people said that`s fine. I said no, it`s going to reinforce that notion that she`s different and special. And, of course, that`s exactly what happened, Alison Triessl because she later had a slip.

ALISON TRIESSL, CEO, PASADENA RECOVER CENTER: Well, Jane, let me talk about that. Most rehabs, and certainly mine, Pasadena Recovery Center is nothing like that. There`s no cell phones. You don`t leave to go on photo shoots. You`re not given special permission. You`ve got to go to every group. You`ve got to go to individual counseling. And you`ve got to take it seriously.

So a treatment center that really purports to help people, make sure that that environment is where they stay and all they focus on for the length of their stay. It`s got to be an intense program where they`re dealing with their issues and they`re not making phone calls to friends and drug dealers to come and bring them drugs. It`s got to be a very serious controlled setting. And you know --

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s what I don`t understand. Darren, Here`s what I don`t understand. If -- and I don`t know -- but if she is doing drugs again, wouldn`t that be a violation of her probation and wouldn`t that mean --

KAVINOKY: Oh, absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that she would have to go back? And why isn`t anybody checking and testing her?

KAVINOKY: Yes. That`s a fantastic question. Because the term in her condition of her probation -- and I was in court when she was sentenced -- is that she not consume any alcohol or drugs whatsoever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, ok. Got to go to the --

KAVINOKY: And so, that would certainly be a violation. Her best hope is to get arrested right now. It could save her very life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Paige, Georgia, quick question or thought, ma`am?

PAIGE, GEORGIA (via telephone): Yes, I am very interested in all the talking that you all are doing. I was thinking you`re doing on helping people. I just want to make a quick comment as I was mauled by a pit bulldog. And it hurts me very badly because we don`t -- nobody sticks up for people that really need help with the medication. And we`re getting really kicked out. And so I`d like to see people like --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t really understand what you`re saying. Do you have a problem, ma`am?

PAIGE: No I don`t have a problem --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Good.

PAIGE: I need to take my medication.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Well, that`s a subject for another day.

You`re watching ISSUES on HLN.

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