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Second Woman Attacked with Acid; Does Ron Have Info on Misty?

Aired September 7, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight the war on women takes a new horrifying turn. Two beautiful women in two separate cities viciously attacked with skin-melting acid. It was thrown on their faces, burning their skin, scarring them for life. Tonight, is this a copycat attack or a horrifying new trend?

And new information finally emerges in the desperate search for Haleigh Cummings. Reports say Ron Cummings is suddenly giving cops new details about the night his daughter vanished. Could this new timeline finally crack the case? And why didn`t he come out with this a long time ago?

Also tonight, here on ISSUES the Salahis tell all. They were accused of crashing a party at the White House. Now this infamous couple is starring in a reality TV show, creating controversy at every turn. Tonight the Salahis join us to tell us their side of the stories.

Plus, a stomach-churning discovery. Cops in Florida have found a step-by-step child molestation manual. This sick document teaches pedophiles where to find young victims and how to convince kids not to tell their parents. Tonight, who is the monster who wrote this hellish book?

ISSUES starts now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, unspeakable horror strikes again. And it is a true war on women.

An Arizona mom gets acid thrown in her face outside her own home. The suspect, another woman. And she was lying in wait. Could this attack be connected to last week`s attack in Washington state or are we perhaps dealing with a copycat?

Forty-one-year-old Derri Velarde suffered second-degree burns to her face and chest. She was attacked in her own parking spot as she arrived at her home. Listen to this.


DERRI VELARDE, ATTACK VICTIM: She just looked at me with these eyes as if she was saying something. Immediately started to just burn. I was on fire. And I just kept screaming, "Somebody poured acid on me. Call 911."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Here is a composite sketch of the suspect. Cops think this woman targeted Velarde since she was waiting by the victim`s personal parking spot at her apartment complex. But why? Why would somebody do something this vile?

The witness says the attacker was a total stranger.

Now, the same thing happened in Vancouver, Washington, just last week. Twenty-eight-year-old Bethany Storro was celebrating a brand-new job, so happy, when she was attacked by a female stranger on the street, acid thrown in her face. Only her sunglasses kept her from going blind.


BETHANY STORRO, ATTACK VICTIM: I don`t really know what this person did to me and the trauma it`s caused me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What on earth is going on? Cops describe these attacks as extremely personal, but both victims say they didn`t know their attackers. Why in the world would total strangers be out to hurt someone in this vicious fashion?

These two acid assailants are still on the loose. They need to be caught. They need to be stopped. I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877- JVM-SAYS; 1-877-586-7297.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But first to investigative reporter Michelle Sigona.

Michelle, what is the very latest?

MICHELLE SIGONA, INVESTIGATIVE REPORTER: I just got off the phone with investigators in Mesa, Jane. And what I`m told is at this particular point, it does not appear that these two cases are connected.

What it does appear, though, is that the case in Mesa, Arizona, was not a random attack. It appears that -- that when the victim pulled into her parking spot, there was a suspect that was waiting for her, did not say anything. And that`s when she was doused with the acid.

Then backwards -- moving backwards to August 30 in Washington, Bethany, she was the victim in that particular case. The suspect came up to her and said, quote, "Hey, pretty girl, do you want to drink this?" And that`s when she was doused with the acid.

In that particular case, investigators do believe that was a random act of violence against her.

This Friday, Bethany`s gym in the area is hosting a self-defense class, $20 a woman. You can go in there. You can get self defense, and all of that money will be given to Bethany and her family.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: That`s fantastic. But unfortunately, self defense cannot protect in a situation like this. This is an attack that no one could really be prepared for, and it is abominable.

I have to wonder what is happening in our culture that we are creating people so vile that this is an option for them to even contemplate. We have to look at our society and say, "What the heck is going on with our culture that this is something that is happening now woman-to-woman?"

Cops do not believe this latest attack was totally random. In fact, they believe the attacker had to have known Derri Velarde somehow, mostly because the suspect was waiting for her to get home.

Velarde is divorced with five kids. Her son cannot believe this happened to his mom.


DAVID DIAZ, SON OF VICTIM: She`s a little -- she`s shooken [SIC] up, scared, scared to go back. To be that jealous or enraged or mad, it just doesn`t make any sense.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Detective Mike Melendez, the detective from the Mesa, Arizona, Police Department. Thank you for joining us, sir.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand in this latest attack, the victim was in the process of getting a divorce, and she feels that I don`t think this is random. I think somehow this woman who attacked her, she says, wanted to leave her disfigured so that she was unattractive and no one would want her. What are your thoughts on that?

MELENDEZ: Well, obviously, in a case like this, it`s very personal. There`s some type of hatred for the victim, and in this case, she obviously wanted to disfigure the victim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So are you going to go and see whether she had any romantic rivals or the person she`s divorcing was going out with somebody who might have felt threatened by her?

MELENDEZ: Well, at this time, we don`t want to speculate on who the suspect may be. We`re following some leads up, and hopefully, we can identify the suspect. We`re putting out the composite today.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but you don`t think it`s, you know -- you think there has to be some logical connection between these two. In other words, that the victim has got a good gut instinct that, "Hey, somebody wanted to make me look not pretty."

MELENDEZ: But we don`t believe -- we believe that this was not a random act. We believe that the suspect knows the victim in some way. There has to be some type of connection. Why it occurred, we have no way of knowing at this time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The first acid attack victim, 28-year-old Bethany Storro, is now out of the hospital recovering at home. And she is, wow, what a hero. So positive, graceful, courageous, despite what she went through.

Listen to this woman. Unbelievable.


STORRO: I have my ups and downs. You know, I think about what happened, and I get frustrated and ask why. Of course all the typical questions, why did this happen to me? And then I`m OK. I`m sorry.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That poor woman. Storro says the suspect approached her holding a cup of liquid and said, "Hey, pretty girl, you want a drink of this?" Storro said no, and then the suspect threw the acid in her face.

Victoria Taft, you`re up there in Portland, Oregon, near Washington state where this went down. There is speculation that there has to be some motive. That`s just human nature.

This woman with the bandages wrapped on her face, had just gotten a brand-new job. Is it possible that somebody else was turned down for the same -- same job and was jealous, and that`s why this woman was attacked?

VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: We don`t know that, Jane. I think that`s an interesting point of view, and I hope that the Vancouver P.D. is looking into that.

I do know one thing, that she indicated during her news conference that the woman was in some sort of jealous rage that she was able to divine in that short time she confronted her. And so perhaps there is some motive, but we`re just not sure about it yet. We don`t know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What is going on with our culture? Dr. Janet Taylor, I mean, honestly, I`ve been on vacation for a couple weeks. And I`ve been kind of making a point not to watch the news. And, boy, was this a wake-up call that I was in fantasy land, because I didn`t think about violence, but yet, boom, I come back.

And this horrific crime reminds me of what`s wrong with our culture, this resorting to violence when you have any kind of a problem with another individual. And this kind of personal violence. This is really a personal message to disfigure something -- disfigure someone.

DR. JANET TAYLOR, PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes. You`re right, Jane. I mean, with women -- women make up 14 percent of violent offenders, but 75 percent of those attacks are against other women. So clearly, we`re not doing a good enough job with helping women resolve their problems and understand that violence is not the answer.

But typically, like men, women who are violent have had difficult backgrounds, grown up in abuse where they really realize violence is the answer or there`s some substance abuse associated with it. In this case we really don`t know what happened.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Casey Jordan, criminologist, a culture professor describes this kind of attack as absolute hatred to the highest degree, especially with a woman where physical beauty is, let`s face it, more valued. To throw acid in her face is to try to annihilate her and demean her to the nth degree. Your thoughts?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Yes, it`s absolutely true. We do live in a culture, Jane, where women`s physical beauty is really touted on television all the time. It`s all about how you look. All the TV shows about being pretty, what you wear, getting plastic surgery.

So the attack is personal, and splashing on the face is the key to take away the prettiness. The fact that Bethany Storro`s attacker said, "Hey, pretty girl," the word "pretty." She was trying to actually disfigure her.

Now I happen to believe that that case was random. But the case in Arizona, because the victim lives in a gated community, far more likely that she is connected in some way. She may have never met her but probably connected to her attacker.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Kay in California, we`re going to get to you on the other side of the break. We know you have an important question. Hang in there, everyone. Stay right where you are. We have much more on these horrifying attacks. And I`m taking your calls: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.

Plus, new reports say Ronald Cummings has new information about little Haleigh`s disappearance. So why in the world is the dad just coming forward now?

But first two acid attacks in less than a week. So are these cases connected, or is this the work of a sick and twisted copycat?


VELARDE: I`m just -- I`m thanking God, since the incident occurred.




VELARDE: She just looked at me with these eyes as if she was saying something and it immediately started to just burn. I was on fire. And I kept screaming, "Somebody poured acid on me. Call 911."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: An Arizona mom becomes the latest victim of an acid attack, this time at her own carport. The female suspect was waiting for her to come home. Forty-one-year-old Derri Velarde recovering from second- degree burns on her face and chest. She wants to know why on earth this happened to her.

Phone lines lighting up.

Kay, California, your question or thought, ma`am.


All right, guess what? We`re going to go back to Casey Jordan, because I want to ask you about my big issue tonight. Could this latest attack, this acid attack, be a copycat case?

I mean, obviously there was a four-day gap in between the first attack, which was a week ago Monday, and the second attack on Thursday. And so obviously, the second person, even though she was in another state, had an opportunity to observe the first one, which got a lot of media coverage.

JORDAN: Right. And I do think that that`s the link. You`ve got to understand, Jane, there`s a lot of sick people out there who harbor resentment. They are vindictive. They are jealous. They are thinking of ways to harm somebody and get revenge against them.

Now I happen to believe that the attack in Washington was random, probably committed by somebody who was mentally ill. I believe Bethany. She didn`t know the woman. She had just moved there.

And the fact that it happened in broad daylight in front of a Starbucks, I don`t think you`re going to find that woman easily, because I really do think she`s unconnected to Bethany.

But let`s say there`s somebody in Arizona. Maybe she`s connected to Bethany -- or Derri`s ex-husband or to some man that she`s been dating lately and Derri doesn`t even know of her existence. But maybe this person sees the story about the Washington attack on the news, and it gets into her head that this is an insidious way, really cowardice but really damaging, very easily, to do, and decides to take out her anger and revenge or jealousy on Derri, because she was inspired by what she saw on the news.


Dale in California. Your question or thought?

CALLER: Yes, thank you, Jane. I`m an E.R. nurse, and I was wondering if any reports have been sent out to local hospitals in these areas. Very difficult to throw acid on someone and not get it on yourself, your hands, your face, your arms. Anybody coming in with droplets of acid attacks should be -- the police should be notified. So this could be a way to help track these people.


CALLER: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Melendez with the Mesa Police Department.

MELENDEZ: Yes, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. You just heard the caller. She said that you would probably get acid on your hands and go to the hospital. Did you check the hospitals to see if anybody came in with acid burns on their fingers?

MELENDEZ: We`re checking every possible lead we can check, including hospitals, including friends of the victim and co-workers of the victim.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, the first acid attack victim describes a greenish acid on her face. Doctors have called it a very strong acid. Cops have said a powerful acid was used on the second victim, as well. So we asked ourselves in our meeting how the heck are these people getting a hold of acid?

Well, guess what? We went online, did a little bit of checking. And Victoria Taft, guess what? You can order battery acid over the phone. You can order it online. It`s cheap.

Do we need laws restricting these kinds of materials that are toxic, given that now we have people using them as weapons?

TAFT: I`d hate to think that we have to outlaw everything that someone could somehow misuse into a weapon. But you know what, Jane? I wonder if maybe there`s some cultural aspect to this that we haven`t touched on. As I did some studying of what happens from these acid attacks.

I wonder if, since most of them are done male-to-female in Asian cultures and in some cases the Pashtun regions of Afghanistan -- or rather Pakistan and in other areas like that, if maybe we`re not importing some of these bad habits from this cultural inculcation that we have going on in the United States.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I don`t -- with all due respect, Victoria, I love you, but I don`t buy it. I don`t think we can blame everything on people halfway across the -- halfway across the globe.

We are a culture steeped in violence. We`re addicted to violence. We use violence as a solution all the time. And so this is just par for the course. I mean, over the years there have been a lot of sick crime trends. Carjackings, chain-snatchings. Remember when there was a whole slew of carjackings that happened? These things happen in -- in sort of trends.

TAFT: And you can`t buy -- you can`t buy certain kinds of fertilizer any more either as a result of...


TAFT: ... the Murrah Building bombing. So it might be appropriate to do that. But I hesitate to call for strict action on that. I just think people are crazy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I mean, let`s talk about that. Dr. Janet Taylor, psychiatrist. What is happening in our culture that a woman would resort to this if she was jealous or a rival or for whatever reason? It blows my mind. I can`t comprehend it.

TAYLOR: Well, I mean, it`s not new to our culture. And the fact is I think you have to look at the victims. Both of them were attractive young women, and clearly the person wanted to make them suffer, not die, and got satisfaction out of their pain.

But that`s not new in our culture. I mean, we have -- we have always, unfortunately, tried to help people in various ways. I think the key is to try to teach our young people how to resolve conflicts and so that we don`t get -- have these kind of heinous crimes happening.

Well, I think the key is also to reduce the entire level of violence in our culture so that how many hundreds of thousands of murders is the average American exposed to in the movies by the time they reach 18? And this kind of thing happens in the movies, too.

Thank you, fantastic panel so very much.

A step-by-step guide to child molestation in a book, next.




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK, sir, let me talk to your wife. Let me get some information from her.



CUMMINGS: How the (EXPLETIVE DELETED) did you let my daughter get stolen, (EXPLETIVE DELETED)?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Breaking news in the baffling and heartbreaking Haleigh Cummings mystery. Is Haleigh`s dad, Ron, giving cops new and possibly incriminating information about ex-wife Misty, the tight-lipped teen who was watching over Haleigh the night she vanished?


CUMMINGS: I just want my child back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We want somebody to see her, to find her.

CUMMINGS: I want my child back so bad. I will give them everything I own.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That same man you see there weeping, Ron, now a year and a half or more after his daughter disappeared, is now finally giving police useful information about the timeline of that fateful night.

Could Ron be throwing cold water on Misty`s story that Haleigh was violently snatched from the family trailer? All over a semiautomatic rifle that someone couldn`t find? In any event, why would the desperate dad wait until now to give up such critical info?

Straight out to investigative journalist Art Harris. Art, what is the very latest on this head-spinning case?

ART HARRIS, INVESTIGATIVE JOURNALIST: Jane, I can tell you that Ronald Cummings has told law enforcement about a timeline and about phone calls Misty made that night. So -- or actually that he made that night. And they are trying to put together new information he`s given them. And that has resulted in a request to interview Misty Cummings -- Misty Croslin again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we all know that police can obtain phone records. They don`t need him to tell them what calls he made. And we`ve heard reports that he made something like 90 phone calls to Misty that night, which we all found very bizarre, like...


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Before he knew that his daughter was missing, he`s making 90 calls to her?

HARRIS: Calls and texts, now I`m told.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Calls and texts. So...

HARRIS: The actual calls, I`m told, are closer to 25. But I got clarification on that today, Jane.

However, what`s interesting is that they wanted to know about all the relationships between him and all the people involved who were supposedly at the trailer that night.

And they especially were interested to learn that what he had told them earlier about a phone call he made to Misty`s parents` house that night was not to ask Tommy to go check on her. This is -- of course blows Tommy`s, you know, story -- the story he told originally. Of course Tommy has refuted that, as well. But it shows that Ronald at least was telling the truth at that point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Tommy`s lawyers. Tommy Croslin`s lawyer told us Tommy and his cousin, Joe, had plans to go deer hunting...

HARRIS: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... the night Haleigh vanished. And that`s why they went to Ron`s trailer to get his big weapon. Listen to this briefly.


JAMES WERTER, TOMMY CROSLIN`S ATTORNEY: The gun wasn`t there. Tommy was sitting on the couch. Tommy, yes, was high. Joe went off the deep end, went into that back room. Tommy didn`t see exactly what happened. Joe comes out with Haleigh, goes into the car, tells Tommy to get in the car. Joe has a very violent temper, from what Tommy tells me, and this is what he grew up with.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So Art Harris, does Ron not believe that story?

HARRIS: Ronald, his lawyer told me today, Jane, believes that Misty is the key, just like law enforcement does. And, you know, he does concede that there was a fight over a gun. But we are going to wait and see what happens when he goes to sentencing June -- September 24.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Thank you, Art.

Up next, very special guests, the Salahis from "Real Housewives of D.C."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, here on ISSUES the Salahis tell all. They were accused of crashing a party at the White House. Now this infamous couple is starring in a reality TV show, creating controversy at every turn. Tonight the Salahis join us to tell us their side of the story.

Plus, a stomach-churning discovery: cops in Florida have found a step by stepchild molestation manual. This sick document teaches pedophiles where to find young victims and how to convince kids not to tell their parents. Tonight who is the monster who wrote this hellish book?

Tonight, they became one of the most talked about couples in Washington as they denied accusations that they snuck into a high-profile party at the White House.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. and Mrs. Salahi.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michaele Salahi`s flashy sparkling sari made headlines. Photos of the couple partying it up with D.C.`s elite including President Obama were splashed across every news outlet. And now the Salahis are rising stars and easily -- easily the most entertaining cast members on Bravo`s hit TV show "The Real Housewives of D.C."

Tonight the much talked about reality stars clear the air right here on ISSUES. They insist they were invited to the White House and they say they did absolutely nothing wrong. But as their reality show unfolds are the Salahis perhaps running into new controversies.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We snuck in. We had no tickets.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Snuck into the Black Congressional Caucus dinner.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We`re talking about all the dramarama from Playboy to posh parties. And I`m giving my fabulous guests Michaele and Tareq Salahi a chance to tell their side of the story.

Thank you both for joining me tonight as well as their attorney, my dear friend Lisa Bloom of the Bloomfirm.

Michaele, attending that dinner at the White House for the Indian prime minister certainly changed your life. And I have to wonder was all that attention the best thing that ever happened to you, the worst thing that ever happened to you or perhaps a little bit of both?

MICHAELE SALAHI, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C.: You know, I`ve always been someone that had a -- Hi, Jane, first of all. Can you hear me?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey how are you doing? You look great. You both look fabulous.

M. SALAHI: You look great too. I love your pink. I can`t really hear Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Full disclosure, I met the two of them at a party. And they were very charming and delightful and they said, you know what, we`d like to tell you our side of the story. I said, sure, why not. Come on.

So here you are. Set the record straight, please.

M. SALAHI: Hi, Jane. We loved meeting you at the party. That was a great time. You look fantastic in pink.


M. SALAHI: You know, our life has always been out there and a part of attention with the winery and polo, so we`ve gotten kind of used to it, never to this level, Jane. That`s for sure. But we`re certainly holding our own and holding on to who we are.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, listen. Lisa bloom, you`re my dear friend and I also had dinner with you. You said, you know, nobody really ever told the real story of the Salahis. You were fiercely defending them. Tell me why you feel they did absolutely nothing wrong vis-a-vis the White House incident.

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY FOR THE SALAHIS: Jane, this is the story that the entire media got wrong. The story broke just before Thanksgiving that they had supposedly crashed the White House.

You can`t crash the White House. There are guards and heavy security all around the White House. What they did and you just showed it on the tape was they gave their real names and their real IDs at two checkpoints. They were announced as the Salahis and they went into the dinner.

Afterwards they e-mailed the White House liaison who had e-mailed an invitation prior to the dinner, "Thank you. We had a great time." She wrote back to them the next day, "I`m so delighted that you had a great time. That`s wonderful. Happy Thanksgiving."

The media, frankly took this story and ran with it because apparently they were not on one list but they were on two other lists and nobody has ever looked at the facts that an independent journalist Diane Dimond who has a book coming out, she spent months investigating this. She talked to 70 witnesses. She concludes the same thing that I do, which is that the Salahis are innocent.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Yes. And we`re going to show you, we`ll cover that book in a second. They are another good friend of mine Diane Dimond writing that book. There it is "Cirque du Salahi". And apparently you have cooperated with this.

Once again, you`re here to set the record straight. So I want to give you a chance to respond to all the various controversies that have come up on "The Real Housewives of D.C. where you are the stars, easily the most entertaining indeed.

Some of the other cast members are stirring up rumors that you showed up uninvited to other high profile events. Two of your friends claim you invited them to accompany you to the Congressional Black Caucus dinner and they claim when they got there they found out that none of you actually had tickets.

But listen to this from Bravo and then I want to get your side of the story -- a very short clip.


STACIE SCOTT TURNER, REALITY TV STAR: They said that they were invited -- they were invited by you all as guests and when they got there, they didn`t have tickets.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Who wants to take that one? Tareq? What`s your side of the story?

TAREQ SALAHI, "THE REAL HOUSEWIVES OF D.C.": Look, I mean, that`s completely ridiculous. I mean, to crash the Congressional Black Caucus is absurd. We were invited of course to that. In fact, I saw Tim Kaine there, now chair of the DNC and he was our former governor in the Commonwealth of Virginia. We spent some nice time with cheering and saying hi with he and his son there.

Of course, no, we didn`t crash. Did we sneak in through the busboy entrance? Absolutely not. Did we get asked to leave? No.

M. SALAHI: We took a lot of pictures.

T. SALAHI: Of course we took a lot of pictures with a lot of friends that we have supported over the years with our wine and financially politically that were there. But, no, we did not get asked to leave. And the whole story that you saw that the Secret Service came and asked us to leave the Congressional Black Caucus is fabrication, completely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. It`s been reported in the news that your cast mate, Cass Omani (ph) is going through a bitter divorce. In fact, I was reading -- I was just on vacation -- I was reading this article in "The New York Times" that they interviewed her husband, who is an award-winning photographer who has worked for "Newsweek" and in the White House for nine years. He told "The New York Times" that the show ruined his reputation, destroyed his marriage and he wishes he had never agreed to go on.

I have to ask you, Michaele, how has being on this show where it gets pretty -- it can be pretty nasty some of these women. How has it affected you and your life?

M. SALAHI: You know, you have to know who you are within. And whatever your foundation of whatever relationship you`re in, it either grows stronger or it breaks apart. So you really find out when you go through any type of high profile -- certainly we`ve really been thrown into it. But we knew with the TV program we were going to be out there. Just we didn`t have any idea to this level. But certainly --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about that Charles Omani (ph), how do you feel about him? The fact that he said --

M. SALAHI: He`s a great guy.

T. SALAHI: I think he`s a great guy.

M. SALAHI: He`s a great guy.

T. SALAHI: We clicked with him. I clicked with him. We talked about wine. We had some drinks together, of course, during the show, during the taping. I think he was in a tough position with what he does with "Newsweek" and shooting at the White House. I think he was placed in an awkward position.


BLOOM: And Jane, don`t believe everything you see on reality TV; just like don`t believe everything that you read in the media. I mean a lot of these shows, I think the Salahis don`t want to come out and say this but a lot of these shows are staged and scripted and a lot of stunts that go on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, I saw some of the clips. And you, Tareq, set off a champagne bottle and the cork hit one of your wife`s rivals right in the tukus (ph) or something like that. Was that staged or did that actually happen?

T. SALAHI: Yes. That`s right.

Look I always enjoy splashing a little champagne on friends and enemies. But it`s really more of an honor to do it on friends.

M. SALAHI: It`s like Gatorade at the Super Bowl, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I would say you can splash me any time but I don`t drink anymore. I don`t want to get that close.

Listen, ok, a slightly serious matter. Even more than slightly serious, we all have to agree that you`ve been in the spotlight and you`ve been at the center of some controversies. I want to give you a chance to clear up some of the other issues that have come up, this being ISSUES.

"The Washington Post" is reporting that you said you donated $250,000 to the charity Journey for the Cure but the paper claims the charity actually got less than $20,000. I really want to give you an opportunity to set the record straight about the scrutiny -- the harsh scrutiny over your charity work.

T. SALAHI: I`m happy to do that. You know, "The Washington Post", I think, also reported my wife had four children and her name was Molly and that apparently I`m like 45 years old. But that`s all good.

No, you know "The Washington Post" hasn`t gotten really anything right from the beginning.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, look -- it is one of the most famous news institutions in the history of journalism. Watergate, I mean, the Pentagon papers. Ok? So I want you to respond -- don`t respond by attacking "The Washington Post"; respond by explaining your charity.

T. SALAHI: Well, let me tell you the facts. The facts are I never told "The Washington Post" that. So that`s very important to set the record straight, as you say. We never told "The Washington Post" we raised $250,000 for Journey for the Cure. They came up with that through talking to other polo players and other people in the community. They came up with that statement. I never made that quote to "The Washington Post".

M. SALAHI: Well, you have done with wine for the Democratic Party.

T. SALAHI: Sure. Ok. We have done a lot. We have done a lot for charity and a lot for the Lymphoma Society, MS Society -- we`ve done a lot in Washington D.C., a lot of --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you love being as famous as you are now even with all the controversy that comes with it? Michaele.

M. SALAHI: We`re the same people. Yes. I can`t hear Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t hear? Ok. Well, I`ll throw it off to your husband.

M. SALAHI: I can`t hear Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tareq, you love being famous despite all the controversy and the heat that comes with it?

T. SALAHI: We`re like, you know, we`re the same people. Michaela and I, we`ve never changed. We know who we are. We know who we are within.


T. SALAHI: Yes -- is there a lot of -- go ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One last question because it appears you`re taking something off there. Are you going to pose in "Playboy"? Is your wife going to pose in "Playboy"?

T. SALAHI: Oh, you`re not asking me if I`m going to pose in "Playboy"?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No, I don`t want to know if you`re going to pose.


I will tell you this. There is one dress that did get off my wife and that was the red sari. And that`s going to be auctioned off October 2nd for charity and we`re going to announce September 15th where the second charity is but it`s going to go for a great cause.


T. SALAHI: But one dress has already been taken off my wife.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Are you -- are you going to take it off for "Playboy"? Are you going to take on for "Playboy"?

BLOOM: I don`t think she can hear you Jane. I think there`s a problem with her ISP.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have her spokesman right next to her. Can you have answer that question, sir?

T. SALAHI: I`d be happy to take it off for "Playboy" if they wanted to.

BLOOM: We can`t answer that question Jane. I`m sorry we can`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We can`t answer that question.

Well, you guys are good sports. Thank you so much. It`s always a pleasure to talk to my good buddy Lisa Bloom as well. Thank you.

BLOOM: Thanks, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Up next, Kyron Horman.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A molesting manual discovered in Florida. That`s next.

But first "Top of the Block" tonight.

Kyron Horman vanished inside his school. Now three months later, his school is back in session. His heartbroken dad Kaine Horman told our affiliate that he has purchased all of Kyron`s school supplies, packed his backpack and registered the missing child for soccer.

Well, that`s hope for you and we pray that he is right and that his son is still alive.

And Steven Slater`s 15 minutes of fame may be up but not in the eyes of the courts. The flight attendant who famously walked off the job by busting out of the airplane`s emergency exit chute, well now new reports say, Slater could avoid jail time if he attends anger management classes and alcohol abuse classes. That`s kind of like those instructions they give you before the plane takes off.

And that is tonight`s "Top of the Block".

Turning now to a really grotesque story: there was growing outrage and disgust over a sex offender`s how-to guide. You heard me right. There is an actual molestation manual being circulated over e-mail. This handbook for sickos is 170 pages long.

Police think it`s been circulating for months now. It lays out -- are you sitting down -- the best places to find young victims, how to lure kids and how to keep them quiet.


DET. PHILLIP GRAVES, ORANGE COUNTY SHERRIF`S OFFICE: It`s very detailed. It shows very clearly how these acts can occur, how to begin them, how to end them. I mean, from point -- from the beginning to a point to the end. And if somebody is out there looking for this information, it is available out there. And that`s the sad thing especially with the Internet how available it is.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: For now, the author of this sicko manual -- sicko, sicko manual -- is a mystery. Police say he refers to himself as "The Mule". I have another term for him but we can`t say it on the air.

Get this. It`s legal for somebody to possess and distribute this how- to guide. So what can cops do about it?

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. But I have to start with former prosecutor Robin Sax, author of "Predators and Child Molesters".

Robin, were you surprised to hear that a 170-page molestation manual is out there on the Internet?

ROBIN SAX, AUTHOR, "PREDATORS AND CHILD MOLESTERS": I am not surprised that this is out on the Internet. I`m not surprised as a prosecutor. I`m also not surprised as a parent. And I`m not surprised as a concerned member of society.

Right now online you can find how to do hate crimes, how to make a bomb, how to commit suicide. So it`s not surprising to find how to molest a child. But what is surprising is the amount of pages and energy, which is very consistent with the amount of time and energy a perpetrator will take to learn and study their craft in order to trap their prey.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I am very honored to welcome someone who is my hero, Erin Runnion. Erin`s precious 5-year-old daughter Samantha was abducted and murdered back in 2002. Her killer was sentenced to death.

Erin, you started the Joyful Child Foundation in your precious daughter`s honor. You`re my hero for how you`ve handled this incredibly devastating life experience and turned it into something positive by working -- working around the clock to make sure it can`t happen again.

And then you hear something like this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You hear something like this that somebody has put out a 170-page manual to instruct other people, ok, on how to abduct and molest children. What runs through you?

RUNNION: Well, it`s infuriating. But at the same time, I`m really glad that you`re sharing this with the public because people, I think, don`t realize that most offenders are in fact groomers. They take a great deal of time and care into picking who their victims will be and how they`re going to molest them, how they`re going to gain access, trust of the family so they can gain access to that family.

A how-to manual that`s 170 pages kind of speaks to the kind of calculating person we`re talking about. And the vast majority of offenders are that way. It`s infuriating.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s so bizarre because it seems like there`s one sicko trying to encourage others sickos to do the same thing. And that brings me to my big issue. Are pedophiles all members of some sick cult?

You don`t hear about murderers or robbers circulating how-to manuals. Why are predators, child predators different? I`ve got to bring in criminologist Casey Jordan. Why would a pedophile be so interested in encouraging others to also go out there and molest?

CASEY JORDAN, CRIMINOLOGIST: Well, in one sentence I would have to say there`s strength in numbers. It`s a little bit sick but they are very acutely aware of their aberrant behavior not being acceptable to society.

But if you find somebody else who thinks the same way you think, has the same fantasies and interested in the same disgusting pornography or activity, it makes them feel more normalized. They know society still rejects them so they just want to hang out with other people who are like them.

A manual like this can be not just a recruiting tool but also a way through the Internet of molesters finding one another to give themselves a sense of security. That they are not alone, there are others like them. And the more interest is in the manual, the more normal they feel.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, "The Mule", that`s what this sicko calls himself, obviously, a drug mule is slang for a drug trafficker. So Robin Sax, could this mule be someone who traffics children -- the person who is the author of this?

SAX: Well, that`s certainly the logical conclusion. And given the fact that sex trafficking is the second biggest crime here in the United States, it`s not just an overseas issues, and how easily the Internet is used, that, just the possession of that manual may tip people off to, oh, that`s someone who can be trafficking --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. All right. Everyone, stay right where you are. We`ve got calls on the other side of the break on a disgusting guidebook to molestation.



DET. PHILIP GRAVES, ORANGE COUNTY SHERIFF`S OFFICE: I was amazed on how detailed it was, how well put together it was. And it`s amazing that there are people out there doing this thing, because I`ve seen many cases where that`s happened. But I was more amazed that somebody would be as bold as to create an actual 170-page document that would detail exactly how to do it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bold, brazen, and sick -- sick in the head. Tips on how to molest a child circulated by e-mail -- an entire molestation how-to guide; where to find potential victims, how to lure them, how to keep them from telling their parents they`ve been abused.

Some sicko actually took the time to write 170 pages on this subject.

Mary Ann, Tennessee, your question or thought, ma`am?

MARY ANN, TENNESSEE (via telephone): Yes, ma`am. Hi Jane.


MARY ANN: nice to talk to you.


MARY ANN: Yes, I have two questions and one comment. One question is, is there any way they can track down by an ID number of the people who are visiting the site? I know that the one, probably, that put it on there is too smart, especially for somebody like me, to figure it out. But I`m sure there`s people out there that can find the people that are visiting the site. And is there any way that anyone can, like, their local sheriff`s department, make a, you know, a search warrant on their computer?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Well, you raise a very, very interesting question. And I want to go to Ed Smart, president of Surviving Parents Coalition. And you are currently on a ride for your life, spreading the message of child safety. Your daughter, Elizabeth, was 14 when she was abducted from her bedroom at knifepoint. And thank God, she was found alive nine months later. One of her kidnappers pleaded guilty. The other hasn`t even been tried yesterday.

Ed Smart, what really disturbs so many people is that this is not illegal. You can write a 170-page molestation manual and distribute it. It`s not illegal to write it, it`s not illegal to send it.

ED SMART, RIDEFORTHEIRLIVES.ORG (via telephone): Absolutely. It`s just completely outrageous. I mean, this manual was one thing, but to think that we have online videos of how to do it makes it even worse and even more disgusting.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I just don`t understand, if, let`s say a suspected terrorist is writing e-mails and they`re intercepted, where he appears to be planning a crime, that person can be arrested. But for some reason, Ed, this is covered under the First Amendment.

SMART: Absolutely. It`s, you know, to me, really it`s the means of child pornography and it should be illegal. I think we need to do something about that because it really is not right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it`s out of control.

Erin Runnion, it occurs to me that perhaps there might be some way to redeem the situation if police are able to use it as an investigative tool. In other words, figure out who is getting this e-mail and that person, then, is on the radar as a possible sex offender.

RUNNION: Absolutely. And they can. They can track the IP addresses and even sometimes get the computer serial numbers, which give them a town to go to. So there are investigators who are very skilled at doing the computer forensics on the e-mail itself. But it`s hard to find the root source.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to keep covering the fantastic Ride across America to end child abuse. Erin, love you, you`re my hero.

Thank you, fabulous panel.

Nancy Grace talks to the husband of a woman accused of faking terminal cancer and using the money for a big wedding.