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ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL
Big Trouble for Josh Powell?
Aired September 9, 2010 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, horrifying new suspicions pile up in the desperate search for a missing Utah mother. Susan Powell vanished nine months ago. Her husband has been suspected from day one, but now even his own family is pointing the finger at him. Tonight, why is this brazen dad now creating an uproar at his kids` school?
And heartbroken, desperate for answers, and searching for their son. Heart-wrenching developments in the never-ending hunt for little Kyron Horman. Today is little Kyron`s birthday, but he`s nowhere to be found. Tonight cops turn up the heat in their search for answers.
Also, terror on campus. A beautiful college girl allegedly gang-raped inside a college dorm. This innocent freshman ended up killing herself after cops decided not to prosecute. Tonight, did the school ignore her pleas for help? I`ll talk one on one with Megan Wright`s devastated mother, who is now suing the college.
Plus, outrageous allegations rip through Hollywood. Britney Spears accused of sexually harassing her bodyguard, and he claims she constantly exposed herself and had vigorous sex right in front of him and her children. You will not believe the jaw-dropping details. Is Britney a bad mother and a sex maniac?
ISSUES starts now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a dramatic face-off brewing between a man at the center of suspicion in his wife`s disappearance and members of a school PTA.
Josh Powell -- remember him? -- is a person of interest, because he was the last person to see his wife, Susan, alive before she vanished into thin air back in December. Two months later, Josh and their two young sons left Utah and drove 800 miles to live with Josh`s parents in Washington state.
Josh is now sending one of his sons to a new school. And get this: Josh wants to join the PTA. Well, that is not sitting well with the other parents. They want nothing to do with him. One parent says Josh Powell gives him, quote, "the creeps."
But good luck keeping Josh away, because he has never been charged with anything. The body of his wife has never turned up. Cops say he`s not cooperating, and they don`t buy his bizarre, bizarre story of going camping after midnight in the middle of a snowstorm with his two kids, and coming home to find Susan gone.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JOSH POWELL, HUSBAND OF SUSAN POWELL: We just miss her, and we want her back. And I love her, and my boys love her.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How are they doing?
POWELL: They`re doing OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you have any idea what happened to her?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I bet you remember this case now. It`s all coming back to you, isn`t it?
In another jaw-dropping twist, Josh`s own sister -- his own sister -- says she doesn`t believe him and understands exactly why the other parents are concerned.
Josh`s lawyer, meantime, did not respond to our request for comment, but he and Josh, you guys are invited to appear on ISSUES anytime to tell your side of the story.
I`m taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297.
Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, but first two well-known radio talk show hosts. Victoria Taft, who broadcasts from that part of the country.
Victoria, tell us about this uproar caused by Josh Powell`s bid to join the local PTA.
VICTORIA TAFT, RADIO TALK SHOW HOST: Well, this is basically a story of a man who wants to send his kids to school. It`s the oldest one. And the parents getting wind of the fact that he is now wanted or at least a person of interest in the disappearance of his wife, and they`re saying, "We don`t want this guy in our club." And they are doing everything they can to keep him out, including starting a petition to keep Josh Powell out of the PTA.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but they can`t do anything about it, because he hasn`t been charged with anything. And the PTA officials are saying, "Hey, if you just say, `No, you can`t join, you can`t be a member of our club,` that`s called discrimination," Victoria.
TAFT: Well -- well, it certainly is, and of course, they -- he can come back and say that, but I`m thinking to myself, if this is a man with any sensibility in this issue, he might well understand...
TAFT: ... why they wouldn`t want someone who is a person believed to be complicit in his wife`s disappearance and/or murder in their club.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Well, the key problem with that statement, which was otherwise very good, Mike Brooks, is a person with any sensibility. I mean, who would do this to their own kids, put this -- put a scarlet letter on them?
MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: That`s the keyword, Jane, sensibility. And we have not seen anything from this guy that makes sense.
You know, the whole thing, with his camping trip, and then when he came back to a brand-new job, and he was late because he said he lost track of time. I`m not buying his story.
But the problem is, Jane, he has not been arrested. He`s not been named a suspect. So basically, you know, how can they keep him out?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: There`s an old saying: no body, no case. And it could apply here. As Mike Brooks just said, Josh raised a whole lot of eyebrows by claiming that, on the night his wife vanished, he decided to set out on a camping trip with his two young sons. You can see how young they are there. They`re toddlers, OK? And then he left after midnight in sub-freezing temperatures during a snowstorm.
Listen to this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: I just went with the boys, was planning to do some s`mores in the morning, and then when we got home -- on the way home, I found out that people were worried about us, and we were missing.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s Josh Powell.
Stranger yet, he claims he went on a camping trip late Sunday night, and then he doesn`t show up for work Monday morning. And he says, "I lost track of the days of the week." Who does that? I mean, I know it`s Thursday, and tomorrow`s Friday. Does anybody here not know that it`s Thursday? OK.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know it`s Thursday, Jane. I`m with you, I have your back.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We all know it`s Thursday.
BROOKS: I know tomorrow is Friday.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. All right. So, I got to go to Debra Opri on this. You`ve covered so many of these high-profile cases. Why is nothing going on with this case? It appears to have reached a dead-end.
DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW ATTORNEY: Jane, you and I have had many conversations. I always admire you, because you never have a rush to judgment. You don`t go on television and convict people.
What we have here is a man who went on a camping trip in God-awful weather on a winter night, or sometime in December. The wife came up missing the next day. And this is all circumstantial evidence.
There`s not a body, but with Drew Peterson there wasn`t a body, either. So all I can tell you is continue to amass the information and the facts. He doesn`t appear to be the brightest lightbulb in the pack. And something will crack. I mean, he`s the father of that woman`s children, so I`m curious to see what the police are doing at this point in time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, days after Susan vanished in December, Josh was asked about his two young sons. Check this out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: I was just going to go in and get my kids. You know, they`re...
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How are they doing?
POWELL: They`ve been doing good. As far as I can tell.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: What do you tell them about their mom?
POWELL: I haven`t told them anything. I mean, they`ve overheard stuff.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here`s my big issue. This guy clearly has a scarlet letter on him. So now he`s passing on that dubious distinction to his poor kids. He could have let his son slip into school quietly without making a fuss, but no. He has to go and try to join the PTA. OK? Now his son may suffer from his father`s infamy. It`s terrible.
TAFT: Isn`t it a grandiose move?
TAFT: It`s a grandiose move. This is just a guy who`s, like, "It`s all about me." Gee, I wonder how come it`s all about him all of a sudden.
OPRI: No, it`s the perfect father routine.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: What? The perfect father routine?
TAFT: That`s right.
OPRI: Yes. I mean, he joins the PTA to be a good father, you know, and he`s not living anywhere where the woman would be coming back to, you know. My gut instinct, when I heard about this case was it doesn`t make sense. If your wife has gone missing, wouldn`t it be sensible to stay where you are for when and if she shows up?
OPRI: Unless you know what happened. But you can`t convict him.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. I`ve got to go to -- of course not. He hasn`t been charged. He`s invited on our show any time to tell his side of the story.
OPRI: I hope you are wrong (ph).
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Jovonna, you are the friend of both Susan and Josh. You were there, having dinner with them literally a couple of hours before -- you were the last person, aside from Josh, to see her alive. Is that correct, Jovonna?
JOVONNA OWINGS, FRIEND: That`s correct, as far as I know, yes.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Just reviewing this case, there`s so many disturbing things that have come up. Friends are saying that Josh was very controlling and wouldn`t let Susan have her own car key, that she had to ask permission from him to use the family car.
Did you see Josh behaving in a controlling fashion toward Susan, Jovonna?
OWINGS: I did not. I did not see that, but as I have had said in the past, my relationship with them was just beginning. It was just a few weeks old. So I had...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You had dinner with them. Did you notice anything strange that night whatsoever, looking back on it?
OWINGS: No, actually I thought it was very nice. He was catering to her. He was serving her. He gave her a plate of food. He covered her with a blanket when she was a little chilled. You know, he was very nice to her.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, well, that`s kind of interesting.
Shelby Gifford, you`re the Cox family spokesperson. Could it be, in your opinion, that he might be trying to create that impression for a visitor with something else on the mind?
Shelby, are you there?
All right. Let me through that question out...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody wants to get in on the question. Let me...
TAFT: The answer is yes and no.
BROOKS: It`s a good possibility, Jane, especially with a new person who -- a person who`s relatively new to them, doesn`t know their routine, has not had that much contact. It could have been a show, but the problem is -- and it`s just really bugging me -- there`s no evidence. That`s the problem.
OPRI: Yes. It`s a blank screen.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, well, let me say this.
BROOKS: It really is.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: When -- when police went into that house, they found a wet spot on the carpet with two fans blowing on it. And we`ve been waiting since December for the results to come back for them to tell us what they found in that wet carpet, you know?
BROOKS: It doesn`t sound like they found anything. They would have known by now. They would have known by now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. More on the disappearance of Susan Powell right on the other side of the break. Phone calls lining up. We`re going to take yours in a second: 1-877-JVM-SAYS.
Next, a tragic milestone for the Horman family as the missing son`s case seems to be at a dead-end as he celebrates his 8th birthday while missing.
But first Susan Powell`s husband, the last person to see her alive, sparking a huge controversy, trying to join a local PTA. Josh Powell has not been charged with anything, but parents say, "This guy gives us the creeps."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP))
POWELL: Any help to try to find her would -- would be appreciated. So really, that`s all. We just -- I mean, she`s somewhere.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know there was quite a huge effort out in the west desert looking for any sign of her. Is that where you were camping?
POWELL: I just have to go get my boys.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
POWELL: I -- I didn`t do anything. I mean, I -- I don`t know where she`s at. I don`t even know where to start looking.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight a shocking development in the mysterious disappearance of Susan Powell, who vanished nine months ago.
Susan`s husband, Josh, is making a bid for membership in his son`s PTA. One outraged parent says he will do whatever it takes to keep Josh away from his kids. And they`re even starting a petition drive to try to keep him out of the PTA. We just learned that tonight here on ISSUES.
Meantime, Josh`s very own sister saying she totally gets why these parents are completely freaked out about this latest move.
Julie in Massachusetts, your question or thought, ma`am?
CALLER: Hi, Jane. I`m not sure how old his boys are, but do we know if the police ever interviewed the children?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that`s an excellent question. And Shelby Gifford, you are a Cox family spokesperson, and that is the father of the missing woman. What are the ages of the children? And did cops interview them?
SHELBY GIFFORD, COX FAMILY SPOKESPERSON (via phone): Charlie is 5. He`s the one who`s starting kindergarten at Carson Elementary in Puyallup. And Braden (ph) is 3. And in terms of what police have done as part of their investigation, if they`ve not disclosed it, I won`t disclose it, either. I`m sorry. I just can`t jeopardize the investigation.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So how are these kids reacting to this brouhaha over the PTA? I mean, isn`t it terribly selfish of Josh to do this, given that it might -- it might bring some infamy to his little son, who`s just trying to go to school. People point the finger and say, "Oh, your dad, nobody wants him to join the PTA." You know how kids are.
GIFFORD: Well, that`s certainly something that concerns the Cox family. We`ve been trying to see the kids since April. We`ve been unable to see them. Josh has requested to only be contacted by e-mail. He doesn`t return the e-mails. He doesn`t allow the Coxes to see the children.
And right now their legal hands are tied. They`ve been trying, and they`ll continue to try, going so far to just stopping by the house. But we don`t have any way to know how Charlie`s reacting to this, but it can`t be good.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, Debra Opri, you`re the family law expert. Don`t these grandparents have some legal rights to see their grandkids?
OPRI: Yes, they do. In California, it`s the Troxel Law. The grandparents have certain rights, especially if the daughter is gone, dead, missing.
It occurred to me on the break, Jane, that it is, in my opinion as a family law attorney, very easy for someone -- a family member, a blood relative -- to get child services involved and to get a psych evaluation, get a minor`s counsel attached to this child, and to proceed in a court hearing for custody and visitation rights for the grandparents. And that - - that evaluator will, in all likelihood, order a psych testing of him, and maybe the Pandora`s box will open.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Maybe they`ll find out he`s cuckoo for Cocoa Puffs?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Josh`s sister, his own flesh and blood says she understands why PTA parents are creeped out by her brother. In fact, she`s reportedly said she`s convinced her brother is involved in Susan Powell`s disappearance.
This sibling shocker conjures up memories of -- you remember him, Scott Peterson? Remember him? He`s on Death Row for the murder of his wife, Laci, and their unborn child.
Scott`s own sister wrote a scathing tell-all book called "33 Reasons Why my Brother Scott Peterson is Guilty of Murder" and said she always -- well, she tried to support him in the beginning, but then she ultimately decided he did it, when she couldn`t ignore the reality anymore.
Jovonna Owings, you are a friend. You try to be very objective, but do you ever wonder, "Hey, that story about camping in the middle of the night, something fishy about that story"?
OWINGS: I have wondered about that. I know that when I left, he was aware that it was Sunday, and that Monday they did have to work. So that has always sounded a bit strange to me that he lost track of time and went out camping.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know we have another caller on the phone. Ma`am, I forgot your name. My apologies. What`s your question or thought, quickly?
CALLER: My name is Rebecca. I was wondering if they did a lie detector test on him?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, good question. Mike Brooks.
BROOKS: I don`t believe they did. I don`t believe that he submitted to a lie detector test. And that`s part of the things that law enforcement is saying that, basically, he has not been cooperating with them from the very beginning.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to wonder what...
OPRI: But that is voluntary. That is voluntary.
BROOKS: It is, but it`s a great investigative tool. You always have to ask.
OPRI: And it`s not -- but it`s not admissible in evidence anyway.
BROOKS: But it`s a great investigative tool, period.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Thank you, fantastic panel.
Next, an epidemic of violence sweeping across college campuses. A victim`s mother joins ISSUES to say her daughter committed suicide after being raped.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DESIREE YOUNG, MOTHER OF KYRON: I pray a lot, and I look at tons of pictures of Kyron. It helps me get through the hard times.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Poor woman. Today is little Kyron`s eighth birthday. Tragically, no one knows where Kyron Horman is or even if he`s dead or alive. Kyron`s been missing for nearly 14 weeks. And still Kyron`s school has set aside a desk for him, and his dad has also enrolled him in soccer. And that`s not all.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAINE HORMAN, FATHER OF KYRON: School supplies are in a new backpack waiting for when he comes home. So we`re ready for that. The birthday stuff, we`ve both got parties arranged.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But where does the investigation stand at this point?
We saw a flurry of activity in the days after Kyron`s dad filed for divorce from Kyron`s step-mom, Terri Horman. She`s the one who was watching the boy when the child vanished. And her best friend, DeDe Spicher, was seen leaving the grand jury, but since then, zip, nada, nothing.
Straight out to radio host Victoria Taft.
Victoria, you`re in Portland. Is there frustration that this investigation appears to have stalled?
TAFT: Well, you`re absolutely right, Jane. It looks like this investigation has stalled. They continue to use the manpower to investigate, chase down leads.
And in the meantime, as you well know, as you`ve chronicled, we have a birthday party going on in two separate households, one today and one on Sunday, for Kyron Horman, who should be here for his eighth birthday and he`s not. Where is that kid? How come we don`t have any answers? What`s going on here?
You know, and the thing is that really drives me nuts, Jane, is the fact that there`s so much dysfunction inside these families that are all involved in the upbringing of this child. And you know, at one point in time, I took a look around. And yes, I counted some of the marriage twice for each individual, but there were 13 marriages amongst all these people. The ex-husbands, the wives, I mean, you know, you know and I know that that sets the table to bring bad actors into the lives of these kids involved in this kind of dysfunctional family.
And guess what? That`s what we believe happened here. Terri Horman, not a person of interest, but there we have it. We have somebody who is believed to be complicit in the disappearance of this kid.
Week 14 tomorrow, what`s going on? Hundreds of thousands of dollars spent in an investigation, and you know what? D.A. and the Multnomah County sheriff`s office have clammed up. We called them today, could not get anyone to talk about the case. We have a -- like a press release of some sort, that goes out every single week.
And do you realize, Jane, it has been the same verbiage for the last few weeks? They have not changed the press release. It`s just ridiculous.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Theresa in Florida, you`ve got a question. What is it?
CALLER: Yes, Jane. I`ve been thinking about this, and can`t get it off my mind. Little Kyron cannot be found nowhere. I have not heard this from the press, the police or anywhere. I believe Terri sold little Kyron. I believe that`s what she was doing when all these pings came from that certain place.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let me jump in, because we have very little time. Victoria, there has been this suspicion that perhaps the child is still alive and was sold into some kind of trafficking or to some family that was desperate for a child.
TAFT: It certainly has been brought up. It`s not something we talk a lot about, but of course, as you know, Jane, because this is an issue about which you care deeply, Portland is a sex-slave trade Mecca. We have a -- we`re No. 1, we`re No. 1. Great.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Thank you, Victoria. We`re going to stay on top of it.
Up next, a woman raped and then she commits suicide.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: A beautiful, beautiful young co-ed commits suicide after a college party turns into a night from hell. Innocent young freshman Megan Wright was allegedly drugged and gang-raped in her college dorm.
The stomach-churning surveillance video was obtained by ABC. There is Megan in the green tank top, stumbling down the hallway. She`s led in and out of a room by a slew of men. She believes she was raped by multiple men while others congregated and watched, at times even high-fiving.
After this nightmare, her family says Megan did everything right, but charges were never filed. Listen to this from ABC`s "Nightline".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY ROCCO, FRIEND OF MEGAN WRIGHT: I asked her how she felt. She said that there was blood in her underwear. We got up and we went to the hospital by my house, did a rape kit and her face was in so much pain as they were doing everything.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So why were these men not prosecuted? Megan terrified that her attacker could still be on campus dropped out of school and fell into a deep depression. She eventually killed herself.
Listen to this also from ABC`s "Nightline".
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CYNTHIA MCGRATH, MOTHER OF MEGAN WRIGHT: I put my hand on something really warm, and it was a plastic bag, and it was her head in the plastic bed. Her head was in the plastic bag.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now Megan`s brave mother is fighting for justice for her dead daughter. She wants colleges to take more responsibility and help victims of rape.
We`re going to talk to her tonight right here on ISSUES.
You know sexual assault is a huge problem at college campuses all across the country. It`s the latest battleground in the war on women.
A shocking new investigation says one out of every four college women, one out of four, will be raped or sexually assaulted before they graduate. It`s outrageous.
I want to welcome Megan`s mom, Cynthia McGrath. And Cindy, we know this is very difficult for you. Thank you for your courage to appear tonight. And she`s joined by her attorney and a friend of our show, Gloria Allred.
Cindy, let`s start with asking you what your life has been like since your daughter tragically took her own life in the wake of this incident?
MCGRATH: Well, I think everyone can understand that my life and the life of my son and Megan`s aunts and uncles, and everyone that loved her, has changed drastically. There`s --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How so?
MCGRATH: There`s an emptiness that will never be filled by anyone else. I feel truly blessed to have had Meg as long as I did, but I should have had so much more time with her.
I watched her grow. It was just my son and Meg and myself, raising the two children, and I watched her go through all her stages. And just when you think that you have your beautiful young lady in front of you that`s beaming with confidence and ready to go forward with life. And you`re on another level with each other where you`re developing even more bonding and more friendship with each other on an adult level, and she was taken away.
And I`ll never -- I look at her friends and co-workers that have daughters the same age, and nieces, and I am so happy for them. And I`m happy to see things go well with their lives, but I`m sad, because I -- I know how much my daughter had to live. I know how much she wanted to live.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m so sorry.
I want to get into the facts of the case, because I want to give you an opportunity to explain all of this. One of the men accused of raping Megan was caught on the hallway surveillance camera. Here`s the video obtained.
Reports claim one of these men at one point actually held up a note to the surveillance camera that was purportedly -- and I say purportedly written and signed by Megan, and purportedly said "I want to have sex."
Police claim the handwriting appeared to match Megan`s and claim that`s one of the reasons they dropped the investigation, no charges were ever filed.
In this video Megan doesn`t appear to be (INAUDIBLE) but she is stumbling and clearly inebriated. That note, in my opinion means nothing if she`s not in a state of mind where she`s capable of giving informed consent.
Cynthia, do you believe your daughter was drugged by someone? I mean, what`s your reaction to all of that?
MCGRATH: I definitely can tell you that in no way was my daughter in any shape to consent to anything. I think that`s apparent. Myself, yes, I do believe that there was a drug involved. I -- I -- I`m pretty certain of it. And my daughter felt that way.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did she get tested at all. When she went to the hospital, did she get tested at all, like a blood test to see if she had been drugged?
MCGRATH: Yes, but she was also informed there are things that can be put into your drink that you wouldn`t think would have the same effect as the heavier date rape drug, so to speak, that will leave your system upon the first urine or shortly thereafter, which I was never even aware of prior to this happening.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, let me jump in so that we can -- so much ground we want to cover here.
Megan`s school, Dominican College, declined to come on our show. They did send us a statement, they say, quote, "An internal College investigation of the events of May 6 and May 7 2006 commenced immediately upon Megan`s May 8 2006 report to the College and continued after the residence halls closed on May 12, 2006. In addition to conducting its own investigation, College administrators encouraged Megan to make a report with the local police immediately. They also provided her with contacts to internal and external counseling services as well as an opportunity for her to delay taking her final exams scheduled for that week for several months."
Gloria Allred, you`re the attorney for the mother here. The school says they handled the situation appropriately. Your reaction to that.
GLORIA ALLRED, ATTORNEY FOR CINDY MCGRATH: Well, absolutely, we allege that they did not handle it appropriately, and that is why we are suing under Title IX, also alleging negligence and other causes of action.
For example, we allege that she immediately went to the hospital, had the rape exam. The nurse found trauma to the genital area, she reported it to the school the next day, that they did not conduct an independent, a fair, a thorough investigation that they are required to conduct under the law.
They did refer her to a police officer on the -- in the police department, a detective whom they did not disclose until much later, we found, that he was on the payroll of the college. We allege that they did not make reasonable accommodations to her for her final exam, did not provide a safe environment for her to return to, and that is why she did not return. And ultimately we had to file a wrongful death case, because she committed suicide, because she didn`t feel she could go back to the school.
This deliberate indifference is in violation of the law. By the way, that police investigation that you referred to, Jane, they didn`t -- the detective and the police did not even bother to investigate the crime scene, and they did not even interview key witnesses until after Megan killed herself.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is what I don`t understand. There`s so many people on camera her here. Were all those people interviewed?
ALLRED: Well, I don`t know whether they were interviewed, but some of them may not -- may have exercised their Fifth Amendment privilege against self-incrimination. But the point is this -- there is no dispute that they did not investigate the crime scene. They didn`t even interview key witnesses, such as Kelly, the friend who took her to the hospital the very next day for the rape exam, who could have told them what Megan said.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: She did a rape exam. Did they take the DNA of some of these young men who obvious or you could see that we blurred their faces, but you could see them. Did they take their DNA to see if there was a match?
ALLRED: Did the police do that?
I can`t tell you what the police did, but we think their whole investigation was contaminated by the fact that this detective was on the payroll at some point of the college. That`s not an independent investigation but the point is --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Cindy, if I may.
ALLRED: Ok. Once there`s a report, a college has a duty to act and they can`t say we`re waiting to see what the police will do.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Here`s my big issue, Cindy, contrived consent. In three quarters of these cases -- and this is happening all over the country, alcohol is involved. In a whopping 90 percent of these cases, the woman knows her attacker. Ok. It`s usually somebody else who goes to the school.
If a woman is under the influence of drugs or alcohol, she cannot give her consent to have sex. Do they need to start teaching students about consent at orientation? Cindy.
MCGRATH: You know what? I do not -- I do not know, you know, why they don`t have more programs to make people more aware, add more security measures on college campuses when they are aware of -- of these -- such as Dominican College claimed to be a dry campus.
Well, they`re the farthest thing from it, you can talk to any student there and find out that they have a huge, open -- openly people are drinking in their rooms and, you know --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Cindy --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- we have to leave it right there. We`re out of time.
But a couple things: one, we invite Dominican College on anytime to tell their side of the story, and we also invite you back Cindy and Gloria. We want to keep this alive.
We cover the war on women here on ISSUES. And we`re not going to let this issue go when one out of every four women in America who are going to college are getting sexually assaulted. This is a big problem, a big problem.
MCGRATH: It`s huge.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you so much. It`s huge.
MCGRATH: Thank you.
ALLRED: Thank you Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Up next: a new bill in honor of 17-year-old Chelsea King has been signed into law. It`s a step in the right direction to prevent more tragic assaults in the war on women.
Plus Britney Spears hit with a sexual harassment lawsuit by her bodyguard. Hear all of his shocking allegations against the pop princess.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Britney Spears` bodyguard slams her with a sexual harassment lawsuit. That`s next.
But first "Top of the Block" tonight.
A giant step forward today in the fight to keep young children and young women safe. Chelsea`s Law is now on the books, the law is named for beautiful 17-year-old Chelsea King, who was beautifully murdered, raped by registered sex offender John Gardner.
Chelsea`s family joined Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger of California today at a very emotional signing ceremony.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KELLY KING, CHELSEA`S MOTHER: Today is a day to celebrate your voice and your passion and to know that you`ve helped Chelsea build her dreams of changing this world.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those parents have been through hell. This law requires a sentence of life without parole for anyone convicted of a violent sexual offense against the child and hats off to California for taking this stand. Let it sweep the nation.
That is tonight`s "Top of the Block."
Well, turning now to salacious jaw-dropping allegations against Britney Spears -- oh, my gosh -- her former body guard, Fernando Flores, suing her for sexual harassment. Yes, he`s suing her. His lawsuit reflects a naughty sex novel. He accuses Britney of, quote, "unwanted sexual advances for no other reason than to expose her naked or nearly naked body to plaintiff".
Flores says, Brit had, quote, "vigorous sexual relations in front of him and near her two young sons". He says he was shocked and disgusted and suffered psychological damage.
Britney insists the allegations are totally bogus. But we do have to point out she did build an empire on her -- rather potent sexuality.
Out to my fantastic panel, we begin with Jim Moret, chief correspondent for "Inside Edition". Jim, what`s at stake here? I mean, could we be talking big money for this plaintiff?
JIM MORET, CHIEF CORRESPONDENT, "INSIDE EDITION": Well, you look, he is alleging sexual harassment, intentional infliction of emotional distress. It`s a short lawsuit, it`s only six pages, but as you say, it`s chock-full of -- of salacious allegations, and, you know what? In fairness to Britney Spears, she is a target.
You talk about her building an empire based on her sexuality, that doesn`t mean that any of these things are true. They still have to be proven in the court of law, but he is going to claim some -- some millions of dollars of damage in -- in emotional distress.
Look, I -- I -- you know think that we -- we -- it`s easy to jump on all these things and say look what he`s claiming and look at all of this. But until it`s proven, you`ve got to really -- you`ve got to have some restraint.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes and here`s my big issue. Is it possible -- I`m just asking hypothetically --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- that she can`t turn it off?
Britney has been hyper-sexualized since she was just 16 years old. Take a look at her in this "Womanizer" video. I mean -- "Womanizer video" ok, coming. There it is. "Womanizer" video there she is. She`s taking it all off. I mean, there are points where she`s naked and she is sweaty and she`s groping herself. There`s that.
When you`re sexual like this, on the job, I mean, this is part of your job, to be sexual, you can`t just come -- you know come home and just completely shut it off. Right, Dr. Reef Kareem? I mean, isn`t that what they call professional deformation?
REEF KARIM, PSYCHIATRIST: Yes, it`s an interesting point Jane, that you`re making. Her identity in regards to her business profession was completely based on her sexuality. And it`s not like you have this business identity and it`s completely separate from your identity at home.
I mean --
KAREEM: -- you carry that stuff with you. There are many actors that have a really hard time shutting off the character they play when they get home. You know then -- then you`ve got -- it`s a little complicated. Because you`ve got these reported bipolar illness diagnoses, hyper- sexuality is a big part of that diagnosis.
KAREEM: And then you`ve got this passive -- yes and then you`ve got this alleged pill use or alcohol use, and that throws the whole dis- inhibition. And are you really cognitively aware of what you`re doing at the time? So who knows, this could be any of those three?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, we have to do a little recap and review here. We all remember a couple of years ago Britney`s erratic behavior got a lot more publicity than her career. Who could forget when she marched into a California hair salon and shaved her head? That was the start of what many people called her downward spiral.
The following year, paramedics wheeled her out of her home on a gurney. She was taken to the hospital and put on an involuntary medical hold. And obviously she`s had medical issues in the past. And her dad still has a conservatorship over her affairs.
Debra Opri, does that give any credence to this lawsuit?
DEBRA OPRI, FAMILY LAW EXPERT: As the family law expert on your panel, Jane, I would look at the children and I would look at what`s in the lawsuit concerning the children, because guess what this lawsuit is going to do. It`s going to trigger a Department of Child and Family Services investigation again.
And if this lawsuit has any legs, the legs are going to come from the allegations involving what she did in front of the children. I feel for her.
Jim is right. It is a target situation. When did he go through this, how long did he wait to file the lawsuit? And what`s going on with any investigation into his allegations prior to filing a lawsuit?
I would be very concerned about her situation with the children, because of this lawsuit.
MORET: And Jane -- Jane the -- according to Britney Spears, the Department has concluded an investigation brought about by allegations made by this former bodyguard and according to Britney Spears official Web site, they closed the investigation without incident. And -- and her ex-husband, Kevin Federline says that these allegations about abuse of the children are totally are unfounded.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Britney Spears is saying that this is bogus. And she said this is a guy just trying to make money and make a name off of her, but some of the allegations are very serious.
On the other side of the break, you won`t believe one of them.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We have been getting fabulous responses about how you at home are working to save the environment. Today a fabulous e-mail from Kelly; she says she is a dog lover who uses biodegradable bags that are made of -- completely of corn, very handy for picking up that poop after your pooch and very green too.
And Kelly, guess what, I use those same biodegradable bags. I don`t use bags to pick up poop that last a thousand years.
Thank you for doing your part. Your ISSUES eco-canister is in the mail. We are getting rid of these things as well.
Do you have a green improvement? Send them to cnn.com/jane. Let`s all be part of the solution. Let`s all go green, people.
All right. We get back to Britney Spears. Now, I want to show you a video, it`s called "I`m a Slave for You", one of Britney Spears` hottest videos from a few years ago as we speak to Wendy from Connecticut, your question or thought, ma`am?
WENDY, CONNECTICUT (via telephone): Hello.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hey, Wendy, how are you doing?
WENDY: Hi. Am I speaking to Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You are speaking to Jane. What is your question, ma`am?
WENDY: Hi, Jane. I love you. I have been trying for years to get through to you.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You got through. So now is your time to ask a question.
WENDY: Ok. You are my hero. And I`ll be honest. I have never ever not defended Britney Spears. She has been through hell and back. I`m also in recovery. I glad that she made it and just come back.
I think this guy is -- it`s just pathetic. I think he`s just absolutely pathetic. With all that this woman has gone through, God bless her. He is out to just make a quick buck. I don`t think it is going to last a second in court, hopefully not.
I know there are true sexual harassment claims that are legitimate. But I think this is just bogus. She is, you know, up at the top again and he, to be honest, he should have been paying her just to be watching her.
Talking about he`s --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Wait. Wait. Wait. You bring up an important point. Let me say this, ok. Britney completely denies the allegations.
And we`re going to show you the response that was posted on her Web site. Let`s put that up because I have to ask you a question. If, Dr. Reef Karim, if hypothetically, this was true, the whole notion that we can dismiss sexual harassment because it is a man on the receiving end, I take issue with that; I think that`s sexist in another way.
You know, if a woman, a powerful woman is standing naked and calling him into the room and saying look at me naked and then saying go get me a 7-Up, that could be very humiliating because you`re provoking perhaps a sexual response that he can`t -- doesn`t feel free to act on. This is his boss. And so it creates frustration and humiliation. What do you say, Dr. Reef?
KARIM: Yes. Sexual harassment, there is a sexual component to it but it`s really based on power. It`s based on who has the power over somebody else that takes advantage of it. And often it comes out in a sexual way.
Now, in this case it could be a man who is in a power position or we have many, many strong women in power positions. And so you do occasionally see this happen.
In this case the problem with sexual harassment is that it can be abused. You can have false claims and you can have people with targets that use their sexuality in their profession that can targeted that use their sexuality in their profession that can be targeted as we`ve discussed. That is what makes it so murky.
But we trust the legal system; we trust that it will work out. But to claim psychological damage due to a harassment case is going to be very tough.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And there are still more claims.
Thank you fabulous panel.
Stay tuned for Nancy Grace. She`s still going to have still other claims made by Britney Spears` former security guard next.