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Did Amy Winehouse Have to Die?

Aired July 25, 2011 - 19:00:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, did she have to die?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She said I`ll call you. She`s a legend, basically.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Notoriously troubled and Grammy Award-winning singer Amy Winehouse is found dead in her apartment. Rumors fly, claiming a drug bender in the hours before her death. Did addict nation claim another victim?

In an ISSUES exclusive, I`ll talk to famous recovering addict and TV star, McKenzie Phillips about the dangers of drugs, booze and stardom.

And were little girls forced into sex? The trial for infamous polygamist leader Warren Jeffs is finally under way. Police say Jeffs married and sexually assaulted underage girls, crimes that could put him behind bars for 119 years. Tonight, I`ll talk with Flora Jessup, who escaped a polygamist compound, about these sickening allegations. And I`m taking your calls.

ISSUES starts now.



AMY WINEHOUSE, SINGER: I don`t really do what I`m supposed to do.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officials found the bodies of a 27-year-old female pronounced dead on the scene.

A. WINEHOUSE: The only thing I`m really that fussed about is Jeff Daniels. Is Jeff on (ph) there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s a reminder that addiction, and particularly opiate addiction, is a frequently fatal addiction. It carries a prognosis that is worse than most cancers.

A. WINEHOUSE: I don`t really care enough about what you think about (UNINTELLIGIBLE).

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) the deceased is Amy Winehouse.

A. WINEHOUSE: (UNINTELLIGIBLE) I guess I went back to a very black few months, you know? Doing the same things.


A. WINEHOUSE: I guess it`s a weakness, isn`t it? It`s a weakness.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So sad. What a genius. Dead tonight.

Good evening. I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live from New York City. Tonight, could anyone have saved superstar Amy Winehouse from herself?

The body of the Grammy-winning singer and very troubled addict was discovered inside her London apartment Saturday. A security guard hired to look after Amy Winehouse reportedly found her dead in her bed.

Radar Online reporting tonight that the final hours of her life were a blur of whiskey, Ecstasy, cocaine, heroin. But tonight, her family issued a statement denying that report and cops say no drugs were found in her apartment. The toxicology tests will tell the tale. But it could be several weeks before they`re in. And we know her official cause of death. Initial autopsy results were inconclusive.

Ever since her career took off, Amy`s fans have witnessed a rapid descent into drugs and alcohol. She was unapologetic about her addiction. Tragically, the lyrics to "Rehab," her biggest hit by far, would come to define Amy and her self-destructive lifestyle.


A. WINEHOUSE (singing): I ain`t got the time and my daddy thinks I`m fine. Tried to make me go to rehab. I won`t go, won`t go, won`t go.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A great sound, but Amy`s entire persona was that of a defiant addict, who insisted on playing by her own rules. She checked into rehab at least four times. But in 2007, Amy told CNN she was just following her manager`s orders. Reluctantly.


A. WINEHOUSE: I was drinking a lot. Not trying to be terrible. I was just trying to forget about the fact that I had finished this relationship. And my management at the time thought that I was -- well, I wasn`t working, so I didn`t see them a lot. They just kind of stepped in and strong armed me into rehabilitation. I just didn`t really need it. I knew that I was in love.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She didn`t really need it. She was just in love. The denial and defiance there for all to see.

A doctor checked on Amy the day before her death and reports she was fine. Her death, a tragic reminder that you can not force an addict to get sober. You can stage an intervention. You can hold up a mirror to their addiction. But at the end of the day, if they don`t want to be sober, the disease will win.

We mourn her passing.

What are your thoughts on this tragic loss of a young woman many called a musical genius? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877-586-7297.

We are delighted to have an exclusive interview tonight with actress, recovering addict and author McKenzie Phillips.

But first, to set the stage, straight out to Radar Online`s Chris Renfrew. Chris, what have you learned this day about Amy`s final hours?

CHRIS RENFREW, RADAR ONLINE: We learned various things about Amy`s final hours. We know that she went to bed at 10 a.m. in the morning (ph), but by 4 p.m., her hired help had found her dead. So it was definitely some issues that really took this lady`s life.

But the postmortem were inconclusive today. The toxicology tests will tell us exactly why she died. And we understand that drink, alcohol, was the main cause of this star`s downfall.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you issued a report talking about Ecstasy and an animal tranquilizer and cocaine. What about that, Cliff?

RENFREW: Originally, these reports did come out. You must remember that Lindsay [SIC] lives in Camden, Central London, and drugs are freely available around her house.

But we`re told now that the investigation by the police, drug paraphernalia was not found there in that bedroom. But until those toxicology tests are revealed, we will not know for sure.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you see anything? I thought there were reports that Radar Online had seen her out and about in Camden doing certain suspicious things. Yes or no?

RENFREW: Well, we can`t confirm those reports today, but we know that Amy was a hell-raiser. We know she was a party girl. She had been to the local pubs. I understand today, she was at her favorite cafe. She told them not to serve her alcohol in the weeks running up to her death. Clearly, this is a young girl who had big, big problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, that`s for sure.

OK. Let`s look at her performance June 19, just about a month ago, in Serbia. This was just before she canceled her European tour. Check it out.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Now, she was apparently jeered and booed off the stage and shortly thereafter canceled her European tour. You see her singing there, but to me she sounds off-key. And a lot of folks said that she appeared very intoxicated.

I want to bring in McKenzie Phillips. She is the author of the amazing book, "High on Arrival." She is a recovering addict, and she knows very well the sex, drugs and rock `n` roll lifestyle.

And I`ve got to ask you about this, McKenzie. She went into rehab most recently -- I think it`s her fourth stint -- in May to prepare for that tour, and then canceled it right at the start because she appeared intoxicated. Is that the right reason to go into rehab, to prepare for a tour?

MCKENZIE PHILLIPS, AUTHOR, "HIGH ON ARRIVAL": Of course, Jane, certainly, it`s not the right reason to go into rehab, to prepare for a tour or a film or any of those types of things.

I mean, we all know that some of us just don`t get it. You know? And we all know that stars are surrounded by yes people, and people who will enable them in order to keep the machine rolling.

And Amy just didn`t get it. I mean, I know one of the clips I`ve heard her say she just didn`t feel like she had to conform. And I think that`s one of the huge misconceptions about recovery, is that you`re going to be stuffed into this little box when, in fact, you`re free, you know, to go anywhere and do anything and live the life you`re meant to live. And certainly, you know this as well as I do.

Towards the end of Amy`s life, she could not have been having fun anymore. There`s a point at which the drugs can and the alcohol and all that type of lifestyle turns on you, and it`s not fun any more. And you want out, but you don`t know how until the moment that you do know how. And then you can get recovery and be free.

And it`s just another one bites the dust. And it`s so heart breaking. It`s an epidemic. And -- and we also have to remember that it`s not just, you know, Amy Winehouse or Heath Ledger or Jeff Conaway or Mike Starr. This is people`s children are dying every moment, every minute from drug overdoses. And it`s just an epidemic that we have to address.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And sometimes, addicts can clean up and look very good on the outside.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, just last Wednesday, we`ve got a clip of Amy Winehouse appearing with her goddaughter and protege Dionne Bromfield. And Dionne is performing on stage and Amy Winehouse is right there. And this is just last Wednesday. She looks pretty good.

Check it out for yourself.




VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, John Murray, you`re an entertainment journalist, and you apparently knew Amy Winehouse, and you`ve spoken of the two sides of Amy. Because there, at least she`s standing up. She looks pretty good. That was last Wednesday. And Saturday she`s dead.

JOHN MURRAY, ENTERTAINMENT JOURNALIST: Well, Jane, we weren`t friends, but we did meet. I was in St. Lucia for the St. Lucia Jazz Festival in May of 2009. And luckily, I stayed next door to a house that she was renting in the same resort.

And during the day, you`d see her out. You would have conversations with her. And she was a very, very different person. I mean, she was coherent, very kind of mild mannered. You know, she still had a very aggressive voice, but at night, it was a completely different Amy. I mean, she was erratic. She would be climbing in the bushes, talking to the animals.

At one point, Jane, we were at a restaurant at the resort. And it was the same night that Chaka Khan was there. And Chaka Khan saw her behavior and told the people around her, "You`ve got to put her to bed. Because as a former addict, I know that behavior. And she needs to go rest."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So in other words, when the sun set, and the party started, she took off, and she was clearly intoxicated at that point?

MURRAY: She was very much the Amy that we saw on stage in Serbia. I mean, the girl that I saw during the day was calm. She was reserved. She was coherent. The girl at night, she was a different person.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that often happens for addicts. You can keep it together for so long. I say that as a recovering alcoholic and addict myself. But when the sun sets, the devil that sits on your shoulder, starts talking to you. And I`m not kidding. That`s exactly how it is. You`ve got an angel on one side and a devil on the other. And that devil starts saying, "Let`s go out and have a good time."

All right. We`re taking your calls on this: 1-877-JVM-SAYS, 1-877- 586-7297.

Plus, a little bit later, young girls forced into sex and marriage. I`m going to talk to a woman who escaped a polygamist compound.

But first, could anyone have saved Amy Winehouse?


A. WINEHOUSE: When the guy I was seeing went back to his ex- girlfriend, I didn`t really -- I didn`t have anything to go back to, so I guess I went back to a very black few months. You know, I did things as you do when you`re 22 and young and in love.





MITCH WINEHOUSE, FATHER OF AMY: I really -- making it a lot easier for us. Amy was about one thing and that was love. Her whole life was devoted to her family and her friends. So thanks for coming. Thanks very much.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was Amy Winehouse`s devastated father, who at one point had said that she was experiencing "a gradual recovery, which is good, with some backward steps. Not drug backward steps. More drinking backward steps, if you follow my drift. I think that will be the pattern of recovery."

Jennifer Gimenez, house manager of VH1`s "Sober House," to me, that betrays -- and my heart goes out to him, but it betrays a complete lack of understanding of how addiction works. If you are in recovery, you do not have one drop of anything mood altering, or it can lead to a binge that can lead right to heroin or something worse.

JENNIFER GIMENEZ, VH1`S "SOBER HOUSE": Absolutely, absolutely. You know, they say that one is too many and 1,000 is never enough.

And you know, the hardest problem is, you know, for us to stay stopped. It`s such a tragedy, a terrible loss for a family, for friends of hers, for many, many fans, all -- millions of fans all over the world. That someone so young and beautiful and talented had to die from the disease and being in the disease of drugs and alcoholism. Drug addiction. It`s terrible on every level. You know, and her denial was so thick and so deep that she couldn`t even see that she was completely surrounded by the demon of the addiction, you know? And it`s so sad. It`s such a sad day.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Renee, New Jersey, your question or thought, Renee?

CALLER: Yes, hello. I just wanted to say that clearly, this is a girl who had a lot of people that cared about her. But towards the end, where was her support? Where was her family? She had a brother, her mom, her dad. Where was these people when she needed help? Or was she just so defiant that she didn`t want to get any help? But she had so much going for her, and it`s very sad what happened to her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s a good question. I want to go back out to McKenzie Phillips. A doctor was checking in on her regularly and she also had a security guard. To me, that tells me that they were trying to keep her almost against her will in some kind of sober place, but that`s not how you do it, is it, McKenzie?

PHILLIPS: No, you know. It`s not how you do it. And I realize that -- when I was arrested in 2008, you know, my back was up against the wall. For me it was change or die or go to jail. And I don`t think that Amy was maybe -- I don`t know, maybe she wasn`t faced with that sort of, you know, your freedom is at risk, you know?

I would -- I wouldn`t have left her alone for a moment. Not for a moment. She would have been surrounded by people all the time.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but when her dad says that her gradual recovery was good and her slips weren`t about drugs, they were about alcohol. To me, McKenzie, my heart goes out to him, but he doesn`t know a thing about addiction if that`s what he really said.

PHILLIPS: The thing, Jane, is very few people really do understand what it`s like unless you`ve been through it. And so for a father, a doting father to think that that`s a gradual recovery, I can understand that he might think that, but there should have been professionals around her all the time, because certainly, she had the resources to have people around her.

But you know, it`s just so sad. She just -- Jane, you guys get this. She just never got it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, I guess this is the thing. OK, let`s talk about the 27 Club. Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain. They all died at 27. But beyond that -- that`s the obvious thing -- they were all very invested...

Geniuses all. Nothing makes me happier than listening to Jimi Hendrix. I play him all the time. But all of them were invested in being cool. So invested in being cool that actually, McKenzie, they were trapped in being cool. You know what I`m talking about.

PHILLIPS: It`s a complete trap. We`re too cool to be clean. It`s not cool to be clean, because then I lose my mystique. And then I -- you know, it`s such a tragic thought process.

And also look at the 27 Club, all addicts, all addicts.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, of course.

And the thing is, her hit song was "I don`t want to go to rehab, no, no, no." That -- that`s the problem, John, is that that was her identity.

MURRAY: Absolutely. And we celebrated it and gave her a Grammy for it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. So I mean, if that`s her identity, how does she go to rehab and then totally reinvent herself? She`s got to come out another person without the beehive, without the shtick. That`s a lot -- a lot to give up.

More next.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: What a fabulous sound. And by the way, her sales have soared almost 2,000 percent since her death, and she joins now Amy Winehouse, the 27 Club: Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix, Kurt Cobain, all dead at 27.

McKenzie Phillips, author of "High on Arrival," a great book. How do we stop the romanticizing? Let me put it that way. How do we stop romanticizing these deaths? Because we did it. We did it with all these people -- Jim Morrison, Janis Joplin, Jimi Hendrix -- and we shouldn`t do it with her. Because that perpetuates the problem. And then some young kid who`s a musician says, "Oh, it`s glamorous and romantic to die young."

PHILLIPS: Look, all of these people in this 27 Club either took their own lives or died alone. You know, and it`s a horrific death. And I -- I just think that if we just look at it at it for what it is, it`s the people in the throes of a deadly disease who were unable to recover and died alone. Put some reality on it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: How might she have reinvented herself? How might she have reinvented herself, given that her hit song was, "No, no, no. I don`t want to go to rehab." Could she have gone into rehab and come out and written a song that says, "Yes, I want to go to rehab?" What could she have done?

PHILLIPS: She could have been a guiding light for people getting into recovery all over the world. Sadly, that clearly wasn`t her path. Maybe she`ll be a cautionary tale.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Rhonda, Kentucky, your question or thought, Rhonda.

CALLER: Yes, ma`am. I am calling. I am the mother of a 21-year-old recovering addict, and he has 11 months and three weeks clean, thanks heavens.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Congratulations.

CALLER: Yes. It`s been amazing and we`re very, very hopeful. But it is a day-to-day process, and he had to want this for himself. We could not have led him to it. He absolutely had to want this. And we live in a small college town. But there are good centers, and there are 12-step meetings, good 12-step meetings all over this world.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You raise a great point. You raise a great point. McKenzie, I`ve got to go back to you on this. If you don`t embrace the 12 steps, if you don`t enjoy that process, if you fight it, you are going to die.

PHILLIPS: You know, I don`t necessarily think that`s true. I think it is the main accepted treatment modality. I do know that there are people who do it on their own. I don`t necessarily recommend it, but I do believe that there are many ways to the top of the mountain, but Jane, the destination is the same.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s -- it`s rough. John Murray, how many more superstars and other stars do we have to -- McKenzie talked about Jeff Conaway, who I grew up with. It`s just so tragic that one after another, these incredible talents disappear because of drugs.

MURRAY: Well, Jane, McKenzie said it best. This has to be a cautionary tale, and the entertainment industry has to stop glamorizing this. You know, Natalie Cole, another very public addict who recovered from it, was very critical of the Grammys several years ago for going out of their way to accommodate Amy...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Thank you so much, fantastic panel.

Up next, I`m going to talk to a brave woman who escaped a polygamist compound. And you`re going to believe -- you`re going to hear her story. It`s absolutely incredible. I mean, it`s unbelievable. She escaped from the polygamist compound. We`re going to talk to her up next.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She got married at 15 to a man ten years her senior and immediately started having children.

GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: If you were told that you were getting married and married specifically to Warren Jeffs would you have been honored?


As I got more and more rebellious, he would come up behind me while I was in a group and seize me by the back of the neck and lean down and whisper in my ear, "Are you keeping sweet? Or do you need to be punished?"

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: A woman who is not careful will be overbearing and always ask permission for what she wants. And ladies, build up your husband by being submissive.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a great prophet. And you`re damn fools for bothering him. Because your ass is going to get hung one of these days when you look up from hell and look at him in the face.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`d like to announce the arrest of FBI`s top ten most wanted fugitive, Warren Steve Jeffs. Jeffs was wanted for the alleged sexual assault of a minor in 2002.

TUCHMAN: Mr. Jeffs, do you think you can win this case?


JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight, unlocking the toxic secrets of the polygamist world of cult leader Warren Jeffs, the man accused of taking as many as 80 wives -- 80; ten of them underage, some of them as young as 12. He`s now on trial for allegedly sexually assaulting two of his child brides.

Will the justice system finally hold this man responsible for what went on inside his twisted world? Tonight, we`re going to talk to a very special guest.

We`re so delighted to have Flora Jessop here. What a hero. What a courageous woman. Flora fled the polygamist style when she was only 15 when she was forced to marry her older cousin.

Warren Jeffs who some still consider a prophet, charged with sexually assaulting two of his so-called spiritual wives, only 12 and 14 at the time -- 12 and 14. He`s 55. That`s sick.

But it doesn`t sound like Jeffs is making any friends at the courthouse. Anyway, listen to how he was greeted when he arrived at court today.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mr. Jeffs, did you rape those two girls? Mr. Jeffs? What about the white bed in the temple?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh. The charge against Jeffs stem from that massive raid. You remember it. They raided the ranch three years ago. Dozens of children were removed from their family and later returned with the court`s rule that the children were not in imminent danger of abuse. Really?

Jeffs` breakout, twisted brand of Mormonism promotes marriage with older men and young girls. It also teaches that a man can only make it to heaven if he has at least three wives. No wonder Jeffs is going on trial for bigamy later this year.

Jeffs still has thousands of followers who think he did absolutely nothing wrong. Let`s tell it like it is. Plural marriage, sex with underage brides; if that`s actually happening, isn`t that really S&M and pedophilia cloaked in religion? What do you think? Call me. 1-877-JVM- SAYS.

Straight out to my very, very special guest, Flora Jessop; Warren Jeffs and his attorney have tried to delay this trial over and over again. His rape conviction was overturned back in 2000. I know there`s a lot of frustration from people who want justice. Do you think you`re actually going to get justice this time around, Flora?

FLORA JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: You know, I think Warren Jeffs is going to see justice. What those of us from the inside would like to see is that the women start getting charged because in order to perpetuate this cycle of abuse without these mothers handing their children to these men so that they can rape and abuse them, this cycle would stop.

And you know, you saw the footage of the mothers begging for their children back. Oh, they took our children, these poor care bear colored mommies in their prairie dresses, and yet they`re a big part of this problem as well.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But aren`t they brainwashed? Aren`t they brainwashed?

I want to play an audio of Warren Jeffs teaching women how to be submissive. And then we`ll comment on it. Listen to this. It`s scary.


WARREN JEFFS, POLYGAMIST: The woman if she`s not careful will be overbearing and always ask permission for what she wants. And ladies, build up your husband by being submissive.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I was so thrilled to find out Beth Karas, correspondent for "In Session" that there`s a female judge overseeing this case. That made me really happy.

What about this whole idea that these women are brainwashed and a lot of the people may be brainwashed? And so who are they going to have testify then at the trial, Beth?

BETH KARAS, CORRESPONDENT, "IN SESSION": Well, you know, it`s a good point. I`m not a psychologist so I can`t say how many are but I think that that is probably a factor for many of them. But we wouldn`t have Flora and Carolyn Jessop and so many who were able to get out if they were all brainwashed, ok?

It`s hard to believe there are some there may be many within the FLDS who want to get out, but are fearful and really don`t have a way out. If you see the way the YFZ Ranch is constructed here in Texas with a big fence around it and guard towers, there`s no way anyone could escape from there the way Carolyn Jessop -- I know her story, I`m not sure of the details of Flora`s escape. But they lived within a community where there were non- FLDS folks who could help them.

That is not the case here in Texas. People are captive if they actually do want to leave.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, he is charged with -- my understanding, correct me if I`m wrong -- basically two counts of sexual assault on a child. Are the two victims expected to testify? And if indeed he had ten underage brides, some as young as 12, why just two counts of sexual assault on a child, Beth?

KARAS: Ok, the state won`t confirm that, but based on the five other trials of other men where the underage victims did not testify, we do not believe they will testify in this case. And the state is only bringing the charges that they absolutely can prove, where they`ve got proof without the victim on the stand.

One of these underage girls, who is now of age, was 13 when she married him, 14 when they had sex because nine months later a baby was born. So they have her DNA, Warren Jeffs` DNA and the baby`s DNA.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at this. This is not a father with a child. We`re seeing a picture, Beth, of this guy with what looks like it would be his daughter. But that`s actually allegedly his child bride. This is unbelievable.

KARAS: He married her --


KARAS: he doesn`t have a child with her. This one he married when she was 24 days into her 12th year. She`s now 17.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh my gosh. There`s just -- this story is so complex and so scary.

Let`s listen to another victim who escaped this lifestyle. Elissa Wall, she testified in 2007 how her 19-year-old cousin exposed himself to her. Listen to this.


ELISSA WALL, POLYGAMIST VICTIM: We were on the grass talking and I was sitting down looking at the stars and I felt him get up and I looked over at him and he had his genitals exposed to me. And it completely shocked me and I just immediately turned away and shut my eyes and I said whoa, what are you doing? Please put that away.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So many victims here but yet it is hard, I think, to get people from this community to testify against this man.

Gary Tuchman, CNN correspondent, delighted to have you on. Is it going to be tough to get have people to take the witness stand and to validate what they might have in DNA evidence?

TUCHMAN: It`s very difficult Jane. I`ve been covering the FLDS now for five years and what I notice each time I go, there`s this support that stays as strong as ever for Warren Jeffs.

I was just there about a month ago. And I talked to young women 18, 19 years old and they say we love Warren Jeffs. He is our prophet. We will do what he says. We want to get married to as many men as we can.

So that just puts up a good point. We do not expect these young women who were 12 and 14 years old at the time to testify. We do believe that DNA is the key to finding him guilty in this case.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy Kuriansky is this pedophilia allegedly and S&M, which is legal among consenting adults but certainly not with a child? Is it just all that using the cloak of religion?

DR. JUDY KURIANSKY, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, all that and more. Pedophilia, of course, abuse of a child, sex abuse, emotional abuse as well. Rape, all of these things put together.

I think it`s very valid to say, people would wonder, how could this possibly happen? But you know what? It happens in real life to many women who are not part of this church.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And who are not wearing these outfits.

KURIANSKY: Exactly. All these women who are being sexually abused, even being forced to have sex with their husbands even; young children who are abused, many of whom you have covered on your show.

And the issue is that women have not been able to say, "I don`t want to put up with this," like Flora did. "I don`t have to." And they don`t have options to get out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In other words, they`re extreme examples of what could be happening in other American families as we speak. It shines a light on a trend by showing the worst case scenario.

Ok, we`re not done. A family`s desperate search for a missing mom; in an exclusive, Nancy Grace talks to her brother and sister top of the hour right here on HLN.

I`ve got a shocking update on a California mom who was missing. We told you about this case Friday -- a stunner.

But more on Warren Jeffs and this crazy cult in a minute.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We`re just hoping for the best at this time. We`re trying staying positive and relying on each other with family and friends.



WALL: It was beginning to touch me on my private parts and under my clothes and advancing towards sexual activity.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Had you ever been touched like that before by any man or boy?

WALL: No, I had not.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you feel about that?

WALL: Terrified and horrified.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was Elissa Wall, another woman who has escaped from this polygamist lifestyle talking about how she was forced into sexual contact that she didn`t want.

And of course, we`re talking about the trial of Warren Jeffs which is just getting under way. And he is charged with two counts of sexual assault on a child even though he was believed to have something like ten underage brides, one as young as 12. But getting it all nailed down has been very difficult for the authorities because it`s all happening behind these walls.

Brooke, California. Your question or thought? Brooke?

BROOKE, CALIFORNIA (via telephone): Yes. You know, I just agree with you. This is a total cover for them to use children and be sexual deviants and they`re using religion as their cover to condone this behavior. It`s disgusting. It doesn`t make sense in America that we still allow this to happen.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think that a lot of people are confused as to how this could possibly be happening in the 21st century.

I want to go to Flora Jessop again, former polygamist who escaped. You came in contact with Warren Jeffs as a child? Tell us about that.

JESSOP: Yes, I know Warren as a child. He was somebody that I liked to stay away from. You know, my dad was sexually molesting me and as a result of that, I didn`t like people touching me. And Warren was a very handsy kind of guy and always wanted to put his hands all over you, so I just tended to distance myself from him anytime he was around. It`s not only him, but there were many other men in the community who did the same thing with.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So it was kind of open season; open season on young girls, anybody who wants to fondle them, any man.

JESSOP: Oh, yes. Actually if you watch footage of the families, you notice the girls, even down to the babies are perfectly groomed when they leave the house. And the boys are very unkempt; their clothes don`t fit. It`s a very real a process of constantly grooming these girls for marriage and parading them in front of the community, seeking a high-end husband for them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

So this is exploitation you believe of the boys as well as the girls. And I`ve heard about the lost boys who were expelled -- the young boys who were expelled from because the older men allegedly want to keep the ripe young girls for themselves.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s put it that way.

JESSOP: But they`re also not expelled until they use them for child labor for many years with no pay. And that`s how they perpetuate their big companies as well, so. It`s absolutely --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Gary Tuchman, how is this happening in America in the 21st century?

TUCHMAN: That`s a great question, Jane. But your guest earlier was talking about how it doesn`t just happen among the FLDS. Sexual abuse of children is a huge problem, a huge scourge. We covered a lot with lots of different group.

But with this group -- this is very interesting -- for generations, polygamy has been allowed. It`s against the law bigamy -- it`s not cracked down upon. But what`s really important, what authorities are trying to do in Texas, what they`re trying to do in Utah, what they`re trying to do in Arizona is crack down on these bigamists who prey on children who are under 18 years old.


Well, let`s listen again to Warren Jeffs. This is from 2007, an audio tape of Jeffs preaching to his followers about marriage. Check this out.


JEFFS: Does that mean you have no choice? Well, you can say yes or no. But before he ever tells you who to marry because you chose to come to him and place your lives in his hands. So you did choose.

And when you enter into marriage, you never have the right to say you`ve been forced into a situation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right basically -- a little garbled there -- but Dr. Judy Kuriansky, the bottom line is ladies, you have no choice in the matter because you`re supposed to do whatever the guys say -- basically.

KURIANSKY: And guess what? That message is given to so many girls and young girls still in this day, is what bothers me. It really comes down to knowing that the women have some choices, and helping them to learn.

So besides prosecuting the men -- that has to happen -- we need services for those women to get out and those young girls, particularly, to stand up to it.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but I mean, this is an extreme example.

Gary Tuchman, you interviewed the young woman who said Jeffs would come up and say, "Are you keeping sweet or do you need to be punished?" I mean, I`m going to have to get your answer on the other side of the break. Are you keeping sweet or do you need to be punished? This is just S&M. Ok? That`s what it is. It`s dominance and submission.

That`s a lifestyle, which some adults practice if they`re into it consensually. But it`s done against children by a guy who calls himself a prophet. Mind boggling.

More on the other side.



CAROLYN JESSOP, FORMER FLDS MEMBER: This is the man that this community worships as a god, I mean he is their prophet. And he`s being allowed full access to children to injure them. And if that doesn`t put every child that he has, you know, where the parents believe he is a prophet, if that doesn`t put every one of them at risk, I`d like to know what does?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we`re so delighted to have Flora Jessop with us. She escaped from a polygamist cult and this polygamist cult. You`re still searching for your kid sister, Ruby. What happened to her?

F. JESSOP: Yes. I have been searching for her for years. She is still inside the cult, they -- she now has numerous, about seven or eight children that I`m aware of; has tried to commit suicide numerous times. But every time we get close, I have gone to the places where she lives, the homes where she`s supposed to be living at.

But they have so many layers they hide these children under and so many levels of enforcers within the community that it`s really -- if these girls try and get out, and they don`t make it, it`s impossible to get to them once they know they`re trying to leave.

So to not give these children the protection that they need when they initially get out, if they`re ever sent back by CPS or law enforcement or the court system --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You said that you escaped. That when you got back, you were kept in solitary confinement for years?

F. JESSOP: For three years, yes. I spent three years in solitary confinement for standing up against God`s commandments.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Beth Karas, I just have to jump in, Beth Karas, why did they return -- after the raid a few years ago, we all saw it, the women in the outfits. Why did they return all those kids?

KARAS: You know, the reason has never been entirely clear to me, Jane. It seemed like it might have been a political decision, because CPS did not want to return the children, is my understanding. They saw far more widespread abuse than the dozen cases that came out of the search of the compound.

It was becoming cumbersome, there was a lot of political pressure and there are some who believe that the FLDS got a lot of propaganda out there that people bought, with the mothers weeping and wanting their children and that kind of trumped it all.

But there was widespread abuse and these mothers took parenting classes, Jane, and they signed a form saying that they promised not to let their daughters marry under age or be sexually abused or physically abused and there was no oversight. There has never been follow-up, because CPS doesn`t have jurisdiction. It was virtually meaningless.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable, that is outrageous, CPS, Child Protection Services.

Angela, Oklahoma, your question or thought, Angela?

ANGELA, OKLAHOMA (via telephone): Yes, I`m a survivor of sex abuse as a child and my mother was never prosecuted and she should have been prosecuted over and over again. She assisted my father and not saying anything. The silence is criminal.

I don`t see how you can support letting these mothers not be charged because if you do not charge the mothers, you will not destroy the support system that these men continually have day after day. What are your thoughts on that?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy, I`m going to give you is last word. We have about 20 seconds.

KURIANSKY: The women need support in order for them to stand up to these men and protect their children and themselves.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, so in other words, don`t prosecute them, give them support. But if they`re brainwashed, they`re going to think this is the best thing since sliced bread and they`re going to say "bring it on" because they don`t know any better.

KURIANSKY: That`s why they need help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. We`re staying on top of this.

Flora thank you and good luck finding your sister.

F. JESSOP: Thank you.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I know that she loved every single one of her friends and that she loved us so much and she was so giving and gave 110 percent to everything that she did.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A family`s nightmare ends in relief. Friday here on ISSUES, I spoke with that young lady, the daughter and ex-husband of a missing California massage therapist. Cindy Sambueso, she had disappeared from her office without her cell phone earlier that week leaving her family and police devastated and frantic.

I`m thrilled to report Cindy was found unhurt. Cops say they tracked her down when she checked into a hotel and a staff member ID`d. Cindy reportedly told investigators she left town without telling anyone because she had to get away and had no idea anyone was looking for her.

I`m so happy to report Cindy was found safe and sound. But word to the wise -- all this could have been avoided with a phone call. I`m just saying. You know what I mean. Next time, call.