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New Victims Come Forward in Penn State Scandal

Aired November 17, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, as the Penn State child rape scandal mushrooms, is this just the tip of the iceberg? Tonight, claims that new potential victims may be coming forward.

And do we now have proof of a cover-up? The mother of one victim claims she begged high-school officials to call cops. You won`t believe how she says they reacted.

Meantime, the biological mom of one of Jerry Sandusky`s adopted sons says her boy`s relationship with the alleged predator was a nightmare. We`ll examine her claim.

And a beautiful mother of four vanishes. Her car found with a flat tire, abandoned on the side of the road, just half a mile from her home. Friends say her clothes were found in the woods and this just weeks after filing for divorce. We`ll talk exclusively to her distraught son. What happened to Karen Johnson Swift?

And we`re taking your calls.

ISSUES starts now.











UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was indicted on some 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys, charges that span more than 15 years.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mike McQueary in 2002 was a graduate assistant. Says he walks into the locker room, and he says he sees former assistant coach Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy.

JOE AMENDOLA, LAWYER FOR SANDUSKY: What`s going to come out in this case is that Jerry did take showers with kids.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a child rapist. They should at least keep tabs on him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want to support the victims and their families. We want to tell them we`re still here for them. That`s important to us.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It`s so important to put the victim first. I think they`ve gotten really lost in all of this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, head-spinning new developments in the Penn State child rape scandal, as cops say at least a dozen potential victims have now come forward. How many are out there?

Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you live from New York City. And tonight, more evidence of what critics are calling a cover-up. A "New York Times" report claims these high-ranking officials, athletic director Tim Curley and the man in charge of campus police, Gary Schultz, actively tried to bury the molestation claims against Jerry Sandusky, despite being told in graphic detail that Sandusky allegedly raped a boy on campus.

Now "The Times" also says crucial travel and expense reports from Sandusky`s Second Mile charity from 2002 to 2003 have vanished, disappeared, gone. And that just happens to be the very same time period he`s accused of raping boys.

We are now learning that more victims are coming forward. They are enraged, reportedly, over Sandusky`s self-serving interview, and many are simply creeped out by his words. Listen for yourself.


BOB COSTAS, NBC`S "ROCK CENTER": Are you a pedophile?


COSTAS: Are you sexually attracted to young boys, to underage boys?

SANDUSKY: Am I sexually attracted to underage boys?


SANDUSKY: Sexually attracted? You know, I enjoy young people. I -- I love to be around them. I -- I -- but, no, I`m not sexually attracted to young boys.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who has to pause? Who has to ask a question to be repeated before they answer when the question is "Are you sexually attracted to young boys?"

Did Sandusky`s spin backfire, as new potential victims reportedly come out of the woodwork to meet with lawyers? Call me: 1-877-JVM-SAYS. That`s 1-877-586-7297. I want to hear from you at home.

Straight out to Sara Ganim, fantastic reporter who first brought this story to everybody`s attention.

Bravo for that, Sara. You`re live on the ground at Penn State. What do you know about new victims coming forward?

SARA GANIM, REPORTER: This is the second day in a row where an attorney is coming forward and telling us that that interview on Monday night where Jerry Sandusky denied doing anything wrong, that that is backfiring. And this is how.

For the second day in a row, attorneys are getting calls from potential victims, from people who have never told their story before, but are coming forward now for two reasons. One, the case that`s unfolded in the last 14 days, and because specifically triggered by that Monday night interview.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And here is more of Jerry Sandusky giving NBC his version, his spin, of what happened. He`s accused of raping a young boy.


SANDUSKY: We were showering and horsing around, and he actually turned all the showers on and was actually sliding across the floor. And we were, as I recall, possibly, like snapping a towel in horseplay.



There`s an attorney now by the name of Andy Schuman who has come forward, saying this interview by Sandusky has prompted victims to speak out to him. He told "The Patriot-News," quote, "I spent about half the day in kitchens and living rooms, speaking with victims of Sandusky`s molestation and processing with them the effects of Jerry Sandusky being on the TV and Jerry Sandusky wrongdoing, and what I found is these folks are being re-traumatized."

Stacey Honowitz, we have no specific numbers. We know she`s charged with 40 counts of sexual abuse of boys. We know that eight are in the official record. There`s a grand jury. We know that -- we heard about a ninth.

Now cops are saying, oh, a dozen people, at least, have called them. And you have two lawyers saying that people are coming out of the woodwork. There`s no way to add it up, but if all those are different people, I would say that that -- that`s in the 20s now.

STACEY HONOWITZ, FLORIDA PROSECUTOR: Well, Jane, this is not unusual. You know, lots of times when there`s pedophiles involved, they have several victims. And what happens is, when a case begins to unfold, other victims feel that there`s strength in numbers. They feel comfortable enough to come out now and talk about it.

Now, if they were enraged by his testimony or his comments that he made on the air, you know, the fact that he was denying it, we can all get a guarantee that he`s not going to confess on the air that he was sexually abusing these boys. But if that`s what it took for them to come forward, that`s all they need. It`s like a trigger point.

But it`s not unusual in these cases. Whenever you have cases involving one, two, three, four, five victims that other victims come forward. You`re going to see, this isn`t going to stop here. This can go on for months at a time. You could have up to 40, 50 victims. There`s no telling how many people were involved with Jerry Sandusky.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mow, Sandusky`s lawyer was just asked about Sandusky`s bizarre interview with Bob Costas, where he explains himself. Listen to what this lawyer said.


AMENDOLA: People said to me, how could you let him say he was in the shower with the kids? How could we not let him say that? He was.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Were they naked?

AMENDOLA: My understanding is they were naked after workouts. But you guys have to understand these showers are large shower rooms. They`re not the showers you have at home in your house or apartment. And so it wasn`t a situation where he was within inches of the young boys involved. It was a situation where he was in a large locker room shower.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: I understand, being an attorney for somebody who`s accused -- and I`m not trying to convict anyone -- but I find it disgusting and outrageous that somebody goes out of their way to try to rationalize, justify, minimize, and basically spin behavior that, forget about sexual assault, behavior that on its face is 100 percent inappropriate, Arnie Spanier.

ARNIE SPANIER, HOST, CBS RADIO: Inappropriate? Are you serious? Of course it`s inappropriate! You`re in the shower, horsing around, naked, with 10-year-old boys, and they`re sliding around and he`s saying! Are we stupid? Are you serious?

I mean, the president, President Obama has to get involved. This is disgusting. A cover-up of the highest proportions! What are we doing, Jane? Somebody`s got to step in.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re going to get to the cover-up in a second, the alleged cover-up. And boy, there is more and more evidence that leads you to ask, how many people knew that something very wrong was going on for a very long time?

Let`s go to the phone lines.

Diane, South Carolina, your question or thought, Diane?

CALLER: Hi, Jane. Thanks for taking my call.


CALLER: My question is, why were these children in the shower in the first place? They were not working out with the team, so why are they taking a shower with this man?

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, I can`t agree with you more. I think it`s all outrageous.

I want to go to Paul McLaughlin. You say you were sexually abused by a now-retired Penn State professor, and I don`t want to get into names. I know that`s a totally different story, a different case, but it did happen in the same university, allegedly. What is your reaction to how this is being handled by Penn State?

PAUL MCLAUGHLIN, ALLEGED SEXUAL ABUSE VICTIM: Well, Jane, thank you for having me here, and thank you for asking.

One of my concerns is that it seems to be a pattern with Penn State to kind of sweep it under the rug. It seems like their primary concern is to keep this from tarnishing the Penn State image, and they`re more concerned with image than they are for -- for the victims of this kind of abuse. You know, again, this is just my opinion, but, so far as the track record I`ve seen, that`s what it appears to be.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. And I have to say that Penn State, knowing that you were going to be on, said that basically the charges against the man you accused were dismissed. That prevented the university from taking any other action, and that he had retired. I don`t want to get into that case, but there`s always an explanation for why somebody doesn`t act. The question is, is it a legitimate explanation?

This story is unfolding, and it`s metastasizing because Jerry Sandusky had so much access, so much access to children. But there`s a statement from Penn State regarding the case that involved the man you just heard from, Paul McLaughlin.

GRAPHIC: Statement from Penn State: "Ultimately the charges were dismissed."

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There -- this is an absolute mind-boggling situation, because there are so many kids involved. There are so many kids involved in this case. And I`ve got to tell you that I think that we`re going to see more. I think we`re going to see more and more and more kids come forward.

On the other side of the break, I want to talk to you about the parents of kids who were involved with the Second Mile charity. How are these parents going to know whether or not their kids were molested? How do they talk to their kids about whether or not they were molested?

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

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, we`re also going to talk about a beautiful mother of four who vanished. We`re going to talk to her distraught son in an exclusive interview. And more. We`re just getting started on the Penn State child sexual assault scandal.











UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`re welcome!




UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Former defensive coordinator Jerry Sandusky was indicted on some 40 counts of sexually abusing young boys, charges that span more than 15 years.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t think that it would be beyond the realm of possibility that there are other victims that exist here.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those are guys who are overturning a news van. They were upset because their icon, their hero, Joe Paterno, the most famous person in Pennsylvania, was forced out in the midst of this Jerry Sandusky scandal. I wonder if they`re having second thoughts about their behavior as more and more information comes out.

Jerry Sandusky adopted six kids. One, Matt Sandusky, met Jerry through his Second Mile charity. Matt`s biological mom now says her son`s relationship with Jerry was a nightmare. Here`s that mother on "GMA".


DEBRA LONG, MATT SANDUSKY`S BIOLOGICAL MOTHER: My son was afraid of Jerry. If Jerry said don`t talk, Matt didn`t talk. I would sit back and I would watch when Jerry would show up, how excited Matt was. And as time went on, I would watch the same kid hide behind the bedroom door and say, "Mom, tell him I`m not home."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, Matt, despite that, maintains that he was not sexually abused by Jerry Sandusky. But I`ve got to wonder, when you hear about that kind of reaction, Stacey Honowitz, hundreds of thousands of kids were involved in this organization. How are parents whose sons were exposed to Sandusky through this charity that he allegedly used as his personal hunting grounds to get young boys, how are they supposed to know if their sons were abused or not?

HONOWITZ: Well, I mean, now we`re talking at a later date. I mean, if they`re able to sit down and honestly ask them, did he ever touch you? Did he ever touch you inappropriately?

But you have to remember something, Jane. This subject matter is so difficult for people to talk about, and so difficult for parents, sometimes, to realize that this is a conversation they need to have very early on with their kids so that something like this doesn`t happen. But they have to be prepared to ask the difficult questions.

In pedophile -- in pedophilia, especially dealing with young boys, there`s a different kind of shame that takes over when it`s male-on-male child. There`s a feeling of, could there be homosexuality involved? There`s a feeling of shameness [SIC]: why didn`t I tell? What is he doing? There`s a feeling of trust. There`s so many different emotions that go into it, that you might not actually be able to bring it out of your child.

And that`s why education now is so important for parents to be on the lookout -- she thought this behavior was suspicious. She thought that maybe something was going on. And you often hear that with parents after there`s allegations of sexual abuse. A parent will come to me and say, you know, "I thought something was funny. He was spending so much time with my kid, paying so much attention, giving him gifts, showering him with these."

These are all things for parents to be aware of. An unnatural relationship with a child. Another person spending more time with your child than you actually are. People need to know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And let`s be clear. This has absolutely nothing to do with anybody being gay. This was a heterosexual man involved in a marriage who was preying, as a pedophile, on young boys.

HONOWITZ: Right. But I`m saying...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know. I understand what you`re saying. I just want to clarify that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: That this has nothing to do with being gay. This is a heterosexual man who was married, who is married, being accused of 40 counts of sexual assault on boys. Just so we clarify that.

Now, tonight, many see evidence of a possible cover-up. The mother of victim No. 1 says she went to her son`s high school and demanded -- demanded -- they call cops about what she said was her feeling that her son had been abused.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The principal had called me in tears and she was crying. I could tell she was crying. They told me to get to the school right away.

My son had said some things about -- that there was a problem with Jerry, and he didn`t know -- that he didn`t really admit anything at that point, that it was -- he just said that he thought he needed to tell somebody or it would get worse, the principal.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Essentially, she says that the principal -- she said, "Call the cops," and the principal said, no. Now, ultimately, cops became aware of this. But Arnie Spanier, do you see evidence of a cover-up?

SPANIER: It`s all in front of us, Jane! What are you asking me? I mean, are we blind? Sure, there`s a cover-up! The local police, the state police, it`s all over the place. It`s got to stop!



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The outrage we feel is nothing compared to the physical and psychological suffering that allegedly took place.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here is more of that astonishing interview accused child rapist Jerry Sandusky gave to NBC.


SANDUSKY: I could say that, you know, I have done some of those things. I have horsed around with kids. I -- I have showered after workouts. I have hugged them, and I have touched their leg, without intent of sexual contact. But -- so if you look at it that way, there are things that wouldn`t -- you know, would be accurate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we are asking tonight, was there a cover-up?

Now, this is complicated. The first official allegation is 1994. But university -- Penn State university official Gary Schultz allegedly knew all about a 1998 case. Sandusky showered naked with a boy and he admitted it. There was, like, a 100-page report that campus police did.

Then in 2002, Mike McQueary, who is now an assistant coach, says he told this guy, Gary Schultz -- that`s Mike McQueary -- he told Gary Schultz, the official, Penn State official, that he saw Schultz -- that he saw Sandusky raping a boy in the Penn State locker room.

So Representative Mike Vereb, Pennsylvania state representative, do we have enough here officially to say there was a cover-up? When you have a Penn State official allegedly knowing about an event in 1998, of this guy showering naked with a boy and an event in 2002, where somebody tells him he saw Sandusky raping a boy?


It surely appears to me the bank vault that was broken open by a grand jury investigation, and what appears to be a -- certainly, a wide-scale cover-up of whatever proportions, no matter who was involved in it. Clearly, we have a lot of victims that are suffering.

This man is -- I watched his interview live the other evening. I mean, the only thing -- the only person who should be interviewing him is an intake officer in a prison. Sliding across bathrooms, touching kids` legs, because it`s not -- it`s inexcusable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Why is this guy out? Why is this guy out?

VEREB: Well, you know...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I mean, you know, we had a judge who was replaced, because it turns out that she did volunteer work. The judge who said this guy could go free without an ankle bracelet with no money down -- there she is, Judge Dutchcot -- volunteered at this association that he used as his personal hunting ground, allegedly. And also, apparently, got money from people associated with Second Mile. And so she`s removed.

But, apparently, the new judge, he has to wait until December 7 to put this guy behind bars. What?

VEREB: Well, you know, unfortunately, bail is set to have a person return to court. This guy is now sitting in his home, next door to the grounds of an elementary school and a playground.

The original judge -- I mean, I was very vocal here in Pennsylvania. There were campaign contribution connections, many volunteer connections with the judge that set the bail originally.

You know, I`ve got to tell you, I`m from the southeastern part of the state, not from out in Centre County...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not a case about football. It`s not a case about universities. It`s a case about children who have had their innocence stolen from them and a culture that did nothing to stop it or prevent it from happening to others.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Dr. Spanier is no longer president of the university. In addition, Joe Paterno is no longer the head football coach, effective immediately.

CROWD: We want Joe. We want Joe. We want Joe.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: New alleged victims coming forward in anger, furious after hearing Jerry Sandusky`s creepy spin job, trying to justify his actions. Oh, it`s all horseplay. Naked in the shower with young boys; are you kidding me?

Hello. Jane Velez-Mitchell back with you live in New York City.

This has to be seen to believe. Former Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky in his own words. In his own words, when asked on NBC whether or not he is guilty.



BOB COSTAS, NBC NEWS: You feel horrible? Do you feel culpable?

SANDUSKY: I`m not sure I know what you mean.

COSTAS: Do you feel guilty?


COSTAS: Do you feel as if it`s your fault?

SANDUSKY: No, I don`t think it`s my fault. I`ve obviously played a part in this.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable.

The big question now, how far back does this go? How many more victims will speak out against Jerry Sandusky? How much did Penn State cover up for these really atrocious, atrocious, horrific crimes, if they occurred. Remember, he`s facing 40 counts.

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

I am joined now by a man who played for Penn State. He was coached for years by Jerry Sandusky and Joe Paterno. Lee Rubin, thank you very much for joining me.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You were the author of a book, "Win: Simple insights to help you win the game of life". Who wrote the foreword for this book?

RUBIN: Coach Paterno wrote the foreword to my book.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. You have seen Jerry Sandusky. Obviously, you`re close to Paterno. I mean, he wrote the foreword to your book.

RUBIN: Exactly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Were there any warning signs? Did you see anything that this man, Jerry Sandusky, was the monster that he is being accused of being tonight?

RUBIN: Absolutely not. And let me first say that this, it`s such a difficult situation. Our hearts and our prayers go out to the victims and their families.

It really comes as a complete shock. Absolutely no signs, no clues, nothing that you could point to, even in retrospect, that could have tipped us off to this kind of activity.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that is because he doesn`t fit the caricature that we have in our minds of what a pedophile looks like. Look, I`m not convicting the guy. He needs to go to court and face his charges there.

But I can say for one thing, for certain, is that we have caricatures in our mind of what certain people look like. Drug addicts look like this, when often they don`t look like this at all. Pedophiles look like this, when they don`t look like that at all. This was a, quote-unquote, "good person".

Oh, my God, I have read some of the articles about him, fawning articles that never questioned anything he did. That called him virtually a saint. Don`t you think that`s part of the problem, Lee, that nobody ever questioned this guy`s behavior?

RUBIN: Well, you`re right. There`s this idea you may have of what a pedophile may look like. I think, you know, if these allegations are true, the worse thing is that this individual hid behind that idea of trust and manipulated these young children. It`s a very difficult thing to really comprehend and think about, as former players, someone that we actually trusted and looked up to.

It`s just difficult.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look at him -- I hate to jump in, but you see him here, with kids. He`s constantly surrounded by kids. There he is, reading a children`s book. You see him in another shot, there, talking to kids. And we have to blur their faces now. There he is with a kid on his back.

It`s beyond comprehension that this man had access to hundreds and hundreds and hundreds and hundreds of kids. And that these allegations go back, at least until 1998, even 1994.

Remember, Lee, he created the Second Mile in 1977, ok? His first accusation is in 1994. There`s a 17-year gap. There`s 17 years where he had access to hundreds of children.

Listen to this. It`s one of the alleged victims` mom saying how she began to suspect that her son may have been sexually assaulted.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Out of the blue one day, he was sitting at the computer and wanted to look up sex weirdos. He asked me what the Web site is you get on to look them up. And I said, who are you looking for? And he said, Jerry. I was like, why, what are you looking him up for? And he`s like, oh, I don`t know, I just want to see if he`s on there.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The story of that poor boy is outlined in this grand jury report, which is available on It`s filled with such gruesome, graphic allegations that we cannot even repeat them. Suffice it to say, and I say this not to shock, but I say it because parents out there have to know what could happen to their kids if they end up horrifically in the hands of someone who is an alleged predator.

The allegations include oral sex and anal sex, and I do not say that to shock, I say that because when you have an attorney for this man saying, oh, it`s horseplay and it`s innocent and he`s an overgrown kid, we need to then counteract that false impression -- alleged false impression, we`ll see what the courts decide -- with the horrific details that are contained in that grand jury report.

Thomas Day, you are a Penn State graduate. You came up through Jerry Sandusky`s Second Mile Foundation. You are an acquaintance of Jerry Sandusky. Did you ever see anything that seemed just a little creepy, that gave you an uncomfortable feeling?

THOMAS DAY, PENN STATE GRADUATE: I never did. I never did. And, you know, I spoke to my mother this weekend. And she told me something that really shocked me. We had both, you know, read everything about this, read the grand jury indictment. She said, you know, if I had a chance to do it over again, I would -- meaning, refer me to the Second Mile. And the reason is because the Second Mile has done so much good for so many people myself included. And I know it`s very difficult to wrap our heads around how an organization so good as the Second Mile could be run by, you know, a man who`s being accused of being a serial pedophile, but it is true.

They took me in as an average student, a C student, you know, somebody who wasn`t very confident socially and made me into the man I am today. I`m about no finish up my second master`s degree. I served in the enlistment in the 101st Airborne Division.

I think it`s very important that we keep this in perspective. The Second Mile has done a tremendous amount of good for State College and around Pennsylvania, and I`m one of them.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think if these allegations are true and there are 40 counts, if this man is convicted -- and I`m not trying to convict him -- but if he`s convicted of 40 counts and dozens of more kids come forward who are now adults, I don`t care, Arnie Spanier, whether this Second Mile produced 400,000 PhDs. I still think --

ARNIE SPANIER, HOST, CBS RADIO: Did I hear him right? Jane, did I hear him right? It`s done so much good. So let`s not keep that in proper perspective. And he would go back -- his mom would send him back. You`re going to go back to a molestation farm. Do you understand what went on there? And you`re telling me how much good it did --

DAY: All right, hold on a second. Hold on a second.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Arnie, let`s give him a chance to respond. He is speaking from a good place. And I understand where you`re coming from, Thomas. I understand that you, personally, had a good experience.

However, I think as they say about doctors, first, do no harm. As they should say about educators, first, do no molestation, alleged.

DAY: All right. Listen, I understand these accusations are terrible. And my thoughts and my prayers go out to everyone who was harmed by this man, potentially. But listen, ok, this organization made me into the man I am today. And there are thousands, thousands of people around Pennsylvania who can say the same thing.

And it`s just crucial that we separate the incidents that Coach Sandusky is being accused of from the other great things that this organization has done. And I tell you, I resent that -- whoever this other guest has called the Second Mile a molestation farm. That is insane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you mean, it`s insane? If it turns out that these accusations are accurate, and that kids who were in Second Mile were groomed by this guy, and then, if it`s true, sexually assaulted, anally raped. That`s not a molestation farm? I don`t --

DAY: Listen --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I personally don`t have a problem with that comment.

DAY: The Second Mile has been involved with thousands of kids, from State College, Philadelphia, all over the state of Pennsylvania, ok? I am not talking about, you know, the people who were involved with Coach Sandusky, ok? The families who, you know, were, you know, harmed by this man, that`s terrible and my thoughts and prayers go out to them.

What I`m telling you is that there are hundreds of volunteers around Pennsylvania for the Second Mile who have never harmed anybody, who have done nothing but help, help, help the kids around Pennsylvania. And I was one of them when I was in the program.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And I will say that. Those good people who were involved in this organization that this guy founded, if these allegations are true, they are also victims. They have had their innocence --



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There are more questions than answers into the disappearance of Tennessee mom of four, Karen Swift.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We are very worried, very concerned. If anyone has any information about her, please, please, let us know.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: A family franticly searching for a missing mother of four, Karen Swift vanished from her home in Dyersburg, Tennessee, nearly three weeks ago now.

The 44-year-old, beautiful woman attended a Halloween party the night before, we`re talking October 29th. A friend says Karen tried calling her several times in a row that night and then sent her some kind of urgent text message. Later at about 1:30 in the morning, Karen picked up her young daughter from a sleepover party. Apparently the little girl called to say she wanted to leave.

Once they got home, there`s differing accounts, but one account says they went to bed and the next morning Karen was gone. Her white Nissan Murano was found that day abandoned with a flat tire less than a mile from her home. So what happened to this beautiful woman?

Joining me now by phone, in an exclusive interview, is Karen`s son, Preston. Preston thank you for joining us; I know that you are going through hell right now. I know you are speaking out because you want to find your mom, this beautiful woman.

You want to clarify something about the timeline of the night before and the day she disappeared. Will you clarify that for us, Preston?

PRESTON SWIFT, MISSING WOMAN`S SON: Ok, my mom did go pick up my little sister while she was in town. She picked her up from a friend`s house. She went home. My dad came downstairs, checked on -- to make sure that they were ok. He walked back upstairs. My mom and my little sister went to sleep. They both got in their pajamas, went to sleep. And a little while later, my little sister fell asleep and she actually remembers my mom picking her up and putting her in my little sister`s bed. So she obviously was going somewhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, did you see this? How do you know this happened?

SWIFT: My little sister, she told me firsthand. We actually took her to a specialist and talked to her. But she has told me this firsthand, that mom put her in bed with my other little sister.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that was, what, it had to be very late, because she picked her up very late.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re talking about your mom just picks up and gets in a car and drives off at something like 2:00 or 2:30 or 3:00 in the morning? Why would she do that?

SWIFT: See, that`s what we don`t know. That`s what we`re still trying to figure out why she would go anywhere. We`re still, you know, doing everything we can to find those answers out right now.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now, your dad is not a suspect. Authorities say he has cooperated. But cops always have to look at the person nearest, and then eliminate them. About a month ago, your mom filed for divorce, signing irreconcilable differences. Was your dad there that night? And has he talked to you about what happened?

SWIFT: Yes, he actually has told me all the details on what happened. She was actually -- he was notified once -- she took the girls on a little vacation, and he was notified then, but, you know, we all kind of expressed a little concern.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Preston, were they having an ugly divorce?

SWIFT: No, they weren`t -- as far as I`m concerned, I didn`t see any ugly -- ugly divorce at all coming out of it. They were both being very cooperative and trying to get it figured out as quickly as possible for us and the little girls.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mike Brooks, HLN law enforcement analyst, there`s also this person in the neighborhood who allegedly poisoned the missing woman`s dog, who the dog survived, but still, that`s odd.

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Right. There were apparently her dog and two other animals that he allegedly poisoned. You know, what was the relationship between them?

But the one thing that really pops out at me in this timeline, Jane, her friend Jenny, when she texted her at about 11:40, there were three text messages and the last one was, call me right away -- with an exclamation point. You know, that says to me, did she meet somebody at the party, at this Halloween party, that she might have been leaving. Was there a problem with that person? Did she leave to go back? There`s a lot of questions.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to thank Preston Swift. We want to have you back. We want to find your mom.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Those are the Antarctic stars of "Happy Feet 2, the sequel to the original "Happy Feet", a huge 2006 hit that won the Oscar for best animated film. Like the first film "Happy Feet 2" is a big fun musical, great for the kids, but it also deals with very serious issues about our planet.

One of the film`s stars, Robin Williams, explains.


ROBIN WILLIAMS, ACTOR: Geographically, things are changing, because these large chunks of ice are breaking off which they are in reality. It`s what they call them doomsday icebergs, they`re breaking off chunks, the size of New Hampshire or Vermont are breaking off and causing massive changes in the environment.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Brad Pitt is also a voice in "Happy Feet 2" which opens this Friday. Here is Brad being directed by the film`s creator Dr. George miller.

Joining me tonight is the one and only Dr. George Miller. George, "Happy Feet" made me laugh, it made me cry. Everybody has to see the sequel. It is sheer genius. Congratulations.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What do you want parents and kids to get out of this film?

MILLER: Well, when they sit in the cinema together and going to see an extraordinary landscape and wonderful characters, particularly in 3-D. And I think that the bottom line, they`re going to get to understand that if we come together despite all of the things that bring us apart, we can overcome big problems. That`s exactly what all these characters do and that`s probably the big thing.

A lot of -- I like to think the good stories are nourishing and I hope this is one.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This moment, which you are about to see, "Happy Feet" from Warner Brothers Home Entertainment made me cry. A poor penguin gets choked by manmade trash, specifically a plastic six-pack holder wrapped around his neck. Check this out.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, look at that.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on, man. Hang in there, buddy.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, look. One for everyone.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hang in there Lovelace. I know they are here somewhere.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Why would they leave all these behind?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s important to remember that the plight of these penguins is very real. At its heart "Happy Feet" and "Happy Feet 2" are about real animals; real animals whose lives are being crushed by industrial fishing, pollution and our general destruction of our natural world.

George, can a movie like yours change how people eat and how they behave?

MILLER: Not -- not one movie can change everything; it can help people think. I mean the most important thing to solve the problem is identify the problem and if we can be honest about it and think about it, it will help you. In "Happy Feet 1" it was my daughter who told me to cut up those six-pack rings, and we had in "Happy Feet 1" the Lovelace character, played by Robin Williams, wearing one of those things.

You know, just by small instruction and trying to be honest with each other, we`ll find a way to solve these problems.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I hope so. I really hope that parents and kids watching this film will walk out of it and cut up those six pack holders and not use as much plastic because the lives of real animals depend on it.

More in a moment.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Lift your head up. Be a star, boy, you know who you are. Knock you out.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I`m going to knock you out.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Happy Feet 2" opens this Friday. Its creator, Dr. George Miller is with me. What would you tell parents about the importance of their kids seeing this film?

MILLER: Well, these films, we try to base them on natural history, on nature. And when they see this film, I think they can share a lot of good stuff together and get to understand how the world works. Antarctica itself is like a canary in the coal mine and what happens, what we do, does affect that place and they`ll get that from this story.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Absolutely. It`s touched my heart. These films have touched my heart. I know they`re going to touch the hearts of everyone who sees them and bless you for making them.

"NANCY GRACE" is next.