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Judge Suspended for Videotaped Beating; New Abuse Case against Sandusky Involves Family Member

Aired November 23, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, blowback after a sickening video shocks the nation. A family court judge is finally slapped with a suspension. Authorities are investigating. Why haven`t they charged him? Why is this judge suspended with pay?

And you have to see my interview with Octomom. I`m going to talk to Nadya Suleiman about the controversy that erupted when she gave birth to eight kids. Now, almost three years later, how is she coping with raising a whopping 14 children?

Plus, she was in an abused relationship and ended up homeless. It`s every woman`s nightmare. She was living on the streets of Orlando. But tonight, I`ll talk to a woman who miraculously turned her life around and has an apartment and a job. How did she do it?

ISSUES starts now.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Beatings at the hands of her father, a Texas family law judge, were so frequent that she sensed when the next one was coming. Want to warn you. This is graphic.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: William Adams lashes the girl 17 times with a belt and threatens to beat her into submission.

W. ADAMS: In my mind, I haven`t done anything wrong other than disciplining my child after she was caught stealing.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: The judge who was videotaped beating his daughter with a belt has been suspended.

W. ADAMS: It looks worse than it is. There is a story.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nobody who behaves that way with their own daughter does it in an isolated incident. That is the way he must have been over and over again. For her to set up a video camera to capture it, you know she knew it was coming.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Finally, blowback. That Texas judge caught on tape beating his daughter has been suspended. However, with pay. Why?

Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you from New York City. And I`ve got to warn you, the video in question is very disturbing. You may want to get your kids out of the room, but it`s our obligation to show it to you because it happened.

The girl being beaten says she secretly videotaped her own father, the judge, doing this to her seven years ago when she was just 16, but Hillary Davis [SIC] posted it just a few weeks ago to make a point. She has cerebral palsy, and she decided to post the video on YouTube to establish, once and for all, what her dad did to her was wrong.

Since then, it`s been viewed more than 6 million times. It sparked outrage across the country. You need to see a piece of this video to see the violence and rage caught on tape.


W. ADAMS: Bend over that bed. Bend over the bed! Bend over the bed! Bend over the bed. I`m going to get you on your legs. Bend over the bed.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Unbelievable. Shockingly, Judge Adams is a family law judge, meaning he rules on family abuse cases. He admits it`s him in the video but denies any guilt, fault or wrongdoing. Really?

Straight out to Mark Eiglarsh, criminal defense attorney. They say they`re suspending him with pay while they investigate.

Mark, what the hell is there to investigate? It`s all caught on tape. It`s right there. I don`t care if she bit him in the eye. There`s no excuse for this.

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Suspended with pay. A fancy way of saying a vacation, Jane.

I agree with you. I think the video is very clear, and the prosecutors in their closeout memo wrote that the only reason why they`re not charging him with a criminal offense is because of the statute of limitations, which is five years, and it expired because she waited to release this video after a number of years.

So he clearly committed a criminal offense. He got away with it because of the statute of limitations and they`re investigating him, because the public`s confidence in his abilities to sit as a judge have been undermined.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, but -- but the really sick thing is that this guy admits it`s him in the video, but the judge said, "Oh, I didn`t do anything wrong." Listen to him from YouTube.


W. ADAMS: In my mind, I haven`t done anything wrong other than discipline my child after she was caught stealing, and I did lose my temper. But I`ve since apologized. It looks worse than it is. There is a story. It will come out in due time, OK?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: "Oh, it looks worse than it is. There is a story that will help." Give me a break.

This judge is exhibiting classic signs outlined when people talk about domestic violence. There`s something called a power and control wheel. You should look it up. This is what people use to justify their abuse. Intimidation, emotional abuse. Isolation.

But what I want to focus on, Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist, is minimizing, justifying and rationalizing. This is a girl with cerebral palsy. She had been allegedly illegally downloading music and games. I don`t care if she set the house on fire. There`s no excuse.

MICHELLE GOLLAND, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Right. Absolutely. And what we know is that, you know, I think what`s really interesting in one of the questions is, you know, why did she release this so late? Why did she hang onto it?

And what happens in these situations, Jane, is that there is this sense of is my reality the correct reality or is the reality that is being fed to me by the abuser the correct reality? And I think what she is finally getting back is the truth, which is this is abusive. This was unacceptable.

And I am sure over time that her father had convinced her and the mother -- and, you know, there is another child in the home, which is the concern. And it is abuse. It is total physical abuse of a child.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And my understanding is that he later went through a divorce, and there`s a 10-year-old child that there`s now a custody battle over. And he wants visitation. And that`s up in the air. I say no visitation...

GOLLAND: Absolutely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... especially when he is completely lacking in any remorse.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s check this out again from YouTube. Judge Adams going off in an obscenity-filled tirade. Listen to this.


W. ADAMS: If I hear -- as you (EXPLETIVE DELETED) to me or your mother or the wrong tone, I`ll give you one little thing -- you look at me (EXPLETIVE DELETED) wrong, I`m going to take you in there and wear your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ass out with this belt. You understand me?


W. ADAMS: That`s what it`s come to.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A whimpering 16-year-old girl with cerebral palsy heard there as this judge, with obscenity, just psychologically, I think, tortures her.

By the way, we reached out for the lawyers for the judge. They did not return our calls, but if they want to come on, I`d love to ask them some questions. I`d be very happy to have this judge on.

Unbelievable. I want to go to Judge Larry Seidlin. Here`s the order from the supreme court of Texas that says Judge Adams agrees to a temporary suspension from office with pay, pending final disposition of the allegations. Why does the judge have to agree to a suspension? Why does this all sound so chummy?

LARRY SEIDLIN, JUDGE: Well, it`s not chummy. They`re going to take severe action towards him. They`re going to be signaling to him to take a long walk into the sunset. I believe he`s going to resign or the supreme court of Texas is going to remove him from the bench.

He was a judge and his -- the way he conducted himself, he has to maintain a higher standard of conduct than the average citizen. And as a judge in family court, he`s going to live by the sword and he`s going to die by the sword, because he`s telling parents how to conduct themselves, how to be good parents. And here you see on film, he`s using excessive force towards his child. It`s outrageous. And it`s going to cause him to never be able to wear that black robe again.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and some people would justify this and say it`s discipline. This is not discipline. This is sadistic abuse, in my humble opinion.

OK. Let`s check it out again from YouTube. The judge who some say after watching this -- it`s been viewed millions of times -- seems to be enjoying it. Here he is coming back for more.


W. ADAMS: Get on your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stomach on the bed, now! Get on the stomach or I`m going to start beating you again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get on your stomach!

W. ADAMS: Get on your stomach! Get on your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stomach!

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Get on your stomach! Get on your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) stomach.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Pat Brown, criminal profiler, how many stories have we covered here on this show where kids get into a fight and they`re all charged? I find it extremely unfortunate that the statute of limitations has expired.

I wish there was a team of lawyers who would examine this to see whether or not they could find a way to charge because he didn`t do this once. Obviously. This is a seven-minute-and-35-second video, and the reason why the girl set it up secretly, he didn`t know he was being taped, reportedly, at the time is because it had happened before.

PAT BROWN, CRIMINAL PROFILER: Right. And you know, what`s really sad about this whole thing, it`s very clear in this tape. He`s not concerned about her being a good citizen. Downloading the things, that`s not what a good citizen does. It seems he`s only concerned about the fact that she went against his authority. And that`s why he`s beating her. Because she, you know, rose up against him. Denied his power and authority.

And my guess is that`s been going on through their entire relationship, when he`s in control of that house and "You do what I say, regardless of the logic behind it. And if you don`t, I`ll make you pay for it." And that`s what we see in this particular film, which is -- I mean, this video, which is obviously not the proper way to handle your children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Everybody wants to be the king of the castle. But sometimes, they turn into the fascist dictator of the castle. I mean, this is truly, truly outrageous. Stay right there. We`ve got more. We`re just getting started. We`re going to analyze this further.

And later on, I`m going to do an interview with Nadya Suleiman. Yes, that`s right. Octomom. I`m going to talk to her and ask her tough questions that you`ve told me about on Facebook.

But first, more on the family court judge caught on videotape beating his daughter. Is suspicion with pay enough?


H. ADAMS: For people who call this discipline, I think they should probably re-examine their methods. And I think probably they don`t -- they don`t really know what a normal environment really is if they think that that`s an acceptable of punishment.



W. ADAMS: If a (UNINTELLIGIBLE) or your mother or the wrong tone, one little thing, you even look at me (EXPLETIVE DELETED) I`m going to take you in there and wear your (EXPLETIVE DELETED) ass out with this belt. You understand me?


W. ADAMS: That`s what it`s come to.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judge Adams admits it`s him. I think what upsets me most about this is his attitude in the wake of this being released to the public. He doesn`t deny it`s him. He says -- oh, this is the guy, the judge. Look at how squeaky clean he looks there. That`s the guy on tape, beating his daughter.

And he doesn`t deny it. He says, "Well" -- he says, "I lost my temper. It`s not as bad as it seems."

I would have a different attitude somewhat, anyway, Michelle Golland, clinical psychologist, if he said, "I did something unconscionable. Now that I look at it, I realize how outrageous it is. I`ve got a problem. I`m going to go to anger management. I`m going to make amends. I apologize to my daughter."

He has done none of that.

GOLLAND: Right, absolutely. And I think you`re right. The thing in life, Jane, I always say to my clients and, you know, to the world, is repair is the most important part of conflict.

Once the conflict is over, what do you actually do to repair it? He - - the thing is, though, what we`re dealing with is someone who is very narcissistic and clearly has antisocial tendencies, or he wouldn`t be doing this behavior, physically abusing his daughter. And that`s why he`s not able to repair it, because he doesn`t actually think he`s done anything wrong and would never own up to that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, the daughter actually spoke to HLN`s Dr. Drew, and he asked her what message she would like to send to other victims. Listen to this.


H. ADAMS: For people who call this discipline, I think they should probably re-examine their methods. And I think probably they don`t really know what a normal environment is if they think that that`s an acceptable way of punishment, and unfortunately, I was one of those people. I thought that was a normal situation.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Someone once said to me, beware of the good people. The people who are good in question marks or in quotes.

Judge Larry Seidlin, we like to look at judges as almost being beyond human, and we idealize them and we idolize them. We do put them on a pedestal. You have worn a robe, right? That`s what I think is so outrageous. This is no ordinary man. This is a judge who deals in family court with family court issues that often involve abuse.

How on earth can anybody even imagine that he could continue in that role, given the fact that this video is out there? And he`s still insisting he did nothing wrong.

SEIDLIN: The public is going to lose confidence in the judiciary of Texas if he remains on the bench. Also, attorneys that appear in front of him are going to recuse him, are going to make motions to disqualify him, saying how could he fairly hear a case that has anything related to what happened in his personal life?

A judge is a judge 24 hours a day. It`s not just when you have the black robe on. It`s when you go to the supermarket. It`s when you`re exercising. You always have to conduct yourself as Caesar`s wife, above reproach. And you know that when you get the job.

and unfortunately, judges are human and sometimes, they make an error, but this error has been videotaped. It`s so severe. And like you say, Jane, he seems to be almost enjoying giving this excessive punishment upon his daughter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Who has cerebral palsy. Let me ask you this, Judge.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What about previous cases? If he`s ruled in a case that involved some kind of abuse, could the lawyers for whoever he ruled against come up and say, "You, this is an appeal of volition (ph)"?

SEIDLIN: Yes. Yes. Lawyers can appeal, but the judiciary wants finality. And there will be attorneys attempting to appeal his prior judgments where domestic abuse was involved, but I don`t believe any of those judgments will be overturned. The court system is going to move beyond this episode.

I think they`re going to signal to this Judge Adams, good-bye, good luck, this job just doesn`t fit you anymore. That`s where his future will be. Practicing law, but the Texas bar may also be able to go after him. And they might require him to take an anger management course and maybe get some therapy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just don`t understand why he is suspended with pay, Pat Brown. Really? Given that this has happened, caught on tape and he is unrepentant? I just don`t get it. I don`t get the reaction of the powers that be.

BROWN: Well, I think probably they`re caught in this weird thing where the...

EIGLARSH: I thought so, too. I said, there`s got to be something more. So I looked for...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. I`m asking Pat Brown. Yes, go ahead.

BROWN: I think some people have a hard time with that line between discipline and simple violence and abuse. And that`s why they step back from it and yes, we`re clearly seeing what seems to be way over that line of abuse.

As a matter of fact, when I saw this video, it reminded me of Phillip Garrido and his wife...


BROWN: ... keeping somebody as a prisoner. And it is very creepy, because you don`t see love there. You don`t see an attempt to discipline in a loving manner. You don`t see that this is a family of kindness. What you see looks like a prisoner and the prisoner`s abusers. And that to me is way, way, way over the discipline line.

But I think sometimes people, when they`ve known somebody for a long time say, well, maybe it was just a bad moment. We`ve all screamed at our kids. We`ve all done something that thank God we weren`t caught on tape. So let`s step back and give him a little bit of a chance.

That`s my guess at what`s going on.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Except that she videotaped it because she says it happened before.

BROWN: Right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s not a psychic. She doesn`t have a crystal ball that says, "Oh, for the first time, my dad is going to come down and beat me with a belt." No. She says she set up this video because it happened before. Like I say, what`s to investigate? It`s caught on tape.

Up next, the Sandusky case.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The child abuse sex scandal that has rocked Penn State University.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We want Joe! We want Joe! We want Joe!

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is not about football. This is not about "X`s" and "O`s". This is not about Nebraska. This is about young children that were violated. Their innocence was stolen. And it`s about them. And the families that are forever impacted by what happened.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Another shocker. The Penn State child abuse sex scandal. HLN contributor "Patriot News" reporter Sara Ganim now reporting one of the new alleged victims coming forward in the Jerry Sandusky case is a member of Sandusky`s family.

Last night, we reported that two new cases were being investigated by Children and Youth Services in Pennsylvania. We now know that one of these cases involves a Sandusky family member.

Sandusky, the former football coach, already facing 40 charges of sex crimes against young boys. We`ve also heard reports as many as 12 other individuals have come forward claiming they, too, were abused by Sandusky.

Straight out to criminal profiler Pat Brown. Given that this is being investigated by children`s services, which means that this new child, which is reportedly a family member, is under 18, is a child right now, how does this change the equation?

BROWN: Well, I think it adds a lot of -- a lot more impact to it, that you`re seeing it -- he`s everywhere. In his family. He`s with the children. He`s looking for every opportunity he can.

And I think -- I just want to point out something that we keep overlooking. It is more important these days that any organization, any family, to stop thinking how it reflects on you. There are psychopaths and there are perverts and there are child predators in every group of people. Teachers, police officers and families. It happens, and it is not an embarrassment to have it happen in your family or in your organization.

What embarrassment should be is that you don`t go right away and report it to the police. That you don`t stand up against this criminal act.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Again, breaking news. This guy already facing 40 counts of child sex abuse. Two more cases being investigated by Children Services, which means that the new accusers are under 18. They`re children, and one of them now, according to published reports, a family member of Sandusky.

Now, one of his adopted sons and a wife have been through a divorce proceeding, and the wife on a protective order to keep her two boys away from Sandusky, from him visiting them alone.

Your thoughts on that, Pat? That happened before any of this broke.

BROWN: Well, obviously, she was onto something, and I think this, you know -- he obviously needs to be nowhere near children ever, ever, ever again. And I`m just -- I`m just saying it`s been for years...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But Pat, he`s out! He is out on unsecured bail. He doesn`t have an ankle monitor. He has -- his attorney described his house as a hotel filled with children. Shouldn`t there be action taken in light of this?

BROWN: I certainly think so. I`m with you, Jane, because I think one of the problems is we take sexual assault on children, and we move it down from rape to molestation. Isn`t that a much nicer term than to say he`s out there raping kids? And then we should have a very, very high bond on someone who`s basically being accused of rape.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: We are now hearing more breaking news from the attorney for Jerry Sandusky, saying it is this wife who has been in a divorce proceeding with one of Jerry Sandusky`s adopted sons. She is making the allegations involving her two sons.

Unbelievable stuff. We`re going to stay on top of it. Thank you, Pat Brown.

Up next, Octomom.


NADYA SULEMAN: Of course, that`s what I said and I still say it, but I love children. I love children. I love children.

My son is missing. I`m going crazy. I`m going crazy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We can only hope and pray that Nadya gets the psychological and emotional help she so desperately needs.

SULEMAN: I was afraid and lost and confused.

GLORIA ALLRED, VICTIMS` RIGHTS ATTORNEY: Our concern is and always has been, the protection and the care of these babies.

SULEMAN: I could have taken that Octomom fiction character name invented in the media and made millions. I could have.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: She`s one of the most controversial women in the history of motherhood. Nadya Suleman, known around the world as Octomom and she is here with me right now.

Hello, everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City and I`m joined by Octomom herself to talk about her decision to raise not eight, but 14 children. Good to see you there Nadya.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s been nearly three years since Nadya infamously had octuplets. And since then her life has been described as well, hectic is probably the understatement of the century. Here she is trying to keep up on just a regular day at home. Check this out.


SULEMAN: Still getting their lunch. I have no help. I was defensive and angry. What it is -- (INAUDIBLE). I do not have nannies. I haven`t had any nannies for six months.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Octomom`s fertility doctor, the guy reasonable for all those babies, Michael Kamrava implanted her with 12 embryos. In June, his medical license was revoked citing repeated negligent acts, but now, Dr. Kamrava wants the medical board to lift the ban and let him practice medicine again. So we`re going to ask Nadya about that.

Nadya, thank you so much for being here --

SULEMAN: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The recommendation for a woman your age would be to have three embryos implanted, max.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: You had 12 embryos put in.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think in light of all that has happened, that your fertility doctor Dr. Kamrava should be allowed to start practicing medicine again?

SULEMAN: I personally don`t feel I have the medical authority to give an opinion because --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, live dangerously.

SULEMAN: I really don`t.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`ve been living dangerously for years. You had 14 kids. Ok?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This guy wants his medical license back and I`m asking you a question. I know you`re not a doctor. The whole world knows you`re not a doctor. You`ve had one-on-one experience with this man who implanted you with 12 embryos which according to what I`ve read can increase the risk of disability.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Your octuplets were born prematurely, extremely underweight.

SULEMAN: Very healthy though.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Two needed to have intubation.

SULEMAN: For three days. For three days. They`re miracles. They are all extraordinarily healthy --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Do you think this guy should practice medicine or not. It`s a yes or no.


SULEMAN: Personally, no, but I just feel guilty to admit that because I take accountability for having gone back. So, again, I feel as though there is not just one person involved in making the mistake that had happened. I do believe in the reproductive population. This was an infertility procedure gone incredibly wrong, although it miraculously resulted in -- which would never happen again in history, I`m sure -- extraordinarily healthy octuplets.

That is in and of itself a miracle and taking their health, I mean, that will -- that will never happen again. So, I do believe I take accountability and I do believe the doctor as well takes accountability. And I just don`t feel it is my place, really, to give an opinion and where if he chooses to get his license back, I personally feel that may be an irresponsible choice as I have admitted to have made an irresponsible choice.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But you did say no, I think, underneath all that I heard no.

SULEMAN: I think I would have to really deliberate this. And really think if it would be appropriate.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Well, first of all, let me say this. I respect the fact that you`re taking some responsibility for the decisions and I also say that your children are here and they are miracles and we don`t know whether one of them grows up to be President of the United States.

SULEMAN: Never know. Never know.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I have complete compassion and acceptance of your children.

SULEMAN: Thank you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is not about your wonderful kids, but I have written a book on addiction called "Addict Nation". And the premise is that you can get addicted to anything; alcohol, porn, food; and I dedicated a chapter to you, asking can you be addicted to having babies.


SULEMAN: Possibly.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: At one point, you actually admitted that you regretted it. Listen to this from "In Touch" magazine.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you had the money and the ability to have more children would you?

SULEMAN: God help me, no.


SULEMAN: Yes. No, I cringe and I`m not kidding. When I hear a baby cry and I`m outside and I hear a baby cry, I cringe. I`m being honest.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Does it make you hate -- not your own -- but --

SULEMAN: I do not like babies. I do not like babies. And it`s also very hard for me to bond. I bond with my six. My first six that I had --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, so you, I guess were caught on tape there saying you don`t like babies.

SULEMAN: What`s sad is -- I have to speak. I have to say something. What is sad is that people like to fixate on the negative. And when she asked me -- she didn`t say, Nadya do you like or love babies. She said would you consider having more.

Baby factory is closed. I`ve known that for years. So my -- of course, it is human to be adversely conditioned to have had so many, to even fathom having another child. My focus is on the well-being and health and safety of the children I have had. And that is my responsibility, to look forward. Not to look in the back or not to stagnate in life, but to look forward because that`s the only direction we can move in.

And it`s not advantageous to any of my children to look in the back -- in the past. Because then you just get fixated on the past. You cannot change the past. But in the future, if I had the money, of course not` I would not choose to have another child.

And I was -- I have a sardonic sense of humor and it didn`t sound like it, but I was being a little sarcastic when I said I did not like babies. I adore all children. I`ve chosen for years to get into health profession prior to having any children and that`s why went to school for so many years and I worked with kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Nadya based on what you were saying -- you were saying something in jest, sarcastically and that it was taken out of context. That`s why I`m asking you, to give you the opportunity. But again, back to my premise. Do you think you might have been in an addictive cycle, binge and remorse, in terms of having all these babies -- because I do believe you can get addicted to anything.

SULEMAN: I agree.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And if you`re using it to self-medicate, to escape or to try to solve childhood problems, which you said you suffered from loneliness as a child, do you think that you had the wrong intention in having all these kids because you were doing it to solve your own problems?

SULEMAN: Again, I want to reiterate. I want to reiterate. I have actually written my own book. It`s been on hiatus for about a year because I am working full time -- fully focusing on my children and being a fitness trainer and working very hard to provide for my family on my own.

But in regard to the past, and I reiterate that`s the past, there`s an amalgamation of factors that contribute to all our behavior, all of our choices. No one engages in any behavior for one reason alone. So I`m sure -- anyone can get addicted or -- addicted is a very strong word, but to chaos. To maybe inadvertently recreating childhood experiences and maybe there are so many multilayered reasons for why I chose to choose one, maybe one more after six and six was more than enough. I know that in retrospect.


SULEMAN: But today, I choose to look forward and that`s all I`m going to do from now on is look forward --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: In light of it -- ok, but the fact is that you had six children and then chose to have eight more.

SULEMAN: Yes. I didn`t choose to have eight more. I did not choose to have eight more.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. In retrospect, was it irresponsible on your part?

SULEMAN: I think to even want one more after six children, it was irresponsible on my part and I take full accountability for it. I have from the very beginning and I chose not to select. See, people don`t focus on what really matters. I was pregnant they thought with seven. I refused selective abortion. I refused to do selective reduction which is murder.

So I chose to continue the pregnancy. I had migraine, all day, every day, refused Tylenol because I didn`t want it to adversely affect any baby. So I lived my life as healthy as possible --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Can I ask you this question.

SULEMAN: -- for my -- the benefit of my children.

I have to tell you something. I keep catching myself living today in a place of defense. When I want to move forward so desperately because we have succeeded, there is no proof. Everyone is healthy. I`m healthy. The children are unbelievably thriving and I want to move forward.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Can I ask you a couple of quick questions?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: How are you surviving? Supposedly, it costs $18,000 a month. Where do you get the money?

SULEMAN: My overhead is about 10,000, if not less. We are conserving. I am teaching my children conservation like you wouldn`t believe. They are very educated and I have been working as a fitness trainer for over a year. I have just recently gotten the opportunity of a lifetime to be mentored by an Olympic boxing champion as my -- teaching me how to train other people

And I`m also in the process of earning my personal training license. But as I said, I`ve been fitness training for over a year.

I`m also -- I just finished a movie. I did a low-budget horror film.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. What`s it called?

SULEMAN: It`s a job.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to get it on Netflix.

SULEMAN: It`s job. It`s called -- it`s called "Millenium" but it`s still in the process of editing and it`s still a job. I`ve always been a workaholic. Again, you say addicted. There you go. I`ve always been addicted to being busy.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok. Quick question Nadya.

These are questions people want to know so I`m trying to get it very quickly. Three of your children have disabilities. Do you collect --

VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. No one has disabilities but one. I have none -- one child has autism, nobody else has any disability. I have not received -- and my child with autism, I pay for him out of pocket. Every need he has I`ve been paying for, for years. He has had --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So you`re not getting government money.

SULEMAN: Not a -- not a penny. I refuse. That`s another thing. I work my full time job with my kids. Then I go personally train -- fitness train when they`re asleep. You know, I work so hard.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I congratulate you for answering these questions and I wish you the best.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Read me my rights. Read me my right.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: A coast to coast national uprising; Occupy protests all over the country. The bottom line is that more and more people are afraid. They`re angry. They`re losing their jobs. They can`t find work and there`s increasing homelessness.

Tonight, we have one woman`s worst nightmare. This Florida woman lost her full time job. She had been stocking shelves and then she was forced out of her home due to an abusive relationship. But Shawn Smith quickly found herself out of money and before she knew it, she was homeless, jobless and literally living in a tent.

This is an average, ordinary American, but this story is becoming more and more common. So tonight, we`re going to talk to her exclusively about how she managed to turn it around despite the economy and get into an apartment and leave behind the only shelter that she had with a note, "If you stumble across this, you have a place to sleep," her message to other homeless people who might need a tent to sleep in.

I want to go straight out to my very special exclusive guest, Shawn Smith. Shawn, I am so, so happy that you turned it around. I know so many people watching this have a new attitude toward homelessness. Talk to us about what you`ve been through, my dear.

SHAWN SMITH, ONCE HOMELESS: It`s really hard to be homeless. A lot of people think that it`s just easy thing, I guess, but it`s very difficult.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think that in the past, some people looked at homelessness as, well, these are people who could find a home except they have a problem. Maybe they have a problem with substance abuse or maybe they have a problem with mental illness.

But today, there is a new kind of homelessness. There`s homelessness from people who have simply lost their jobs because of the economy and been forced out of their home. That is the type of homeless that you were; a hard working, average American who was stocking shelves. How did it all spiral down? In tell us about that, Shawn.

SMITH: I was just lonely and I got involved with the wrong person and he was violent and he had a history of violence with women and I just kept -- I don`t know, I lost everything.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And how did you lose your job stocking shelves?

SMITH: It was just politics at work. That wasn`t because of him. You know, but I went around and I drive and I begged for jobs and I pleaded with them because I only had part time hours with the job that I got and nobody would give me work.

And I mean, I have the job at an Orlando Premium outlet where I work at, but I couldn`t get a job and without the full time hours and when you get paid every two weeks, you can`t possibly pay your rent. So even if I saved up enough money to get a place, I couldn`t possibly pay the rent to keep it.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you ever think when you were growing up or anytime in your life that you would ever be homeless?


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Did you look at homeless people and say, that`s not me and now, do you have a new attitude toward the homeless that you see on the street?

SMITH: Yes, definitely.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: What would you say to all those people who look at homeless people and say to themselves, "Get a job, buddy"?

SMITH: A lot of those homeless people have jobs. A lot of those people that are homeless beg for jobs and can`t get them. And we have such discrimination on homeless people. There are homeless people that are addicted to drugs; that abuse drugs and that are criminals. And there are people that are good, hard-working people that really try and they just can`t get anywhere.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I just -- I am so, so thrilled that you have turned your life around and that you now have a job. We`re going to get to that in a second. But this is such a common theme today. This homelessness, of not your classic, stereotypical homeless person, but a hard-working American who seems like just another middle class person who suddenly finds themselves out of a job and then out of a place to sleep and she ended up sleeping in a tent.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you did get a job. You got a job thanks to a wonderful program, the Harbor House Shelter in Central Florida. Guys, if you`re touched by this woman`s story, you can contact the National Coalition for the Homeless. There are ways to help the homeless.

You know, I do stop when I see homeless people. I don`t dehumanize them. I look at them and I often get them food to eat. I really applaud you and I -- I`m so happy that you`re back on track, Shawn. Way to go.



JENNY BROWN, FOUNDER, WOODSTOCK FARM ANIMAL SANCTUARY: Millions of them will be on people`s tables for Thanksgiving and we like to have a compassionate thanksliving.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. Are you tired of sitting around every Thanksgiving doing the same thing, same people, same meal year after year? There`s a fun, fun way you can change it up. Tons of celebrities are doing it. I`m talking about going turkey-less, turkey-free; having a delicious Thanksgiving meal that`s cruelty-free.

Listen to actress Persia White`s message from Farm Sanctuary.


PERSIA WHITE, ACTRESS, ANIMAL ACTIVIST: Did you know that turkeys are intelligent, friendly creatures? And just like all animal, they feel pain and joy. Take it from me; turkeys would much rather lie on your lap than on your dinner plate.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s from Farm Sanctuary. Once again, joining me now in an exclusive interview, the lovely and talented Persia White from the TV show "Girlfriends", also doing movies -- a whole bunch of projects. Persia, you`re my buddy. Thanks for being here. Why did you decide to skip the turkey and why is it so much fun to do so?

WHITE: Well, you know I realize that, I mean other than the fact that I try to be as compassionate as I can and do the right thing when it comes to environmental and animal welfare, I realize that I love to eat, but if you think about Thanksgiving dinner, it`s not just about the turkey. It`s about pie and it`s about veggies and it`s about all kinds of other delicious foods and it`s about getting together with people you love.

And when you do a cruelty-free Thanksgiving, it`s so exciting because you actually feel better. The next day, you don`t feel like so overwhelmed. You feel like hey, I`m all right, I can get up and I can walk a little, just a little.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You don`t have a turkey hangover.

You can also try tofurkey. We`ve been showing you some pictures of the many, many celebrities, including Bill Clinton, Sir Paul McCartney, Natalie Portman, Carrie Underwood, Anne Hathaway, Russell Simmons, Russell Brand; all these people going turkey free. And Ellen DeGeneres --


VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- two turkeys from Minnesota named Liberty and Peace were pardoned by President Obama today. Check this out. Unfortunately, about 45 million other turkeys will be killed for Thanksgiving. The ceremony actually involved the President calling tomorrow one of the worst days to be a turkey.

So how are things changing? There is this new trend called thanksliving. Tell us about it. You actually adopted a turkey as part of Farm Sanctuary`s Adopt a Turkey project.

WHITE: Yes, I`m a big supporter of adopting a turkey for Thanksgiving because when I went to the farm at Farm Sanctuary, I couldn`t believe turkeys are so friendly. They`re kind of like cats. They love to be cuddled and touched.

This Thanksgiving, there are going to be two rescued turkeys at the party that we`re having. So, there`s going to be turkeys present, but they`re just not going to be on the plate. So it`s about thanksliving.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And environmentally -- yes, we call it thanksliving. I do it, too. Environmentally, meat production is the single biggest cause of global warming far beyond transportation, according to the United Nations. You can be environmentally-friendly as well. It`s kind of like a win-win for the planet, a win-win for your waistline, a win-win for the turkeys.

WHITE: Right. It`s just all about trying to take little -- I always say to people, if you can`t do everything at once, just try and take one little step in that direction to be the person that feels better and then does good things for the environment. And then also, it`s compassionate for the animals, it`s good. But just each little step, if you try one step in that direction, before you know it, you`re just feeling fancy free and, you know, everybody wins, like you said.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, and we`re going to talk a little bit more on the other side of the break. Persia White.



JOHN SALLEY, ANIMAL ACTIVIST: I say this to my daughter. My daughter is 6 -- she was 6, she`s 7 now. Someone says, "You don`t eat chicken?" She said, "It`s a bird." She goes, "No, it`s chicken." She said, "Do you eat pigeons?" She goes, "No, I don`t eat pigeons." She goes, "Why?" "It`s a bird."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. You don`t have to be President of the United States to pardon a turkey. You can actually learn more. You can go to and check it out.

There are so many celebrities who are basically switching out; Ellen DeGeneres, Sir Paul McCartney, Bill Clinton, a former president; the list goes on and on, who have decided Persia to switch it out and it can be fun. Ten seconds.

WHITE: It can be so much fun. I give everybody that I know a challenge to just give it a shot. Give it a try. Just one year. I mean it`s something different and everybody wins in the long run.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I love you. So good to see you.

WHITE: I love you too.