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PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT
Cain Train in Trouble; First Lawsuit in Penn State Case; Teen Bullied to Death, Mom Speaks Out
Aired November 30, 2011 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PIERS MORGAN, CNN HOST: Tonight, as the Cain train runs off the rails --
HERMAN CAIN (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: They want you to believe that with enough character assassination on me that I will drop out.
MORGAN: I'll talk to two other men who want to be your next president, Ron Paul and Rick Santorum, on the economy, on jobs, and who stands to benefit most if Herman Cain drops out.
Plus the Penn State sexual abuse case. What one accuser's attorney says this.
JEFF ANDERSON, ATTORNEY FOR PENN STATE ACCUSER: And we're at the tip of the iceberg here. Tip of the iceberg. We just scratched the surface.
MORGAN: And a mother's nightmare. Her teenage daughter bleeds to death.
ANNE O'BRIEN, PHOEBE PRINCE'S MOTHER: You put layers over that pain. But it doesn't ever go away.
MORGAN: Phoebe Prince's mother, her first and only television interview on what pushed her daughter over the edge and what she thinks could have saved Phoebe.
O'BRIEN: I think that had school intervened that Phoebe would still be here. Absolutely.
MORGAN: Phoebe Prince's mother, Anne O'Brien, a worldwide exclusive. This is PIERS MORGAN TONIGHT.
Good evening, a busy day on the campaign trail today for the Republican hopefuls. Here's Herman Cain moments ago at his campaign headquarters in Manchester, New Hampshire. On a day when he's gone from he said-she said to will he or won't he?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JIM ACOSTA, CNN POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Mr. Cain? Mr. Cain, Jim Acosta with CNN. Are you vowing to stay in this race? Is that your message?
CAIN: We are reassessing and re-evaluating.
ACOSTA: But are you staying in the race?
CAIN: We are re-evaluating and reassessing.
ACOSTA: How soon until we have a final answer on your future plans?
CAIN: We'll be making a decision in the next several days.
ACOSTA: Thank you, sir.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It sounds like he's re-evaluating his reassessment. And Cain later told FOX News he'll fly home over the weekend to talk with his family face-to-face and he suggested that the Atlanta woman who accuses him of a 13-year affair has ulterior motives.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CAIN: We have no idea who it is. But I just happen to know that the reason that I was trying to help her as a friend financially because she was in some deep financial problems about to not even be able to pay her rent. So I don't know who's behind it. But -- at this point, but we are going to try to figure out as much as we can because this is a direct character assassination.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Two GOP hopefuls are with us tonight, we begin with Congressman Ron Paul.
REP. RON PAUL (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: Thank you.
MORGAN: I just have to start with Herman Cain. I mean the Herman Cain train, as they call it, seems to have hit the buffers. Politically, are you getting the sense that it's all over? Is he toast?
PAUL: Well, it's hard for me to know. And I guess it's anybody's guess. But I wouldn't be surprised if he doesn't wait it out and does the caucus in Iowa and New Hampshire election. But, you know, who knows? He could decide tomorrow what he's going to do and drop out. But I have no idea.
MORGAN: Do you feel sympathy for him?
PAUL: Well, I don't know about sympathy at all. I just wish we didn't even have to talk about it. I wished we would -- if he is having political troubles and he has to drop out, I'd rather him drop out because he used to work for the Federal Reserve and -- that he wants to give us a national sales tax.
That, to me, has a great deal of effect on all Americans if those kind of policies would be accepted.
MORGAN: I mean you'd been married incredibly successfully to your wife Carol for 55 years. Do you think that this kind of allegation, personal probity issues, are they still as relevant do you think to the electorate? Never mind Washington but to the electorate as they used to be?
PAUL: Well, probably not. I mean if you take what happened to Bill Clinton, it didn't seem to bother his re-electability. So I don't think so. But I -- you know, I place a little blame on the media. There's a lot of dwelling on this. But it's just too bad that we don't talk about the issues more than we talk about. Just think how much time and energy being put into this. But on the other side is people do deserve to know about the people they're voting on, too.
MORGAN: Now Ron Paul, you're in New Hampshire now. And the race is holding up big time. We are a few weeks away from when it gets really serious. Newt Gingrich appears to be on a roll. The latest polls from New Hampshire suggest he's doing well there. He's surging in Florida. There's clearly a bandwagon growing behind him. What do you make of this?
PAUL: Well, I guess you could compare it to many others that have done this. You know, two weeks ago Herman Cain was at the top. So things do change. And they have changed for three or four already. So I think only time will tell. And I think we stick to what we've been doing now for the last year working especially in Iowa and New Hampshire.
And we don't go up and down. We gradually go up and steadily go up. And I think that's a healthy way to do it. So we have moved into position where most of the polls show that we're in second or third place. And in double digits. So we feel pretty comfortable about that. But so far we haven't had any spurts. We want to have a spurt at the last minute, you know, when the election occurs.
MORGAN: Well, they say can you always tell who is the frontrunner because all his rivals begin launching attack ads on him and you've sprung one on Newt Gingrich. A pretty biting video calling him a serial hypocrite.
Explain yourself, Mr. Paul.
PAUL: Well, you know, he's had different positions on a lot of the issues and, you know, doing environmental ads with Nancy Pelosi and supporting bailouts and all these things. So he's been flip- flopping in his medical position, his hardly free market medicine and I think pointing those things out on how he's been on every side of the issue. He hardly can declare himself now a conservative because I -- you know, when he first ran, he described himself as a Rockefeller type Republican. And that used to be, you know, a pretty serious charge. So no, he didn't identify with the conservatives when he was in Congress even though verbally he might. But his positions weren't all that conservative.
MORGAN: And Congressman, today the economy got a huge boost. The central banks and the Fed all got involved and as a result of their direct intervention, markets around the world have surged today. The Dow is up 490 points, you know, one of the biggest leaps in nearly three years.
Is this bad news for the Republicans? I mean if this has the desired effect on the global economy and impacts favorably on jobs, is Barack Obama sitting pretty?
PAUL: Well, time will tell. This is very bad news for the country and for the world's financial system, even thought it looked pretty neat today and the markets responded. But this is a sign of desperation. And it's also a sign that our dollars are going to be used to bail out Europe and the banks over there.
The banks are in hawk with all this debt. They don't want these banks to go under. And many of the banks have -- you know, branched from American banks and there's credit default swaps that allowed to go be used if they don't bail them out. So this is buying on bad debt.
I think it shows how serious the problem is. And they're reacting in a very, very major manner. But it's bad for the dollar. It's bad for the persons in power of our money. It's bad for the inflation that's coming. And they haven't done anything. As a matter of fact this is exactly opposite of what needs to be done.
When a world is swimming in debt and mal-investment, what you have to do is you have to get rid of it. But in the last 50 years or so people refuse to do it. And what they do is they prop up the -- or they take the debt from the sovereign states or from the banks and they bail them out just as we did in '08 and '09.
It's just more of that. But it's a worldwide phenomenon. And they know how serious it is. But the solution that they're proposing is only prolonging the agony. It means it is going to be a lot longer until we get real growth in the world economy again.
MORGAN: Congressman, it's been a pleasure as always. I'm going to leave you for one of your rivals who is waiting, champing at the bit. So thank you very much for now.
PAUL: All right. Thank you.
MORGAN: And that rival -- thanks, Ron.
The rival, of course, is former Senator Rick Santorum.
Senator, how are you?
RICK SANTORUM (R), PRESIDENTIAL CANDIDATE: I'm doing great, Piers. Thanks for having me on.
MORGAN: My pleasure. Look, you're not doing very well in the polls. Let's cut to the quick here. You are seriously struggling. What are you going to do to save the day for your campaign?
SANTORUM: I love this preoccupation with national polls. National polls have proven nothing in past elections. But what matters is what's going on in the first poll, what that really matters, which is the Iowa caucuses and that's on January 3rd. And if you look at what's going on in Iowa and you read the -- read the reports and you talk to the activists and the people actually show up to these caucuses, and as was mentioned, I think the last time around there was about 120,000 people who came to these caucuses.
And we have -- we've been to all 99 counties. We've had over 250 town hall meetings. We've built a strong organization there. As I might add, Congressman Paul has done. He spent some time there, too, and built that organization.
MORGAN: Yes, but Senator --
SANTORUM: We feel very, very good --
MORGAN: Let me jump in. Let me jump in. Let me jump in because I was actually referring to a local poll, it was the New Hampshire poll. And you were bottom of the table with 1 percent.
SANTORUM: Yes, again, I don't really worry about New Hampshire polls or -- I worry about the first poll. Once we win Iowa and I really do believe we will win Iowa -- once we win Iowa, those polls in New Hampshire and South Carolina and the country will dramatically change just like they've changed over the past six months or four, five different candidates who have gone from 1 percent or 2 percent all the way to 20 and 30 percent.
The American public has not really focused on this election. I would even make the argument that most people in New Hampshire have not really started to focus on this election. It doesn't really mean much now. They're going to start over the next few weeks -- as we get down to these caucuses in Iowa, they're going to start focusing and we're going to start coming up in the polls and we're going to even do better than -- on caucus day than the polls indicate.
Because we've got the strong organization and we spent the time on the ground that these other candidates haven't.
MORGAN: OK, let me --
SANTORUM: And the same goes with New Hampshire, I might add.
MORGAN: OK. Let me ask you about Herman Cain, because when I've talked to you before, you know, you're a man of strong morality. You have strong feelings about this. What do you think of Herman Cain's crisis that he's in, where he's being hit with this slew of sexual allegations? SANTORUM: Well, what Karen and I do in all of these races is we pray for all of the folks who have to go through this very difficult process. And we do -- we do it every day. We pray for all the candidates, pray for the president. This is a very tough business. And, you know, a lot of horrible things are said and thrown at candidates every single day.
My job is to just, you know, not make -- have it be a distraction for us. And it's not been. And we've continued to talk about how we're going to create jobs, how we're going to confront a potential nuclear Iran and what to do about that, and of course trying to strengthen the American family.
All of those things are important to the people of America and that's what our campaign is focused on. And all we do is pray for Herman and as we do for every other candidate.
MORGAN: Let me ask you, I mean, you spoke very emotionally very recently about your daughter. She's 3 1/2 years old. She has this awful condition. And you're having to spend all this time on the campaign trail.
You know, every candidate goes through a lot of self-sacrifice for them and their families. How's it been for you in particular living with this and having to run for president?
SANTORUM: It's very difficult. We knew that. I mean Karen and I and the kids, we prayed a lot about it. We talked a lot about it. And, you know, our daughter who is the absolute joy of our family, she is -- she's just this pure smiles and joy and we just love her to death.
She really does -- she is the center of our life and our family. And it's hard. It's hard to be away from her. I'll see her later tonight. And I'll be with her tomorrow. But there are a lot of days and nights that I'm not around and that's a sacrifice. But we -- again, we really did think long and hard and pray long and hard about whether this was the right thing for us to be -- I was going to be the best father.
What would I do? And I really do believe that going out and making sure that America is free and safe and prosperous and making sure that our children are not saddled with an oppressive government health care system that over time will not provide the kind of access to care for those on the margins of life as we go to a more utilitarian view of how health care is managed.
That these children and other countries around the world simply do not get the access to care that they thankfully do here in the United States. And that's -- that to me was a higher calling. At least in the short term for Bella and for our family.
MORGAN: Rick Santorum, pleasure talking to you again and best of luck.
SANTORUM: Thank you so much, Piers. I really appreciate the opportunity.
MORGAN: Take care.
Tomorrow, I'll have an exclusive interview with Herman Cain's attorney Lin Wood which promises to be very revealing. He says, and I quote, it will be the talk of the town. So we'll see. That's my exclusive interview Herman Cain's attorney Lin Wood tomorrow night.
When we come back, the first lawsuit against Penn State coach Jerry Sandusky, complete with shocking new details.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Sandusky is part of the Penn State family, we all are, and I feel shame.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: An interesting comment from a town hall forum at Penn State tonight. It comes on the heels of the first lawsuit there by a man who claimed to be sexually assaulted by Jerry Sandusky more than 100 time as a child.
And joining me now to detail this terrible story is his attorney Jeff Anderson. He specializes in sex abuse cases.
Mr. Anderson, thank you very much for joining me tonight. This is particularly awful even by the standards of what we've been hearing on this case. The lawsuit states your client John Doe, we'll call him, was raped, abused hundreds of times in multiple locations by Jerry Sandusky and even in out-of-state bowl game.
I suppose the obvious question, why did your client keep his silence all these years?
ANDERSON: Well, I think that a fair question and I think it really requires us to really understand how sexual abuse by authority figures like Sandusky coerced silence and secrecy and shame, and cause this survivor and other victims like him to really believe that they're being cared for and to believe that it's their fault.
And so they suffer in silence, blaming themselves, and also believing that they won't be believed. And so they are afraid, they are confused, and they are suffering in shame. And usually when there's abuse by powerful authority figures, it takes years or decades to break the silence.
MORGAN: I want to play you a clip from Jerry Sandusky's attorney Joe Amendola. He spoke to CNN earlier about his client. Let's listen to this.
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JOE AMENDOLA, JERRY SANDUSKY'S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: But if you know Jerry, and what other people have told me about Jerry, they say he's a big overgrown kid, and he always has been. When he plays with these kids and interacts with them whether it's playing football or wrestling or whatever he's just like a kid. And I think the people who know Jerry understand that about Jerry. And I think that will come out as -- I think as the case progresses.
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MORGAN: I mean what does your client feel when he hears that Jerry is just a big old kid?
ANDERSON: Well, what he feels and what every survivor feels when they hear that kind of denial and minimization is fury, because there is a tendency of people like we just heard to want to believe the most powerful and effective among us like Jerry Sandusky wouldn't do something like this. He couldn't do something like this. We don't want to believe it.
And when survivors and the courageous survivors with whom we work every day hear denial like that and everybody coming to the aid and rally of the powerful offender or accused offender, it causes them a great deal of anxiety and compounds oftentimes the harm that's already been done.
MORGAN: I mean one of the most sickening aspects, I think, of your client's claims and the lawsuits, and they are claims, and I'll read the statements from both Penn State and the Second Mile soon. But you know he was groomed as a young child through this Second Mile charity which is just grotesque.
What do you feel about the way the charity was set up, about the other victims who may have been abused under the umbrella of this charity? And what should happen to it now?
ANDERSON: Well, what I feel is important as what we need to really do and the question we need to ask first is why did Jerry Sandusky for as long as he did be allowed to do what he did for decades to so many kids while so many people around him saw the signs or got the reports and did nothing, and chose instead to protect him and the institution.
And that's the real question. It's a painful question and the answer is even more painful. They chose to protect their reputation, the power, and the man that they believed couldn't and wouldn't do this instead of the kids.
And they put that reputation and that institution first. And that is the answer that really requires the hard and rigorous lesson to be learned. We have to heed the signs and the signals. This grand jury report said that there were 17 men that either received reports or saw it and didn't act.
MORGAN: OK. Jeff Anderson, I'm going to have to leave it there. But thank you very much for coming on the show. I will, out of fairness, now read two statements, one from Penn State, they say, "We have not yet received copies of the documents filed with the court. As with any litigation, we're unable to comment on specifics related to the case."
And the statement from the Second Mile charity, "We will review the lawsuit and respond appropriately when we have done so. The Second Mile will adhere to its legal responsibilities throughout this process. As always our thoughts and prayers are with the victims and their families."
In the past month we've seen two major college athletic departments tarnished by alleged sex abuse scandals. And well, I don't know what more you can say.
Jeff Anderson, thank you very much.
When we come back, a daughter was bullied to death. Now Phoebe Prince's mother speaks out in her first and only television interview.
MORGAN: Phoebe Prince's suicide after being bullied by her school classmates drew worldwide attention to a deadly dangers of bullying. Nearly two years later, children are still dying.
This last week Ashlynn Conner, a 10-year-old Illinois girl, took her own life after what her parents say was intense bullying in her school.
Joining me now is Anna O'Brien, Phoebe Prince's mother, in her first and only television interview.
Anne, thank you very much for agreeing to do this interview. Why are you doing it?
O'BRIEN: Well, I think a lot of mistruths have been written about Phoebe and I think that it was time to take her back to reclaim her as ours and to put an end to some of the stories that have been going around. And give Phoebe her dignity back.
MORGAN: Yes, I mean, there's been so much speculation about what happened to Phoebe. Were you taken back by the kind of worldwide attention?
O'BRIEN: Very much so. Didn't expect it at all. But the media got involved pretty much the evening of Phoebe's death when the superintendent Gus Sayer released her name. And it started a whirlwind of intrusion and interest. And the following week the principal and I believe Gus Sayer with him sent a letter to all the parents and they posted on the school Web site and they called Phoebe complicated, and that she had been seen in adjustment counselor even though she'd only seen this woman once. Or twice.
MORGAN: But let's just go back to the start here, Anne. Let's get this in chronological order. I think it's important to do. I want to know how you feel about every step of the way here. You bring your family from Ireland to America in the summer of 2009.
Why did you do that? What was -- what was the motivation? O'BRIEN: I was taking a career break. And -- I was going -- well, I did teach in the states at (INAUDIBLE). And I thought the girls would get a taste of America. It could be a fantastic year for them.
MORGAN: Were you worried about how your children would react when you came to America? How they would adapt?
O'BRIEN: No, not really. They were both excited about it. I think Lauren -- Lauren struggled a bit more than Phoebe. Phoebe fit right in at the beginning of the school year.
MORGAN: What kind of girl was she, Phoebe?
O'BRIEN: Extraordinarily intelligent and vivacious and great sense of humor. And a foodie. She loved her food. Constantly was eating and not putting on any weight. It really wasn't fair.
MORGAN: Was she a confident girl?
O'BRIEN: In ways, she was. And in other ways, she wasn't. And I don't think she -- she wouldn't have been outgoing in some ways. And then in other ways, she would have. I don't know how to describe it.
MORGAN: The reason I ask is I think crucially to how this all play out, when you enrolled Phoebe at the school, you did tell the officials that she was susceptible to bullying?
O'BRIEN: I did. I did. And that she was vulnerable. The guidance counselor who I met with --
MORGAN: Why did you say that, though? What had happened before that made you feel that?
O'BRIEN: Phoebe, she had -- she had a run in with some girls before.
MORGAN: In Ireland?
O'BRIEN: Yeah. But nothing -- nothing too dramatic. But Phoebe would be -- kept things to herself. She internalized a lot of pain or stressful situations. So my point of warning the school or, you know, advising the school was that she wouldn't necessarily come right out at the beginning and say oh, this is happening. She would initially internalize it.
MORGAN: You were doing this as a mother, but also as a teacher yourself. So you know how schools can work. You know how some kids can prey on vulnerable people in a school situation.
So you laid down a marker. You said just keep an eye on Phoebe because she's had a bit of a problem with bullies before.
MORGAN: What did they say to you?
O'BRIEN: Oh, that will be no problem. And one of the vice principals was called on a personal call and asked to keep an eye out for Phoebe?
MORGAN: So they knew. They knew right from the start that there was the potential for trouble. When did you discover for the first time that Phoebe was being bullied?
O'BRIEN: November. And it happened, I suppose, 14th, 15th of November. She was very agitated and said to -- and she was getting a ream of texts. I said what's going on? She said oh, the girls are at me. And I said who? She said oh, you don't want to know. You don't want to know. It will blow over, mommy. It will blow over.
And I said well, you know, you need to tell. You know, you need to let me know. No. No. It will blow over. It will blow over. And think a couple days later, the adjustment counselor rang me from school and left a message that she had met Phoebe for the very first time, and that she thought she was just wonderful and charming.
And Phoebe could be very charming. And that she thought it would be a good idea for me to just check in with her. And that -- that there was nothing to worry about. And --
MORGAN: What kind of thing was going on now with Phoebe? What were the girls doing to her? What could you deduce?
O'BRIEN: Well, once, in December, she told me that one of the girls involved in a new incident of bullying kept coming up to her in the hallways and screaming at her. And Phoebe was there -- we were in the kitchen. Phoebe was there with a friend of hers who said oh, yeah. She's known for that. And she does it quite a bit to a lot of people.
And Phoebe and I discussed it.
MORGAN: Did you know that these girls were using social media like Facebook and so on to bully her as well?
O'BRIEN: But she wasn't -- the bullying on Facebook, the cyber bullying that has been put out by people, was just a small component of the bullying of Phoebe. And yet, it's been taken on as though it was predominantly cyber bullying. And yet, it was very little.
Most of it -- I think a lot of the nasty comments were put on Facebook after Phoebe died. There were a couple that were put on before. There was one girl who she would have considered a friend, and she was one of the girls who was -- afterwards I found out was one of the girls getting at her, that she said, in November.
She put a nasty message on Twitter or something the week that Phoebe died. MORGAN: Let's take a little break and come back and talk about the day that Phoebe died and the aftermath. Because a terrible situation became, if it could possibly, became even worse by the way everyone reacted.
It's OK. We're going to have a break.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
GUS SAYER, SOUTH HADLEY SCHOOLS SUPERINTENDENT: It should be revealed to people what she was being subjected to. And unfortunately, until January 7th, we were not aware of what she was being subjected to. So there is very little way we could have intervened in the bullying that took place.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That was South Hadley School Superintendent Gus Sayer speaking to CNN months after Phoebe Prince's suicide. And Phoebe's mother, Anne O'Brien, is back with me now.
Anne, we'll come to what Gus Sayer said in a few moments. Take me back to this awful day when you discovered that Phoebe had taken her life.
O'BRIEN: Well, it was -- it was stunning, because I knew she was under stress. And I was worried for her safety. And I had told her that the night before -- I had called the school the week before and spoke again to the adjustment counselor, which was probably about the third time I spoken with her since November.
And shocked, stunned. You don't expect to come home and -- and find that your amazing kid had been pushed to such a limit. And I booked her a ticket to return to Ireland to take a break. And she just needed to hold on for two weeks.
And I was at a loss to explain to anyone exactly how intense it had become, because I wasn't being told by the school. And I remember telling the police who had to tell me that she had been -- being bullied, that you know, this is bright, beautiful girl --
MORGAN: I mean, it's an appalling litany of abuse on her last day. She was in the school library. Someone had written swear words and racial slurs next to her name. After school, they chanted profanities at her as she walked. The bullies pulled over and threw a can of energy drink over her.
This is taking bullying to a whole new level. This is a systematic abuse of somebody, isn't it?
O'BRIEN: Oh, yes, it is. It was almost torment.
MORGAN: One of the bullies the next day was overheard saying "done," posted on Facebook. O'BRIEN: Yes. We --
MORGAN: I mean, I can't think of a more callous thing for somebody to do. To drive somebody to suicide and they just but "done" on Facebook?
O'BRIEN: Or "she got what she deserved," that was another one.
MORGAN: Another one was overheard saying apparently before Phoebe died, "why doesn't someone just convince her to kill herself?" I mean, this is really -- it's depraved behavior by these other kids.
What do you think was driving it? Why were they so determined to force Phoebe into what eventually happened?
O'BRIEN: I -- I honestly don't know. Because it's -- that level of aggression towards another human being is just beyond my understanding.
MORGAN: It's wicked, isn't it?
O'BRIEN: It's -- it's astounding that there was never a stop mechanism, you know, internal stop mechanism for some of these kids, to say this is going too far. But I also think the culture in the school helped enable that.
MORGAN: Well Gus Sayer, the superintendent made it pretty clear, don't blame us. It's not our fault. We knew nothing about any of this.
O'BRIEN: Yes. That's not true.
MORGAN: What is your reaction when you see again Guy Sayer saying that so soon after Phoebe died?
O'BRIEN: It was -- it was very painful because, you know, you realize as a parent that no matter what I did, no matter how many times I called the school, no matter how many people I might have spoken to there, that she didn't stand a chance there.
MORGAN: And she had actually been herself to the vice principal's office to say a girl had threatened to beat her up.
O'BRIEN: I didn't know that until after she died.
MORGAN: And she was just told, you know, there is no time for this. Get on with it.
O'BRIEN: She was told to go back to class.
MORGAN: How much do you blame the school?
O'BRIEN: As a teacher or as a parent?
MORGAN: Maybe both, if there a different answer? Maybe both --
With your teacher hat on, because you would have been --
O'BRIEN: With my teacher hat on, absolutely the school failed.
MORGAN: And as a mother?
O'BRIEN: As a mother, I think that had the school intervened the way they should have intervened, if they had followed up the way they should have followed up, that Phoebe would still be here. Absolutely. She would still be here.
MORGAN: Let's take another break, Anne. I want to come back and talk to you about the dramatic development, which was when the bullies got arrested and they had to be accountable for what they had done.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
O'BRIEN: Her final text messages were about Shawn (ph) and the girls that tormented her. She wrote, "I think Shawn condoning this is one of the final nails in my coffin. I can't take much more. And it would be easier if he or any one of them handed me a noose."
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's Phoebe Prince's mother reading Phoebe's last text to two of her bullies in court this past May. And Phoebe's mom, Anne O'Brien, is back with me.
Incredibly painful thing for you to have to go through, the court case, but also very important, I would imagine for you, that in a very unprecedented step, six of the bullies were arrested. They were treated as adults and went through this court case. Five were convicted.
In the end, they didn't go to prison. They were given probation, community service. Do you feel that justice was done?
O'BRIEN: I'd like to actually clarify, because I know that there are some journalist that think that prison terms were on the cards. We never asked for a prison sentence. And it was never on the cards. It really was about accountability, taking responsibility.
And we had specifically wanted a community service and probation, and that the community service would really give them a chance to reflect upon their actions.
MORGAN: The reaction of the bullies was mixed and different, I would say. I want to play a clip of one of them, Sharon Velazquez, who appeared on "The Today Show," because this was a curious reaction, I thought.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
SHARON VELAZQUEZ, CONVICTED OF BULLYING PHOEBE PRINCE: I want people to not judge me. I want them to leave me alone. I want them to stop saying things to me and -- you know, because when I started school, people came up to me and told me to leave because they don't want me here. I want that to stop.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: It seemed a bit me, me, me, you know? Leave me alone, look how my life has been damaged, when this girl was one of the people responsible for your daughter's death.
O'BRIEN: Well, we asked for a probationary -- probationary period and community service so that some reflection could take place.
MORGAN: Has she ever said anything to you, Sharon Velazquez?
MORGAN: Never wrote to you?
MORGAN: Did any of them write to you?
O'BRIEN: No. I met with Ashley. And Ashley Longe had asked to me with me for a few times. But it was after I returned to Ireland. And so when I came back for the dispositions in May, I agreed that I would meet with her.
MORGAN: Of the bullies, Kayla Narey appeared in court and was apparently remorseful. I want to play you a clip of that.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KAYLA NAREY, CONVICTED OF BULLYING PHOEBE PRINCE: I am sorry for the unkind things I said to others about you. I am sorry about the unkind posting on my Facebook page. But mostly, I am sorry for January 14th of 2010.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: Did you feel that remorse was sincere?
O'BRIEN: I did. She used some of the same language that I had used in my victim impact statement.
MORGAN: So it clearly had resonated with her in a little break.
Let's have another break, Anne. I want to bring out now somebody, the district attorney who brought the criminal charges against these bullies.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I wish that I could have known her, been her friend on Facebook, whatever, and told her that she wasn't the only one that would go to sleep at night crying because she felt insecure about herself.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ELIZABETH SCHIEBEL, NORTHWESTERN, MA DISTRICT ATTORNEY: According to the investigation, the harassment occurred while she studied in the school's library around lunch period, walked in the school's hallway near the end of school day, and after school, as she walked on Newton Street toward her home.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
MORGAN: That's former District Attorney Elizabeth Schiebel, who joins me now, along with Elizabeth Ferris. You're Betsy and Beth, your assistant D.A. The schools that deal with bullying properly just have zero tolerance, don't they? They stand down on this kind of thing quickly.
When I listen to Gus Sayer, and I can see Anne reacting pretty angrily to what he was saying even so long after the event, you know, there's a kind of denial there in his behavior, I thought. Did you pick up on that?
SCHIEBEL: Oh, absolutely. There was a denial of any -- any -- not only wrong doing, but I think any inaction that may have contributed to not protecting Phoebe. And let's face it, the school had a duty to protect her while she was in school.
MORGAN: And Beth, obviously a very interesting decision that they were tried as adults for legal purposes. How did that come about? What have been the implications of that for future cases now involving bullying?
ELIZABETH FARRIS, NORWESTERN MASS, ASST DISTRICT ATTORNEY: Well, they were tried as youthful offenders, those that fit our -- that were under the age of 17. Those that reached the age of 17 were tried as adults. And that decision was made to try to keep some equality in relation to how they were going to be handled within the criminal justice system.
I think it also sent a message in relation to our view that these cases weren't going to be hidden behind the juvenile court system and its veil of secrecy. It needed -- it needed to be put out in the public. It needed to have some kind of resonance that they were going to be very stiff consequences if this action continued in the future.
MORGAN: There is now a Phoebe's Law in the state of Massachusetts. In simple terms, what that is law?
SCHIEBEL: Essentially what it does is mandate the schools to report incidences of bullying, should they believe that that -- an act is one of bullying. It also mandates -- and I think, and I know Beth agrees, what's really critical is the training for school personnel on what is relational aggression; what is bullying and how can that be stopped?
And so that's really important. And I hope that that will go on in the future and be the impetus for change.
MORGAN: You set up a scholarship in Phoebe's name. What would you like her legacy to be, given the appalling events that led to her death and the fact that nothing can bring her back? What would you like the legacy to be?
O'BRIEN: Well, ideally, I would like it to be that humans just treat each other in a civilized manner and no boundaries. But I'm not too hopeful about that.
MORGAN: You're not?
O'BRIEN: No I -- no, I'm not. I -- I'm -- I think if I were to say, oh yes, and now Phoebe has died, so everyone's going to now be nice to each other, that would just be naive.
MORGAN: I think that's right. I think the crucial aspect of this that makes it different is the action that you took legally to bring these kids to book, to get some kind of accountability. And actually if the legacy is that, in future, schools are just more aware, they take more action earlier, and some lives can be saved rather than lost, because of what's happened, that is at least a positive that comes out of this hell for you, isn't it?
O'BRIEN: Oh, absolutely. I think that Betsy and Beth have changed how bullying is viewed. If that's Phoebe's legacy, then that's -- that's OK.
MORGAN: Anne, thank you very much.
O'BRIEN: Thank you.
MORGAN: And Betsy and Beth, thank you both very much.
SCHIEBEL: Thank you.
FARRIS: Thank you.
MORGAN: And that's all for us tonight. "AC 360" starts now.