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A Nine-Year-Old and a Seven-Year-Old Accused of Sexual Harassment; California Mayor Admits to Extramarital Affair; Multiple Personality Case of Sybil Reexamined
Aired December 8, 2011 - 21:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
DR. DREW PINSKY, HLN HOST: Here we go. Two little boys are accused of, get this, sexual harassment. Do they even know that that is? And a small town mayor publicly admits to an affair with a councilwoman with his wife sitting there in the front row. Honest politician at least. Then Sybil exposed, was the famous multiple personality case a fraud? Let`s get started.
Penn State, Syracuse, and now the Red Sox. Are we in a crisis when it comes to protecting our children or are we overacting, being hypersensitive to anything that seems like inappropriate sexual behavior? Well, tonight the question is can kids under at the present years of age be sexual harassers, or has society and political correctness gone too far? Watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Two young boys get in trouble at school. A nine- year-old and seven-year-old being accused of sexual harassment by the schools.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Do you know what sexual harassment is?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: No.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The offense, his mother says, telling another student a teacher is cute.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Sexual harassment? This is a nine-year-old we`re talking about.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The seven-year-old who kicks a bully in the naughty bits has nothing sexual going on in his mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He came up and strangled me. Then I kicked him in the testicles.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That`s what got him accused of sexual harassment by the school.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Being choked by a bully and fighting back and kicking the bully in the naughty bits is not sexual harassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: The principal who suspended that young boy has actually submitted a letter of resignation. So how can a school official make such a mistake, and how is the young boy who is trying to protect himself from bullying a sexual harasser? Joining me to discuss this, psychologist Dr. Ramani Durvasula and CNN contributor and author of the book "When Push comes to Shove," Dr. Steve Perry, and via phone, the mother of the young boy who was suspended for calling a teacher cute, Chiquita Lockett. Chiquita, how is your son doing and are you satisfied that the principal has now resigned?
CHIQUITA LOCKETT, MOTHER OF SUSPENDED NINE-YEAR-OLD STUDENT (via telephone): My son is very, very traumatized by the psychological incident. He is confused. He doesn`t understand. He does not express himself. Right now, he`s the point he doesn`t know who to trust.
PINSKY: And he is nine years old. Has he had behavioral problems before?
LOCKETT: Of course not. No, he`s a very good student. He hasn`t had any problems before in the past.
PINSKY: How did you react when you heard about this? You must have been stunned?
LOCKETT: Yes, I was stunned. I was outraged. I was very disappointed. I was disappointed in the conversation I had with the principal when he initially contacted me. And this has been overboard from the beginning.
PINSKY: Here is your son I believe talk to go local news about the ordeal.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
EMANYEA LOCKETT, ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: I talked to my friend and I said Miss Terry was cute. And that`s all I said.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Dr. Ramani, could a nine-year-old sexually harass?
RAMANI DURVASULA, PHD, LICENSED CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: I think a nine-year-old`s concept of sexuality is sort of developmentally restricted, and a lot of it is sort of -- they`re often using it to get arise.
PINSKY: To be naughty, like using bad words or something. But they have no concept of sexuality.
DURVASULA: Typically not.
PINSKY: Unless they have been sexually abused, but this kid clearly has not.
PINSKY: So how could they be sexual harassers, how is that possible?
DURVASULA: If they keep using cue terminology as a way to intimidate a classmate, I suppose then you could put it under the rubric of sexual harassment. From what I hear of this case, it doesn`t seem to fit under those pieces of how we think about sexual harassment. But really developmentally, kids are looking to get a rise or maybe don`t understand the ramifications of their behavior. There were so many other ways the school could intervene and talked to him rather than zero him out and made it into such a cause.
PINSKY: It makes it a political, legal issue.
DURVASULA: Yes, it does, yes.
PINSKY: Here is what the school has as provision for sexual harassment in their handbook. This is their definition. It reads "Sexual harassment means and includes any unwelcome," want to keep careful eye on the fact, they use the word "sexual" and kids don`t know what that is really. And those that want to argue they do, they don`t have any mature sense of sexuality, a directed sense of sexuality the way an adult does.
So "unwelcome sexual advances, requests for sexual favors, and any other nonconsensual and/or offensive verbal or physical contact of a sexual nature. Physical, this form of sexual harassment includes touching, fondling, grabbing, verbal, this form of sexual harassment includes teasing, joking, and/or making lewd remarks of a sexual nature." Steve Perry, how is it the school got this so wrong?
STEVE PERRY, CNN EDUCATION CONTRIBUTOR: Because what happens is very few administrators take the time to look at the context in which something occurs. It is not just that a behavior occurred. There are bad behaviors all the time, but what really happened, and given what happened, is that harassing? Is that sustained? Is that persistent?
You`re in the principal`s office, that`s where we are now, and a lot of bad behaviors make their way into my office. My objective is to find out what actually happened. Is it something we can correct within the school? Is this a teachable moment? Too many adults tend to act like children and they become overwhelmed by simple circumstances. A child said somebody was cute and that turns into sexual harassment?
PINSKY: Steve, how is that possible. It makes no sense to me. Are we missing something? I am trying to think if there were a way if there were added information about this kid --
PERRY: There`s no other way. There`s no other way. What happens is a lot of administrators don`t have the courage to take on a parent, and they`re always fearful of the boogie man parent who`s going to come in and make their live difficult, who is going to, quote, "sue the school."
And honestly, if a substitute teacher, grown person, certified and/or not, came into my office and told me that they were going to complain about a nine-year-old who had said they were cute, or so they heard, that person would not be invited back into my school. You need to know how to work with children if you work with children.
PINSKY: Let`s do a little role playing. Chiquita, are you with me?
PINSKY: The principal, you go to Steve Perry`s office, the principal says your son called a teacher cute. What would you say to Principal Steve?
LOCKETT: I would say OK, so what are you trying to tell me, what does that mean to you?
PINSKY: And what would you say, Steve.
PERRY: Honestly, I would never call with that. I would take care of it in the school. She wouldn`t have gotten a call from me. I would embarrassed to make the phone call. My issue would be with the adult that doesn`t have the capacity to deal with children. Children say things. If kids said and did the right things all the time we wouldn`t need to be here. Kids say things.
One of the reasons we cheapen the impact of terms like "sexual harassment" and even some of the others as racism and others is because anything that sounds remotely close to it, we latch onto it and we cheapen it, then we don`t teach the very powerful meaning behind some of these words.
PINSKY: Yes, Steve. I think that is the great tragedy here is that there`s sexism and racism and these are teaching opportunities. They`re cognitive things we can teach kids about, so when they reach adolescence that these things take full flower that they understand them and don`t adopt these attitudes. You`re shaking your head vigorously.
DURVASULA: My concern is that you have a trivial complaint like this. Then when it really does happen, it is then like the boy that cried wolf. They`re not going to take action. And that`s my real concern is that we spend so much time over here, we don`t look over there when it is really happening.
PINSKY: Go ahead, Steve.
PERRY: That`s really the issue. The pendulum has completely shifted. And what happens is there are boys who are sexually harassed, raped, and on and on and on, but because we don`t explain it to them in the way in which it really is, they don`t know.
I just, honestly, just this morning we had a conversation. We have a pre-K to 12 school with a six-year-old that did something inappropriate, and we had to explain to him what is appropriate and what is not appropriate and what should and should not happen anywhere, taking that as a teachable moment. We could have just suspended the six-year-old, but then we would have lost the opportunity to teach the child.
PINSKY: Let me tell you, as opposed to what happened to poor Chiquita and her son, now we have a kid thinking oh, my god, is there something wrong with me? Am I flawed and broken? This sexuality this, is something wrong with me? Chiquita, I`m going to give you the last word. What are we going to do for your poor boy?
LOCKETT: For one, I agree with you totally. Now he is saying is it OK to look at another female, to judge her? Am I doing the right thing? And, you know, this is basically trying to get justice served. I accepted the school`s apology, but it is not good enough. The principal is a mature male, been in the school system 44 years. He knew the kind of words he was using. He sent the words in writing and nothing justifies what he said. And he clearly meant what he said.
PINSKY: Our thoughts go to your son, Chiquita. We hope he puts this behind him and goes on to have a flourishing life and successful relationships and continue to be the good boy he is, all right?
LOCKETT: All right.
PINSKY: You take care.
Next, we have a young boy that was bullied and kicks his attacker in the family jewels, so to speak. Can I use the anatomic term? Kicking the testicles, let`s be fair. Now that supposedly is sexual harassment. Really? How? Find out. Stay with us.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: All of a sudden he came up and strangled me. Then I kicked him in the testicles.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Welcome back. We are talking about sexual harassment, or maybe not sexual harassment, and kids. Do children under the age of 10 even know what sexual harassment is? I think we established they don`t even know what sexuality really the way an adult does. So to talk about sexual harassment almost doesn`t make sense.
A first grader says he was protecting himself when a bully attacked him at school and he kicked the bully in the groin. Here is what the school thought of that action.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
TASHA LYNCH, SON ACCUSED OF SEXUAL HARASSMENT: All of a sudden came up to him, choked him, wanted to take his gloves. And my son said I couldn`t breathe, so I kicked him in the testicles. When he kicked a little boy in the testicles it was called sexual harassment. An act of sexual harassment is defined as sexual related physical contact. He is seven years old. He don`t know anything about sexual harassment.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Joining me, former prosecutor Robin Sax. You know, "South Park" has roshambo. My sons had a game like that where they go around kicking their buddies, who they liked, that way. I don`t think they were expressing a sexual behavior, do you?
ROBIN SAX, ATTORNEY AND FORMER PROSECUTOR: I don`t think so. That`s like saying you`re going to be charged with sexual harassment or kicked out of school for giving somebody a wedgy. Give me a break. That`s ridiculous. The fact that they use sexual harassment when if they`re going to call it something, call it a battery or some sort of bullying or assault or improper behavior. But sexual harassment under the law is something with sexual content and sexual intent.
PINSKY: Have educators just lost track of what sexuality is for the age group they`re serving? They don`t even understand what it is?
SAX: I think it is a bunch of lawyers in a room that are not talking to the left hand about the realities of what it is like to educate children. And what`s happening is you`re imposing adult policy on kids` classrooms, which makes no sense.
PINSKY: Steve Perry, does that sound right to you?
PERRY: It does. When we localize sexuality to the presumed sexual body parts, what we do is diminish the impact of having a conversation. For instance, we had a boy in our school harassing another child and he was in the seventh grade, and he wasn`t touching sexual body parts. He was putting his hand on the back of young girls` lower back. He would do that, and he knew he was doing it, he would get closer than he is supposed to.
And that wasn`t arisen to kicking somebody in the junk. It was something very different. And the important part here was we had to teach him what he was doing was wrong, and we had to teach these young ladies that they have the right to not be touched in a way that`s inappropriate anywhere.
PINSKY: Yes. And isn`t that more of the unwanted sexual contact, and wouldn`t you be teaching the boys what a sexual contact is. And wouldn`t it be true a boy acting out sexually needs treatment, a kid in trouble?
DURVASULA: All those things. And I imagine when the kid got kicked in the testicles, that was unwanted contact.
PINSKY: But that`s an assault.
DURVASULA: That`s an assault. And we are taking the behaviors out of context. As a psychologist, what I am concerned about is what a child`s behavior tells us about risk, how it is impacting other kids and how it`s impacting the school.
And you have two kids in an altercation, and as a school what they need to do is identify what`s happening with these kids and figure out is there bullying going on, what`s happening with these kids instead of labeling it and then missing the whole boat on helping the two boys. That`s what`s happened.
PINSKY: Robin, you laid the blame on attorneys, which I love. But I imagine there probably is a real liability of some type maybe in that state as well as Steve was saying that the administrators fear the threat of suit by parents.
PINSKY: What about that liability and what do we do to swing the pendulum back and maybe empower the administration a little bit?
SAX: I think if administrators felt comfortable calling things what they were and weren`t looking to build files, make cases, and protect themselves in court.
PINSKY: Don`t they have attorneys breathing saying you have to have that, you need this?
SAX: You have to understand, lawyers are sometimes so protective they lose sight.
PINSKY: Yes, but listen, we`re the ones trying to survive in the world and protect ourselves. Steve, do you feel that push and threat?
PERRY: No, I don`t feel that. You have to make the right decision. You can`t spend a bunch of time second guessing, presuming somebody is always going to look over your shoulder.
You have to use your good sense. When I was in social work school, we learned about sexuality from a different perspective, understanding that when you have contact with someone, you can have contact from a distance. You can look at someone a way that makes them feel uncomfortable. We need to teach children the breadth of sexuality so they cannot be afraid of it, and b, when something bad happens, that they`re able to respond.
These two children, even though one did something to the other, I would have disciplined both of them, but at the end of the day it wouldn`t have been what you saw here.
PINSKY: Right. You would have done it old school as we say. You would have brought him in.
PERRY: I tell you what, sometimes you can tell the child to keep your hands off other kids over and over again. That doesn`t always work. Sometimes another kid needs to kick him in the -- you know what I`m say to teach them a lesson.
PINSKY: I hear you, Steve. I know a lot of dads out there, by the way, what do you teach young women in terms of protecting themselves. That`s the first thing we teach them to do.
SAX: I think Steve makes an excellent point. First of all, you water down true cases of sexual harassment, and here you have cases where there should be a lot of attention to sexual harassment, call those what they are so we know what they are. It is the same as everything else. You mislabel it, you get in trouble.
DURVASULA: The administrators, this also requires administrators to step up and pay attention to what`s going on in their schools. If you can summarily apply easy fixes like sexual harassment, they you`re not having to watch these kids. And it takes time and energy to pay attention.
PINSKY: Four professionals with entirely different training, different clinical experiences and professional experiences, and we all agree on what the issue is. Robin, I smell tort reform.
SAX: I smell it, too. I am saying everyone write in the ballots, write to the principals.
PINSKY: That`s at the core. We need tort reform.
PERRY: And what`s also important is that a lot of teachers don`t learn what it is that is sexual harassment and isn`t sexual harassment because we keep flooding their minds.
PINSKY: We scare them.
PERRY: They don`t know what to do.
PINSKY: I feel bad for the teachers, too.
PERRY: Next, the book to spark a new way of looking -- by the way, thank you Robin, thank you, Steve. I really appreciate it. A new way of looking at multiple personality disorder from the book "Sybil." And now we`re hearing that might be all bogus.
And later, a politician goes public with his affair. Why the need to expose so much to so many, and by the way, the affair with a councilwoman, and by the way, his wife in the front row as he does it. Awesome. Be back after this.
PINSKY: We are back talking about sexual harassment, so-called, and kids. Our Facebook and twitter pages are lighting up with your reaction. So let`s get to it, go to the phones. Sandy in Oklahoma.
SANDY, CALLER: Hi, Dr. Drew. I wanted to say I am amazed that action is being taken against a nine-year-old. I understand sexual harassment is a big deal, but come on. A nine-year-old doesn`t understand and really isn`t even strong enough to act on anything like sexual assault.
SANDY: Are we going to start filing charges on everyone else`s kids because they think someone is cute or --
PINSKY: Right. As you heard in the conversation we just had, so much is about people protecting themselves from legal liabilities. And I deeply empathize with that, but it is so bad for kids. Kids need to understand about body boundaries, learn about what`s appropriate and what is not, not calling it sexual harassment, not making kids feel impaired as it pertains to their sexuality before they even know what that is.
Lisa on Facebook writes yes, "Let`s scar the child to fulfill a personal agenda. Good call." Yes. That`s exactly what I`m talking about.
Also, this is Kristy, Facebook. She writes "Real sexual harassment cases get swept under the rug while an innocent cute comment by a nine- year-old is dealt with in extreme measures." And again, I think you heard Robin Sacks saying a few minutes ago that when we trivialize sexual harassment or make it -- dilute it to the point it no longer has any meaning, the real cases, and we`re not saying it doesn`t exist, it does, the real problem becomes minimized.
Liz writes on Facebook, "The cute comment story makes me wonder where the teacher`s mind is jumping to. The sexual assault side of things may mean the teacher had a problem with sex before and wants to pass on the blame."
Let me zero in on this a second. We have been talking a lot about abuse in the last couple weeks. And I do want to point out people that have been sexually abused -- remember the Marv Albert case. He had a sexual relationship with a woman he thought was consensual. She experienced it a different way. People can experience things differently. Don`t assume everyone`s mind works like yours does, that they`re experiencing necessarily what`s really happening. Their early traumas might inform things in a distorted way. And that poor teacher may be doing that.
By the same token, a who kid sexually abused will act out sexually, and rather than look at that as a behavioral problem, that`s a kid that needs help, clinical, therapeutic intervention.
Facebook, Erica writes "I don`t think the nine-year-old did anything wrong. However, I could understand the teacher being worried about accusations. After all, the teachers are now being prosecuted for seduction and/or rape." And I think that is a very excellent point.
And we have to -- we don`t really want to single out the poor teachers or even administrators in general. They are afraid of what may come at them. As Robin said, their attorneys breathing down their neck, asking them to put together a certain profile, certain documentation.
Finally, Cory writes "Kids have had little crushes on teachers forever. It is up to the adult to not act on it like some do." And boy, that`s a scary thing to this whole story. Again, that`s the outlying circumstance when it happens, as it does once in a while. And of course we will report on that.
See what made the HLN`s "Top 10" tonight . I think we were actually on there. Go to HLNTV.com for that and other news you will not find anywhere else. Please check it out.
Next, we rip into politicians who hide affairs. See what happened to a mayor who spoke publicly about his. Stay with us.
PINSKY: Coming up, the name "Sybil" has been synonymous with multiple personality disorder for decades. But is that famous case a fraud?
Next, a small town mayor has a big time problem. He is having an affair with a beautiful councilwoman. And the people that put him in office are pissed.
Council meeting in California has spiraled into a real life soap opera. San Fernando mayor Mario Hernandez shared let`s call them private details of an intimate affair at a public city council meeting. It began with a shocking admission about his personal finances. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MAYOR MARIO HERNANDEZ, SAN FERNANDO, CA: It is true that I did lose my business. I did have to file personal bankruptcy and I did have to file corporate bankruptcy.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Then came his admission of a relationship with a city councilwoman. His estranged wife was in the front row when he gave that admission. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERNANDEZ: And secondly, I`d like to put out there before and squash the rumors that yes, I have been in a relationship with Councilwoman De La Torre.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: I`m going to squash the rumors by telling you the rumors are true? According to the local newspaper, the wife stood up and announced they weren`t even separated when the affair began as he claimed.
Joining me now clinical psychologist Dr. Ramani Dulvasula, Stacy Phillips, who is a divorce attorney, and David Begnaud, a reporter for CNN Los Angeles affiliate KTLA. He`s been covering the story. David, this is where tax dollars are going?
DAVID BEGNAUD, REPORTER, KTLA: The kicker is he had the wife removed from the meeting. He says to the police, can you get rid of her?
PINSKY: Because she stood up and said this isn`t true?
BEGNAUD: Yes. He goes, can you escort her out? And they did. So here`s the woman who wanted to stand up and say, wait a minute, we were still married when they started this affair.
PINSKY: I heard she was reasonable, not like a raving lunatic.
HERNANDEZ: No, very legitimate, calm voice. Stands up. And he in just as calm a voice says, Lieutenant, can you remove her, please?
PINSKY: Oh, my goodness. Dr. Ramani, have we gotten to the point now where people are so fearful of cover-ups, and we all understand now that covering things up is not the right thing to do, that by not covering somehow we`re going to be forgiven for whatever sins are forgiven.
DR. RAMANI DULVASULA, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Absolutely. You know, what we do is we go to the court of public opinion, and now we can launch these preemptive strikes.
PINSKY: Preemptive strikes of horrible things, though, like I`ve done horrible things, everybody. I`m being honest, so you can forgive me now because I`m being honest and not covering it up.
DULVASULA: Honesty could end up being the new black. It`s sort of refreshing.
PINSKY: It`s refreshing that they`re being honest, but it`s so primitive to think that somehow everyone is going to be forgiving and embracing. Thank you so much mayor for telling us about the bankruptcy and the affairs, especially there with the councilwoman.
What is going to happen to this marriage, Stacy?
STACY PHILLIPS, DIVORCE ATTORNEY: If she`s a smart cookie, she will call it quits and then she will be separated. In California, it is a no fault state. So she can`t do anything about the fact he is having an affair unless he has done something illegal. Certainly this is unethical. Poor lady.
PINSKY: I think that`s what`s bothering the people in San Fernando, the behavior -- right, you`re rolling your eyes. Let`s talk about the ethics of a public figure, first of all, engaging in inappropriate behaviors.
PHILLIPS: With a city council person where they`re supposed to be negotiating dealing, they may take different positions, and you`re in bed, literally and figuratively, little bit of a problem there.
PINSKY: David, how is the community reacting to this?
BEGNAUD: They`re furious. He is the one that went public with his personal life. No one went trolling into his bedroom to see what was going on. He says he did it because he didn`t want rumors getting in the way of his political job.
PINSKY: Right there, that`s the thinking that makes me crazy.
PINSKY: It`s narcissism but a weird kind of denial.
DULVASULA: But narcissism is characterized by denial, nothing but projective defenses. It would be interesting to see the populous inflamed by public issues. I don`t think you would get people showing up to a town council meeting about whether they should erect a new library, but when we talk about his erection, that`s a whole different game.
PINSKY: As long as we`re erecting, we`re in the right ballpark. David, he did get a tongue lashing at the city council meeting earlier this week. Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Mayor, you`ve got no shame at all. I don`t have no respect for you.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You don`t respect of your wife or family.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We are wounded, mortally wounded, and those that have mortally wounded us must step down.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It is really very disturbing that he would bring this to the council and expose our community members and the children that were here to his tawdry little affair.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: David, where does he go from here?
BEGNAUD: Here is the thing, I don`t know where it goes, but that`s what everybody is talking about now. They have serious issues. Have to do the police contract. They`re talking about privatizing the fire service. All city business is dominated by what he is doing in the bedroom. And the woman she`s allegedly sleeping with, not at the meeting.
PINSKY: Home at his house?
BEGNAUD: She was a no-show.
PINSKY: She actually has shame. The other thing about narcissism, they are recalcitrant about experiencing shame. She is deeply ashamed. But they`re calling for his resignation.
BEGNAUD: They want him gone for this reason. A lot of people are talking morality. A lot of people coming in using the word "god," "your wife," "commitment." They`re not so forgiving to his new interests.
PINSKY: Stacy, is this merely a microcosm of what you`re seeing out there in the world in marriages, that people are mistreating each other horribly?
PHILLIPS: Mistreating each other horribly, engaging in sexting, Internet relationships. I had one case where somebody was going to marry somebody he had never met but communicated with on the internet, threw away a marriage of 40 years with a wife that was sick. Like what are you thinking?
PINSKY: Well, doctor, how do you help people understand what are people thinking. We deal with this all the time now. People lost a sense of real intimacy is, compassion for genuine commitments, our ethical compass is spinning as a result.
DULVASULA: They also think the idea of authentically honoring what marriage is. I think what`s happening people are unable to leave the safe harbor of the marriage. Sometimes the relationship is done and it takes courage to say respectfully end this union and go our separate ways instead of staying in this unauthentic space and let it spin into other messy situations that can challenge a family and community and everyone around it. So there`s two different conversations.
PINSKY: Speaking of challenges in the community, David, are you out there reporting from people on the ground, people that live in San Fernando? Is it really a pervasive topic in the community or something that goes on in council chamber?
BEGNAUD: It became pervasive when he made it an issue.
PINSKY: What should he have done, kept it quiet, let them be rumors instead of validated rumors?
BEGNAUD: Who knows? At the end of the day, that`s what 25 people got up to the podium to talk about. His kids were in the front road.
PINSKY: Kids with the wife?
BEGNAUD: No, the wife was not there.
PINSKY: This time they were in the front row.
BEGNAUD: How old were they?
PINSKY: Young adults, 18, 19, look to be in early 20s. The only person that looked unaffected by people getting lambasted was him. He sat there cool as day.
PINSKY: And the doctor makes the diagnosis of narcissistic disorders, or at least narcissistic traits. The mayor tried to defend his actions with a public statement. So watch.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
HERNANDEZ: In September I spoke to my estranged wife and my children about my new relationship. I have always remained honest and truthful --
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes, right.
HERNANDEZ: -- to my family.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: So Stacy, if you were representing, I guess you represent one or the other, say you represent the mayor, what would you tell him to do?
PHILLIPS: Actually, I would like to get him before --
PINSKY: Now that he created this mess, what should he do?
PHILLIPS: Take this out of the public forum and honor your wife. Make whatever deal you can. Do not do it in a public courtroom.
PINSKY: Should he step down?
PHILLIPS: That`s not my purview. Personally, absolutely.
PINSKY: It would be hard to do both. Do we all agree? David, you`re shaking your head.
BEGNAUD: He wanted to talk about other business, and everybody else wanted to talk about his bedroom.
PINSKY: You can`t.
DULVASULA: I am not convinced. I don`t know, this idea that while it certainly makes us doubt his moral and ethical compass, again that the community gets so inflamed about who he shares his bed with and less inflamed about the important civic issues, that`s the trouble.
PINSKY: It is what it is.
PHILLIPS: In addition, there`s a conflict. He is the mayor. She`s on the city council.
PHILLIPS: That`s an ethical conflict. He knows that.
PINSKY: And as a result, it seems like the fact that his choices have harmed an entire community, it seems like at least the kind thing to do, the appropriate thing to do to get out of the way of that community.
Thank you, guys. Thank you to the panel. I appreciate it.
Now, she had 16 personalities. Her name was Sybil. Now after all of these years, what we thought to be true might not be. The rest of the story after this.
PINSKY: The book "Sybil" came out in 1973. It jumped to the top of the bestseller list and created a psychiatric phenomenon. The book and later the movie chronicled what was believed to be a true story of a woman that suffered from multiple personality disorder, now called dissociative identity disorder. Sally Fields starred in the movie. Watch this.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: On the avenue, a-ha, Fifth Avenue --
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Vanessa, what`s the matter, sweetie?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I am not Vanessa.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I`m sorry, Peggy, but it stopped so fast.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: It was my idea. I wanted to sing "Easter Bonnet."
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You can sing Easter Bonnet.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I don`t want to. I want to dance.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, fine.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Reported cases of multiple personality disorder skyrocketed, and the question has become was this all real. Tonight our guest, Dr. Allan Schore, professor of psychiatry at the UCLA School of Medicine, a neuroscientist, and the author of "Sybil Exposed" Debbie Nathan. Debbie, what made you question Sybil`s story, and what were you able to discover?
DEBBIE NATHAN, AUTHOR, "SYBIL EXPOSED": I found an archive in New York city at a college, the papers of the author of "Sybil." And there were many, many boxes. One of them was the therapy records and a lot of notes the three women had taken together, and looking at that archive, it was very clear to me that much of it didn`t match what was in the book and that in fact the book was mainly fiction.
PINSKY: And what specifically concerned you?
NATHAN: Well, for example, the first day that I was in archive, the book says that Sybil when she was a little girl was so traumatized by something that she split into another personality that spent two years in her body while she was in grade school, and that that new personality learned all her math, learned her arithmetic and multiplication tables. And then one day that personality left, and the regular Sybil, the girl came back, and so her grades plummeted. She had always been a straight-A grade student and her grades plummeted because she didn`t know her multiplication tables.
The first thing I saw when I looked in the archival material were her report cards from first grade all the up to high school. She had never been a straight A student, and when I looked at math grades, they were always the same, they were always B`s and C`s. It didn`t matter what year it was. And that was just the first thing that I saw. And over a period of looking for months and years at more material, many other things came up like that.
PINSKY: Dr. Shore, in addition to being a neuroscientist, you`re a psychoanalyst, and the DSM-IV-R has the diagnostic category, dissociative identity disorder. I myself have seen these cases. It is dramatic when you see them. And if this all malingering, there`s still some peculiar brain mechanism at work here. What do we know about the fact, the biology around the dissociative identity disorder? Big question.
DR. ALLAN SCHORE, PROFESSOR OF PSYCHIATRY AT UCLA MED SCHOOL: Let me answer it two ways. I as clinician have also seen such patients. But in terms of the brain research, the brain research does chime in on this. There have been studies done of a person who in the midst of dissociating from one personality to another, looking at brain changes at this point in time and they`re real and they`re marked, you can see that in one personality, the left hemisphere is literally the dominant hemisphere and that personality is there. You can also see brain changes in another personality in the right brain.
Not only that, but there are changes even in the autonomic nervous system, in the body state of alters as they move from one to the next.
PINSKY: So heart rate, pulse, skin tone.
SCHORE: These are documented situations. I am not talking about a major neuroscience journal, you know, with peer review, et cetera documenting this. Second of all, the problem of dissociation, which gets underneath this --
PINSKY: Talk about that for people that don`t know understand that at home.
SCHORE: This ability to split off from emotional states and move into another personality, this is also been well studied in the last five or six years. My colleague in Canada has shown that you see definite right brain changes.
PINSKY: Dysfunctional MRI data.
SCHORE: Dysfunctional MRI data when they are disconnecting emotionally.
PINSKY: The brain region disconnects.
PINSKY: So Debbie, are you suggesting this is not a diagnosis or are you just suggesting a diagnosis that in this case was inaccurate and maybe was overdone as a result in this case?
NATHAN: It is clearly a diagnosis in that it is in the DSM, but that doesn`t mean it is not a controversial diagnosis. And I would take issue with the doctor.
The autonomic system, for example -- now, let me go back and say that when people believe that they are multiple personalities, they get very sick. And everything he said about autonomic changes and changes in heart rate and a sense of great pain and sense of splitting, all of that is true. That is not malingering. And the woman that was Sybil many times was not malingering either.
Sybil was not a bunch of people, an author and patient and doctor sitting down saying let`s perpetrate a big fraud on people to make a lot of money. It was really a train wreck of a suggestible patient, a very ambitious doctor that made a lot of mistakes and actually suggested multiple personality to the patient, and a journalist who was very naive about how you can induce this in suggestible people.
And to me what`s interesting is not to argue about the science, because despite what the doctor says, the science is extremely flabby and very controversial, and there`s always discussion of removing this diagnosis from the manual that psychiatrists use.
But to me what`s interesting is why in the `70s were women in particular, because all of your listeners, they can go back and ask their grandmas and moms about this book, we were entranced by this diagnosis. We wanted this diagnosis. We wanted to have the feeling of being multiples. We didn`t want to be, you know, in hospitals and get sick, but we loved the idea of splitting, you know, not just sick people or emotionally ill people, but all of us normal people.
And what I find really interesting is why in certain times in history and in certain countries does this diagnosis all of a sudden become an epidemic?
PINSKY: Well, my sort of top of head response, myself as a physician, would be trauma. Trauma is spectacular increase in this country.
NATHAN: I`m sorry?
PINSKY: Trauma, spectacular increase in trauma in this country. Doctor, last word.
SCHORE: On the matter of trauma, you have 3.5 million cases of abuse and neglect being reported each year, so it is more widespread than we thought.
But last matter about pathological dissociation. This is not just found in DID. Pathological dissociation is also found in anorexia and borderline personality disorder. So it is beyond the idea --
PINSKY: So it may be a matter of classing.
SCHORE: And there`s a lot of study now into this mechanism.
NATHAN: And I might add --
PINSKY: I have got to take a break. I have to take a break. Next, who knew what and when in the Sybil cover up? Who wants to know? You can check it out at HLN`s "Top Ten." Go to HLNTV.com and find out. Back after this.
PINSKY: The story of Sybil, a young woman who had been abused by her mother as a child and as a result had a mental breakdown which allegedly created multiple personality disorders or what we call dissociative identity disorder. According to our guest, Debbie Nathan, whose new book "Sybil Exposed," much of this was either fabricated or, let`s say, journalistic excesses. Dr. Schore, you were talking during on the break. You talked about false memories. What do you say to that?
SCHORE: As we`re all aware, it gets into false memories, can the therapist put false memories in and the patient through some form of suggestibility acting these out, which has been talked about for some time. But it also gets to the matter of trauma and the role of trauma in the various psychopathologies. As far as the world of psychiatry and psychotherapy, there`s more interest in early trauma because it is there in early addictions and in a number of --
PINSKY: I have to tell you as addictionologist, it became clear to me immediately that was the main issue, the genetic potential of trauma.
SCHORE: And the other thing I would add is this. Clearly what`s involved is emotion, intense emotion and what the mind does with it and whether it can break from that. But I also want to suggest there`s now clear evidence in terms of brain science one can have unconscious emotion, that a person can be in a state of heightened fear without conscious awareness of that, and yet their cortisol levels are going through the roof. So that gets into dissociated affect also.
PINSKY: Debbie, I`m going to give you the last word on this. So raise some interesting conversation. Where do we take this?
NATHAN: Again, I would say despite what the doctor is saying about the science, it`s extremely controversial. And there is absolutely no doubt when you look at the Sybil story that the therapist suggested the behavior to the patient to a very suggestible patient and created a craze. And that`s what my book was about.
And again, what my book is about is why we, the women of the western world, really the United States, Canada, primarily the English speaking world, why did we love this so much? And what does that say about how we should be thinking not just about this diagnosis but about really, really bizarre and dramatic claims coming out of science, coming out of psychiatry, coming out of any kind of science, social science and so on?
We need to be critical. I don`t think this discussion has been very critical. And I would encourage people to, you know, read my book because it is a very interesting story about three women and a period that we all remember, if we`re my age. I`m 60, but many people remember this period, and I think it is a great story and a great object lesson in our need to look back and be critical.
PINSKY: OK. Well, I think it is important to discuss this stuff. One thing we know for sure is that trauma is on the rise. Trauma is at the core of most of what we`re seeing in psychopathology. Most of us in mental health, that`s what we`re treating and managing. So it is a big issue, a big conversation as pertains to the narrow spectrum of multiple personality dissociative identity disorder.
I have to go. Thank you, Debbie Nathan, thank you, Dr. Allan Schore. I want to thank you all for watching. It`s an interesting conversation. I hope you said with us and we`ll see you next time.