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Prosecution Witness Testifies about Sandusky in Pretrial

Aired December 16, 2011 - 19:00   ET



JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, more Penn State horror stories from the courtroom. A key witness in the Jerry Sandusky child sex abuse scandal takes the stand. Mike McQueary describes in vivid detail what he saw in the Penn State locker room in 2002, maintaining Sandusky was in the shower with a young boy, but can he say for certain Sandusky was raping the child? What does all of this mean for the case against Jerry Sandusky? I`ll talk to Sandusky`s lawyer tonight.

Then, a brave 10-year-old saves herself and her two younger sisters from secret sexual abuse that was happening in her own home. The little girl reveals to her teacher that her mother`s boyfriend had been molesting them for years. This child`s heroic story is unbelievable.

Plus, country music and "Celebrity Rehab" star Mindy McCready is back in court after she went on the run with her 5-year-old son. We`ll give you the very latest on this wild custody battle.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: One of the key witnesses has taken the stand this morning, a Mike McQueary. You`ve heard his name before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He testified that he believed that Jerry Sandusky was molesting -- sexually molesting the boy based on Sandusky`s position around the boy.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Accused of using his position within the community and university to prey on numerous young boys for more than a decade.

JOE AMENDOLA, ATTORNEY FOR JERRY SANDUSKY: This is a fight to the death. This is the fight of Jerry Sandusky`s life. This goes beyond the Penn State-Miami game of `86. This is the -- this is the game of his life.

JERRY SANDUSKY, FORMER ASSISTANT PENN STATE FOOTBALL COACH: Stay the course, fight to the four quarters. We wait the opportunity to present our side.

BEN ANDREOZZI, ATTORNEY FOR VICTIM NO. 4: "This is the most difficult time of my life. I can`t put into words how unbearable this has been on my life, both physically and mentally."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Shocking, graphic testimony in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal going on today. Right now.

Good evening. Jane Velez-Mitchell coming to you from New York City.

The prosecution`s star witness, assistant football coach Mike McQueary takes the stand and tells the world what he says he saw. Jerry Sandusky doing on that fateful day in 2002. McQueary says he walked into the Penn State locker room on a Friday night in 2002 and saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy in the shower.

There were no cameras allowed in the court today, but this is what McQueary is reported to have said in his own words, just a little while ago. I have to warn you, the language, graphic and disturbing.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I opened the first door and began entry into the locker room. When I opened that first door, I heard rhythmic, slapping sounds. Two or three slaps. Skin on skin. I was already alarmed and alerted. I was embarrassed. I heard someone was in the shower.

"I looked in the mirror and, shockingly and surprisingly, saw Jerry with a boy in the shower. Jerry was behind the boy. The boy was up against the wall. The boy was up against the wall, facing the wall. His hands were shoulder height. Jerry was close to him with his hands wrapped around his waist. I believe Jerry was sexually molesting him based on the position. I did not see insertion, there was no protest or yelling, so I can`t be sure it was intercourse, but that`s what I believe was occurring.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: McQueary testified he believes he saw Sandusky sexually assaulting a young boy, estimated to be 10 years old in the shower. McQueary added he did not see insertion, so he can`t be 100 percent sure it was intercourse.

But I hope that`s not the headline out of this. Reality check, it`s possible to conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that sexual intercourse is occurring without visually observing insertion. To use an analogy, when I see a car moving up a hill on its own, I conclude beyond a reasonable doubt that the car`s engine is running.

The defendants today are Penn State`s former athletic director Tim Curley and the university`s former senior V.P., Gary Schultz. They`re charged with lying to the grand jury, saying McQueary told them what he saw was some horsing around. Also charged with failure to call police.

Straight out to Karl Rominger, the newest addition to Jerry Sandusky`s defense team. Sandusky, of course, facing more than 50 counts of sex crimes against young boys.

Karl, do you feel that this hearing today, with its very graphic testimony about what your client allegedly did to a 10-year-old boy, has hurt your client in a way that he was trying to avoid when he waived his right to a preliminary hearing?



ROMINGER: But let me tell you this. (AUDIO GAP) Is not subject to cross-examination today, not on credibility, and the commonwealth objects strenuously, I`m told, to Dr. Drainoff`s (ph) line of testimony, which would describe McQueary, so until -- if and until the testimony becomes relevant, I`m not putting any weight on McQueary`s testimony.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Karl, I need to ask you about one of your comments yesterday. Listen to this. This is what you said.


ROMINGER: Teaching a person to shower at the age off 12 or 14 would sound strange to some people, but actually, people who work with troubled youth would tell you that there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught basic life skills like how to put soap on their body.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, I got to say, a lot of people would say to that, it`s an insult to our intelligence and a slap in the face to the alleged victims to say, oh, he`s teaching little boys how to put soap on their bodies. Some might say, hello? Back to planet earth.

ROMINGER: Yes, except you had heard the whole interview and ABC played the original question, could you think of any conceivable reason why any adult would ever get in the shower with a juvenile.

And obviously, I pointed out that wouldn`t be smart, but those would be possible explanations that wouldn`t be out of possibility. And interestingly, when ABC went out and asked some experts, they confirmed that there are kids this age who don`t have basic hygiene skills.

But I told Anderson Cooper last night, you know, that`s not how I was saying. I was asked a hypothetical and I answered it. My mistake was I forgot how you people will -- the media will grab a sound bite and play it out of context. So the point is, I`m not saying that Jerry Sandusky did. Jerry Sandusky did nothing criminal, but I`m not saying that that`s what he did and to the extent that the media wants me to say that, that`s not what I said.

So to be fair, next time I answer a hypothetical like that, I`ll make sure I clarify, and I`m only answering in the "what could you think of a plausible explanation" ever, not in this case. And so it`s taken on a life of its own, but that`s not what I said.

And I just want to come back to today`s hearing. If the testimony gets in as we`re told by "Patriot News," he`s going to say McQueary is clear that it was non-sexual contact. He asked three times and he was thrice denied, just like...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Just to clarify, that is a friend of the McQueary family who was supposedly there when McQueary went to his dad and said, "OH, I saw this horrible thing, and this doctor reportedly, allegedly, supposedly says no, that`s not what he said.

Let`s go back to what McQueary said in court today. Here, McQueary talks in detail about what he says he saw in the shower.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I am sure it was a boy. There was slow body movement. Not hard or fast, but a little movement. I did not hear any noise from the boy or Sandusky. He was having some type of intercourse with him. That`s what I believe I saw. "


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Arnie Spanier, CBS radio host, a Supreme Court justice once said about hard-core pornography. I can`t define it, but I know it when I see it. The idea that McQueary would take a wild, reckless, uneducated guess that Sandusky was having sex with a 10-year-old boy when another conclusion was more likely or even possible doesn`t make sense to a lot of people, because McQueary had everything to lose. It was not in his self-interest to have jumped to a conclusion like that unless, one could argue, that was the only conclusion he could have come to.

ARNIE SPANIER, CBS RADIO HOST: Jane, look at us splitting hairs here. Did he see penetration? Did he get up close and watch this? This is -- the whole thing is sick. Like you said, if you see a car go uphill, you can assume that the engine`s running.

Let me tell you something. McQueary knows what he saw, and I`m behind him. He tells you that he saw two guys in there or a little boy and Sandusky in the shower. There`s a reason that. He saw that and he knows what went on. He might not have the exact proof that we want, but he knows what went on.

And as to your attorney that you have on right now, the answer when somebody asks you hypothetically if a grown man can shower with a little boy, the absolutely next time is no! There`s nothing! Never hypothetical to a bunch of little boys getting into a shower.

I didn`t need my gym coach or my teacher to teach me how to shower. I come from the Bronx, New York, a poor background. I`m not an idiot. Don`t insult our intelligence! I don`t even care if it was hypothetical or not. So next time somebody says that, before you open up your big, fat mouth, you`d better think and say no! You`re never in the shower like that.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. Yes. That`s why I said, back on planet earth, which is where we are, in court today, Mike McQueary talked about the moment he told Penn State Coach Joe Paterno about what he saw in the shower.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "I sat at his table, told him I saw Jerry with a young boy in the shower, and it was extremely sexual in nature, and I thought I needed to tell him about it."

"Did you describe for him the positioning of Jerry and the boy?"

"The rough positioning I described, but not in much detail."

"Did you make it clear it was Jerry and the boy?"


"Did you make it clear it was sexual?"

"Without a doubt."

"Would you have ever used the term, sodomy or anal intercourse?"

"No, out of respect, not going into detail with Coach Paterno."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Buzz Bissinger, out of respect, you don`t use graphic terms when the life, the future of a child and maybe other, many other children are at stake? Really?

BUZZ BISSINGER, AUTHOR: Yes. I think it`s credible, because you have to understand the position of Joe Paterno versus the position of Mike McQueary, who at that point is a nobody. He`s a graduate assistant. Paterno is larger than life. Plus, he`s in his 70s at that point. It`s credible to me that he would not say it was sodomy, he would think that Paterno maybe would find it extremely uncomfortable.

What`s important is he said he definitely told it was something of a sexual nature. And Paterno sat in his chair and sunk his head, and he knew something terribly wrong had happened. That`s all you need to know. He knew something terribly wrong had happened, and he took it to Curley and Schultz.

The villain in this is Schultz. Schultz knows now about two alleged incidents, in 2002 and 1998 -- two plus two in this case equals 100 -- and does nothing.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You won`t believe what Joe Paterno says about why he didn`t call 911 or take action right away. Stay right there.

More bombshells, shockers, jaw droppers as we have another court date in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal. More in a moment.


ROMINGER: Everybody who thinks he`s guilty, please send me the evidence that you have because I`d like to take a look at it. Everybody says he`s guilty right now has nothing but a grand jury presentment to go on. So -- but if they have some more, send it to us. We`ll look at it. We`ll seriously consider it.



AMENDOLA: The attorney general held a press conference and he referred to Jerry Sandusky as all kinds of names, including pedophile and monster and a serial pedophile. What worse -- what worse information could have been put out there?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He also began to coerce this child in an attempt to satisfy his own perverse sexual impulses.

ROMINGER: People who work with troubled youth will tell you there are a lot of juvenile delinquents and people who are dependent who have to be taught life skills like how to put soap on their bodies.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So this extraordinary hearing today where these two former Penn State officials are accused of lying to the grand jury and also, failing to report cops, it`s all based on what this guy, Mike McQueary, says he saw in the showers. He says he saw Jerry Sandusky sexually assaulting a 10-year-old boy, and he says, he goes to Joe Paterno.

And the guy with the red hair, Mike McQueary, says he goes to Joe Paterno, the legend, the big head coach, and tells him the next day. And here`s what Joe Paterno allegedly says, according to the transcript, "I ordinarily would have called people right away, but it was a Saturday morning and I didn`t want to interfere with their weekends."

Lisa Bloom, when I hear something like that, reportedly out of Joe Paterno`s mouth, that he didn`t want to bother people on a weekend. Excuse me, 911 is 24-7, 365.

LISA BLOOM, ATTORNEY: And we`re talking about the rape of a 10- or 12-year-old boy who is at risk. Other boys are at risk. This boy`s psyche is damaged probably for all of his life.

But Jane, this is what I`m up against when I handle cases of child sexual abuse. People are uncomfortable with the language. They don`t like using the words, so the message doesn`t get conveyed clearly, and children are harmed.

If this case has one lesson in it, it is we have to speak clearly about child sexual abuse, and people have to go to the police immediately. Not just go to your supervisor or an administrator or even campus police. Call the police immediately.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK. This -- listen to what Mike McQueary, who is the star witness at this hearing, said today about Gary Schultz, who was the senior VP at Penn State for finance and business and was also in charge of campus police. This is the guy that McQueary goes to and tells his story.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "In my mind, it was like speaking to a D.A. It was someone the police reported to and would know what to do with it."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: McQueary says he thought he was, essentially, talking to cops when he told this official who`s in charge of the university police, but the university police never interviewed him about the incident.

So Mike Galanos, you`re there. You`re covering this. All these powerful men from Penn State heard this allegation about Sandusky in the shower with this 10-year-old boy, naked. Up against the wall this kid is, with his hands against the wall, and not one of them called 911. What they did was -- they took away Jerry`s keys to the locker room -- Mike.

MIKE GALANOS, HLN ANCHOR: Jane, that`s the takeaway in all this, that every adult involved in this situation failed that little child. Failed this 10- to 12-year-old, as described in court as prepubescent. Whether it be -- even Mike McQueary, who came off as credible. He should have called police. He and his father should have decided to call police, not Joe Paterno.

And Joe Paterno should not have waited to call some administrator. He should have called police and not worried about interrupting somebody`s weekend.

And the list goes on to Tim Curley and Gary Schultz. You call police and investigate. Yet you read on in this Jane, and you look at especially Gary Schultz, the vice president. He knew about a `98 investigation involving Sandusky in a shower with a child and he knows about this, yet you`re not putting two and two together? Unbelievable.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think this is ultimately, Arnie Spanier, a case about two men in positions of tremendous power at a university where they are overseeing the lives of young children, essentially being accused of massaging the truth. What they were handed was a really inconvenient fact.

SPANIER: Jane, it -- Jane...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, and they -- they looked at this inconvenient incident that they were told about, and they said, "Hmmm." Did they do the math to conclude, "If this happened on my watch, I`m out of a job. I got a mortgage to pay"?

SPANIER: Jane, they took this information, and they sat on it. And then when we talked about a cover up, does this not smell absolutely disgusting? Think about that, what Joe Paterno said. "I don`t want to ruin anybody`s weekend. I just want to go ahead and see what happens," and then he was too upset for me to call anybody. Are you serious? You should be ashamed of yourself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: More on the other side.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: "They had both turned so their bodies were both facing me and looking at me. They were four or five feet apart."

"Did you say anything?"

"No. I did not. They looked directly in my eyes. Seeing that they were separated I thought it was best that I leave the locker room."

"How were you feeling?"

"Not very good. Shocked. Horrified. Not thinking straight. I was distraught."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, what`s the implication of McQueary testifying that Jerry Sandusky saw him when Jerry was allegedly raping this kid in the shower? Would that mean that McQueary immediately knew, "Oh, my God. I can`t just slip out and anonymously report this. This is a powerful man in the community"?

Is it possible that he feared the consequences, which is why he went no to the cops, not to a local police station, not picking up and dialing 911 but he went to his father.

I want to go out to Norwood Young, sexual abuse survivor. Power is a huge issue in this entire discussion.

NORWOOD YOUNG, SEXUAL ABUSE SURVIVOR: Yes, Jane, and no matter what, if grown -- if two men are in a shower, one a boy, one a grown man, and he`s pinned up against this young boy, and they`re naked bodies, it`s abuse. No matter what. It doesn`t matter if there`s insertion.

Where`s the soap? Were they taking a shower, or was the man just abusing him? I think it`s terrible. And I think we`re playing semantics here.

This man is a pedophile who needs to be castrated and he needs to have the prisoners give him a taste of his own medicine. This is sickening to me that we`re using all this distraction with a bull crap tracer with McQueary and all this. Yes, it`s important, but that`s not the bottom line here. We`re being distracted by all this bull crap.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree with you. I think that you -- we should not walk away with the headline that, "Oh, he can`t say for certain, 100 percent certain that anal intercourse was occurring, because he didn`t see.."

YOUNG: Doesn`t matter.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think when -- when sex is occurring in front of somebody`s eyes, we have many, many, many, many ways of perceiving it, not just observing insertion. There`s many ways to figure out...

YOUNG: If a grown...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: ... that two people you`re looking at are engaging in sexual intercourse. And again, this is alleged. Jerry Sandusky hasn`t gone to trial yet. But I think it`s very important, as we discuss all this, to, as Woody Allen once said, stay on planet earth and not allow these hypotheticals of "Oh, he`s teaching him how to clean himself with soap, because the boy doesn`t know how to use soap at age 10."

YOUNG: But where`s the soap that everybody`s talking about? Where`s the soap? Where`s the soap? Who saw the -- where`s the soap? Nobody ever saw -- said that they saw any soap at all. Where`s the soap? There was no shower going on. Not a bathing shower. There`s water. We haven`t heard anything about any soap.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, you brought up a very important point. That why the irresponsibility is so monumental is that everybody -- all of our viewers know that people, pedophiles -- Jerry`s alleged pedophile -- do not just attack once. They attack dozens, even hundreds of times.

BLOOM: That`s right, Jane. That`s the highest rate of recidivism, repeat offending is in the area of child sexual abuse. There are generally hundreds of victims and potentially thousands of incidents. That`s why it`s so important. I implore anybody who`s watching today, if they`re aware of a child being abused or they are suspicious, to call the authorities. It could have protected a lot of children in this situation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to tell you that we have an amazing story up next of a brave little girl who stood up for herself and did speak out when she was being sexually abused, to save her sisters.



UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t want her to get hurt or bad things happening to me again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Seven times. She told mom. Mom wouldn`t do anything about it.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: After two long years, the oldest victim took matters in her own hands.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She wouldn`t allow her sister to get on the bus. She said no, we`re not going home because she knew that he would be there and she wasn`t going to go back.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s my little sister. She was very, very little. A little girl and she wasn`t supposed to get hurt.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She says, I`ve been hurt enough and my sisters have been hurt enough and I`m not going to let it happen again.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re 10 or older, you make sure you tell about your little sisters.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: This little girl shows incredible strength and courage in the face of terrible abuse when even her own mother refuses to do anything about her pleas for help.

Good evening everyone. Jane Velez-Mitchell back with you from New York City.

A precocious 10-year-old girl in Iowa goes to her mom and tells her that she`s being sexually abused by her mother`s boyfriend, over and over again. Here`s the man, Jamie Suitor (ph). Not only that, but Suitor also is accused of abusing her two younger sisters.

Now, the little girl says the abuse went on for two years and during that entire time the mom allegedly does nothing to help her. So one day before school, this 10-year-old girl, this little hero of mine, she makes a public protest to make sure that her story is known.


CHRISTIE RIMKUS, VICTIM`S AUNT: She wouldn`t allow her sister to get on the bus. She says no, we`re not going home because she knew that he would be there and she wasn`t going to go back. She says, "I`ve been hurt enough and my sisters have been hurt enough and I`m not going to let it happen again."


VELEZ-MITCHELL: The little girl`s teacher did the right thing, we`re happy to say, for once. I mean we`re talking about this Penn State scandal, so it`s nice to know the powers that be, those in authority, those who have the responsibility of watching over children do the right thing. This time it happened, she called the authorities.

The boyfriend was arrested and ultimately pleaded guilty and he is now behind bars. And just last week, the mother, the mother was arrested on child endangerment charges. There she is. Her daughters are now living with their aunt.

We`re not going to name this little girl, but she really is a hero and we have to make sure that kids all over America hear her story so that they know that they also can take action. Listen to her explain why she did what she did.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Why did you tell your teacher?

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Because it was -- she`s my little sister. She was very, very little. A little girl and she wasn`t supposed to get hurt.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Straight out to forensic psychologist, Brian Russell. Brian, sometimes an older sister can feel so protective of her younger siblings that she can act as a better mother than her own mother.

BRIAN RUSSELL, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Wow, Jane, what a smart little girl and what a positive twist on an otherwise very sad story. I think that if there`s anything positive to come from our coverage of Penn State and similar cases is that kids who get wind of some of that coverage can learn that there are caring adults willing to help them if they tell those adults even if they can`t go to their parents.

Having said that, this mother, if she really knew that this was going on for a couple of years and did nothing, she is every bit as appropriate a defendant in this case as the actual abuser. We have way too many women in this country standing by their men rather than protecting their children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hear a little more bit from this amazing child, 10-year-old girl. Remarkable, so well-spoken. Here she is giving a call to action to all abuse victims out there.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If you`re 10 or older, you make sure you tell about your little sisters. Like me. So you can be a hero and thanks for calling me a hero.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Lisa Bloom, you do so many of these cases; why is it that sometimes mothers believe their boyfriends over their own flesh and blood?

LISA BLOOM, attorney, THEBLOOMFIRM.COM: It`s horrendous, Jane. You know, I`m choked up from hearing this story. This little girl is such an inspiration. She really is a hero. This is the kind of person we want in this world.

And you know, like a typical abuse victim, she didn`t care as much about herself as she did about her younger siblings. That`s what`s so striking to me. She was willing to take it for herself. She was putting up with it, but she decide she was going to draw the line for her sisters because she thinks they`re little kids, right? And of course, she`s a little kid, too.

There are too many moms and dads out there who know about abuse, who fail to act; and guess what, the message is, you`re going to be charged with child endangerment now. And you could lose your children for the rest of your life. So you are required by law, if not by your own morality to protect your children.

And if you`re not, we as a society are going to do it for you. Kids, take heart from this little girl. Do what she did. Tell an adult. Tell a teacher. Tell a clergy person. Tell your aunt. Keep telling until somebody believes you and acts to protect you.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I think this child should go all around the country and talk to kids at school and tell her story so that kids know that they have these options.

Listen to what this little girl said about how she summoned the strength and courage to go to her teacher even after her mother allegedly ignored her pleas for years. This girl was sticking up for her kid sisters when nobody else would.


UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I didn`t want her to get hurt anymore or bad things to happen to me, again.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: What`s so outrageous here is that we`re understanding that the mother, who was arrested last week for child endangerment, is out on bail. Released just yesterday and she is reportedly trying to get her kids back.

Norwood Young (ph), you`re a sexual abuse survivor.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: These kids, I hope they`re not victimized now in the court system over and over again and I hope they don`t become the center of some kind of horrific custody battle.

YOUNG: Yes. Well, you know, all that being true, Jane, I have a smile on my face because this little girl can change the face of abuse. It needs to happen in schools. It needs to happen with young kids who are willing to take their power back and let everybody know what`s going on with them.

It is with that and it is then that the perpetrators will stop abusing these children because they know that the children will tell. They know that they no longer have power. So my hat goes off to this little girl and she will be the poster child for the change, I believe, in abuse in this country. Kudos -- I`m just excited.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s take a look at the boyfriend she took down. Jamie Suitor. He ended up pleading guilty to three counts of sexual abuse. He`s in jail until April 2012.

Brian Russell, isn`t it true that pedophiles often try to find women who have children so that they have a pool there to abuse?

RUSSELL: Yes, and oftentimes, they`re good as sociopaths often are, at finding somebody who is vulnerable enough, needy enough, that they will narcissistically, self-centeredly put their own desire to preserve their relationship ahead of their maternal and legal obligation to protect the children, Jane. And it looks like that may very well have happened in this case.

Clinically looking at this child, I think that the fact that she was able to get the assistance for herself and her siblings that she has, hopefully portends well for her future clinically. Because hopefully she will feel, as Norwood said, the empowerment of having been able to do something against the victimizer, which hopefully will help her own recovery process over the years ahead.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: As I look at the courage of this little girl to report sexual abuse and potentially risk who knows what at the hands of the abuser who`s right at home, I can`t help but think of the Penn State child sex abuse scandal, Lisa Bloom, because here a child had the courage to do what very powerful adult men did not have the courage to do in the Penn State scandal which is simply dial 911.

BLOOM: That`s right, Jane. And let`s be very clear. This 10-year- old girl was braver and smarter than any of the adults at Penn State who didn`t want to make a phone call to protect a child who were held up by the fact that it`s the weekend and I don`t want to inconvenience somebody. I don`t want to use language that might offend an older man and all the excuses that they had.

This little girl put aside and said, guess what; I`m going to protect my sisters. And the abuse is going to stop and it`s going to stop right now because I`m going to stop it. 10 years old -- God bless her.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And we argue and debate whether in cases like this, we should use certain terminology, graphic terminology. For example, in the Penn State case, you know some of the words I`m talking about. But it`s important to use those words. Not to shock. Not to upset people, but we cannot be oh so very polite in the face of children being allegedly violated sexually. We have to spell it out.

There should be absolutely no confusion about what we`re talking about. Because the Penn State case was like a game of telephone and at the end of the game, what came out to the grand jury was that the authorities at Penn State who said they were told said they were told about horsing around. That`s not what they were told according to the guy who says he saw a child being raped.

All right. Up next, country singer, Mindy McCready dukes it out in court with her mom over custody of her little boy. This is a wild, crazy story and you won`t believe the latest twists and turns.


MINDY MCCREADY, COUNTRY SINGER: This is just one more step in getting all this over with so that I can go back to being a singer and a mom and concentrating on things that are good for my life.



VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know about you, but I find it hard a lot of times to get to the gym and once I`m there, I`m thinking, wait, I drove a mile to get to the gym and now I`m walking a mile on the treadmill. Why didn`t I just walk? The fact is just getting out of the house and walking, setting a destination and putting one foot after the other is great exercise. And you can take along one of these reusable containers so you can get liquids and not hurt the environment. Think about it.



MCCREADY: I`m sorry that I have to keep seeing all of you guys in court. I hope that in the future, I get to see you guys elsewhere, performing or something like that.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, country star Mindy McCready`s nasty custody battle against her own mother wages on.

There she is in better days. Now she is in the middle of one nasty, nasty family drama. The country singer was in an Arkansas court today begging to have her five-year-old son Zander with her for Christmas. He is currently in foster care.

Now, McCready, Mindy`s own mother, the boy`s grandma and stepdad have custody of him. They have had custody of him since 2007, when Mindy went to prison for probation violation.

She`s had a lot of trouble. She struggled with addiction. She`s had legal problems, and guess what, now in the middle of this huge battle over her 5-year-old son, we learn she`s pregnant with twins.

During a recent visit with her son, Mindy grabbed him and ran off with him from Florida to Arkansas. She ignored an emergency court order to return him. Days later, U.S. Marshals found Mindy and her little boy Zander hiding in a closet in her boyfriend`s home. Mindy insists she ran off with her son to protect him from her own mother who she claims is abusive.


MCCREADY: Zander was being beaten with a wooden spoon. There are scars on Zander`s back. There are scars on his bottom and his leg from the spoon.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Mindy`s mom, Gayle Inge, completely denies that she abuses Zander. We asked Gayle`s ex-husband, Mindy`s dad, about the claims of abuse.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Absolutely 100 percent, they are true. This woman has history; not just history with this kid. She has history with all four of her kids. She was found irresponsible and abusive to all four of her children. They were removed by the court. She has custody of nothing and the reason why she doesn`t have custody -- for abuse.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Wow. Do you have a score card? Because I need one to keep track of all these allegations and counter allegations of abuse. I certainly don`t envy the judge who has to referee this case.

We have with us on the phone, the attorney for Mindy McCready`s mother, Gayle -- Steven Martin. Steven, Mindy is leveling some very nasty allegations against your client, her own mother claiming according to published report that grandma hits her grandson with a wooden spoon. What do you know?

STEVEN MARTIN, ATTORNEY FOR GAYLE INGE (via telephone): Yes, I`ve heard those, too. Again, you`ve heard that Gayle`s already denied these allegations and again, I`m just going to be able to reiterate Gayle`s denial. There`s been no abuse here according to Gayle or Mike, Gayle`s husband.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, why do you think that a daughter would have such an axe to grind against her own mother?

MARTIN: I couldn`t really put myself in Mindy`s mind. You just have to consider that right now, she doesn`t have custody over her son and her mother does. I`m sure that hurts her deeply, but again, Gayle denies these allegations.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It`s unbelievable.

Listen, Mindy, the country star you`re looking at right here, she`s had a lot of problems. She was on last year`s season of VH1`s "Celebrity Rehab". Cameras were rolling as she had a seizure right in her own room. Check this out.


MACKENZIE PHILLIPS, ACTRESS: Mindy? Mindy, are you faking it? She`s not faking this. She`s having a seizure. Nurse. Nurse. She`s having a seizure right now.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: After rehab, Mindy was reportedly hospitalized again for a reported overdose and then it was later revealed to be a suicide attempt.

So I got to go out to Kim Serafin, senior editor, "In Touch Weekly". This country music star has seen better days. She has had a lot of problems; she`s an addict. The question is, is she in recovery or is she not in recovery?

KIM SERAFIN, SENIOR EDITOR, "IN TOUCH WEEKLY": Yes. And I think if you watch this interview that she did with 20/20 also aired on "Good Morning America" that you just played a clip from, she seems to say that she is trying to move on. She wants her child back. She knew she had some bad times and as you mentioned, there have been numerous arrests, jail sentences, probation violation.

She was also in a domestic violence situation; she was in a very abusive relationship. But mostly, the drug problems have been really harsh. It seems like she is saying she has her life back, she wants even just unsupervised visitation with her son. She says she doesn`t even have that and then of course all these allegations. And then, of course, her grandmother is on her side saying that these allegations about her mother are true about hitting her son with a wood spoon.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: My head`s spinning. More on the other side.





VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sexy country music star famous for her song "Guys Do It All the Time", but now she`s infamous for her wild custody battle with her own mother over her five-year-old son. Mindy McCready, is pregnant with twins, by the way, in the midst of all of this and her dad Tim McCready insists that his daughter is sober and a very fit mother. But Mindy`s mom with whom she`s fighting tells another story. Check this out.


GAYLE INGE, MOTHER OF MINDY MCCREADY: I really think Mindy is in denial. You know, I think that, you know, if you don`t want to say there`s a problem, you know, if you don`t want to say there`s an addiction problem then it becomes everybody else`s fault.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: So, Lisa Bloom, the mother is basically saying Mindy has an addiction problem. I hope she`s sober because she`s carrying twins right now but given that accusation should the courts order a drug test for Mindy?

BLOOM: Well, that`s not enough to order a drug test. You know, Jane, it seems to me the theme of today`s show is protecting children. So we have the Penn State, horrible example; the 10-year-old little girl who is a wonderful example; and here Mindy is somewhere in between.

Look, I don`t really care about her troubled past and her drug addiction. The question is: is she really protecting her son from someone who abusing him? But if she`s trying do that I salute her on that. But if she`s trying to do that, she`s doing it all wrong.

There`s a judge in place. If there`s evidence, bruises, scratches, et cetera, she needs to take photographs and make an emergency application to the judge. The judge is not going to stand for an abuse of a child in his control. That`s what she should be doing not taking the child, hiding in closets and fleeing to another state.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But that is kind of behavior that some might perceive of as addictive behavior. Even when you are maybe off drugs you can have an addict mentality and be a little irrational or it could be a sign that perhaps you`re not rational for a reason.

I`m not saying she`s using. I hope she`s not. I hope she`s sober. We tweeted -- we asked her are you sober. What`s your sobriety date? Kim Serafin, we didn`t get an answer on that.

SERAFIN: Yes. You know, she`s saying that she has turned her life around. And she was saying that she was willing to risk her own freedom for the sake of her son because she was so concerned about the situation that he was in. So it is hard to tell. Is this just a woman who was doing anything just to get her son back or is this a woman who really is fearful of what her son`s situation is and is willing to do anything to get her son back for that reason.

We don`t really know. There are differing stories.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Is everybody in this case got some problems? The child right now is in foster care. That`s so sad for Christmas, right. Let`s hope that he`s with a family member but a family member who`s going to protect and care for him.

All right breaking news. A judge sentences millionaire, Bob Ward, to 30 years in prison for the murder of his wife. You may remember this infamous case. A jury convicted Ward back in 2009 of second-degree murder in the death of his wife Diane.

The day she died, cops received a chilling 911 call from Ward admitting, "Yes, I shot my wife." He later backtracked and said Diane shot herself in the head. There were crazy moments in this trial. I don`t know if you remember the dancing and the making of faces by his family. This was all caught on the jail`s cameras. They were doing some odd performances.

Ward`s lawyers tried to get an appeal saying the whole trial was tainted because the jury (INAUDIBLE) handling the murder weapon. But he`s going to be doing some hard time.


VELEZ-MITCHELL: Here at HLN we support our troops and we`re so excited about the men and women who serve this country who are now able to come home.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It is a tremendous feeling and one that very few moments in life parallel, just really thankful to be home.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I miss him so much, every day. Thinking about him.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s a mama`s boy.