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Interview with Sex Abuse Victim

Aired February 29, 2012 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.

An entire school system reeling from allegations of child sex abuse by teachers. I`m speaking with a boy who was allegedly victimized by one of them. He`s here for his only interview.

And the "Queen of Meth," it`s Tom Arnold`s sister, a former drug trafficker whose dealing ruined her lives and others. Does she regret it? We`ll see.

Let`s get started.

Tonight, I have an exclusive interview you will not soon forget. This is the first alleged male victim to come forward in the student sex abuse scandal rocking a Los Angeles elementary school. His allegations against his former third grade teacher, Mark Berndt, sound frighteningly familiar. Watch this.


"ALEX", FORMER MIRAMONTE STUDENT, ALLEGED SEX ABUSE VICTIM: In several cases like the cookies I tasted like makes it kind of funky, like they had a weird taste to them.

PINSKY (voice-over): Police started investigating teacher Mark Berndt in 2010 after a film developer allegedly found photos of him with children, his own students age 6 to 10, blindfolded and in bonded poses.

Miramonte Elementary suspended Berndt while police investigated. When Berndt was arrested, the news broke of his charges, there was outrage. He was also accused of feeding children cookies tainted with his own DNA.

Miramonte took drastic action, replacing the entire school staff. But how did it get this bad? The child predators lurking in the very place where children should be the safest, school?

Joining me now is Brian Claypool. He is representing the boy`s family in the civil suit against Mark Berndt and his former employer, the Los Angeles Unified School District.

Brian, this seems like a lovely family and really desperate for some sort of answers.

BRIAN CLAYPOOL, ATTORNEY FOR FORMER MIRAMONTE STUDENT, "ALEX": Dr. Drew, here`s - here`s the problem. Up until now there`s been a perfect storm in place at the Los Angeles Unified School District. You have a spineless, cowardly school district who put their self interest and their public image above the safety and welfare of these kids.

You combine that with a powerful teachers union that negotiates this favorable contract and makes it difficult to remove teachers. And on top of that, you`ve got a low to middle income group of families with a cultural barrier. A perfect recipe for this.

PINSKY: Not only cultural barriers as I understand, but a certain amount - two things. There`s not just a culture barrier but cultural bias who believed teachers and put your faith in teachers and not question them, right?

And secondly, a cultural barrier against coming forward because some of them were worried about being outed by the immigration services, as I understand.

CLAYPOOL: Right, absolutely.

First of all, I mean, the most predominantly Hispanic community, they teach their kids to honor student - or to honor teachers -

PINSKY: And to love their teachers.

CLAYPOOL: Right. And believe your teachers and they treat their teachers almost as parental figures.

PINSKY: Right.

CLAYPOOL: So imagine being a child and you`re supposed to run to the principal`s office and report somebody you perceived to be like a fatherly figure -

PINSKY: Yes, you wouldn`t even know what to think.


PINSKY: You think it was your fault, of course.

CLAYPOOL: That`s right.

PINSKY: All right, to protect the identity of this young alleged victim and his father, we`ve changed their names, blurred their faces and distorted their voices and we`re calling the victim "Alex". He`s now a teenager. Mark Berndt was his former third grade teacher at Miramonte Elementary School.

We`re going to give the father, Paul`s father - no, "Alex`s" father the name "Paul" - I keep screwing that up - all of course also has two older children who were also students of Mark Berndt.

So I started up by asking about Paul about his family`s history with Mr. Berndt. Watch this.


"PAUL", FATHER OF ALLEGED CHILD SEX ABUSE VICTIM: I met him 25 years ago with my first child. He`s 32 now and he had him as a teacher also. And that`s how I met him.

He was a great man, a real great man. He never gave me no indications of anything. He was like a brother to me. I - I trusted him. He was well liked by my family.

All the time we used to go to the pier and the kids will say, Dad, Mr. Berndt is there. Well, let`s go say hi to him, you know? He would always hug my kids. He would always put his arm around them and pat them, including myself, he would pat my back and, you know, squeeze my hand and, you know, always giving me good compliments about my kids.

And never - never seen anything wrong with it, you know? I thought he went beyond his teaching work just to be around the kids, you know. Never gave me no indication whatsoever he was doing something wrong.


PINSKY: Although I obviously have talked to the dad quite a bit more than that. And he said he did have kind of a funny feeling about him. And at one time he ran - he had seen him drinking at the pier. I don`t know which pier, Santa Monica Pier -

CLAYPOOL: I think it was in Redondo Pier.

PINSKY: In Redondo Pier. And they actually invited dad to have a beer with him, which is a little bit of a weird (INAUDIBLE) thing for somebody has had kids in his classroom for decades.

CLAYPOOL: This was Mr. Berndt`s M.O. This is how he gained the trust of the parents and the children, by inviting them into social environments that I think are completely beyond the boundary of what a teacher should be doing with parents.

PINSKY: Right.

Now, people, again, are reporter here, Jacqueline Hurtado, she`s sort of educated me about how that community would view their teachers.

Now, the boundaries are naturally a little looser in that culture. And you`re saying he just took advantage of that fact.

CLAYPOOL: It`s the ultimate betrayal. This is the - this is insane, to be honest with you. I mean, in order for Berndt to carry this out, he had to gain everybody`s trust. He can only be carrying out these - these abusive acts on the kids if he has them in good standing.

PINSKY: Where he wants them.

CLAYPOOL: Exactly.

PINSKY: Groomed properly.

Now, I also asked "Alex" about his impression of Mr. Berndt as a teacher. Take a look at this.


"ALEX": He was - Mr. Berndt was kind of a laid back teacher, like one of those cool teachers, like who you look forward to going into his class every day.

PINSKY: I understand he had sort of favorites in the class, good, you know, people he thought were good kids, I guess. Were you one of the good kids?

"ALEX": Yes, I was one of the good kids.

PINSKY: What does that mean?

"ALEX": Well, like I said, on Fridays like he would have little prizes for the kids who were good, like, the good kids. He would blindfold them and give them prizes.

PINSKY: Did you ever see any behavior that in retrospect concerns you?

"ALEX": Not really. Well, I was in third grade. I didn`t really tell right from wrong right then.


PINSKY: Yes. They were just - they were third grade kids. But my question would be, were the kids that were the good kids the ones he was really grooming? Were those the ones?

CLAYPOOL: Yes. Mr. Berndt carried this out only on the good kids. In fact, he posted in his classroom a list up on the wall and labeled "The Good Kids."

PINSKY: And those are the ones - is that - but the ones that are now coming forward with allegations, are they the ones - all the ones that appeared on that list typically?

CLAYPOOL: Yes. All the kids we are representing are kids who are labeled as good kids to Mr. Berndt. That`s the only way he could carry this out.

PINSKY: Now, one thing "Alex" was concerned about was Mr. Berndt`s health, that he`d been exposed to something. Do we know anything about that?

CLAYPOOL: Well, "Alex" has been tested. We don`t have the results back, but we did facilitate him being tested. And we are trying to get answers on Mr. Berndt being tested as well. We`d like to have him tested.

PINSKY: And one of the most disturbing allegations against Mark Berndt is that he fed cookies to students that were tainted with his DNA. Now, I asked "Alex" about those cookies. Take a look.


PINSKY: Was there anything peculiar about these cookies, again, in retrospect?

"ALEX": Well, yes. Like in several cases like the cookies they tasted like - like kind of funky, like they had a weird taste to them.

PINSKY: And now are you concerned that you might have been exposed to some of those terrible allegations, those horrible behaviors?

"ALEX": I`m very concerned about it. Like, hopefully like I wasn`t exposed to it but we had to have to see what`s happening.

PINSKY: There`ve been fears among some of the students of sexually transmitted diseases, even. Do you have those kinds of fears?

"ALEX": I have those kinds of fears also. But I - I try not to think about these fears as much because I want to keep my mind off of it. I want to stay focused, like in school, and keep my mind settled or off the topic.


PINSKY: And, Brian, it`s so easy to go off like a Roman candle with this story. I`m on the verge of like complete outrage all the time. And then I think to myself, well, do we know for sure this happened? I mean, after all, it was just DNA found in the cookies. Maybe it was from his hand when he handed him the cookies. What other evidence is there?

CLAYPOOL: First of all, Berndt was playing Russian roulette with the lives of these kids. And here`s how we can show it.

We have two kids that we`re representing that saw Mr. Berndt in the classroom with his hand in his groin area. Then she sees him lift his hand up and she sees a white substance in his hand. And get this - he then takes a Ziploc bag and he puts it in a Ziploc bag, zips the bag and puts it in a little lunchbox.

We also have two girls that were lured into his classroom. And Berndt asked them to carry boxes for him. And the girls looked into the boxes and guess what was in there?

PINSKY: The bags?

CLAYPOOL: No. Three test tubes with a white gooey substance in the test tubes. So you tell me that that was not Mr. Berndt`s bodily fluid in those test tubes, in that plastic bag that he used to lace in those cookies to feed those kids to feed his sadistic pleasure.

PINSKY: Was he - was he making money off the pictures or something? Was it - I mean, is it pure sadism?

CLAYPOOL: It`s - he`s been doing this for 20 years. Remember, he was first reported in 1991, 1994. In my opinion this man is a pervert. He - this a sadistic pleasure -

PINSKY: Well, if that`s what happened, I mean, there`s no doubt about that, but it`s almost - it`s almost incomprehensible, the whole lot.

I want to take a break and I want to talk about those earlier allegations, too, when we get back. So we also have more from our exclusive interview. As "Paul" fights for answers, he`s worried about his son`s future, of course. Watch this.


"PAUL": He`s an adult. I could - I could bear with it and try to move along with it, but my son at this - at this age, I`m concerned about him. You know, it`s going to take a lot for him to get over it. My entire family, we`re - we feel that we`ve been betrayed.




"PAUL": Like anger.

PINSKY: Anger?

"PAUL": Anger and, like I`m sad - I feel betrayed. I feel betrayed by a man like knowing you for so many years, with family friends, someone we could look up to who would do something like this.


PINSKY: Very poignant report from an alleged victim of teacher Mark Berndt. The 61-year-old former Los Angeles teacher remains in jail tonight. He pleaded not guilty to committing lewd acts on children in his classroom.

Attorney Brian Claypool is representing 10 families in a civil suit, including the boy we just heard from.

I recently spoke with the boy`s father as well about Mark Berndt and his feelings of betrayal, having been close with this man across three kids in several decades in his third grade classroom. Watch this.


PINSKY: So it`s really the depths of the violation that`s sort of troubling. And this is somebody - and my understanding is, again, I`ve been educated. The teachers hold a very high position in your community and to be even let down a little bit by someone whom you`ve trusted for so much for so long is a big deal.

"PAUL": It is. I was telling my wife, at one time I would put my hands on fire for this man because that`s how much we trusted him. I feel really, really betrayed over what he`s done with my kid. Not just with my kid, with all these kids, like my son says, with the community. He betrayed everybody.


PINSKY: And, Brian, you`re saying these betrayals start much earlier. Can you tell me about the earlier allegations?

CLAYPOOL: Sure. There was a young girl that came forward in 1991, reported Mr. Berndt for alleged child abuse. Nothing was done. She was told by the school, hey, you`re making it up. Go away.

PINSKY: You know, I actually talked to a girl in that classroom. He was a fourth grade teacher at that time, I believe, right? Is that right?

CLAYPOOL: I think you`re right.

PINSKY: And she said that they all saw something weird going on and that they were told they were being stupid, right? Isn`t that that -

CLAYPOOL: That`s true.


CLAYPOOL: That`s true.

PINSKY: And that it all was just sort of pushed away. That was the question he engaged in weird activity under his desk and you`re saying that continued.

CLAYPOOL: That`s right. And then in 1994, three parents came forward, reported more unusual activities by Berndt to the Marimonte School principal. And they were told - you know what they were told? There`s the door. You want to take your kid somewhere else, take them to another school.

And that proves to me that this case is no longer about negligence. It`s about an intentional willful behavior on the part of this school district to completely disregard the safety and welfare of these kids. They knew what was going on. And they then did this analysis, hey, do we want to fight the union? Do we want to fight any civil lawsuits or do we want to kick these kids to the curb and hope that we don`t get caught because but for these photographs coming forward, they would have never gotten caught.

PINSKY: So it was some weird cost benefit analysis, you know, what`s a kid`s emotional life worth versus our struggles with the contracts and the teachers union, is that what you`re saying?

CLAYPOOL: Absolutely. And include that, what`s the cost of litigating? They did that analysis and then they said, hey, this low income family doesn`t have a voice. They`re not going to fight us. They`ll never - they`ll never find out about it.

PINSKY: Do you think this was a subtle analysis they were doing, sort of, you know, qualitatively? Did they have to sit down with a pen and paper and go, oh, I think it`s going to cost this many dollars if we do this?

CLAYPOOL: In my opinion, it`s not a subtle analysis. It`s an overt analysis. They sit down and they do this analysis. I used to defend the same municipalities that I`m now suing -


CLAYPOOL: -- and I know what this folk do.

PINSKY: They do that.

Now, I don`t know if you saw the "L.A. Times" this morning, but there was an article about this very issue with contracts. You and I have talked - we`d raised it a couple days ago. It`s now getting into the press a little more. So I think you`re onto something there.

Now, we also talked to alleged victim`s father about the level of cooperation he was receiving from the L.A. County Sheriff`s Department. Problem there, too, apparently. Take a look at this.


"PAUL": Up to this point, I heard from them just this morning, but I made - I want to say a report back on January the 31st. And they told me someone will get to me within a week or so. I was contacted February the 3rd by a sergeant and he told me that they have too many cases on hand and that it was going to be a little before they get a hold of me.

So, again, he told me it will be a week to two weeks before we can get to you. And that week, that two weeks turned into this morning. And I heard the same thing again.


PINSKY: We reached out to the Los Angeles County`s Sheriff`s Department for a statement. They had no comment.

But I tend to defend police. I mean, they have an impossible argument - I defend teachers, too, by the way. That`s why I want to be sure we really have the facts on this thing and not just hearsay.

But is it possible that the sheriffs don`t want to create a larger victim pool and that`s why they`re sort of holding the cards closer to their chest? You understand what I`m saying?

CLAYPOOL: I think that`s - I think that`s possible but I don`t think that`s fair. What if that was your child? I`m a - I`m a single parent of a 6-year-old girl.

PINSKY: This is that analysis again.

CLAYPOOL: That`s it. That`s it. But I have a 6-year-old girl. What if she was in that classroom? Wouldn`t you as a parent want law enforcement to do a full and copious investigation to find justice for your child?

PINSKY: I absolutely would. But let me go back now to defending teachers. I also don`t want good people afraid to become teachers because of spurious allegations.

Let me go back to the allegations about this substance in the bottles and the test tubes, all of that stuff. How do we know what that was? We found DNA, but that could have come off his hands.

I`m playing devil`s advocate, by the way. Because I - if there`s even a hint of truth in all of this, I`m so disgusted. I almost - I almost can`t listen to the allegations that you`re saying. But how do we know?

CLAYPOOL: That`s a fair question. First of all, law enforcement found bodily fluids from Mr. Berndt in his trash can. We know that for a fact. Law enforcement then to -

PINSKY: Stop, stop right - you`re giving me - I - it`s just too much. It`s too much to be believed.

When you give - when you start listening to those allegations, it`s hard to listen to them. And when you talk about facts, it`s hard to hear it.

CLAYPOOL: It`s in his trash can. To make it worse, Dr. Drew, do you know what was sitting right next to your desk over here on his desk was a jar of Vaseline on his desk.

PINSKY: And it was inexplicable, no reason he had it there. There`s not some reasonable explanation for why he had that.

CLAYPOOL: There can`t be any reasonable explanation for a third or fourth grade teacher to have a bottle of Vaseline on his desk. And just to finish -

PINSKY: Oh, Brian, it`s so - it`s so sordid. It`s such a sordid tale. It`s - that`s why I go into this sort of, no, it can`t be kind of mode because it`s almost too much to be believed. And then to see a school system not have picked this up, in spite of being evidence there years or decades before, it`s too much.

CLAYPOOL: Let me tell you one more -

PINSKY: I`ve got 20 seconds.

CLAYPOOL: This is a breaking piece of news. It hasn`t been reported anywhere else.

We`ve learned through two kids in 2010, the principal of Miramonte School walked into the classroom that Mr. Berndt was teaching and saw him videotaping the children with a video cam.

PINSKY: OK. All right. Next, do our school systems facilitate predatory behavior? We`re going to keep looking at what went wrong here and Brian`s going to - I want to explore these new allegations yet again. We`ll be right back.


"ALEX": We all - we all feel very angry about the fact that he would do something like this to not only - not only us, me, but like to the whole community. So much anger that I have that I just don`t know what to do.




"ALEX": Well, he was - Mr. Berndt was like a real laid back teacher, like one of those cool teachers like who you look forward to going to his class every day.

PINSKY: I understand he had sort of favorites in the class, good people he thought were good kids, I guess. Were you one of the good kids?

"ALEX": Yes, I was one of the good kids.

PINSKY: What did that mean?

"ALEX": Well, like I said, on Fridays like he would have little prizes for the kids who were good, like, the good kids. He would blindfold them and give them prizes.

PINSKY: Did you ever see any behavior that in retrospect concerns you?

"ALEX": Not really. Well, I was in third grade. I didn`t really tell right from wrong right then.


PINSKY: So poignant. And according to Mr. Claypool, the allegation is that the good kids were the ones that were really selected for the victimization.

In the past month, seven employees of Los Angeles Unified School District have been booked on sex related crimes against children.

I recently spoke with a father who alleges his young son, who you just heard from, had fallen prey to Mark Berndt, an elementary school teacher who remains jailed tonight for lewd acts against children.

Now Brian, you say he also videotaped them. What do you think he`s doing with those videotapes and pictures? Is he making money out of this stuff or just for his own use?

CLAYPOOL: I think it`s for his own use.


CLAYPOOL: In fact he actually gave a photograph to one of our clients, too.


CLAYPOOL: He was that bold.

PINSKY: OK. You had something else you wanted to bring up.

CLAYPOOL: I think everybody out there who`s a parent across the country has a dilemma now because of this situation. I tell my - I pray every night with my 6-year-old girl. First thing we pray about is, please, God, protect my little girl from strangers.

Now I have to tell her, please, God, protect my little girl from teachers as well. And she`s asking me like, what do you mean, Daddy?

So I have a question for you, what do you tell parents nationwide that they should tell their kids now about this?

PINSKY: Well, Brian, I`m going to tell you honestly, you shouldn`t be telling kids just to look out for strangers because the probability is if something bad happens to a kid, it is somebody in their - that they already know.

They may not know them well. I mean, this is the literature, the research shows this very clearly. By the time somebody kidnaps a kid or acts out on a kid, the child actually knows that person. They`ve been groomed somehow before the action takes place, whether it`s a neighbor, whether it`s a teacher.

So we have to - unfortunately, we have to - we can`t - we have to be on our guard about everybody. We have to build trust. Trust must be earned. And God knows, people are good that are perpetrators. If this man had done what was alleged here, think about the grooming he did of that poor family you represented and I talked to, decades of grooming to carry this stuff out.

It is difficult. Tell - the most important thing is to tell kids to speak up. Empower them to say, bring up anything that doesn`t seem right out of line to them.

Please for people at home, this is the big message. I know I`ve said this before, whether it`s bullying, whether it`s some sort of contact, whether it was just something that didn`t seem right to them, you`re not responsible. It`s not your fault. Please, let`s talk about it, kids. Let`s talk about it. Whatever it might be.

So, Brian, continue to pray for their safety but encourage them to speak up.

CLAYPOOL: Thank you.

PINSKY: So, Brian, appreciate you bringing that family by. I hope they`re doing OK. They`re doing OK today?

CLAYPOOL: They`re doing better. Thank you for bringing attention to their story.

PINSKY: It`s my pleasure. They seem very courageous.

And, again, there`s some stuff that we talk about on this show I have trouble getting my head around. You know, I literally kind of go into sort of denial mode, well, no, some part of this must not be true.

CLAYPOOL: It`s interesting you`re feeling that because some the families are feeling that.

PINSKY: I`m sure of it. I`m sure of it. I hope if it is true, the full extent of the law is brought to bear. I hope if it`s not true, that all of it`s not true. It is - it is disgusting. But it`s something we have to keep talking about because you need to know. You need to watch out for your kids. And remember, it`s those in their orbit that can get to them.

We asked the LAUSD for a statement, they had no comment.

Next, I`m taking your calls. And later, we`ll talk to former big time meth dealer.



PINSKY (voice-over): Tom Arnold`s sister, Lori, had it all. Wealth, property, and the action-packed lifestyle of a big shot drug dealer. Her peddling, no doubt, ruined countless lives, and she ended up doing 16 years in prison, but she appears unfazed. Is she really as remorseful as she seems or is she a suffering addict in denial? The self-proclaimed queen of meth tells her story.

But first, your questions and my answers. This is the DR. DREW SHOW, and I`m "On-Call."


PINSKY (on-camera): And welcome back. I`ve noticed a lot of chatter on Twitter right now. It is about Snooki. The question is, is she pregnant? The "New York Post" And "E!" are reporting that as and a fact? Let`s seen. Hmmm. We know Snooki has sex, and we know she`s a little reckless and drinks a little bit. Yes, those two, I`m just taking the score card.

Yes, pregnant. OK. The question is, who, when, what`s going to happen with this. I got a question about this. Jeff writes, "If you`re drunk when you`re at the beginning stages of pregnancy and don`t know you`re pregnant, will your baby be affected?"

I think what he`s saying is if you`re drinking and have it in discretion and it ends up in a pregnancy, is that going to cause something like fetal alcohol syndrome? Actually, probably not. Probably not. Not, unless, you`re continuing to drink. That alcohol or substance exposure at the time of conception, it`s actually not know known for sure but doesn`t seem to have the same kind of effect as drinking during pregnancy, while actually established pregnancy.

All right. Here now, go to a call. Karen from Pennsylvania. Go ahead, Karen.


PINSKY: Hi, Karen.

KAREN: You mentioned that kids, sometimes, take on or are basically forced into the parenting role in an abusive or addiction home.

PINSKY: Right.

KAREN: I was very much forced into this role at the very young age.


KAREN: I`m an adult now. How can I start to heal from this?

PINSKY: How is it affecting your relationships? Are you still a caretaker? Do you still put everybody else`s feeling ahead of yours? Are you that person?

KAREN: Yes, absolutely.

PINSKY: Karen, have you had therapy?

KAREN: No. You know, I`m actually shaking now just talking to you about this.

PINSKY: I`m sorry. Let me ask this. Have you gotten involved with alcoholics and addicts? Any of your, usually like, romantic partners alcoholic?

KAREN: A past one.

PINSKY: Past one, because that`s how that happens. When you -- it`s like a fittedness. When your whole self or the self is created. It`s a co-created thing. We create it in the context of our relationships, and when our sense of how we fit with another person and our sort of love map leads us to another alcoholic addict, that`s how that works.

You can go to a program called Al-Anon. I mean, you`ll be a perfect candidate for that. Go to Al-Anon, get a sponsor, work steps on your own. You would find it very rewarding or just get a good therapist to sit with you and basically reform a new relationship, a new kind of connection, a new kind of attachment to the therapist.

That`s how certain kinds of therapy works. So, you create a new nap to a healthy person and that will help when your relationships in the outside world. You got that?

KAREN: I do. Thank you so much.

PINSKY: All right. Karen, good luck. My pleasure. Got a question from Vickie in California. Hey, Vickie.

VICKIE, CALIFORNIA: Hey, Dr. Drew. Thank you for taking my question. I`m a sober alcoholic, recovering. I`ve been sober for eight years.

PINSKY: Congratulations.

VICKIE: Thank you very much. My eldest daughter has been deeply affected by my alcoholism (ph)

PINSKY: Of course.

VICKIE: I was an emotionally absent parent.

PINSKY: You were drinking.

VICKIE: Yes, I was. And, my daughter is suffering right now.


VICKIE: I thought that I had made amends, and she`s retreated again, having a difficult time forgiving me --

PINSKY: Vickie, Vickie, Vickie let`s get -- let`s talk about making amends for a second. Making amends is not apologizing so the other person will forgive you. Making amends is doing what you need to do to clean up your side of the street. What you have done has affected another person. You need to go to them and say, how do I make this right? And I apologize.

And you know what, that person may not be willing to participate. They may not be ready. They may not want anything to do with you at that time. And guess what? That`s part of the consequence of your disease, and you have to accept that. You can`t force her to forgive you. you can`t force her to be OK.

You can`t force her to tell you what you need to do, and even if she does tell you what you need to do, it may not work. It may not be enough. That`s -- that you cannot control, right?

VICKIE: Right.

PINSKY: That`s what you talk to your sponsor about. That`s when you give it up, and you encourage her to do what she needs to do for herself, your daughter, to be OK. That`s what`s important. You pray for her. You got it?


PINSKY: All right. It`s not about you. It`s about her. All right, my dear.

Mary writes, "My children and I are survivors of the school shooting two years ago," wow, "in Deer Creek Middle School. The most important information you can give the parents and children that survived the Ohio tragedy would be to seek help, be kind, and get the Ohio community information on victim`s assistance or any other programs that can help them."

Wait, I want to read that again. I want to read to make sure everybody hears it, because anyone who has -- has been involved in this, this is great advice. Seek help, meaning reach out and get help. You know, there`s help out there, lots of it. Law enforcement give it to you. Professional community can give it to you.

Be kind. Don`t seek out anger and aggression and retribution. And then, again, how community information on victim`s assistance program, great, great advice. Thank you for that. I got another caller. Susan, Arizona. What`s up, Susan?


PINSKY: Hi, Susan.

SUSAN: OK. I`m trying to quit my habit of smoking marijuana. I can`t seem to stop on my own.

PINSKY: I know. It`s hard. Marijuana, for some people, is so addictive. How long have you been smoking for?

SUSAN: About four, five years.

PINSKY: And let me show something really interesting to viewers that may not have seen or know people that are addicted to marijuana. You know, there`s very characteristic experience that marijuana addicts have when they first get high from marijuana. Do you remember the first time you got high?


PINSKY: What did you think of the drug that first time made you high?

SUSAN: Like it was really good. Like really calmed me down and was - -

PINSKY: What did you think of marijuana? I kind of liked it or I -- what?


PINSKY: Just kind of like it?


PINSKY: Most people -- I don`t want to put words in your mouth. Most people say, I just loved it. Did you love it?


PINSKY: Yes. And loving it is a very different experience, and it turns out it activates a part of your brain that`s associated with the love and nurturing experience. The anandamide receptor, this is where -- there`s where the cannabis binds, and for some people, will trigger a severe addiction.

When you come off, you can feel paranoid, irritable. You can`t sleep. I bet you`re not sleeping at all when you try to stop, right?


PINSKY: Yes. And there are doctors that can specialize -- that know how to handle this. There`s a medicine called Risperdal. I use a lot of the help people get through this withdrawal period, and go to program called Marijuana Anonymous, MA. You`ll find a whole bunch of people just like you that have been through this, and they`ll support you and refer you to people who know how to help people had this problem.

Not addictive for everybody. It`s a strange drug that way, but for those people whom addictive, when they try to stop, it is really, really tough. So, good luck with that, OK?


PINSKY: Marijuana Anonymous. E-mail here, "I`m 47-year-old woman going through peri-menopause. I`m having an awful time with my sex life. I`ve gained so much weight that I feel disgusting. I have a wonderful boyfriend who wants to please me, but I feel so blah. Help me." That is a great question, my dear. That is from -- let`s see -- Terry.

Terry, listen, this is something that -- how much time do I have? Like a couple of minutes? One minute, oh, my goodness. OK. This is a really important question because not a lot -- enough is made of this out there. Perimenopause can start in your 30s. It can start after pregnancy. People start -- women, your hormones change dramatically in that period of your life, and then, it gets worse as you hit 40 and 50.

Your sex drive can be dramatically affected. Let`s say the responsiveness of your system becomes blunted by the lack of estrogen, lack of testosterone, and I am telling you, doctors do not pay enough attention to this. Sometimes, at your age, if you`re on your 30s, going on a birth control pill can be helpful. but later on, getting estrogen and testosterone replacement. The people do not make enough of this.

For women, when they get the testosterone replacement, they -- I`ve got a number of people in my life, women who got on sort of bio-identical testosterone kinds of replacements, and they were actually angry because no one had told them about it sooner, like a part of themselves had been restored. And, I`m telling you, most doctors don`t pay enough attention to this.

Now, of course, there`s a lot of controversy about estrogen replacement, which is the female hormone. Does it cause breast cancer? What about uterine cancer? How did it (ph) protect against these things? So, it`s a risk-benefit analysis. But I`m telling you something, do not assume it`s you or something about you or something about your relationship. More often than not, it is the biology. And that biology needed to be attended to by an expert.

So, find a doctor, go online, find somebody who really works with these issues. There are also sort of natural ways of supplementing these things, but it is that biology. You deserve more than somebody just saying, just live with it or maybe you don`t -- maybe your boyfriend or husband too long, nonsense. It`s the biology. Pay attention to that.

Next up, Tom Arnold`s sister, Lori, talks about her life as -- get this -- the Queen of Methamphetamine. She was an addict, she was a felon, she doesn`t seem to have a lot of regrets. That after this.


PINSKY: Welcome back. Now, Tom Arnold has joined us on this show a couple of times, several times, actually, and he recently told us about his more recent relapse and struggling with pain medication, on the heels of the Whitney Houston story. Thought it was important to come clean about that and really talk about how easily this all happens.

But tonight, we`re going to meet his sister. She owned a 144-acre horse ranch, a big home, an airplane, and even more, a lifestyle that was fit for a queen. This queen happened, though, to be the Queen of Meth. She has spent most of the last 20 years in prison. She was convicted from -- because of selling methamphetamine. She was a major supplier making $200,000 or more a week.

Please welcome, Tom Arnold`s sister, Lori Arnold. Lori, hi. Thanks for joining us. Now, I`m going to quote -- read you a quote that you have said and sort of have you react to it. You said the following, quote, "I probably ruined a few lives. Sometimes, I feel guilty, but I made millions of dollars and I had a blast doing it." Can you respond to that?

LORI ARNOLD, SISTER OF TOM ARNOLD: Well, that was kind of taken a little out of context. I did -- I had some fun during those years, yes. I`m not going to lie and say that I wasn`t having a good time. But -- and I made money, but there was a lot more into it. There was a lot more involved in the whole business and everything, what brought it, you know, up to doing it and, you know, the prison time and everything else.

So, yes, of course, I had fun. You know, you have fun when you do drugs. That`s why you do them.

PINSKY: Well, now, as with many drug addicts, you had a real traumatic history. Apparently, you were married at 15, is that right?

ARNOLD: Yes, my first time, yes.

PINSKY: First time. And do you and Tom have the same mom -- same dad, I mean? Same dad also?

ARNOLD: Yes. Same mom, same dad, yes.

PINSKY: OK, because you`re just like Tom, you know, your mom was married multiple times, and he had --

ARNOLD: Multiple issues.

PINSKY: -- some issues around that.

ARNOLD: Yes. We`ve both been married four times.

PINSKY: Right. And anybody who`s married at 15 is running away from something, right?

ARNOLD: Yes. Exactly. Exactly. I was kind of forced into getting married at that age. My parents were trying to -- or my mom and my step- dad were trying to force my first husband into either marrying me, dropping me, or going to jail for statutory rape, because I was 15, he was 23. So, he called their bluff and said, OK, we`ll get married. So --

PINSKY: Wow. And then, he turned out to be an abuser. He beat you. Did you -- did you --


PINSKY: -- have a similar history as Tom did in terms of having had sexual abuse as well.

ARNOLD: No. No, I didn`t have any sexual abuse growing up. The only abuse I had was from my husbands. I was married four times. Two of my husbands cheated on me. Two of my husbands beat on me. Two of my husbands are dead right now, but I --

PINSKY: All right. So, you became -- you became a drug addict. And then, you became a supplier. Here`s the thing. For me, I mean, you supplied -- I mean, you were one of the cornerstone sort of distribution system for the methamphetamine epidemic of that period of history. Don`t you feel bad about that?

ARNOLD: Well, I didn`t think I was -- it didn`t seem like it was like that. Back in the 1980s when we started, in 1985, we started out very small. It was more to get a little bit of extra money just to put food on the table, because we were making -- we had $144 a week to live on. So, when I got the opportunity to make a little extra money, I jumped on it.

You know, I didn`t make -- to me, it was just speed. I`m selling speed to people that wanted it. I wasn`t trying to force it on anyone. And when we did it, we all felt good. It was great. It was -- everybody`s happy. Everybody was doing things. Their bored life was -- you know, everything were kicking it up in Ottumwa, Iowa, you know, around my type of friends and things like that, you know, our age group.

I was, you know, 25 years old. I was still a kid. Never experienced meth before. So, it was just something new and different. And it made everybody feel good and happy and, you know, and that`s what the whole thing was. We were just out to try to have fun. It grew and it grew because everybody was having fun.

We were laughing. It was party time all the time. It wasn`t meant to be anything to get anybody hurt. We weren`t planning on hurting anybody. We didn`t want anybody to be hurt. We weren`t trying to neglect our kids. You know, I wasn`t meant to be that way. It was just --

PINSKY: I understand that you didn`t set out to do all those things, but you ended up doing all those things.


PINSKY: You ended up hurting people and neglecting kids and ruining marriages.


PINSKY: I mean, no drug addict starts drugs because they expect to be down and out on the street.

ARNOLD: Right, right.

PINSKY: And nor did you, of course, start distributing drugs for that, but you did do that. And don`t you feel bad about that?

ARNOLD: Oh, I feel terrible about it, especially with the kids, you bet. Yes. I feel -- I still feel bad for the kids. My son, especially. My son, Josh. I feel bad about what he had to go through.

PINSKY: And you spent time in prison, but yet, you still talk about that time with a sense of romance and sort of glee.

ARNOLD: No, it wasn`t -- it`s not -- you know, when the articles come out, it`s how the people write them. It`s not exactly how I feel. Sometimes, they glamorize things for magazines or for books or whatever.

PINSKY: But, Lori, I`m going to give you the chance to convince me -- I just heard you describe it with romance and glee. So, convince me that`s not how you`re feeling. How are you feeling?

ARNOLD: Well, how I felt back then, we`re talking over 20 years ago. Yes. I thought it was, you know, I was popular. It was a power trip, you know? I was on top of the world, you know? It was that type of thing when I was doing it. And now, you know, after looking back, I feel terrible about the kids. And I`d get comments and say, you know, you ruined my parents` life, you ruined my life and things like that.

I feel bad for what my son went through. Yes, it`s terrible. And you know, I never wanted to be a drug dealer. I never planned to be a drug dealer. Nobody grows up saying, you know, saying I want to be a drug dealer when I grow up. It wasn`t meant to be that way. It just happens. I was an addict, you know?

PINSKY: I want to welcome to the program, Shelley Sprague. She is an important professional I work with in my life, and she -- of course, you know her from the VH1 "Celebrity Rehab." She runs the unit on that program at that unit. You see what I`m seeing, right?

SHELLEY SPRAGUE, CHEMICAL DEPENDENCY EXPERT, RECOVERING ADDICT: Yes. I see a disconnect between what she`s describing and going to prison behind and how your -- how her affect is in describing --

PINSKY: It seems gleeful. It seems gleeful.

SPRAGUE: It seems very disconnected from the reality of the situation, which I think, ultimately, a lot of times, that`s what drugs do. They take you out of the reality. The denial takes you out of the reality of the situation.

PINSKY: Let me ask you this, Lori. Are you using now?

ARNOLD: No, not at all.

PINSKY: You don`t use any substances of any kind? Are you in a recovery program?

ARNOLD: No. I haven`t used since I was in prison in 2001.

PINSKY: Haven`t used since I was in prison. That`s interesting.


ARNOLD: Yes. Well, I`ve been out of prison for a while, so I -- no, I don`t use. I put myself through a drug rehabilitation program while in prison --


ARNOLD: -- to find out why I was doing what I was doing. Why I didn`t have, you know, emotional distance because, just like you said, it doesn`t seem like I`m regretful, remorseful, whatever. And I am. But I don`t show emotions. I`ve learned to block those out years ago when I was getting beat up and when I had to do things -- living on the streets by myself and take care of myself.

So, I don`t show a lot of emotions. And that seems to be a problem for a lot of people, because I don`t. But that`s how I am. So, I put myself through drug rehab to find out why.

PINSKY: I get it. Yes, but I -- it puts you at risk for relapse when you`re disconnected from your emotions, because they`re still there. You`re just not expressing that, disconnected to them. That`s what Shelley is picking up on. But what made people very frustrated, I`m sure, is the lack of contrition.

You don`t seem very remorseful of having done something that, no doubt, impacted maybe tens of thousands of lives with a drug that is deadly. I`m just saying. I`ve got to take a quick break. Lori, I`m going to stay with you.


PINSKY: And I`m also going to stay with Shelley. We`re going to keep this conversation going. And we`ll be back in just a couple of minutes.


PINSKY: We`re back with Tom Arnold`s sister, Lori Arnold, who was busted for selling meth, methamphetamine, a lot of it. And, you know, we see these patterns over and again with addicts. Drugs are more powerful than family, loved ones, jobs. Lori has been sharing this interesting story.

Shelley Sprague is also here with me again, chemical dependency expert, recovering addict herself, resident technician on VH1`s "Celebrity Rehab."

So, Lori, let`s go back to this disconnect. I mean, you said why you use. Here`s why you use. You`re disconnected from your feelings, and you`re a drug addict. That`s why drug addicts use. That`s why they use. That doesn`t do much for you as a drug addict knowing that. Learning to live a certain kind of life, a certain kind of way --

ARNOLD: Well, that`s not the reason I started using.

PINSKY: That`s right. Right. And then, they use because they`re an addict. Now, you throw the switch on the biology, and now, you`re out of control. But, being reconnected with your feelings is an important thing and living an honest, you know, rigorously honest life and living a certain way, are you living a new kind of life now?

ARNOLD: Oh, yes. What I did, I left everything I knew. I left where I`m from. I left my friends. I went straight from Iowa to Arizona. I`ve never lived anywhere else, but that my hometown. That`s all I`ve never known all my life. And I said, you know what, I can`t do it anymore. I can`t go back there. I have to leave everything I know and start over, that`s what I`ve done.

PINSKY: But, Shelley, as you and I know, doing a geographic as we call that, doesn`t solve the problem. It`s about healing what`s going on inside and living a certain type of life.

SPRAGUE: You know, there are drugs everywhere. And, in my experience, having 16 years of recovery, I have to work a program of recovery so that I don`t go insane. Use again, act out, have another type of disorder. So, I -- you know, I don`t relay to people who just move to Arizona and have no more problems.

PINSKY: So, how are you staying sober now is what`s behind what Shelley is saying.

ARNOLD: Well, I work. I work. And when I -- and I`m married to a good man. He`s not a drug user. We have a good life. I don`t have to worry about him beating on me or cheating on me. We have fun together. We go to home shows on the weekends. We dig in -- you know, we just bought a house recently. We work a lot in our yard. And it`s --

PINSKY: Do you take any medication?

ARNOLD: It`s a quiet life. No, no.


ARNOLD: No, no, I`m happy.

PINSKY: That`s what kills people these days. Shelley, you have any questions for her? I mean --

SPRAGUE: Yes. Do you have any religious affiliations or are you in any kind of 12-step program or has that --


SPRAGUE: -- not been part of your recovery?

ARNOLD: No. No. I just -- I go to work and I go home.

PINSKY: Well, we worry about people --


PINSKY: OK. And, you know, that being as disconnected as you are, as by your own description and being able to talk about horrible, horrible things, that you have done and not have any emotion in relation to it, that`s got to eat away at you over time. I`m just saying. I don`t wish you any --

ARNOLD: You`re talking, you know, a long time ago, too. You know, I`ve learned to live with it. I`ve tried to make amends. Yes?

PINSKY: OK. Making amends, which will -- I don`t have time to figure what that is, but tens of thousands of lives affected, Lori. Everyone -- I know my listeners -- my viewers are screaming at their screen right now because of the frustration at not being able to get some contrition out of you. And people are getting frustrated.

ARNOLD: What do they want me to do?

PINSKY: Feel bad. Feel bad.

ARNOLD: I do feel bad.

PINSKY: Feel bad that you hurt lots of people. Well, it`s hard to tell.

ARNOLD: I feel terrible about it. Yes, but you know, I`m sitting here in front of a TV --


ARNOLD: Well, I smile a lot. I smile when I`m nervous.

PINSKY: Got to go. Thanks, Lori. Thanks, Shelley. And thank you for watching. See you next time.

SPRAGUE: Thank you.