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Sandusky`s Son Alleged Abuse; Can Women Have It All?

Aired June 26, 2012 - 21:00   ET


DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST: Here we go.

Jerry Sandusky`s son talks about alleged abuse he suffered at the hands of his father and we will play you the tape.

Then, can women have it all? That`s right -- motherhood, careers, kids. Is that even realistic?

Plus, Lisa Ling on teen moms.

And Olympic champion, Dominique Moceanu on her secret sister.

And I`m taking your calls about all of this. Let`s get started.


PINSKY: Tonight, an explosive audio recording of Jerry Sandusky`s adopted son, Matt, claiming he also was a victim to his father.

Now, at first, Matt publicly stood by his father but during the trial, he apparently met secretly with police. NBC News obtained a copy of the audiotape. Take a look at this.


MATT SANDUSKY: With, like, the showering, with the hugging, with the rubbing, with the just, talking to me, the way he spoke.

DETECTIVE: And you said that the beginning of our interview last night that things happened to you but there was no, that you can recall, there was no penetration or oral sex. Is that correct?

SANDUSKY: Yes. As of this time, I don`t recall that.

DETECTIVE: And when you`re staying at his house, that he began to come into your bedroom at night and he would blow raspberries on your stomach and his hand would rub down and rub along or against your genital.

SANDUSKY: Correct.


PINSKY: Joining us is Karl Rominger, defense attorney for Jerry Sandusky.

Karl, thank you for being here, by the way. And let me just start with this -- what was Jerry`s reaction to Matt`s tape and what Matt was saying?

KARL ROMINGER, JERRY SANDUSKY`S DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Well, Jerry was obviously disappointed.

You know, when we started the trial, Matt was helping us carry boxes from the car to the court house. He stood by his father at all points previous. He had indicated that when he was summoned to various proceedings. He had maintained to stand behind his father.

So, as you can imagine, it was a crushing blow for Jerry in some regards.

PINSKY: And did Dottie have any reaction to this either?

ROMINGER: Yes. I mean, I think everybody in the family, to a T, with the exception of Matt, was upset about what he was doing and what he was saying. And frankly, the entire family stood ready to counter it.

PINSKY: Why didn`t Jerry take the stand if this information was leaking to the jury?

ROMINGER: We don`t believe the jury had gotten any of this information. And that`s critical, because if they had, there would have been a mistrial.

PINSKY: And let me -- Karl, I want to ask you this. I`m kind of -- there`s curious parts about what Mr. Sandusky is doing. It would be very easy for me to pile on here like everyone is doing, everyone in the country believes he is guilty. He has been convicted of a crime.


PINSKY: But let me say there`s things about this case that makes me pause, about the way he is behaving. One is my understanding is you visited him in jail, and there, he continues to express his innocence and his sort of expressing incredulity about these circumstances.

Is that accurate?

ROMINGER: That would be an accurate description, yes. I described him as somber. What I mean by that is he is well aware and he is very sad about the position that he finds him in. And I saw a man who is tired and weary but who is not broke or without the spirit to fight, who specifically is angered the allegations have gotten the far, maintains his innocence, but yet recognize the situation he is in creates a circumstance where it is unlikely at this point that he is going to vindicate himself but he is not done trying to.

PINSKY: And is there anything about Matt, I`m just trying to understand, what would be in it for him to lie if, in fact, these people are suggesting he is lying? He somebody that was abused by somebody else before Jerry ever got him and so he is prone to plights of, you know, generalizing his experiences where they kind of blend together?

I`m just trying to understand this as a clinician. What`s in it for him to lie?

ROMINGER: Actually, it`s interesting you brought that up. Something nobody seemed to talk about in this case and Pennsylvania doesn`t allow testimony on child abuse, you pointed out that sometimes people have an experience and then generalize to somebody else. So, you get a transference of a perpetrator, for instance. That`s something we like to have brought up in the case, not just an interesting side note.

But with Matt, you know, at the time he came to the family, he came with a very troubled background. I talked to Dottie today and she says she still loves Matt. They`re just very disappointed about this circumstance. I don`t think there is a great explanation.

PINSKY: Let me say shall, clear, too, Mr. Rominger, that by Jerry Sandusky showering with kids and playing with their -- doing these inappropriate boundary violations, he certainly puts himself in a position, very minimum, he could be perceived as somebody violating boundaries with somebody who had been previously affected by that kind of behavior, right?

ROMINGER: I think you would agree with me this is what one of the psychologists I`ve consulted with told me. She told me that children who have been assaulted previously and somebody then violates a boundary with them, risks a lot more with a child like that.

PINSKY: That`s right. Absolutely true.

ROMINGER: But unfortunately -- and doctor, that`s the --


PINSKY: Go ahead. I`m sorry. Please.

ROMINGER: No I was just going to say that is the irony, in Pennsylvania, we are the last state where you can present any evidence whatsoever on how child abuse works, why victims, for instance, don`t come forward right away, on the government side, how grooming works.

But on the defense side, how children can sometimes, even later as adults, remember somebody being their perpetrator.

Now remember this, Jerry Sandusky was around thousands and thousands of troubled youth and he was violating boundaries with them, but that may be simply as far as it. And unfortunately, there`s been transference on a dozen kids.

PINSKY: And I would say it is not so simple. It`s a warning for anyone out there, pay attention to boundaries with kids. It affects them.

Here`s another clip of Matt Sandusky obtained by NBC News talking about why he eventually came forward. Listen.


MATT SANDUSKY: So that they can really have closure and see what the truth actually is. And just to right the wrong, honestly, of going to the grand jury and lying.


PINSKY: And -- I`m not sure I understood what was getting at there is that somehow the reason why he didn`t take the stand?

ROMINGER: You know, I will leave that to -- to speculation because you can listen to that clip and make your own determination but if -- I think the telling thing was the government could have called them in their case in chief and they chose not to, for a host of reasons, but one of which I think is statements like that on the tape.

PINSKY: Take a quick phone call. Cindy in Nebraska -- Cindy.


PINSKY: Hi, Cindy.

CINDY: I think he was worried about being called on like in the grand jury investigation, but my question is: they adopted six children, I believe, and should anyone, who even just back in 1998, all these children are older than that but stepped up? How does one, including with Dottie`s knowledge, I believe, place children in an adoptive situation that the Sanduskys had?

PINSKY: Well, I`m not sure anybody -- first of all, well, I guess the question would be, Mr. Rominger, would the adopting agencies know about the previous investigations?

ROMINGER: There`s no indication that any adopting agencies knew about it. I think all the adoptions predate any of the alleged incidences. There`s also no evidence whatsoever that Dottie was aware of anything, if anything did, in fact, occur that was criminal or blatantly inappropriate.

And so, that`s kind of true because in the trial, nowhere was that brought out because simply nowhere in the thousands and thousands of pages of records, anybody pointing a finger at Dottie.

PINSKY: Well, Karl, thank you very much for joining me. I do appreciate you being so forthcoming and cooperative and giving some more information, insight into this case. It is something that has captured people`s attention.

ROMINGER: I thank you and I`m a big fan. So it`s kind of an honor to be on the show.

PINSKY: Oh, it`s very kind of you. Thank you.

All right. I`m switching gears entirely and we are going to take on another story that`s been in the news, which is can women have it all, kids, career? My next guest says no. What do you think?

Stay with us.


PINSKY: We all know many women who struggle to balance careers with motherhood. Most want to excel at both. But the questioning we`re asking today: is that unrealistic? Is it insulting to suggest they have to choose?

Joining me, mother and lifestyle blogger Nikki Joel, and mom and former Hillary Clinton aide, Anne-Marie slaughter.

Anne-Marie, you tipped the feminist world on its edge a little bit with your manifesto in "The Atlantic" titled "Why Women Still Can`t Have It All." Tell me about what you meant by it and what made you write it.

ANNE MARIE SLAUGHTER, PRINCETON UNIVERSITY: Well, the first thing, what I meant by that is that women`s choices are still far more constrained in terms of having both a career and a family than men`s choices. And there`s a lot of things that we can do about that to make it easier.

The reason I wrote it is that I -- although until I was 50, I`m a tenured professor and I work like crazy, but I can control my own time and that had allowed me to juggle both work, even as a dean, with raising two boys.

When I got to Washington and worked for one of the best bosses of the world, for Hillary Clinton, I discovered what, of course, 95 percent, 98 percent of work, you know, career professionals know. I was working on somebody else`s schedule, on somebody else`s, you know, demands about when I had to get things done, which is perfectly legitimate. But at that point, I really couldn`t make it work with raising then two teenaged boys who really did need two parents a the home.

So I was writing this to say you look, just saying you can have it all, which is what my generation has said for decades is really not enough. We need to look much more honestly about the very different circumstances I think that women still face in the work world and start a conversation that will result in more change.

PINSKY: Anne-Marie, I`ve heard you tell that story as you made the rounds these last couple of days. And as a clinician, I always think it`s important to be very specific about what we`re talking about and I hope you`re comfortable answering this question.

But what was going on with your son that drove you home? And why did they mom and why mom and dad wasn`t that sufficient?

SLAUGHTER: My oldest was 12 when I left, and 14 when I came home. As any parent of teenagers knows, 12 to 14 that`s the period where one moment they are your little boy and the next moment, they are like who is this alien at my breakfast table, and I don`t think there was anything unusual in that sense.

I think though in part, you know, having my husband home, who is wonderful, but that meant there were three boys, three men, at home and a lot of rebellion. Again, nothing unusual, but he got himself into a place where, you know, as I write in the article, and he is comfortable with my saying this -- you know, he was stepping classes and failing some course and heading on a path where he was going to start really facing some life consequences.

And in that setting, although my husband did the best he could: (a), two parents is better than one, and, (b), often just in terms of person eighth between my husband and me and in terms of family balance it made a big difference when I was home. And I could not be somewhere else knowing that he was in trouble and that maybe couldn`t do some about it. I couldn`t be sure. But I sure thought it was going to be a better shot if I were home.

PINSKY: Nikki, I hear her saying, sometimes nothing replaces mom. Sometimes it just doesn`t. And women, by the same token, also feel a tremendous sense of responsibility when kids need them, men feel but maybe not the same intensity.

Do you agree what Anne-Marie is saying here, or do you have a different take?

NIKKI JOEL, LIFESTYLE BLOGGER: Well, my take is that everybody has a different definition of having it all and for me, it`s about having balance and it`s being able to maintain my expectations and learning how to figure out how to give 150 percent to each thing or task that I`m dealing with at hand.

PINSKY: Anne-Marie, you agree with that?

SLAUGHTER: Well, absolutely. I think, look, everybody define it is differently.

Let me give you a really concrete example, because I think we should talk very specifically. So, one of the responses I have got after this article came out was from a young woman who has a JD/MBA, and she works in the general counsel`s office of a foundation that`s part of a university, and she is very good at her job, not surprisingly, and they offered her the general counsel`s position, which is a dream come true when you`re -- she`s 33 and a young lawyer and this is great.

But she`s had one child, who`s, I guess, under 2, and she wants to have her second child and she looked at this and looked at the balance she felt she needed to strike to be able to do both and she said, I can do this job if I can work from home one day a week. And they said no.

And that means at that point, she`s decided she needs to be at home one day a week with her kids so she`s not going to not do that, it means she has to not take that promotion.

Now, I think that`s crazy. Letting her work from home one day a week --

PINSKY: I think --

SLAUGHTER: We all spend a lot of time on planes. That`s crazy.

PINSKY: I think it`s not only crazy, it`s sad and it is an indictment of how we don`t support women in both spheres of being in the workforce and being at home.

Let`s take a quick call. Elycia in California -- Elycia.


PINSKY: Hey there.

ELYCIA: I would agree with what Elycia just said. It`s definitely true about balance.

I do believe that women can have it all but there are a couple of factors that we have to look at. Number one, your circumstances, meaning do you have support? Do you have child care? Do you have family nearby?

Number two, are you very driven? What is your disposition like? What is your constitution like?

And when those aspects are there for your support, it is more possible to have it all. Now, not everybody is going to fill that, certainly.

PINSKY: Yes and I will tell you what, whenever we do longitudinal psychological studies on children, the one thing we find about the single mom is the supportive partner is the key ingredient. So, I think we need to globalize that to a supportive society community to help mom do more.

More calls on this topic, next.


PINSKY: Welcome back.

Careers and family life -- many women try to balance both and have it all. Research shows kids sometimes pay a price for this and moms are often complaining they feel the pain, the longing to return home.

With me, mom and blogger, Nikki Joel; and mother, Anne-Marie slaughter, author of an article in "The Atlantic" titled "Why Women Still Can`t Have It All."

Now, Nikki, Anne-Marie says that high-powered motherhood is a tough balance and you actually did that for a while, right?

JOEL: I did it and I still do it.

PINSKY: You were a talent agent?

JOEL: I was a talent agent for 12 years.

PINSKY: You were trying to balance that with motherhood?

JOEL: And I was balancing it with motherhood and what I learned was about compartmentalizing. When I was at the office, I was 150 percent there. And when I was home, I was with my child, doing homework, doing whatever.

PINSKY: You downsized some of that and now doing blogging and other stuff?

JOEL: Exactly and I sell real estate.

PINSKY: OK. So, Anne-Marie, here is my concern, I have full respect for Nikki and what she`s doing, but I think the three people sitting up here would sound Pollyanna to anybody who is in financial distress or a single mom, trying to manage these things, which by the way is a tremendous percentage of this country. What do we tell them?

SLAUGHTER: Well, my hat`s off to all single parents. But I -- look, I think women have a responsibility to ask for what they need. But I think we need to ask workplaces if they want to keep the talent they`ve got in working women to listen to what women need and do their best to accommodate.

So, I think we -- and then I think society as a whole, as you just said, needs to be much more supportive of these choices.

PINSKY: Yes. Let`s go to some calls now.

Cera in Illinois. Cera, you got a question or a comment?

CERA, CALLER FROM ILLINOIS: Hi. Yes, I`m 21 years old and a single mom of two kids my daughter is 3 and my son is 2. And I`m trying to go back to school and trying to work and trying to take care of them all the same time.


CERA: And, of course, it`s no one else`s responsibility to take care of them my own, I can`t exactly expect my parents to take care of them. And I have tried working and I`ve tried going to school ever since I had them.

And I just found that when you`re working, a lot of the workplaces they can don`t really understand that you have kids. They don`t really seem to be like, OK, you have kids, you need to be with them if they are sick or something is going on, they don`t seem to understand that and they don`t exactly let it happen. So, it`s kind of like you have to choose where to be.

And lately, I have been choosing to be with my kids because they are so young, I want to be there during those stages.

PINSKY: And, Cera, you really -- you provide us with an interesting case example, which is that most women feeling -- so much burden goes onto women, it just takes my breath away. And where I see the rubber hit the road always is make sacrifices on behalf of their kids, they always do.

So, Anne-Marie, you are making the rounds on this. You`re having conversations with government officials and academics and media. Is anyone listening? Is anything going to change?

I mean, what do we do for the -- what do we do for women?

SLAUGHTER: Well, absolutely. The first play, the fact that so many people are talking about this subject is, I think, proof that there are a huge number of people that think change is needed, but have not felt that there was any way to get it and I get this enormous outpouring saying just thank you for putting this on the table.

So I think there are a lot of people that do want to make things easier, and a lot of women who are now going to be empowered to ask for things to make easier. And I think we need to basically shame those workplaces that refuse to make those accommodations. We`re investing in our children. We are investing in society.

PINSKY: In the future. Exactly.

And, Nikki, I bet you see this, I know in my wife`s circumstance, I have observed her peers, women don`t necessarily support one another on this issue, even in small communities. There is sometimes tension between the moms that are working, working moms and the ones that you are stay-at- home moms.

Why doesn`t everybody support everybody? Why all the jealousies in there?

JOEL: You know what? It`s really hard. I mean, when I was working and I would leave my office to run to the mommy and me class and the one dress up in the skirt and heels and racing back to be there, and I was just trying to make everything work and wearing all my different hats.

PINSKY: Stay-at-home moms jealous that you had a career or were you jealous of the stay-home moms?

JOEL: I think everybody always thinks the grass is greener. That`s what I think. I think --

PINSKY: So, here`s my message. Women: stop beating each other up. You have been doing it since you were 12. Now, stop it. Support each other.

I`m just saying, support each other. It`s a good message. Come on now.

Let`s take one more quick call. Tara in California -- Tara.



TARA: I just believe it is time for women to support each other and lift each other up.

PINSKY: See? See? I didn`t know you were going to say that. Congratulations for making my point.

TARA: Right. I have been a stay-at-home mom. That was my choice. We as women need to unite and support each other. If you choose to work or stay at home it is your decision and you can only determine what is best for you and your family.

PINSKY: So, Anne-Marie, I think what she is saying is these are very personal choices, but whatever the choice is, it needs to be supported more deeply, more -- in woven into the fabric of our society. Would you agree?

SLAUGHTER: I completely agree with that and I honestly couldn`t do what I do without a lot of the women in my community. I just don`t want to let workplaces off the hook.

I think we need to support all choices that women make, but this is a larger social problem and economic problem as well. And I think we really need to look at workplaces and say, what can you do and society as well?

PINSKY: Is that something that`s going to need legislative action, laws, in order to make happen? Or is it just going to need social resources? What`s it going to require?

SLAUGHTER: Look, there`s an awful lot that workplaces can do on their own. I think there are some things, obviously in terms of leave acts where government can play a role, but an awful lot of the stories that I hear can be addressed by simply being aware that, of course, it`s important for women to be able to be with their children and we can make it work -- with technology and with a change in attitudes.

PINSKY: Well, here`s my -- my sort of final thought. Hats off to all of you, Anne-Marie, thank you for writing that book.

JOEL: Thank you.

PINSKY: Nikki, thank you for your hard work.

To all the single moms and working moms --

JOEL: Strike a balance.

PINSKY: Hat`s off. I mean, we need to support women everywhere.

Anne-Marie, your book, surface every so often but somehow, I think this time, it`s caught a larger audience and it has got a little more traction. So, I hope the conversation goes on. Thank you for joining me.

SLAUGHTER: Thanks so much. You are doing your part.

PINSKY: I`m trying.

All right, teen pregnancy is down but concern is up. Next, I`m speaking to Lisa Ling about an issue -- listen, if you have teenaged kids, you need to think about this. Whenever parents say not my kid, that`s a sad statement. We all need to worry about this and know about it, after the break.


PINSKY: And welcome back.

Now, just ahead, I`m speaking to the lovely Lisa Ling about a topic she and I know very well, teen mom, teen pregnancies. Her documentary profiles pregnant teens and their struggles.

And I also have Olympic champion, Dominique Moceanu. She has the shock of her life, she evidently has a secret sister she never knew about and that sister has some interesting challenges. They are both here.

And later, I`m taking your calls on everything and anything.


PINSKY: So, get this, over a thousand, that is 1,000 teenagers give birth in the U.S. everyday. It`s startling that`s a big number, however, teen births are actually declining. Recently, fewer teenagers give birth, that is in 2010, than any year since 1946.

Here with me is Lisa Ling, host of "Our America with Lisa Ling" on the OWN network. She has a new documentary. It is called "Teen Momnation." It is airing Tuesday, June 26th, 10:00 p.m. eastern. And this is a topic I have been fighting and dealing with for 20 years.

This show profiles four teen girls struggling with life-changing decisions on how to handle their pregnancies. Take a look.


LISA LING, HOST, "OUR AMERICA": Do you feel like you`re having to give up your life, in a way? You`re so young.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Nope. My life just begun. It`s not like just because you have a baby, you`re stuck. Life is over. No. I can still do, like, what I want to do. Who`s stopping me?


PINSKY: Lisa, what made you decide to do this topic now?

LING: By the way, the woman you were just hearing from, she had not given birth to her baby yet, but she was still very ambitious about what she thought she would be able to do.

PINSKY: Before you answer that question, let me just say, this is -- we always see that the teen moms, the fantasy of being a teen mom is far different than the reality.

LING: That`s right. Having someone to love and who -- who needs them and provides unconditional love, absolutely.

PINSKY: Instead, the data bears this out, their lives come crashing down. They don`t finish high school, they`re unemployed, they`re on welfare or some sort of government assistance, that`s the data.

LING: Yes. And what drew us to this topic is, yes, the rate of teen pregnancy has declined enormously. We`re at the lowest level in 40 years, but yet, still, we have the highest rate of teen pregnancy than any where else in the western world.

PINSKY: Right.

LING: As you said, a thousand teenagers a day. And so, we wanted to get a sense of what`s like to live in the shoes of these young women who are dealing with having children so young.

PINSKY: Did you learn something specific from this?

LING: I -- I did. The teenagers we spent time with were very, very candid. One of them who had given birth to two babies said that she --

PINSKY: Like twins or you me one after the other?

LING: No. One after another. And that statistic is actually very pervasive.


LING: One in four teenagers will give birth to a second child within two years according to stats, but she said that one of the reasons why she didn`t take birth control is everyone talked about how you get fat.

PINSKY: We are now also joined by Sophie, one of the teens profiled in the documentary. Sophie was 16 when she got pregnant, decided to -- now, there`s a language in here that said give up her child for adoption. Adoption advocates hate it when you say that.

LING: Right.

PINSKY: How was that process for you? I`ve been through several children, young people that go through this, and it tends to be very emotional. Was it tough for you?

SOPHIE, GOT PREGNANT AT AGE 16: Well, it was tough for everybody. It was tough for my whole family, and as a teenager, you know, being thrown into such an adult problem and such a real world problem can be very, very scary, but I mean, it`s a scary experience for everybody.

PINSKY: Let`s take a look at Sophie`s story right here.


LING: That`s pretty selfless decision that you made. What was it like to give him up for adoption?

SOPHIE: I knew it was right, but I didn`t make it hurt any less, you know? I do have the resources, I do have the family. I do have all the help in the world, but, to me, it still wasn`t good enough. I really felt like Ben and Katie were such amazing people that they could really step up and be the best parents I could ever imagine for him. I just felt like they were the answer.


PINSKY: In fact, Lisa, only five percent of teens, I think it`s even lower than that, actually ever choose adoption. What would you say to kids out there? I mean, adoption is such a courageous and important choice.

LING: It really is such a selfless decision that Sophie made, and I`m so proud of her for doing so. And I think hers is a story that we should try to promote even more. Sophie comes from a family with resources. They probably could have provided a perfectly wonderful living for Sophie`s son, but Sophie knew that she wouldn`t be able to devote the kind of attention that her child needed.

PINSKY: Right.

LING: And that there were people who are ready to do so. Older people who are prepared to do so, and I commend her for her maturity.

PINSKY: I will say, Lisa, I don`t know if you feel the same way as I do, but I could not have raised a hamster at her age. I couldn`t have done it.

LING: Yes.

PINSKY: And so, maybe Sophie, you feel more ready, but the fact is I think it`s a very active parenting choice to put your child, to place your child in an environment where you know the parenting is going to be effective or complete, let`s say.

LING: Or they`re ready.

PINSKY: Ready, yes.

LING: They`re at a place in their lives were they`re ready to parent a child, and Sophie wasn`t.

PINSKY: I want to welcome in Catelynn Lowel. She is Caitlin from MTV`s "Teen Mom." And Catelynn, you and I have been working together for a while. You`ve been listening to Sophie. I know and I think many viewers know how intense your experience was with adoption. Any advice you have for Sophie?

VOICE OF CATELYNN LOWEL, MTV "TEEN MOM" REALITY STAR: Well, you know, I think that as long as -- you know, for me, I know what I did was right for me in that state, like at the time of my life, the decision was best for me and I feel like, you know, if you know in your heart that that was the best thing for your child, that`s what I live for every day, just knowing that, you know, that was the thing that I knew was best for her.

I did it for her. But you know, that`s how it helps me. That`s what helps me living every day, just me telling myself that I did what was best for her and that`s all that matters.

PINSKY: Sophie, are you still with the biological father of your child?


PINSKY: And my understanding is your adoption is very open. You`ve been able to organize very frequent visits, is that right?

SOPHIE: Yes. The relationship and the connection I have with the family is unbelievably genuine and unbelievably special. And we, you know, it takes both sides. We both really get to, you know, have our part and I get to see my son about once a week to a couple times a month to -- I mean, it really depends sometimes that they are busy and sometimes that I have things to do, but I do -- I`m very fortunate, I get to see my son a lot. Yes.

PINSKY: And Lisa to wrap this up, what`s the sort of take away from people? What are they going to learn when they watch your show?

LING: Well, I hope they take a lot away from Sophie`s story. I mean, she made an incredibly, incredibly difficult decision, but one that was so selfless. And I think that everyone is going to benefit as a result. So, I think her story is one that needs to be out there.

PINSKY: We have got to get behind adoption. We`ve got to make it --

LING: We have to promote it.

PINSKY: I totally agree. Thank you, Sophie. Thank you, Lisa. I appreciate it. Thank you, Catelynn. Back with more after this.


PINSKY: HLN wants to you live better now. Now, as part of that initiative, we`re bringing you stories that inspire you to do exactly that. Dominique Moceanu won an Olympic gold medal by age 17. It`s amazing. She was admired by young girls all over the world. A decade later, she received a letter that revealed a closely guarded family secret, a sister she never knew.

She had a sister who`d been born with no legs. Dominique is the author of "Off Balance" which tells this story. I spoke with her and her sister, Jen Bricker, about this, and how they managed such a huge reunion. Watch this.


DOMINIQUE MOCEANU, OLYMPIC CHAMPION GYMNAST: It happened December 10, 2007. I was nine months pregnant. And I received this letter from somebody who I didn`t know at the time, and that ended up being Jennifer who told me that she shared the same DNA. She preceded to have a document that showed my parents` handwriting on it, which was the adoption, you know, papers, and those lovely handwritten -- typed letter.

And then there was paper -- there were photographs. And the photographs looked exactly like my youngest sister, Christina. They looked like twins. So, by all of the evidence that she had placed in that letter, I knew she was for real and I wanted to make it right. There was no question in my mind. Of course, I had to get confirmation from my parents, but there was no question.

PINSKY: So you came to Los Angeles and met her? What did you do? What happened?

JEN BRICKER, GIVEN UP FOR ADOPTION ON DAY SHE WAS BORN: No. I actually found out when I was 16. And I immediately, obviously, wanted to meet my sisters and wanted to know, I exist. I`m here. And I want to meet you. And, so, I had four years, 16 to 20, of, you know, just trying to reach out to them and trying to let them know that I existed.

And at the end of 2007, I packaged up my heart and soul, sent it out on a hope and a prayer. And what I did, I knew I had one shot to show her that I was for real, not some crazy person. So, I made copies of all of the official documentation, the legal documents, really well-written letter and pictures, because the resemblance was just uncanny.

PINSKY: Now, what do you do now for a living?

BRICKER: I`m actually an acrobat and aerialist. I`ve been doing that for the past four-and-a-half --

PINSKY: But isn`t that peculiar, the same family -- or did they give you a family that they knew? Other Romanians that had similar aspirations for their kids or something? You know what I mean? How did this happen?

BRICKER: Couldn`t be anymore opposite. They are home-grown, country American parents who`ve never even seen a Cirque du Soleil show.


PINSKY: And you had a natural proclivity for it? You just wanted to do that?

BRICKER: The unbelievable thing is that ever since I was old enough, my one and only idol that I was fixated on happened to be my now turned to be biological sister.

PINSKY: Really?


PINSKY: She was your idol and you didn`t know --

BRICKER: My only idol. I knew -- I was drawn to her. She was small, I was small.

PINSKY: Isn`t that crazy? Doesn`t that give you chills to hear that?

MOCEANU: It`s amazing. It`s unbelievable.

PINSKY: Now, let`s turn attention to your parents. I mean, they look circumspect at best. They have one daughter who is, you know, a perfect specimen that they turn into an Olympic champion, and they have another daughter who`s born with some deficits and they give her away. What are we to think of that?

MOCEANU: Well, I think everyone is going to think different things. I think, unless, you`re in that situation, it`s very hard to judge.

PINSKY: Did you say what happened to your parents?


PINSKY: Did you get angry with them?

MOCEANU: Of course, I did. Rage was one of my first emotion, like, how could you do this to me?

PINSKY: Did you get angry with your biological parents? Did you ever meet them?

BRICKER: It`s hard to be angry when I was raised in such a great home.

PINSKY: So, you feel like -- you`re fine. You`re cool. But your sister`s angry. What did they say?

MOCEANU: That was one of my first emotions. I was like, why didn`t you just tell me? Why couldn`t you trust me enough to tell me?

PINSKY: Imagine what people are thinking at home?

MOCEANU: Oh, I know.

PINSKY: Right?

MOCEANU: Absolutely. I completely understand.


MOCEANU: But I also believe in forgiveness.

PINSKY: What was their explanation?

MOCEANU: My parents pretty much told me at the time there was a Romanian doctor that was there. They explained in Romanian, she was going to need medical attention, and my parents couldn`t afford to take care of her. They were delivering Jen at charity hospitals while had no insurance.

And the doctor said you have two choices. And my dad said, well, I just don`t think we`re going to be able to do this and take care of her.

PINSKY: So, it was the medical issues.

MOCEANU: That`s what they told me.

PINSKY: What is the condition you have?

BRICKER: Oh, it was just a birth defect. Just happens sometimes.

PINSKY: But why medically? Why were they concerned about medical need? Physical therapy or something? Is that a nonsense excuse?

BRICKER: I don`t think -- because I didn`t have any extra medical bills.

PINSKY: Right.

BRICKER: But it was maybe a thought that, you know --

PINSKY: They didn`t understand?


MOCEANU: They were afraid of the unknown, I think also. And at the time, the Romanian doctor, this is what they

PINSKY: Supporting that? They were supporting the idea.

MOCEANU: There was support -- exactly. And so, my parents at the time believe what a doctor said was gospel.

PINSKY: Now, what do they think now that you guys are back together?

MOCEANU: Of course, I`m happy and my father has passed away. So, he wanted to meet Jennifer when we found out. I think it was difficult for them, because I had to confront them and that was painful. But, in the end, I think they`re happy with our reunion.

My father never got to meet Jennifer, and my mom is still dealing with a lot of the emotional trauma she had from 20-plus years ago having to give Jen away, and dealing with all those emotions now is very hard for her. She came from an abusive marriage.

PINSKY: Your mom did? Abusive marriage. OK. It`s interesting that Jen got maybe the best end of the bargain, right? I mean, in spite of the one having been abandoned, she looks pretty good.

MOCEANU: She is great. She has a great perspective and outlook on life. And I think even though I`m so proud to call her my sister, I`m so happy for her. I`m glad that she did, because it would have broken my heart had I known that she suffered in her life. So, I didn`t want that for her.

PINSKY: She clearly did not.

MOCEANU: And she did not.

PINSKY: And Dominique, thank you for telling me this story and writing the book. And Jen, thank you for joining as well. Don`t break my hand, this grip. I wish I could convey this grip across the camera. It`s like -- it`s intense. You`re an aerial artist, right?


PINSKY: OK. I`m feeling that grip what you do. There you go.


PINSKY: All right. We`ll be right back with more calls after this.


PINSKY: So, time now to get on your calls about anything at all. Let`s start out with Leslie in Virginia.


PINSKY: Hi, Leslie.

LESLIE: I`ve watched you on TV for years, but I know that you`re a huge proponent of the 12-step approach to recovery. And I was just curious. Do you think that it is the only approach when it comes to achieving lasting sobriety?

PINSKY: it`s the only one I know of -- the way you phrased the question, I`m going to answer specifically the way you phrase it and then rephrase the question. The only approach that I have seen work is this approach. I`ve seen people try lots of things that work for periods of time. And Charlie Sheen said something, I think it was yesterday before, that I thought was actually quite (INAUDIBLE).

He said, it isn`t the one size that fits all, because people have been developing addiction these days are very complicated. They have multiple diagnoses, and sometimes, you can get the -- the main problem is really psychiatric and psychological and the addiction may actually be secondary, it may settle down sufficiently, if you treat the other problems.

But if somebody is truly an addict, then the primary principles that have been developed empirically to treat addiction which 12-step (ph) principle. They`re just a model that developed. It`s really -- ultimately, it`s a way of getting people to change their lives entirely, because you have to change everything when you be an addict.

And, develop the capacity to be closed to another person again. All 12-step is a guided, intimate relationship.

Janice in New York -- Janice.


PINSKY: Hi, Janice.

JANICE: Yes. I was wondering if you could tell me, I checked locally here where I live. Is there a difference between talk therapy and trauma therapy?

PINSKY: Um, you know, talk therapy is a much more global description of somebody just sitting and talking. You know, what froid (ph) in 150 years ago called the talk cure, talking cure.

Trauma therapy is taking many different forms and are sort of need to be sort of adjusted to the age at which you`re traumatized, whether it was chronic severe trauma, you know, what the nature of the trauma was and what age you were when happened.

These kinds of things sort of determine how it affects the brain, how it affects the body. The kind of symptoms that you`re trying to control and the probability of whether you can get a complete resolution. So, talk therapy is just sort of a global thing.

Sometimes, talk therapy is useful in trauma, but usually, trauma has a more specific series of kinds of interventions. And you need somebody who has real experience using those techniques.

I`m going to go now to Trish in Pennsylvania. Trish, what`s up?


PINSKY: Hi, Trish.

TRISH: I love your show.

PINSKY: Thank you very much.

TRISH: My problem is that I am a severe, severe panic disorder. When I hit the door for, like, a breast exam or pap smear, like, I literally freak.


TRISH: I haven`t gone for one in, like, five years.

PINSKY: You know, Trish, I share with you panic attacks. I mean, I`ve had them my own life back when I was in my early 20s. They are awful. They are horrible. People that never had them can`t understand how awful they are.

So, I sympathize with what you`re saying. I`ve had lots of patient with panic, and there`s two ways sort of ideas I would give you. One is, have you tried to have your panic completely treated? Have you gone for treatment? Trish?

TRISH: I left the treatment. And I kind of stuck (ph) it happened in my childhood.

PINSKY: Right.

TRISH: But therapist I went (ph) to blew it off and said that I wasn`t ready to deal with it yet and --

PINSKY: All right. Well, maybe it`s time to get in to some -- you know, get somebody more skilled, somebody maybe with an MD after their name, so in the short term, you can get medication to calm the panic down so you can learn that you can tolerate getting out in the world and doing things without inducing this panic.

That`s kind of how I got over fear of flying. I flew a few times without the panic. And low and behold, I fly all the time now.

The other thing, Trish, is you need a physician, a caretaker, or a nurse practitioner, or somebody who you really feel comfortable with who you really can trust, sympathizes with this panic, builds a close relationship with you and talks you through that experience of having the pap smear and the breast exam or what not.

I`ve had a number of patients who might been able to do this with. Get them into colonoscopies and biopsies and things that they were terrified of because we built a close, trusting relationship. Go do that, my dear. More of your calls after the break.


PINSKY: And we are back with more of your calls and we are starting with Brenda in Pennsylvania -- Brenda.

BRENDA, PENNSYLVANIA: Hi, Drew -- Dr. Drew. How are you?

PINSKY: I`m great, Brenda. Thanks for calling.

BRENDA: In response to why I`m still not married, I`m 54 years old, no children. There`s too much baggage, old baggage from prior relationships that are going on.

PINSKY: In your mind? So, you don`t want to -- you can`t trust committing to somebody long term because of the kinds of relationships you`ve had in the past. Is that right?

BRENDA: That`s correct. A lot of slobbering going on.

PINSKY: A lot of what? Say that again.

BRENDA: A lot of slobbering going on is what I call it.

PINSKY: A lot of --

BRENDA: -- control freak issues.


BRENDA: No trust.


BRENDA: There is no love.


BRENDA: Too much cheating.

PINSKY: Well, but Brenda, here is what I hear when you say all that. I say Brenda`s got a broken picker. Brenda is picking these guys. Brenda is attracted to these guys that are so, oh, they`re so cute. They`re so alluring. And they end up being abusive and abandoning and cheating.

And so, there`s kind of two ways to approach that problem, Brenda. And again, usually, it has something to do with your family of origin, usually dad, something about the way he sort of -- dads create the love maps for their daughters.

We`ll call it a love map, which you sort of fit with than your adult life. You got and get attracted to the same kinds of guys no matter how terrorizing or abusive or abandoning dad was.

BRENDA: Addicted.

PINSKY: OK. Well, there you go. And there are two ways to approach this. One is, don`t go for guys you find so attractive, that`s one. Maybe go for guys that are not quite so alluring and see if you can form a relationship with somebody`s not so exciting, i.e. healthier, or, you get therapy.

And in therapy, when you get treatment, people find that they are attracted to completely different kinds of people. They`re attracted to and by different people when they sort of rewire those love maps by developing a close relationship with a new person, a therapist, who with whom they develop the connections that give them that capacity.

I got to move on, my dear. I`m going to Vicky in Wisconsin. Vicky, what do you got?


PINSKY: Hi, Vicky.

VICKY: Thank you for taking my call.

PINSKY: My pleasure.

VICKY: My son was diagnosed with delusional disorder, a rare delusional disorder after killing his wife.

PINSKY: Oh, my goodness.

VICKY: And, I am wondering when the laws are going to change about committing a person like this before a tragedy happens.

PINSKY: Vicky that is a terribly complicated and very tricky question. You know, the attorneys are very reluctant to relinquish that kind of power to physicians. I see this all the time in my field in addiction. If I could just take somebody and lock the door for three months, I could save people`s lives all the time.

But people in this country are -- they`re within their rights to go out and use drugs until they die. Tell that to the poor parents and sisters and brothers of people who die of addiction. And the same thing is true of even medical problems that cause disorders of thought. There is a real sort of difficult line to walk. I don`t know the answer to your question.

Quickly now, Mary in Kentucky -- Mary.


PINSKY: Mary, very quick.

MARY: Dr. Drew.

PINSKY: Yes, ma`am.

MARY: I love your show.

PINSKY: Thank you, my dear. We got just a few seconds. Go right ahead.

MARY: OK. Can marijuana cause birth defects?

PINSKY: I`m going to say basically no. Though, people are studying this and are very concerned about that possibility. I`m of the opinion that pregnant women should not be taking any chemicals at all, marijuana amongst them.

There are some concerns about certain kinds of developmental issues in children that are born to moms who are addicted to pot. So, let`s say, it certainly ain`t a good thing even though I can say there`s specific defects that I`m aware of atop my head.

Thank you to all of you. Thank you to my guests. And of course, thank you to those are watching and those who`ve called in this evening. I will see you next time. And Nancy Grace begins right now.