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Taboo Love?; Cheerleader Coach Scandal
Aired November 12, 2012 - 21:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. DREW PINSKY, HOST (voice-over): Tonight, "Monday Madness".
Crossing the line: Did some parents set up a high school cheerleading coach so she would be fired? Does the backstabbing, win-at-all-cost mentality make some mothers really mean? The coach was accused and cleared of shaking down moms tells her story for the first time live on television.
MELISSA PROCHILO, FIRED AS CHEERLEADER COACH: I just want my name cleared.
PINSKY: But first, could you imagine kissing and perhaps going even further with your own father? One adopted woman says she found her biological father and then was intimate with him.
JULIE DENEEN, AUTHOR, "WANTED": And I could tell that he, too, was struggling with feelings of attraction.
PINSKY (on camera): Can you understand that feels a little gross?
(voice-over): Is this an ultimate taboo?
Let`s find out right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: All right. Let`s get started.
Joining me tonight the author of the book "Wanted." Her name is Julie DeNeen. And her husband Andrew is with us as well.
We`re having a little bit of a technical issue. They will be with us on the phone and with us via Skype visually. There maybe a little mismatch between what you`re seeing and what you`re hearing. But I`ve asked them to -- well, for all of us to bear up for this rather than just have them on the phone. You just got a glimpse of them there.
Julie had an intimate affair with her biological father after having been reunited with him. I said she was adopted. That wasn`t accurate. The father had been absent from her life since childhood. And then they got back together and has experienced something called genetic sexual attraction.
Julie, please tell us what happened.
J. DENEEN: Well, I reunited with my father in February of 2011. It was a very intense, emotional reconnection. And I wasn`t quite sure what was going on at his end. It was a great reconnection.
And then when we were on vacation about two months after our reunion, he said to me that he had an e-mail that he wanted me to read. And on that e-mail, it said that he wanted to kiss me. And I was shocked and nervous and embarrassed and scared.
But at the same time I had been struggling with my own feelings of wanting to be connected with my father again. It wasn`t sexual, but it was very emotionally intense. And I said no, but he continued to ask. And eventually I said, OK. And we kissed and this began a very inappropriate and unhealthy father/daughter relationship.
PINSKY: So, Julie, you`ve written a book about this. Let`s help people understand apparently these feelings at least are not that unusual for people that have a genetic heritage they share -- there`s the book "Wanted" -- when they are reunited later as adults. I`ve read somewhere that as many as 50 percent of people who go through that can have some very uncomfortable stirrings. Is that what you`ve learned?
J. DENEEN: Exactly. What happens is that bonding process that you should have gone through as a child has not happened. When you reunite as adults, it kicks into gear. The problem is, that if you have any sort of brokenness or emotional issues, addictions, anything like that and you start feeling these abnormal feelings, it can get out of hand really fast.
And the minute I started to feel uncomfortable or like I wasn`t sure what was going on with me, I got into therapy and tried to talk this through with her. My father, however, didn`t do that as much. And so he started to press this as a plausible type of relationship that we could have. And even though I resisted it for awhile, eventually I gave in.
PINSKY: So, Julie, if somebody were to look at this story and say hey, he abused you. What would you say?
J. DENEEN: I would say that there`s no question that there was a lot of manipulation and psychological abuse. I was a consenting adult. In fact, by the end of the relationship, I was initiating some of the sexual encounters.
However, what people don`t realize is that there was such an imbalance of power. And I wanted him to be a permanent figure in my life. I knew being his daughter wasn`t enough the first time around, so I had to be something more. So I became much like his lover.
PINSKY: So, would it be accurate to say you used sex as a way to prevent him from leaving a second time? And if that`s true, how far did it go?
J. DENEEN: Yes, I did eventually -- you know, he was so delighted in me whenever I showed that side of him, that that became a way for me to make sure that he stayed. We did not have sex. I just want to be really clear about that.
And also I don`t want -- you know, I don`t want to bash my father. I`m trying to protect his identity, but the truth of the matter is that that is what happened. It was very sexually inappropriate, but we did not have sexual intercourse.
PINSKY: And I have a chance to review your book a little bit, Julie and let`s remind people this -- this is not a minor or incidental phenomenon. It took you to a place where you were suicidal. I mean, it took you to a terrible place.
Yes. We were taking calls at 855-373-7395.
Andrew, this question is for you. How did you tolerate all this?
ANDREW DENEEN, WIFE HAD INTIMATE AFFAIR WITH HER DAD: You know, that`s a good question. I don`t know that I wanted to let Julie work through the process of figuring it out. I didn`t want to force her to try to deal with it in a way that, like I was putting her in a jail cell because I knew that wouldn`t work.
So, I did what I could. I talked to him. I talked to her. I was very vocal.
You know, it was hard. It was very difficult. But I knew that she had to at some level figure how -- I had to help her get through it and not force her hand in one direction or the other. Because then it would have ended up in the situation where it would be the long lost love that maybe they could have had together or turn him into the good guy when, in fact, he wasn`t.
PINSKY: Right. I couldn`t imagine that you didn`t at least want to - - what`d you say force his hand. I mean --
A. DENEEN: Yes. I wanted to do a lot of things that were not good.
A. DENEEN: I wanted to act in love towards Julie and protect her as much as I could. She`s her own human being but let her work through the process of the situation rather than trying to force her to do what I wanted.
PINSKY: Let me take a quick call.
Mary in Kentucky, you got a comment?
MARY, CALLER FROM KENTUCKY: Yes. My ex-husband fell in love with his biological daughter, our daughter, and sexually abused her at age 10. She told me about that finally. She kept saying she hated her dad. She didn`t want him to come home from school. She went (INAUDIBLE).
And then one night, I just kind of told her to quit saying that. And I kind of like had her shoulders and I was looking into her eyes and I saw such pain and fear that I thought there was no way a 10-year-old girl should have this much pain in her eyes and I knew, because there had been signs that went right over my head.
PINSKY: Yes, this is such --
MARY: Right over my head.
PINSKY: This is so painful, so awful. And, Julie, I can see you becoming emotional just thinking about this. Can you help people understand how conflicted and confusing this experience is?
J. DENEEN: It was incredible. It was the darkest, most traumatic experience in my life. I had a daughter who was born with a very bad heart defect, this didn`t even match that. I was so tormented because I couldn`t tell what was right from wrong.
I was getting so fuzzy. You know, this father of mine was supposed to be the person that would protect me from heartbreak, that would love me unconditionally. And it got so confused because he continued to enter a sexual component into our relationship.
And because I was feeling already so much emotion towards him, it was very easy for me to take that next leap from the emotion to the sexual. And then I felt like, OK, I had him. But I was still terrified and guilt- ridden by this whole thing because I love my husband so much.
PINSKY: That`s amazing that Andrew stayed cool during this whole thing. I have this like upset stomach thinking about it. It`s just awful.
Now, listen, we`ll take a quick. We`re going to take a quick break. I mentioned that adoptees, there`s some theory that perhaps they are at risk for being attracted to biological parents when they meet. We`re going to talk to an expert.
Stay with us. More of your calls, 855-DRDREW5. Call in.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
J. DENEEN: I constantly wanted to talk to him. I wanted to be in his presence. I wanted to hold his hand, be, you know, under his arm, all that kind of stuff. And what happened was there started to be some tension. And I could tell that he, too, was struggling with feelings of attraction.
PINSKY: Can you understand that feels a little gross?
J. DENEEN: Absolutely.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Yes, a little gross, indeed.
With me are Julie DeNeen and her husband Andrew.
Julie had an intimate affair with her biological father after having been separated from him since childhood. It`s called genetic -- what we call -- genetic sexual attraction, GSA.
Thank you, Julie.
J. DENEEN: Yes.
PINSKY: And it is something that was extremely confusing and painful for you.
Julie joins us via Skype with her husband Andrew there. We`re having some technical difficulties. It`s not your television, but you`re seeing them on the phone while we look at them through Skype.
Also joining me now is adoption therapist, Susan Branco Alvarado.
Susan, so I need some help with this. I think for people hearing this for the first time, it`s almost mind bending to try to understand this. And yet I believe you work with these kinds of patients quite a bit and it is not that unusual.
SUSAN BRANCO ALVARADO, ADOPTION THERAPIST: Well, it`s important to start by saying that many adopted persons have reunions with lots of complicated feelings, but GSA is not necessarily the most common of those feelings.
So I would say in my career I`ve worked with about four people who`ve experienced GSA. So it does happen. I think part of the reason we don`t hear about it as much is because of the stigma surrounding it, but it`s very traumatic.
PINSKY: And when you say you`ve worked with patients that have had this genetic sexual attraction, are you meaning people who actually followed through on the feeling or this is how many patients have the feeling in total?
ALVARADO: I would say about 1/4 have followed through. But many people often have these feelings and don`t necessarily follow through. But they`re very confusing and disturbing, and it`s definitely not something that we talk about enough to prepare people for this.
PINSKY: And I would think -- Julie, I`ll let you ring in on this. Because the feelings are so complex for the child that is now an adult reuniting with a parent, it really is up to the parent as always to set the appropriate boundary, wouldn`t you say, Julie?
J. DENEEN: The thing that I tell people when I talk about this, is that a child was the one who was abandoned. The child was the one who is rejected on some level. So, when they re-enter that relationship, they`re already in the red. They`re not feeling secure because the parent was the one who made the choice to walk away no matter how complicated that situation was.
I felt more vulnerable because I was trying to prove I was worth keeping around this time.
PINSKY: And, Julie, I`m sure people are wondering how far did this get and how did he get you to walk down the path with him?
J. DENEEN: It was very -- it was very slow, it was very subtle. What happened was after -- you know, I became addicted to the feeling of approval that I got in affection from him when I did turn on this sexual part of me.
PINSKY: Let me stop you.
PINSKY: Was this a form of sexual or love addiction, do you think? Were you compulsively driven back to this person in a way you couldn`t control?
J. DENEEN: Yes. It was absolutely an addiction. It was -- it was terrible. And I remember saying to my husband, my therapist, I said I thought like the only way out was death, because I didn`t know how I was going to be able to get myself free from this.
PINSKY: You said you didn`t have -- you didn`t have actual sexual relations. What happened between you and he?
J. DENEEN: I mean, it was just a lot of inappropriate contact. I mean, we don`t live close together so we only saw each other maybe four or five times, but the relationship was completely inappropriate -- emotionally, physically. It was just not normal for a father and daughter.
PINSKY: Andrew, did you know this was going on the whole time?
A. DENEEN: It would come in spurts. You know, Julie and I have always had a relationship that has been transparent. We`ve always talked about everything. We`re up front with each other, always have been. I`ve known her about 20 years now and we`ve been together for about 15. So, nothing is really hidden between.
But I did notice at times that she would stop talking. And so I wouldn`t know exactly what was going on, but I knew something wasn`t right. And so I pressed her and asked her what was going on, just tell me, just telling me I can take, just tell me what`s going on. I need to know.
And so I would know at some points. Other points I wouldn`t know. I would just have a feeling, you know, that something`s not right here.
PINSKY: Let`s take another call. Terry in Maryland -- Terry.
TERRY, CALLER FROM MARYLAND: Hi, Dr. Drew.
I have -- I know of a family where this sort of thing happened, but it`s a little bit different from Julie`s story. There was a very prominent family in Florida where the father was a very well known doctor. They had two daughters, and he was molesting his daughters.
PINSKY: Well, now -- but, Terry. Having sexual abuse of children is different than what we`re talking about here.
TERRY: I understand, but I was just giving a little bit of background with what he was doing with his daughters at a young age.
TERRY: As they grew up, it continued. The oldest daughter went and got married. The younger daughter was a ballerina, and he got divorced. Soon after the divorce, he and the younger daughter set up a home.
PINSKY: Yes, Terry, again, that is an extraordinarily different circumstance of what we`re talking about here. That is very much what happened, say, to Mackenzie Phillips as she alleges at her book that she was being pulled into an appropriate affair with her father. That is different than somebody who`s had no relationship with that parent for many years, and then they reconnect as adult and are shocked to find that they have these stirrings.
And there are people, Susan, back me up -- this is not as uncommon, as you said. But to have it go to the point where Julie took it was somewhat unusual.
ALVARADO: Yes. I appreciate that you recognize that what this caller is describing is entirely different than what we`re talking about here with GSA. With GSA, we are talking about people who often have been separated during the childhood period and do not reunite until they`re adults.
PINSKY: There you go. More questions when we come back.
And later on, mean girls all grown up. We`ll talk about the ruthless world of cheerleaders and cheerleader moms. And it`s not just on "Glee."
Stay with us.
PINSKY: We`re talking about sexual relationships amongst some blood relatives when they`ve been separated by adoption or other reasons and reunited as adults.
Let`s go straight to the phones.
I`ve got Nicole in California -- Nicole.
NICOLE, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thanks for taking my call.
PINSKY: You bet.
NICOLE: Similar situation, father`s been away for many years. Recently back in my life. Unfortunately, he had a heart attack not too long ago, but from there kind of expressed some feelings that didn`t feel right.
PINSKY: He expressed them to you?
PINSKY: OK. One of the things Julie said, if you listen really carefully, she said that if there are brokenness or addictions, that sort of thing, there in either party, these things can go out of control. Has your dad got any liabilities?
NICOLE: He`s had a couple.
PINSKY: Yes. So, Julie, back to you.
So is that what people need to look out for when they reunite? What would you tell somebody who has a parent away for 30 years and is now searching them out?
J. DENEEN: I would say go really slow. I would say that if they do have any history of infidelity or addiction or anything like that, that it could get out of hand very quickly. There need to be boundaries in place. Each individual party needs to be in counseling to work through those feelings.
And with Carly and I we run the genetic sexual attraction forum. We tell people the feelings themselves are fairly normal given what you`ve been through, but acting on it is not. And it`s tragic and it usually ends in complete devastation.
PINSKY: And, Susan, we`ve been talking to women who`ve been affected by their fathers. Are young males apt to have similar experiences? Or is this something unique to women?
ALVARADO: No, it can occur with both genders, males or females.
PINSKY: Interesting. Do we have any other phone calls out there?
Again, the number is 855-373-7395.
I`ll need the name of the next caller. Can somebody give me that name?
There it is. Stacy.
What`s up, Stacy?
STACY, CALLER FROM CALIFORNIA: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thanks for taking my call.
PINSKY: You bet.
STACY: I just wanted to say that I read the book "Wanted" and I can`t really find any way to judge Julie, especially after reading all the comments on Facebook today. If anything, I have more compassion.
I never heard of GSA before, but after reading her book and her memoir, it was a book that I couldn`t put down I actually finished it. Then I just wanted to go out and give her a hug and shake her husband`s hand.
PINSKY: No, I know. I know that feeling. She`s that kind of person, too. And reading her memoir does, to make even more powerful kind of a feeling.
What were you reading at -- was it Facebook? What was the social media saying?
STACY: I was reading on Facebook, on your page actually. I saw the link on there and all the negative feedbacks from, you know, all the people who don`t really, truly understand GSA. And, honestly, I`ve just got to give her and, you know, her husband props, you know? I mean, not very marriages could probably handle this kind of thing.
PINSKY: That`s right. You guys do get props.
And, Julie, you`ve approached this is in a therapeutic kind of way and you`ve found your way through and healed as a result. Even though it really -- to be really clear here, this was a life threatening experience from a psychological, psychiatric experience because of this mess.
Julie, thank you for sharing. We hope to see you again soon. Again, the book is called "Wanted," is that correct?
J. DENEEN: Yes. It`s on Amazon for Kindle.
PINSKY: Thank you very much. And, Susan, thank you as well.
J. DENEEN: Thank you, Dr. Drew.
ALVARADO: Thank you.
PINSKY: All right, guys.
Next up, how far is too far when it comes to your daughter`s cheerleading ambitions? We have a shocking story of crossing the line when we come back.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY (voice-over): Tonight, "Monday Madness".
Crossing the line: did some parents set up a high school cheerleading coach so she would be fired? Does the backstabbing, win-at-all-cost mentality make some mothers really mean?
The coach was accused and cleared of shaking down moms tells her story for the first time live on television.
PROCHILO: I just want my name cleared.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: She joins us now. Melissa Prochilo and her husband Vince (ph), along with Melissa`s attorney, Gloria Allred.
Melissa, thank you for joining us. Tell us what happened and why you`re here tonight.
PROCHILO: Well, Dr. Drew, I`m here because I want to get my story out. I want my life back. I want my coaching job back. I`ve been investigated for over three and a half months, everything unfounded. I was cleared. I was the coach, then I wasn`t the coach. And it`s just not fair what I`ve been put through.
PINSKY: What was it that triggered this whole series of events? Was there some particular conflict with one of the moms or amongst the kids? What happened?
PROCHILO: Well, it started back in January. We had one practice before a competition, and I just had a few disgruntled parents who tried to -- what their daughter should be and what position they should have and what boy should lift them up in the particular stunt.
And I was constantly getting texts from them. And we didn`t do -- at the top of all, we didn`t do well at this competition. And I think that was the trigger point that started all the allegations.
PINSKY: Did you have any direct conflicts with these moms? Were they sort of -- were you guys fighting amongst yourselves?
MELISSA PROCHILO: No, no. Not at all.
PINSKY: Very strange. I was joking with Gloria during the break that people have been watching too much "Glee." They expect you to be like the Jane Lynch character. That if you`re winning or you`re a hard core cheerleading coach, you must be, somehow, some kind of maniac like they see on TV. Have they been watching too much "Glee" or what triggered all this? That`s what I`m trying to understand.
MELISSA PROCHILO: I think it was just entitled parents that wanted their way and wanted their coach back in the system, and they would do anything or say anything to get me out. And I`d been coaching in this community like my husband for over decades. We`ve coached hundreds of kids.
We both have amazing reputations, and it`s just sad that those -- just a few disgruntled parents, I don`t know how to say and why they would spend hundreds of thousands of taxpayer dollars to investigate me and then fight (ph) with me anyways. I just can`t understand this.
PINSKY: Vinnie, I wanted your perspective on this in just a second, but first, I`ve got to read a statement, CNN affiliate, WPLG, reached out to the school superintendent at the end of October but got no word back. Our staff attempted to contact the superintendent today, did not hear back either, perhaps, because of the holiday today. So, Vinnie, tell us was your perspective was on this.
VINNIE PROCHILO, ANGRY OVER HIS FAMILY`S SUFFERING: Well, my perspective is the fact that I`m here to support my wife. I`m here to support my family. I feel like our credibility, our integrity, our character has been violated through this whole thing. This has been going on for months. Basically, my wife has been dragged through the mud over the past, let`s say, like close to a year.
And it seems like there`s just a very few full self-entitled parents who feel like they can get whatever they want, whenever they want, and buy whatever they want. And in my opinion, it`s just not going to happen. We`re just not going to let it happen. I`m here to support my wife, and the main part, Dr. Drew, is that this doesn`t happen to anybody else.
PINSKY: I`m trying to understand what you mean by that. You mean, they`ve singled your wife out?
VINNIE PROCHILO: What I`m trying to say is that my wife was cleared on all charges during two intense investigations that lasted about five to six months. Everything unfounded. Everything. And yet, they still fired her.
PINSKY: Gloria, this whole story has everyone shaking their head. It made international headlines. It`s been misreported and reported. My understanding is they may be offering her job back for her. What is this? What are we look at here? Are we looking at jealousies or -- I mean, I`ve heard of weird stories like this in highly competitive sports situations and I guess this really is that.
GLORIA ALLRED, WANTS MELISSA`S NAME CLEARED: Well, you know, it doesn`t make any sense and I`m not surprised the school district really hasn`t gotten back to you because what are they going to say? We don`t have a reason for what we did. As they`ve both indicated, Dr. Drew, she`s been the subject of two intense investigations.
And she`s been absolutely vindicated, cleared. It was found unfounded. OK? So, therefore, why wouldn`t she have her job back? Why? There`s no answer to that. I was a teacher years ago. I was a credentialed high school principal. You need to support your teaching staff. All right? Unless, of course, they`re guilty of a crime, that`s a different situation.
Here, there`s nothing -- even -- no reason even to terminate her. There`s no reason to do anything. And she has been so popular with the kids. She`s been a cheerleading coach for so many years. This is not the first school that she`s been a cheerleading coach at. She`s been cheerleading coach before.
She`s the mother of four children. And, you know, she just wants what`s best for the children. And, you know what? Sometimes, parents are not going to agree on every approach. Sometimes, they`re not going to agree with everything a teacher says, but this is the coach. They need to support her. And most, that is the majority of the parents, do.
PINSKY: Right. It feels like -- in fact, I think we -- do we not have a parent on the line, a father that wants to speak in support? We apparently -- OK. Denise is there. Denise in Illinois -- Denise.
DENISE, ILLINOIS: Hi, Dr. Drew. Thanks for taking my call.
PINSKY: You bet.
DENISE: I`m from Chicago. I`m appalled.
PINSKY: Yes. It`s hard to understand. I think we all are kind of shaking our heads.
DENISE: It`s not bad enough for the politicians that pay to play now the cheerleading coaches?
PINSKY: It feels like there`s a -- it`s interesting, but it feels there`s a missing piece in this story. And it seems like if you really sort of follow where it gets confusing, it`s with the authority structure. Like, why would they have sanctioned her the way they did? I mean, I understand an investigation that there`s a complaint or whatever, but then, to take her job away from her feels funny.
ALLRED: Yes. It doesn`t make any sense especially --
PINSKY: And then to give it back again.
ALLRED: Well, especially because she was told that her job was safe. And that she wouldn`t lose her job over this, and especially when the investigations cleared her.
PINSKY: Melissa, help us. Is there something I`m missing here? It feels like there`s information left out. Is there something I need to know to help make sense of all this?
MELISSA PROCHILO: There`s nothing you`re missing except for we went up before the school board on the 19th of September. The disgruntled parents were allowed to go up and talk about me. And after that school board meeting was when I was told, walking out (INAUDIBLE) principal called me and told me that the superintendent is not going to hire me back and give me my supplement to coach again.
ALLRED: Yes. And she is a substitute teacher. She`s still a teacher. So, obviously, she`s qualified to be around young people and to teach them. It`s just the cheerleading coach issue which has raised its ugly head and she`s not allowed to continue to be the cheerleading coach, but why not? She`s good enough to be a teacher.
She`s had years of experience as a cheerleading coach. She`s been cleared. She ought to continue to be the coach.
PINSKY: I feel that there`s some funny business somewhere. It just does feel like the objectivity is missing. Well, coming up, how common are scandals like one of Melissa has experienced? One of the stars of "Big Rich Texas" is here with the reality check for each and everyone of us. There she is. Be right back after the break. And of course, your calls, 855-373-7395.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Labeled a mean girls coach, an international headline. The allegations of bullying, booster club violations, and other supposed improprieties were made by a handful of displeased moms. The evidence does not support the allegations in this case.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is Pandora`s box wide open. And we`re here to stop it. This is right versus wrong.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Melissa says she was fired from her job as cheerleading coach after a group of moms made false allegations about her. She was cleared, but she is still out of a job. Melissa, you know, this -- we`re seeing you very composed and, you know, speaking very reasonably about this whole experience, but this has got to have been incredibly painful.
MELISSA PROCHILO: Dr. Drew, it was a nightmare. It has consumed me. I was on the phone so much between January to still going on to this year. My daughter who`s 14, one night, I`ll tell you how much it`s affected my family, came down the stairs and said, I was on the phone because of another allegation after another allegation.
She`s like mom, you know, (INAUDIBLE) at her middle school, and she`s like, mom, just quit. You don`t need this. I don`t need to cheer. I can play soccer. You`re going to have a heart attack. I can`t take this anymore and I don`t want to see you go through this anymore. And it`s just -- it`s not fair. It`s just not fair for people to be able to do this to somebody who`s built a reputation in this community and volunteered so many hours of coaching.
Dr. Drew, I take kids to practice, I pick them up, I take them to dinner. I`ll do anything for my athlete. I`m just that type of coach, that type of person, and I don`t deserve this.
PINSKY: And Vinnie, I see you getting angry just hearing what your wife has gone through to just sit by why that happens has got to be make you feel helpless.
VINNIE PROCHILO: Absolutely. Dr. Drew, this past year has been very, very difficult. And I only pray this would never happen to any other family. It`s completely consumed the family.
ALLRED: And Dr. Drew, I mean, their daughter goes to the school.
ALLRED: The daughter was on the cheerleading squad. Can you imagine for children, what`s the impact of hearing allegations that investigation found were unfounded about their mom day after day after day, how upsetting is that.
PINSKY: And then seeing your mom crying and then leaving and being part of the cheerleading team that mom is no longer part of. It`s just so hard to understand this story. It feels like there`s something missing. Now, next up I want to bring in a woman who`s seen some of these moms in action. Connie Dieb, stars in "Big Rich Texas." Take a look at this.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She`s not allowed to date anyone until her and my dad are legally divorced.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Excuse me?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: You are not divorced?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, not legally. We`ve been separated for over a year and a half. So, in my mind, I`m divorced.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: They`re not, though. She promised me. So, no dating until the papers are done.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
PINSKY: Connie, you were actually a former cheer instructor. What do you think of what we`ve been trying to make sense of here tonight?
CONNIE DIEB, CAST MEMBER, "BIG RICH TEXAS": Well, it`s been awhile since I taught cheerleading. And when I taught cheerleading, it was completely different than it is today. We actually taught cheerleaders what their role was in the high school, to be leaders and role models. Today, it`s all about competition.
And I think the parents push their daughters to see how high they can jump and how great they can dance. And, my daughter`s going to be a flier and be on the front row. So, the pressure is there. It`s crazy. I`ve had so many friends say to me you need to be coaching. You need to be coaching. I said I would never be coaching today because the parents are absolutely crazy.
PINSKY: Do you have advice for Melissa?
DIEB: Oh, Melissa, I mean, I feel for you. You know, keep your head up. Keep doing what you know is right. You know, keep teaching these girls. They need you. These women are crazy.
PINSKY: Let`s take a call. Let`s talk to Laurie in Missouri. Laurie, go right ahead. Oh, Laurie`s off the line now. So, Melissa, I heard what Connie was just saying about the intensity of the competition, is that some of what`s caused the fallout? Is it too intense? Is it too competitive? Parents have too high in expectations?
There too much writing on all this? This is supposed to be extracurricular activity. Has it become so much more?
MELISSA PROCHILO: I think it`s a lot of pressure. It`s a lot of pressure for the girls. And the parents want them to be amazing and good and they want to win. So, it`s a lot of pressure on the coach also. You know, my spirit team was different. They`re the ones who cheered for the football team.
I had 58 cheerleaders on that team. And then, I pick my competition team out of those cheerleaders. So, they have to obviously be the best so we can do well, you know, at the competitions.
PINSKY: I`ll tell you what this conversation triggers me a little bit is how much teachers need to be supported, but how much burden teachers must take on today because of the expectations of parents. So, if there are teachers out there who want to share what that experience is like, I`d like to hear from you.
Again, it`s 855-373-7395. What is the perspective of the teacher? What would they tell Melissa? Got a call now. More of your calls after this.
PINSKY: All right. I want to get right into these phone calls here. Let`s go to Laurie in Missouri --Laurie.
LAURIE, MISSOURI: Hi there, Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Hey, Laurie. Melissa, you were unfairly fired. I have been there, done that. My daughter did all star from the time she was five years old. And I`m telling you what. Those parents get into a room, it`s like a snake pit. The worst thing you can possibly do is expose your jugular. And somewhere along the line, they found a weakness and they attacked.
I also coached varsity pom and I do -- in our high school. I refused to deal with the parents when they would call me, hound me, question me, and I`d say you need a talk to your daughter. I`m her coach, not yours.
PINSKY: Well, that -- Gloria, that is exactly the point. And Melissa, I`m going to let you respond to that. Is this about are you coach of the kids or the parents? I mean, who are we trying to bring along here?
MELISSA PROCHILO: I agree 100 percent. These are high school girls. They should come to me, you know, with their issues and their problems. I was told, though, by one of these moms, you cannot talk to my daughter. You go through me.
And, I guess I shouldn`t just -- I learned my lesson. I should have never answered their texts. The texting and harassing me and intimidating me, it was just horrible, you know?
PINSKY: Did you have -- did you get angry one time on a text? Is that -- was that sort of where this got off the rail?
MELISSA PROCHILO: No, not at all. I`m just saying by answering them, it fueled their power thinking they can text me more and more and demand more and more from me.
PINSKY: Got it. The boundary got crossed and just kept being crossed. Joining me on the phone is --
DIEB: Dr. Drew.
PINSKY: Who is that? Is that Connie? Go ahead, Connie. Go ahead.
DIEB: Yes. I mean, these are bully cheer moms, and they will stop at nothing. I mean, they`re just out for her. I mean -- she needs to ignore them, not respond to them.
PINSKY: Right. The bullying that goes on these days is really stunning on so many levels and so many platforms in all age groups. I mean, we hear about it al the time. Scott Etheridge is a cheerleader dad. He`s on the phone right now. Scott, you`ve been watching this. Your daughter cheered for Melissa. What do you see?
VOICE OF SCOTT ETHERIDGE, CHEERLEADER DAD, SUPPORTS MELISSA: Well, Dr. Drew, I mean, what you see here are parents who didn`t like the positions on the field, so to speak, that their children were placed in, and they went after Coach Melissa and got her fired. They used political influence. They leveraged relationships with the school board.
You know, the principal investigated. The school -- the Broward County investigated. They cleared her of all the charges, but yet, they fired her anyway. It was really, strictly political connections and who you knew.
PINSKY: OK. Scott, I`m going to tell you -- because I`ve been wondering where this makes sense. So, you`re saying there is some inappropriate, maybe ethical issues being raised here?
ETHERIDGE: Well, I find it funny that the school board just chose to not renew Melissa`s contract. You know, they granted every other coach in Broward County, but they singled her out at school board meetings. And that was very clear when we spoke. And the superintendent didn`t (ph) really give us an answer on that.
So, I think what`s really sad, though, is that this coach, the cheerleading team, all the students in our school, it`s an embarrassment for our community, because this is now reflecting on our school and our community. And it`s just really atrocious.
ALLRED: You know, there are some schools, Dr. Drew, where parents are not involved at all.
ALLRED: And the teachers say we need more parent involvement.
ALLRED: And then, there are other places where the parents are too involved.
PINSKY: We cannot get it right in this country.
ALLRED: They don`t accept responsibility for the fact that their kids may not have done everything perfectly.
PINSKY: But it`s not about the parent. The child is not an extension of the parent. The child is a separate person. Right?
ALLRED: Yes. And not necessarily to blame the teacher or the coach if they don`t like -- you know, how it was that their child turned out.
PINSKY: I agree. That`s why I wanted to talk to the teachers, because I know they must deal with this all the time these days. But, by the way, for the schools where there`s not enough parent involvement, let`s support and parent should get more involved.
Gloria, thanks for bringing that up. Gloria, thank you. Melissa and Vinnie, thank you so much for sharing the story with us here. It sounds confusing, but devastating. And we will watch very carefully. Connie, thank you as well.
Now, most of us have no ideas what are -- no real idea what the troops go through overseas. One father whose son was killed in Iraq wanted so badly to get connected to where this went down. He actually went there himself, and that is next.
PINSKY: Welcome back. Now, yesterday was Veterans Day when our nation honors the men and women of the armed forces. Within the relative safety of our own borders, it`s easy to forget the danger our troops face every day. But one father got a very real sense of that danger when he actually went to Iraq Sunni triangle to find the place where his son was killed.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: We leave. The first thing we`re looking for is no one`s following us. We`re looking for different ways to get in and out.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: OK. OK. Take the second route on the highway.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are certain areas that are tight spots when you`re traveling through the cities. People call them danger zones. We know we get to a point where if we get stopped there, it could be dangerous. So, when we come up to the danger zones, we start reacting a little bit differently. As we turned off the main highway into Yusufiyah, a guy turned to me and said, hey boss, they know we`re here.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Put your camera away.
PINSKY: That was just a little of HLN`s documentary about a dad`s devotion "108 hours: A Father`s Journey To Iraq." Robin Meade hosts the full special right after our show at 10:00 p.m. eastern time. And just a reminder here that hats off to our veterans and a deep heart felt thank you. I think one day a year is ridiculous.
We ought to think of our veterans and the women and men who are serving us every day in the field, we ought to think of them each and every day.
I want to say a thank you to my callers and my guests Melissa and Vince Prochilo, Connie Dieb, Gloria Allred, Julie and Andrew Deneen (ph), and Susan Branco Alvarado (ph). Thank you all for watching.
Now, up next is that documentary. You do not want to miss it. It is an HLN special, "108 hours: A Father`s Journey To Iraq." Stay on this channel. This is something you don`t want to miss. See you next time.