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Sex Abuse Cover-Up Sentence Undone; Is Knee Surgery Unnecessary?; Delta's Rock Bottom Fare Flub

Aired December 27, 2013 - 07:30   ET


THOMAS BERGSTROM, ATTORNEY FOR MONSIGNOR WILLIAM LYNN: It didn't occur in 2004, 2005 and 2006. The statute had long run on those cases and there was nothing anybody could do about it so reporting it to the police was a non-event.

CHRIS CUOMO, CNN ANCHOR: The kid in the Avery -- first of all, I don't know that Monsignor Lynn reported these cases to the police. I didn't see that in the record at trial. If you have proof of that, that would be interesting to see. The kid, the victim, in the Avery case is in his 20s now. That's not the '40s, '50s, '60s, '70s, '80s or '90s. That's why they prosecuted it.

BERGSTROM: I agree with that. That's why they prosecuted. The problem is they prosecuted the wrong man. I mean, Monsignor Lynn had no direct control or authority or affinity to this young man.

CUOMO: Except through the priest. That's the part I don't understand. That's the part I don't understand.

BERGSTROM: I'm sorry.

CUOMO: Avery pleaded guilty so they prosecuted that man. You're saying the monsignor had no direct control over the child, but he did have direct control over the priest who had direct control over the child. And why doesn't that assume any responsibility in your opinion?

BERGSTROM: Because at the time that this offense occurred, the law did not provide for one in that position. The law has been amended. It was amended in '07, going forward, a supervisor of a supervisor can now be prosecuted. But in Monsignor Lynn's case, the law was not that in that time frame. They had to prove that he was either a parent, a guardian or a supervisor. And let me say this. There is no question in my mind that the district attorney in this case when they brought this charge against Monsignor Lynn, they knew full well he did not fit within that statutory scheme.

Because it was the district attorney's office over an extended period of time that lobbied the legislature to change the law, so they could in fact prosecute people like Monsignor Lynn if they could prove it. The reality is, they knew going in that this law didn't apply to him, and it didn't apply to him. That's the end of the story.

CUOMO: Right. But it can't be, though.

BERGSTROM: What do you mean it can't be?

CUOMO: I get that it's the end of the process inasmuch as this statute was misapplied and that's gone, but that's the system and how the system works that doesn't mean the right thing was done in the situation. You just said yourself there's a new law that would cover Monsignor Lynn. I wonder what your take is --

BERGSTROM: If they can prove it, yes.

CUOMO: Do you think your client did the right thing in this situation?

BERGSTROM: I think he did absolutely the right thing. If you read the record in this case, you will be surprised at how hard he worked and how many -- how many priests he had to deal with that were accused of sexual abuse. It simply wasn't Avery. There were many, many, many, and he handled each of them as best he could. It wasn't a situation where he -- believe me, there is no evidence in this record. I sat through this trial for three months. There was no evidence in this record whatsoever that he willingly transferred -- he worked very hard.

CUOMO: Please, go ahead, Mr. Bergstrom. Go ahead.

BERGSTROM: That's all right. He committed literally committed Avery, to nine months of inpatient therapy and the doctors in that inpatient therapy were satisfied that Avery was not going to abuse again. He relied on those doctors time and time again, OK? He did his due diligence. I mean, he did all that he physically could do.

CUOMO: Did the monsignor report Avery? Did he report anybody to the police?

BERGSTROM: Absolutely he reported people to the police.

CUOMO: He reported Avery to the police.

BERGSTROM: He reported Avery to the police -- no, he did not report Avery to the police.

CUOMO: You know he molests kids, but you don't report him to the police. You understand why that frustrates people?

BERGSTROM: Wait a minute. The one case that was on Monsignor Lynn's radar back in 1992 was a case involving a young man by the name of -- I won't mention his name.

CUOMO: Sure, sure.

BERGSTROM: It was a case that occurred in 1978. That's the case that was on monsignor's radar, not the Avery case with this young man who came forward in 2010. It was a case involving alleged fondling, period. And the young man met with Father Lynn, Father Lynn then had Avery committed with regard to that particular case. As I said, he was in nine months of therapy. Monsignor Lynn stayed in touch with that victim over time. So that was the only issue with respect on Monsignor Lynn's radar with regard to Avery.

CUOMO: I understand your point.


CUOMO: Obviously, I know you're not trying to say that fondling is less bad than other crimes.

BERGSTROM: Of course not.

CUOMO: I know you're being specific about the allegation involved.

BERGSTROM: That's right.

CUOMO: Why am I chasing on this? I'm chasing on this because the idea that those who knew weren't found responsible is really the key to why it continued so long. That's why there's sensitivity here. I understand the law wasn't properly applied in this stance. That's what the appeals panel said. As we both know, the new law would cover Monsignor Lynn in these situations. That's why the questioning is aggressive.

BERGSTROM: The new law would indeed cover him, but you know, at the end of the day, I mean, I think we all understand this, and the emotion in this case, you know, it trumped the law so to speak. Now we have the law trumping the emotion. That's where we have to come out. The law has to survive here and the law has to trump things like emotion. There are many priests who have been prosecuted and if they have abused children, they will be prosecuted going forward. But you know, at the end of the day, you've got to take a look at the law. You can't be guided strictly by emotion here.

CUOMO: Mr. Bergstrom, thank you very much for your perspective on the case. I appreciate you coming on. I know it's not an easy discussion to have.

BERGSTROM: That's OK. Thank you.

CUOMO: Let's get over to Pamela now, she is in for Michaela. She has other top stories for you this morning.

PAMELA BROWN, CNN GUEST ANCHOR: Chris, making news on this Friday morning, another cold, dark morning for more than 200,000 power customers in Michigan, Northern New England and Southeast Canada. Utility companies say many might not get electricity until the weekend. Frigid temperatures are keeping power lines coated in ice and Michigan expects a thaw tomorrow, but that could make tree branches snap and cause more outages. The storm is being blamed for at least 19 deaths.

At least six are dead, dozens more injured in a car bombing in Beirut. Among those killed, the former ambassador to the U.S. The bomb went off in the busy central business district sending black smoke over some of the city's most exclusive hotels there. No claim of responsibility yet. And a bus crash in Thailand has killed at least 29 people and left several others injured. Authorities say the bus went through a guardrail and plunged off a bridge that's 165 feet high. It's unclear exactly what went wrong here. At least one report says police think the driver fell asleep.

In a little bit of a lighter note, a charity soccer match brings out royal sibling rivalry. Princes William and Harry playing on opposite teams in a match between estate workers and locals, in a village 115 miles outside of London. The two princes collided at one point and Harry scored the second goal for his team. The match ended up being a draw, 2-2. The brothers were able to put aside their differences, probably help, but it was a tied game. They did hug each other at the very end. All good, happy ending.

KATE BOLDUAN, CNN ANCHOR: We didn't see what happened when the cameras turned off, though.

BROWN: Exactly.

CUOMO: One of those slightly extra hard bro hugs. I love you, too.

BROWN: Wonder if they would have hugged if it wasn't tied.

CUOMO: That's true.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Pamela.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, you might know someone who's had orthopedic knee surgery -- twice, Chris. But is the surgery just a waste of time? Doctors in the house when we come back to talk about it.

CUOMO: You may have notice something odd if you booked a flight from Delta yesterday, cross-country flights for 40 bucks? That's what the airline offered. That's what you bought. The question is, is that price still good? We'll tell you.


CUOMO: This is the perfect song to introduce Chad Myers in for Indra Petersons. He has the eye of the tiger, roar for us, Chad, roar.

CHAD MYERS, AMS METEOROLOGIST: I don't want to go with that.

CUOMO: That was good. Run away.

MYERS: He just got done with a blueberry doughnut, he has a sugar high and now he's throwing it to me.

It's 40 in New York City, 48 today in D.C. I busted you on the blueberry doughnut because they said he is the one who takes that blueberry doughnut every single time, 37 Toronto, 39 in Chicago. It does cool down after this warm up. It's a meltdown that will help at least a little bit. Help get these power lines back up and the next shot of cold air comes in after that.

We'll take the warm up while we can get it, chilly temperatures finally for Monday for Chicago and the like. We'll take the warm up because the next snowstorm could have been coming up the east coast. It's not. It's a rain event even rain for New York City because the cold air does not get here in time, that's amazing news. Now it's going to get some snow up into Killington, up into the ski resorts for late in the weekend, even into Maine and upstate New York.

But for the major cities, I still believe this is a rain event. The cold air can't get here in time for all of this moisture to turn into anything frozen or freezing. Here goes the forecast precip. There's a lot of it. Flooding down across the Deep South, at least an inch or two, you multiply that inch of snow or rain by ten, that's how much snow you'd get. We're talking almost 15 inches potential in New York City. That's not going to happen.

If all this changes and it moves to the left, watch out, Indra will have that for you next week. Right now I do believe this is a rain event for the northeast and we'll take that washing away some of the ice across parts of the upper Midwest -- Kate.

BOLDUAN: All right, Chad. I love you, Chad. Thank you so much.

A surprising new study shows the most common orthopedic procedure performed in the United States, a type of knee surgery, may not even be necessary. A lot of people need to pay attention to this. The findings published by researchers in Finland involved doctors performing an elaborately staged sham.

Half of the patients studied underwent the actual procedure, but the other half underwent a fake surgery. The results, there was virtually no difference in knee pain reported by either group. Let's talk about this and what this means. Dr. Roshini Raj, she is an assistant professor of medicine at NYU Langone School of Medicine. Dr. Raj, thanks for coming in.


BOLDUAN: So many people get this surgery in the United States. Chris has had two?


RAJ: Let's talk about what it means to have a sham surgery study. It's really fascinating when you think about it. When we do studies with medications, we might give a placebo pill and the real medicine. Exactly, so patients were actually wheeled into the O.R. They did have incisions made. Now every single patient who said he did have an arthroscopy that means tiny little incisions were made in the knee, a scope was inserted so the doctor could see what was going on.

But then only half of the patients actually had the actual meniscal repair or actually I should say the meniscectomy, which means removing damaged parts of the meniscus. That's the cartilage around the knee joint. The other patients were sewn back up although they did take the same amount of time so the patients wouldn't know which surgery they had. A year later, the fake surgery patients reported improvement as much as the real surgery patients.

BOLDUAN: Nearly two-thirds on both sides of the study said they were happy with the results and they would do it again if needed.

RAJ: Exactly, so this is one of the criticisms some people have to study, maybe that arthroscopy. So they were incisions made. There was a scope inserted. Maybe that act itself did have some sort of benefit. You may get relief some pressure of the joint. We are not really clear. Now the previous studies have shown in general people with arthritis as well as meniscal damage, this doesn't help. This is the first time we're looking at people without arthritis and a little bit of a younger population, no benefit.

CUOMO: And no trauma. That's important, too. No arthritis and no trauma.

RAJ: Exactly. So most people feel if you've had a sudden trauma or accident that causes a meniscal injury that this type of surgery would help, these are people that is more wear and tear long distance runners, for example. I think the takeaway here is everyone is an individual. Speak to your doctor about your individual case, whether or not you have arthritis, what was the cause of your injury and make a decision there.

I don't think everyone should stop doing the surgery altogether, but it is a reason to take a moment, pause, see what the other options are, whether it's physical therapy, anti- inflammatories, losing some weight, changing the way you do exercise. I think this is going to change the way people think about going to the surgery as kind of a first-line step.

BROWN: Age really should factor into the decision making, too.

RAJ: Sure, age as well as what your lifestyle is, what kind of damage, why did the damage occur, what kind of lifestyle are you doing in terms of your exercise.

CUOMO: Literally I'm an aging athlete. You have chronic pain, things hurt. I want that quick fix. The doctor says we can do the surgery. People jump at it with their backs, knees, shoulders, but it's not always the best thing.

RAJ: Let's also remember this was a one-year follow-up. We don't know what will happen five years down the road. Maybe there will be a difference. So it's one study. I never like to hang my hat on one study --

BOLDUAN: Fascinating.

BROWN: Where you see that placebo effect from surgery?

RAJ: Yes. There have been a few. It's not easy to sign people up for a sham surgery trial. They did it in Finland. Good for them because it does give you some very interesting results. BOLDUAN: Good to point out as we often say, every patient is individual but to take that moment to pause and figure out if there's an alternative that might be better.

RAJ: Absolutely, yes.

CUOMO: A little glucosamine-condritin is a supplement you're supposed to take. This conversation made my knee ache.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Dr. Raj.

CUOMO: Coming up on NEW DAY, the flu is back. You better stick around. It's already proving deadly. We're going to tell you who is particularly at risk this year. The strain is bad.

BOLDUAN: Also ahead, Delta says it will make good on bargain basement fares. You won't believe how cheap some of these tickets were.


CUOMO: It was the deal of the century for some lucky customers on Delta Airlines' web site Thursday, fares as low as -- wait for it -- $25 for round trip flights across the country. Delta called it a glitch. That means they're getting ready not to honor those ridiculous prices, right? I don't know. CNN business correspondent, Alison Kosik is here. Are they going to make good on what was offered and accepted?

ALISON KOSIK, CNN BUSINESS CORRESPONDENT: They are going to make good and accept it not because they're being kind -- maybe they are being kind, but really there's actually a Department of Transportation regulation that's on the books that says, listen, carriers, if you put these mistake fares up there, you got to honor them. Everybody who got this dirt cheap fares are going to be able it fly on these -- look at these prices.

There you go. One way Boston to Honolulu, one way, $68, one way Tallahassee/L.A., here's the round trip, New York to Seattle, $25 round trip. Hit the jackpot. The real jackpot is New York to L.A., $40.

CUOMO: Round trip?

KOSIK: These are round trip. At the end -- those are just some of the fares. This went on for a better part of the morning yesterday, the day after Christmas. So the times are kind of all over the map. We're hearing somewhere between maybe 9:30 in the morning to maybe as late as 1:00 that this was going on. People were so proud of their purchases that they took to social media and said, "Look what I got." They went to Facebook and Twitter and talked about it.

CUOMO: Divine intervention. All these people desperate to get away from their family, looking for a flight, pay anything it takes, and got a cheap flight.

KOSIK: I need to know where I was because I need to book flight. I was going to do it yesterday and got distracted. I could have been one of the lucky ones.

BOLDUAN: Once again -- this has happened before?

KOSIK: It has. Actually United Continental had something similar happen earlier -- actually, when was it -- this year. The fares were free, but you still had to pay for taxes and fees, but I'm sure that was pretty low and those people had -- those fares honored, as well, they flew practically free.

BOLDUAN: Do we know how many people --

BROWN: How many?

BOLDUAN: How many people --

KOSIK: Delta is not saying how many, how many fares were sold at the incorrect prices. I like one thing that I saw, the Associated Press was quoting George Hobika from He said it looked like Delta's programmers had a little too much eggnog yesterday. I love it, funny.

BOLDUAN: Is it as simple as they moved the decimal the wrong direction? I don't understand how the glitches occur.

KOSIK: Well, this guy from thinks that Delta was making a $10 to $20 change and the programmer made a mistake --

BOLDUAN: Only $10 and $20.

CUOMO: This former programmer.

KOSIK: Poor guy or gal.

BOLDUAN: A lot of people benefited for sure.

KOSIK: They've very lucky. I wish I was one of them.

CUOMO: They're honoring it, but they are no longer in existence.

KOSIK: Right. They were.

BOLDUAN: Thanks --

KOSIK: We can only hope it will happen again at one of these airlines.

BOLDUAN: If it does, don't talk about it on Facebook.

KOSIK: Keep it a secret, come on.

BOLDUAN: Thanks, Delta. Thanks, Alison.

Coming up next on NEW DAY, flu season arrives in the U.S., and it could be bad for younger adults. At least one state is already reporting deaths. Doctors say you need to get a shot before the virus really takes off. CUOMO: And a story we've been following from the beginning. An American sentenced to a year in a Middle Eastern prison for a joke. What is the U.S. doing to bring him home? What are they not doing? We're going to talk to a senator from his home state and try get answers coming up.



UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It was tough. It was dark. Candles can only do so much. The fire -- you got to keep that going.


CUOMO: Frozen, snow and ice covering big parts of the east, causing chaos. Now another round of arctic air as tens of thousands are already without power. We're tracking it all.

BOLDUAN: Happening now, a ship trapped in Antarctica, dozens of researchers and tourists on board. Now an icebreaker is arriving to set them free. We're live with the latest.

CUOMO: The flu in full force. It's started early in much of the country, multiple deaths in Texas. Why this year's strain is more dangerous for younger adults. Your NEW DAY continues right now.

BOLDUAN: Welcome back to NEW DAY. It's Friday. Thank goodness, December 27th, 8:00 in the east. Hope you're having a good morning. Power is still out and patience no doubt growing thin for hundreds of thousands in the northern U.S. and Canada. Snow and ice storms earlier in the week have claimed at least 19 lives, many because of carbon monoxide poisoning from generators.