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Brutal Child Beating Posted on Facebook
Aired April 8, 2014 - 19:00:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HOST: Tonight, outrage as sickening video of a child being brutally beaten goes viral. A mother watches as her 11-year- old son`s Godmother whips her boy with a belt, up to 60 times. How did this video surface? The abusers themselves posted it on the little boy`s Facebook page as punishment for him lying about being a gangster on that very page.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: In a six-minute video posted to Facebook, an 11- year-old boy smacked in the face and hit with a belt more than 50 times.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I watched the video, and I was disturbed by it.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Officers went to that location with Child Protective Services and made the two arrests.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The 11-year-old boy and an infant now in protective custody. The video shared more than 1,000 times before being deleted from the boy`s Facebook page.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law says that you can administer reasonable physical force on a child for disciplinary purposes. I think this was unreasonable.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You think? Good evening, I`m Jane Velez-Mitchell, coming to you live tonight.
And tonight, these three people are behind bars after the video they filmed and posted online went viral. Twenty-eight-year-old Demitria Powell was apparently angry that her 11-year-old son lied on his Facebook page. So last Thursday, she and Uteas Taylor, the boy`s godmother, beat him while repeatedly scolding him for pretending to be a gangster. I`m talking about 60 lashes! They`re beating this little boy to discourage him from pursuing a violent lifestyle. How does that make any sense?
Watch this from Facebook, and we warn you, it`s very disturbing.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANOS: Look to the mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) camera! Now Facebook, you see that gangster crying? You see this triple-O-G on his gear right here? See that? See this kid?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And that`s not the hard part to watch. Mother, Demitria brags on her own Facebook page that this boy is an honor student, but she also posts video of herself -- are you sitting down? Smoking from bongs and showing off guns.
In the state of Michigan, parents are allowed to physically discipline their kids. Where does discipline end and criminal assault begin? I want to hear from you. And we`re going to show you the video of her sucking on a bong in a second. Call me, 1-877-JVM-SAYS. 1-877-586-7297.
We have got a fantastic and fiery Lion`s Den debate panel lined up tonight. But first to NBC 25 reporter Walter Smith on the ground in Flint, Michigan. What is the latest on this unfolding horror story?
WALTER SMITH, REPORTER, NBC 25 (via phone): Jane, we know that this morning three people were arraigned on child abuse charges. That`s including the mother, Demitria Powell, as you said, as well as the godmother, who police say is giving out the lashings, more than 50, as well as the godmother`s boyfriend. He is the one that is taking the video. And then the video, you can hear him say that he would have said his name, but he is a wanted -- wanted felon. We don`t know that to be true, actually, right now.
So they are arraigned, and they are behind bars in the Genesee County jail right now here in flint shall, Michigan.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, yes, he does have a criminal history, and we`ll tell but that in a second. So much to go over here.
Cops say this 11-year-old boy, this little boy -- was beaten up to 60 times with a belt and smacked in the face. We can`t even show you the worst of it. On the tape, he`s accused of lying about his age and pretending to be in a gang. He`s 11! Eleven-year-old boys make stuff up.
The hypocrisy of this boy`s mother is right there on her own Facebook page. Look at this!
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Come on. You got to clear all that.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, mom seems to be enjoying a little sucking off a bong. So much so that she posted this video for all the world to see. But that`s not the half of it.
Judging by all this stuff, I mean, her Facebook page, she also seems obsessed with guns. OK? She captioned this photo of herself dressed as a cop for Halloween. "Get on my level .4 millimeter tonight."
She also fixated on cash. There is a picture of a baby with cash all over the baby. What`s that about?
Well, you know what? When I hear drugs, money and guns? What comes to mind? I think of gangs.
So straight out to the Lion`s Den. Oh, my gosh. Areva Martin, attorney, rather than beating this child for pretending to be a gangster, maybe mama should look in the mirror and figure out where this little boy got the idea from.
AREVA MARTIN, ATTORNEY: This is just so horrible, Jane, to see this mother treat this kid like this. It`s just beyond belief.
But I think for me the more important issue is we keep seeing these postings of Facebook pages of kids who are being disciplined or somehow, you know, abused by their parents.
We saw the little Nebraska boy a couple of months ago who his parents were encouraging him to use profanity, and they posted that on Facebook. Thank God that the Child Protective Services stepped in.
I want to see something done with these parents. We can`t keep separating them from parents, putting them in jail, putting them in foster care. What are we going to do to provide some resources, some safety nets so that parents like this can learn what it means to be a responsible parent and so that kids like this little boy have a chance at a...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Listen, I say throw them in jail! You know what I say?
MARTIN: Yes, she needs to go to jail.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Former prosecutor, I am sorry.
MARTIN: Who`s going to take care of these kids?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Not them! Not them!
MARTIN: Not enough foster homes in the world, Jane, to separate kids from their parents. We`ve got to give more support for the parents.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I disagree. Elura, former, prosecutor, Star of "Staten Island Law."
ELURA NANOS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Jane, I get it, that there is a problem that we don`t have enough good foster homes. But parents like this need to not have children in their custody. And maybe they can someday regain custody of their kids after appropriate counseling, parenting classes and interventions like -- that would help them.
But really, at this point we have to put the children first. We have to get the kids out of the care of these parents, put them some place safe and make sure that this kind of stuff doesn`t happen again.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Nora Moreno, attorney.
NORA MORENO, ATTORNEY: I agree with Areva, that a lot of this starts with educating the parents. And some type of a therapeutic intervention.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`m sorry, my dear. Nora, I love you. But we have, but we have passed the moment of education in this case. And I want to go out J. Wyndal Gordon.
J. WYNDAL GORDON, ATTORNEY: I thank you for coming out to me. Although the video was bad, it is a snapshot of a day in the life of these -- of the parents of this young man. I don`t look at this video and count the mother out as being a bad parent. Her intentions are good. Yes. Her intentions were good. It`s very important for...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t think her intentions are good.
GORDON: Well, I`ll tell you that her intentions are good, because she`s trying to discipline the child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: How do you think they`re good?
GORDON: Because she`s trying to discipline a child. Did she go overboard? Yes, she did.
NANOS: That`s ridiculous.
GORDON: Should she be corrected (UNINTELLIGIBLE) Is she a bad parent simply because she did this? I don`t think she`s a bad parent.
If we can`t say people are bad parents because they`re beating their kids and posting videos, who can we say are bad kids?
GORDON: Did you see the kid? He`s an honor-roll student. Did you see how he`s dressed? He`s clean. There`s nothing wrong with her parenting other than what we saw captured on this video.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I don`t know about everybody on this panel, but I`m holding my head so it doesn`t explode right now.
GORDON: Did the kid have marks left on him? Did the kid have marks left on him?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Anybody who watches a child beaten 60 times...
GORDON: OK. This is America. Children get beat in America. For disciplinary purposes. And you know what? The state sanctions it. The state...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: No. They do not sanction it. Absolutely not.
GORDON: It does sanction discipline. Corporal punishment is sanctionable in this state.
But corporal punishment is not beating.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go to Dr. Judy Ho.
DR. JUDY HO: Jane, this is an unbelievable case. And I`m sorry, I`m hearing a lot of feedback right now.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Look, here`s the thing, Nora Moreno, attorney. I`m sorry, I could see a spanking. Maybe a couple of spanks. But when...
GORDON: He`s not even crying.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You can`t see him because we`ve had to blur his face. He was hit with a belt 60 times!
MORENO: The problem -- I agree. But the problem with having a knee jerk reaction and removing children -- I do family law. And I see a lot of these foster homes aren`t any better than the original homes.
And maybe the better approach would be to educate these parents and step in with therapeutic approaches...
GORDON: I agree.
MORENO: ... instead of throwing these kids in with strangers who maybe have two, three, four, ten foster kids that are not going to get any care.
GORDON: Isn`t that the problem, though?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me tell you something. -- let me just say something. No, wait. I`ve got to say something first. We spared you the worst of this video. Because it`s too upsetting to watch. And maybe we made a mistake in doing that. Because it`s so upsetting that people were crying, people were nauseous after watching this video. So we decided in our wisdom that we weren`t going to show the worst of it, because it was too upsetting. But guess what? We`re recutting it right now so we can show you the worst of it. Because you`re all crazy.
And the reason why you`re all crazy is that -- and I`ll throw this at you, Laura Nanos, former prosecutor, these three adults tonight are charged with conspiracy to commit child abuse, a felony. Child abuse third degree. A felony. And child abuse, third-degree criminal, committed in the presence of another child, a felony. They can all go to jail for up to six years. That`s what the prosecutors felt about this video. Elura Nanos, former prosecutor.
NANOS: Jane, I agree. I mean, I understand the point that there is more to do here than to just remove children from every family whenever there is any kind of issue of any neglect. But this is a situation that goes far beyond just ordinary corporal punishment. This is excessive. This rises to the level of a criminal offense.
This is a case where the children need to be removed. Maybe they don`t need to be removed in every case. But this is absolutely a case where the children need to be removed.
NANOS: I don`t know if -- can I say something now, Jane?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I want to go back to Walter Smith, reporter, NBC 25. You watched it. Do you know what I`m talking about in terms of, you know, we can`t show it -- we can`t show it, because it`s too disturbing. And yet you, I`m sure, watched it. What was your visceral reaction as a reporter and as a human being, Walter Smith?
SMITH: Reporter: yes, our entire newsroom watched this video Friday night and we were all appalled by it. We just blurred out the face of the child and so did your show. Is really is six minutes, and there`s more than 50 lashings that you counted. But a lot of people when they`re watching this video, they really have to look away from it, because, you know, it is pretty horrible that this is happening to a child.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s go out to the phone lines. Shanay (ph), South Carolina. What do you have to say? I`m trying to get our panel back to planet earth. Shanay (ph), South Carolina.
CALLER: How are you today?
CALLER: I do not think this is child abuse at all. This is not child abuse. This child was fully clothed. He is 11 years old, pretending to be a gangster. He will get a beating worse than that in the streets versus in his household. He is fully clothed with no marks on him. He is fully clothed. So how is this child abuse? Where is the...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ma`am, how do you know there`s no marks on him? How do you know there`s no marks on him?
GORDON: Well, I would expect there could be marks on him. To constitute child abuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: So what? You can beat somebody to a pulp who`s fully clothed. This is insanity.
GORDON: In order for it to be child abuse, there has to be some type of bruising, some type of marks.
NANOS: No, that`s not true. No.
GORDON: I`m talking about physical child abuse. I`m talking about physical child abuse.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: This is physical child abuse.
NANOS: No, no, no.
GORDON: So -- OK. In the state of Maryland where I practice law...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. One at a time. Dr. Judy Ho, clinical psychologist, your response to that.
HO: It thank you, Jane. You know what? There`s so much misinformation out there about what constitutes physical child abuse. The clothing, the fact that it doesn`t leave a mark or leaves a mark, that is not part of the issue. OK?
And as we already know, this is not the worst of the video, OK? So with a parent like this, yes, I understand the education piece that the other parents are talking about. But here is the problem.
The actual rules for corporal punishment is very stringent, OK? These videos you`re showing are already outside the lines of that. These parents definitely need to be prosecuted, and they do need to be removed, because these parents are not going to be educable in the short term of things. They will need to be removed from the home for at least a few years while these parents get their head straight.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. And one of them is on camera, bragging about his own record. On the other side of the break, we`re going to tell you about the criminal record of one of these individuals. Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Oh, wait a minute, wait.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At least three adults watched the lashings, saying on the video, the boy is being punished for having false information on his Facebook page.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
NANOS: Look to the mother (EXPLETIVE DELETED) camera! Now Facebook, you see that gangster crying? You see this triple-O-G on his gear right here? See that? See them, kids?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: That woman and the two others, the older woman who actually allegedly beat the child up to 60 times with a belt, are charged with three felony counts of third-degree child abuse and conspiracy to commit child abuse, child abuse -- child abuse committed in the presence of another child. Because there was an infant watching the whole thing.
These adults are supposedly trying to teach this boy not to be a criminal. But listen to the man, Stefan Felton, bragging about his own record.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
STEFAN FELTON, CHARGED WITH CHILD ABUSE: Facebook, I would put my face on there, but I`m a wanted criminal, so don`t look. Thank you. I`ve been locked up ten years.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So apparently he does have a record. We checked.
Let`s go through all the criminal charges. This guy has DUI, larceny and child support issues. And the godmother, possession of marijuana, driving with a revoked, suspended license. Those are not big charges. The big charges are the ones they got after this video aired. And it went viral.
I want to go back to the essential question of when does discipline cross the line into child abuse? And I have to start again with Elura Nanos. Apparently, what the law says is if it`s reasonable, like a spanking on the bottom. But no marking. So...
NANOS: You see, the law specifically does not lay out specific guidelines for what is OK for corporal punishment and what is not. For the very purpose that anything that could endanger the child`s life or health is going to be not OK. It`s always going to be held to be within the standards of reasonable corporal punishment. And you know what? It`s the kind of thing that we know it when we see it.
This is obviously unreasonable. This is far beyond unreasonable and all the way into criminal territory.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I agree. But it`s amazing that our panel -- including my friend, Nora Moreno -- I am -- I am shocked, Nora, at your -- at your assertion that this is somehow reasonable discipline?
MORENO: I never said it was reasonable discipline. I`m just saying I think there`s a problem with the system where it`s a kneejerk reaction to just remove the children.
Now yes, maybe the children need to be removed because, you know, these agencies are in a tough spot. If they don`t remove them, and God forbid a child winds up dead, that`s going to be a big problem, obviously. So the first knee-jerk reaction is to remove the children.
But I think the bigger picture and the bigger question is that this is going on all of the time in thousands, if not millions of homes that we don`t even know about.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, now...
MORENO: These parents need to be educated. This is a different world. We have Facebook. We have gangs. Parents need help.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Now we`re reracking the video. We`re going to show you -- wait a second. I want to show you. We showed you the soft part. Now we`re going to rerack the video and show you four of the 60 alleged hits with the belt. So watch carefully -- there we go. Boom, boom, boom. You can -- and you can also see some slugging going on. So you`re seeing boom, boom, boom.
Now 60, according to what the authorities said, and I`ll quote from the press release of the prosecutor`s office. Throughout the beating, the adults admonished the child not to get involved with gang activity. Near the end of the video, the child was in obvious pain, and he was squirming while being struck and still forced to hold onto the arms of the chair throughout the incident. Others were in the room, including an infant, in clear view of the victim being beaten.
I mean, I`m sorry. I am in shock. I am shock over this video. I`m also in shock that so many people are defending it.
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Stephanie, Indiana. What do you have to say? Stephanie, Indiana.
CALLER: I have a lot to say. To be honest with you, what they`re doing to that child is way beyond child abuse. That child needs to be taken out of that home, and the parents or the adults sitting in the background didn`t stop her from doing what she was doing to that 11-year- old boy is wrong.
I don`t agree with half your panel, I`m sorry. Sixty times is way beyond spanking the kid with a belt. If this was a Facebook problem, and the kid said something on Facebook that was not right, the mother should have talked to the child, deleted his Facebook and said, "You`re no longer allowed to be on Facebook and dealt with it as a parent" not as being abusive to her own child. That is wrong!
VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal Gordon.
GORDON: Yes. Again -- again...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You`re not supposed to have a Facebook page until you`re 13, according to Facebook rules. So, you know, I`m not a parent of children, human children. I have some pets, my companion animals. If I were a parent, I would think what I would do is pull the page. And say no, you can`t have a Facebook page. You`re too young.
Instead they post this beating video on the boy`s Facebook page. That makes sense to you, J. Wyndal?
GORDON: No, it doesn`t make sense. I mean, you can`t really defend their conduct 100 percent.
I mean, but parents, there`s no manual to being a parent. You just do the best you can. And sometimes parents do go overboard. I`m not necessarily making an excuse for them. But I`m definitely giving an explanation as to how this occurred.
Now with regard to this child, I`d rather see him getting disciplined by his parents than to see him shot by another gang member or shot by the police, because they mistake him for being in a gang. So -- what`s going on in this home...
NANOS: But his parents are teaching him to participate in the cycle of violence.
GORDON: Although I think we all agree, that the parents went overboard, I do not think that the child should be removed from the home. I think the parents -- I agree with the other attorney that the parents should get some parenting classes. Because you know what? By all other accounts, the boy is -- he`s an honor-roll student. He`s well-dressed; he`s well-kept.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What does that mean?
GORDON: That means he`s being well-parented.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time.
GORDON: That means he`s being well-parented.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time. First I want to go to Dr. Judy Ho...
MARTIN: Jane, can I say something?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, go ahead, Areva, sorry.
MARTIN: I just want to say, I want to be very clear. I`m not condoning the acts of these parents. I think it is child abuse. I think it is criminal conduct. And I think this child should be removed from the home.
But I think we need to have a bigger conversation about what do we do with all of these kids that are removed from homes...
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: That`s right.
MARTIN: ... how do we get them reunified with their parents and how do we create a safety net so that this little boy doesn`t end up in a gang and so that this boy doesn`t end up out of the home of his parents and in a foster home that may even be more difficult for him. So...
GORDON: What do you think -- do you think the police would have done? What do you think the police would have done...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, guys.
GORDON: What do you think the police would have done to that 11-year- old boy if they had suspended him of being in a gang? You think they just would have pulled out a belt and spanked him a few times, or would they have done something else to him?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He would be in juvenile justice.
GORDON: Oh, is that what you think? Is that what you really think? Or would he be shot dead somewhere like we`ve seen so many other times on this show?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Eleven-year-olds make stuff up. I mean, you`re saying that he -- you know, he`s accused of lying about his age, so he probably said he was 13 so he could get a Facebook page. And then he said, "I`m a gang member." I mean, there`s other ways to approach this other than hitting him 60 times with a belt.
MARTIN: They didn`t know that...
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on a second.
MARTIN: Not all parents know that, Jane. Not all parents know that.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: OK, Nora, you were saying.
MORENO: The parents didn`t know that there were other ways. I mean, the reason I point out that he`s an honor-roll student. I mean, they`re doing something right. If this kid is an honor-roll student, that`s impressive.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Or the kid is smart.
MORENO: Maybe he`s just smart, but good parenting usually has something to do with being an honor-roll student. Maybe these parents truly did just want to deter this child from thinking that being in a gang was cool. And this was all they knew.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Our callers are going crazy, off the hook.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: No, not a good idea.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: On the other side, we`re going to hear from some people. My question is, how is this beating going to psychologically damage him for the rest of his life? Let`s forget the physical for a second. But psychologically. Scarred? Stay right there.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The video sparking outrage over the weekend.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The law says that you can administer reasonable physical force upon a child for disciplinary purposes. I think this was unreasonable.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. We didn`t want to show you the actual beating, because it was too disturbing, but we have now shown some of the beating. We`ll keep showing you, because we want to show you that the reality, because people were saying, oh, it`s no big deal. It`s just regular old discipline. Well, you know, authorities have filed numerous charges against the person doing the beating, and the boy`s mom, who`s there, slapped him in the face, allegedly and lecturing him and -- look -- yes. Look at him cringing there, trying to get away from the belt, as the wallops continue.
Let`s go out to the phone lines. Heather, Connecticut. What do you say, Heather, Connecticut?
CALLER: Hi, Jane, good evening. I love your show.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Thank you.
CALLER: I just wanted to let you know I think that is an absolute horrible situation. I`ve never seen anything like it.
But I am a 36-year-old female who went through something similar when I was 11 years old. My parents beat me with a belt, because I was a half hour home late from school. It still affects me to this day at 36 years old.
So my concern is, this child, plus these parents, need to go to jail, No. 1. And No. 2, I feel as if this child, like myself, is going to have a very hard time in the future dealing with this kind of behavior.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy Ho, clinical psychologist, what is the psychological fallout of enduring something like this?
HO: Jane, just like this caller, Heather, mentioned, this can be life-long in terms of the psychological consequences.
And what I see in this video is that these parents are shaming and humiliating this 11-year-old child in their methods of, quote, unquote, "discipline," which we have already established, it is extreme aggravated child abuse.
So what does that do to a child? It makes them feel like they`re not safe in their own home. Their whole sense of self being fractured when they`re adults. And they continue to question themselves.
And guess what? People who come from abuse homes are more likely to go into violence, are more likely to join gangs, and are more likely to end up incarcerated. So in some ways, these parents are just promoting the consequence that they`re actually trying to prevent with their method of, quote, unquote, "discipline."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right. So Areva Martin, what do you make of the argument that it`s not just discipline, it`s public shaming, it`s humiliation? And it`s...
MARTIN: Dr. Ho makes the very point that I`ve been making all night. She just said very intelligently and articulately, that this child is likely to go into crime and violence because he`s been beaten. Those parents don`t necessarily know that. There`s no manual for parenting. Depending on their level of education, their level of sophistication, they may not know that at all, Jane.
GORDON: Well, do you think the child would go into violence if he was never beaten?
MARTIN: So that is the kind of education that parents need. That`s the kind of support -- that...
GORDON: Do you think the child would have gone into violence...
MARTIN: Can you let me finish, please?
GORDON: Yes, ma`am.
MARTIN: That`s the support and education that parents need in order to be better parents so that we don`t raise gang bangers, so that we don`t raise gangsters, so that this kid doesn`t end up dead at 15 or in the criminal justice system.
GORDON: Do you think that if --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: All right, J. Wyndal -- J. Wyndal.
GORDON: Do you think that the child would not go into violence, although he`s trying to emulate and pretend like he`s a gangster, if they took no action whatsoever? Do you think that would prevent him from going into violence? Do you think that this family invented whipping children with belts? Do you think that this hasn`t existed for the last 44 years or even longer than that? Do you think that this is something that`s just so abhorrent we have never heard of before?
This outrage just almost seems feigned for television. Children get beaten all the time. And although this probably crossed the line, I can`t say, because I don`t know whether or not he has any bruises on him. He`s probably more upset that he upset his parents than he is about getting these lashes that he took. He`s squirming. But what child does not squirm when they`re getting spanked or beaten, ok? I just am not buying into this all this stuff.
JUDY HO, PSYCHOLOGIST: That doesn`t make it ok, J.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: One at a time, one at a time.
GORDON: I`m just not buying into this. This "Oh, this is just so bad, this is just so terrible. He`s just getting beaten."
VELEZ-MITCHELL: 60 -- 60 belts.
GORDON: Ok, he went overboard, but you know what -- where are the injuries, where are the bruises. You talk about psychological damage.
HO: Wow. Oh my gosh, J.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ll tell you where -- the psychological damage goes right in the head.
GORDON: Ok. I know plenty of people who were beaten as children and today they`re doing just fine.
GORDON: They`re doctors, they`re lawyers. Oh yes.
GORDON: Oh, yes. Oh yes. I happen to know them. I don`t know --
HO: Oh my gosh. No, J. No J -- that doesn`t matter.
GORDON: What do you mean it doesn`t matter? That`s the sense of your argument.
HO: J., that doesn`t matter. You have no idea what --
HO: No, that`s not true.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on. One at a time.
HO: Just because they become professionals doesn`t mean that they`re ok. There are many professionals who suffer inside who end up having addiction issues because of their abuse --
GORDON: There are other professionals who were never beaten who go out there and kill people.
HO: -- who end up abusing other people. Let me talk, J -- because I gave you your chance, ok? There are a lot of professionals who end up having addiction issues, who end up abusing others as a result of all of their issues -- absolutely.
GORDON: Did you say addiction because you got discipline as a child?
HO: Addiction. Absolutely.
GORDON: Ok, I disagree.
HO: Sexual abuse, physical abuse, leads to addiction. Ok? And so just because they`re professionals does not mean they`re better.
GORDON: Sexual abuse and physical abuse lead to addiction?
VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to tell you, the phone lines are blowing up. We`re carrying this over into the next segment. We`re going to show more of --
GORDON: That makes no sense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- what really happened. We`re not going to soft pedal it so much for you because, you know, 60 -- 60 wallops with a belt I think is absolutely outrageous. We have others who disagree. But, you know what? I would -- I can`t even imagine experiencing something like that.
We`ll be right back. This is -- my head -- honestly, this is a mind- blowing conversation.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I can`t hear you.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I like them girls. Look, I`m doing the --
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: So we`re debating whether this is a criminal act as authorities believe, or whether this is just plain old, old-fashioned discipline. And, you know, this woman who is doing this said a couple things. And our producers reviewed it and listened to it again and at one point she allegedly says, "Usually I take your pants off" or words to that effect, which would imply this has happened before.
And she also said that her mother -- she implied her mother did this to her. And that she would come back and whip his ass some more if she felt like it. So I think that this could be a generational thing. And it could be something that`s happened before.
Does that alter anybody`s perception of what`s going on here? Because I`m profoundly disturbed by this -- I don`t believe that you solve violence with more violence. It`s a philosophical difference here, Nora Marino, attorney. I feel that to create peace, you have to exhibit peace.
NORA CONSTANCE MARINO, ATTORNEY: I agree. I agree. And frankly, I don`t even hit my dog when my dog does, you know -- isn`t acting on his best behavior. But these parents are clearly clueless.
The problem is that they are, you know, one of countless sets of parents that are clueless. And just yanking the children out and putting them into the system, the system is not always a nice, safe place. Sometimes the system is a worse place.
ELORA NANOS, FORMER PROSECUTOR: That`s exactly true.
MARINO: This is a global problem that needs to be addressed on a global level. And it really starts with education. These parents are clearly clueless. There`s no doubt about it. And I think the posting of this video on Facebook is a whole other set of abuse. That`s psychological abuse. That`s -- that is public humiliation. So there`s lots of levels here.
But I think the way we are approaching this as a society, it`s not working. Clearly, it`s not working.
MARTIN: And Jane I want to just echo what Nora is saying.
GORDON: Well, we`ve seen cases over and over again with cases involving --
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hold on one second. Let me let Areva speak for a second.
MARTIN: I just want to echo what Nora is saying. And also, Jane, you just told us this may be generational so one generation to the next is passing down this horrific parenting. And it has to stop. And it has to stop with education. It has to stop with getting this kid safe. We all want this little boy to be in a safe place. We don`t want him in a home where he`s being beaten 60 times with a belt.
But we also want something done about parents who don`t know any better. Because otherwise we`re going to be right back here watching a very similar video of a little boy being beaten and taken out of his home and we keep repeating the cycle. Let`s break the cycle.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. I believe we need to break the cycle. Elora and then we`ll leave J. Wyndal with the last word.
NANOS: Yes. That`s exactly -- that`s exactly true. And it`s our job as a society to say that we will not tolerate this type of behavior and that the first priority is to get the kid safe and then the second priority, which is a close second, is to educate the parents and educate society about what`s appropriate.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: But here`s the thing. I don`t think -- as a person who has done a lot of therapy and who has dealt with a lot of problems of my own, I`m a recovering alcoholic with 19 years of sobriety. You don`t educate people out of a problem like this. What is required is long-term therapy -- group therapy. Really getting to the root of what this is all about.
MARINO: That`s exactly right. Jane, maybe that`s what these parents need.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: J. Wyndal.
GORDON: I don`t agree that jail time is -- I don`t agree that jail time is the appropriate response. I think --
NANOS: Well, it is when it rises to this level.
GORDON: I agree with Nora. I agree with Nora -- everything that came out of Nora`s mouth. I agree with it. I think that education is key. I don`t agree with throwing everybody in jail just because we as a society get outraged because that is not in the best interest of that particular child, who is on the right track, aside from what happened with him and his parents.
And I don`t think it`s going to have any long-term effects except that he not be involved in gangs. And so although I don`t condone the activity of his parents, there is no manual to being a parent. And I think they`re doing the best they can. And I think they just went too far this time.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, maybe there should be a manual to being a parent. Maybe that`s the answer. Let`s make a manual and distribute it to everyone in America.
MARTIN: Hear, hear.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And the first page of the manual is, don`t beat your child 60 times with a belt.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or your god child. All right.
Guys, we`ve got another shocking gut-wrenching story. Somebody has some major explaining to do. And he`s a U.S. Congressman -- a married man with five children. And guess what he`s been caught on surveillance camera doing with a much younger married staff member. And this man ran on a family values platform -- next.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Images caught in December by a security camera in his Louisiana office and obtained by "Washington Citizen" a compromising image for a Southern congressman who ran on family values just last year.
REP. VANCE MCALLISTER (R), LOUISIANA: You can count on me to take those values to Washington.
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MCALLISTER: You can count on me to take those values to Washington.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A married man with five children caught canoodling with a woman who is not his wife -- a compromising image for a southern Republican.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, real-life scandal. This deeply religious married congressman campaigned on strong family values and his strong Christian beliefs. But tonight, the conservative father of five is caught on office cameras making out with his much younger staff member. Look at just-released surveillance video of Louisiana Congressman Vance McAllister, locking lips with his female staffer, who is also married, by the way.
McAllister`s hometown newspaper posted the risque video, recorded just two days before Christmas -- I guess Christmas came early. One moth earlier the conservative Republican was sworn into office surrounded by his wife of 16 years and their five kids. His entire campaign centered around his family and his family values.
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MCALLISTER: And here at the McAllister house, we have a big family breakfast every Sunday before church. Kelly does the cooking and I do the dishes.
MCALLISTER: Ok, ok, so mostly I do the eating. But it`s here in this house that Kelly and I work to instill the values of faith, family and country in our five children.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, that doesn`t dovetail of him in this video smacking face with 33-year-old scheduler, Melissa Peacock -- that`s her real name. And this was just a quick peck. They are caught on tape sucking face for at least 30 seconds. Who knows how long it went on?
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MCALLISTER: You can count on me to take those values to Washington, defend our Christian way of life, protect the unborn and be right back here every Sunday to do the dishes.
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VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, that`s so heartwarming -- ha.
The congressman apologized, saying I`m asking for forgiveness from God, my wife, my kids, my staff and my constituents who elected me to serve.
Straight out to the "Lion`s Den" -- I know you`re fired up.
MARINO: Jane, Jane. Break out the violins for this guy. Let me get forgiveness from God. This guy is as phony as a $3 bill. He runs under this principled conservative Christian platform and within a year he`s cheating on his wife. These guys have got to go.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know what? I say step down.
MARTIN: I agree, Jane.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Ok, go ahead -- Areva.
MARTIN: My problem with this guy is, he won`t stand up for his mistakes. He scapegoated this lowly assistant, fired her, made her leave her job, rather than standing up, being a man, being honest, accepting responsibility for his mistakes. He cannot be trusted.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, let`s get into the woman canoodling with the congressman. This is 33-year-old staffer Melissa Peacock. This woman works as his scheduler. She is married herself with two kids. Now take a look at Melissa on the left. Compared to -- we`re going to show you a comparison, the congressman`s wife of 16 years, Kelly McAllister. The older woman is his wife, the younger woman is this woman he was making out with. Some people have said it looks like a younger version of the wife.
To add insult to injury, the congressman`s chief of staff confirmed Melissa was taken off payroll since the kissing scandal broke.
So back out to the lion`s den -- I will say this Elora Nanos. Melissa ended up stepping down. We haven`t confirmed if she resigned, or she was pressured to resign or she just quit and said I can`t do the walk of shame down that hallway. They both made a moral breach but he`s the one campaigning on family and Christian values. If it`s turned out -- if it turns out she was forced to quit, does she have a lawsuit?
NANOS: She might. And I mean, I think it depends on the terms of her employment. But I think also what we`re going to see is that if it turns out why this was why she was forced to quit, she easily can file a sexual harassment suit against him. And how is anybody going to prove that this really was consensual or that -- or could she prove that she felt intimidated by him or that she felt forced into this.
NANOS: That`s entirely possible. And we have seen that happen before, and we could see it happen here.
GORDON: I could easily see it happening here. And this guy -- this is the same guy on his own commercial lied about doing the dishes. How can you trust this guy from the very beginning?
GORDON: Come on, this guy couldn`t be trusted. I think he is a disgrace. I think he needs to step down. And you say -- some people argue that marriage is a civil right. Well, he violated Mr. Peacock`s civil rights by stepping to his woman and slobbing her down on camera. This is terrible.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Judy, why does a guy who wants to make out with a woman not his wife then campaign on Christian values? The psychology of it.
HO: The psychology is that he knows he will get elected if he campaigns on those values.
GORDON: It`s the whole privilege thing. It`s the thing, I can do what I want, it doesn`t matter.
MARTIN: The hypocrisy.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Dr. Judy -- I`ve got to give Dr. Judy a chance to talk.
HO: And he realizes that that`s actually one of the ways that he can get the American public to like him. But guess what? That commercial looked like an infomercial. Did it remind anybody of an infomercial like what are you selling?
GORDON: I know he didn`t apologize for Mr. Peacock.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, he won on that commercial and he`s up for re- election, FYI. He`s up for re-election.
GORDON: He did not even apologize to Mr. Peacock.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: We`re going to take a short break. What does the husband of the woman that he was caught kissing have to say? You will not believe what this husband who was cheated on reportedly, allegedly, has to say -- next.
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UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Another congressman caught canoodling with a woman who is not his wife -- instead a congressional staffer. This time it`s Republican representative Vance McAllister of Louisiana.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
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UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Delete all of our phone history.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Couldn`t you just walk away?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: He`s meeting with the President in 49 minutes. He`s convincing the President to change his mind.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You would be making a disastrous mistake.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I feel like I`m losing track of my own (EXPLETIVE DELETED) administration.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Hit him again and hit him now.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He`s a dangerous man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I want him obliterated.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: An honorable man. Let`s make him suffer.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I don`t know whether to be proud or terrified.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
VELEZ-MITCHELL: The hit show "House of Cards" all about cynicism and moral bankruptcy; the same with another one of my favorite shows, "Scandal". There`s a sense that they`re just absolutely morally bankrupt these politicians. Now, Melissa, her husband -- this is the husband of the woman who was kissing the congressman who was married. He told CNN the congressman has wrecked his life -- excuse me -- he`s now filing for divorce. He says "The congressman has apologized to everyone in the world except me." And get this. They went to high school together. They were buddies.
Nora Marino, it seems like everybody in Washington is just, you know, morals be damned. Let`s just stay in power.
MARINO: This is the problem with our system, with politicians. Everyone makes all their decisions on what`s good for me. Nobody actually does their job and makes decisions based on what`s good for everybody else. This type of behavior is a perfect example of Jane you said it perfectly. Morally bankrupt people that win these elections based on nonsense.
VELEZ-MITCHELL: And by the way, you`re invited on anytime, Congressman, we`d love to talk to you.