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President Obama Stands by CDC's Handling of Ebola; River of Malt, Rock Reached the Village of Pahoa; Middle School Allegedly Raped After Being Used as 'Bait'; Unmanned NASA Rocket Blows up on Launch

Aired October 28, 2014 - 20:00   ET


ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: Good evening, thank you for joining us.

We have breaking news tonight. A long awaited NASA rocket launch begin normally enough, it ending just seconds later like this with. Watch.


COOPER: The fireball lighting up night sky. It happened in NASA's launch facility at Wallops Island, Virginia. People had lined up from as far away as Washington to view the ascent. The massive rocket, thank goodness, was unmanned. I just want to show you the launching again. It just happened.

Tom Foreman has late details and he joins now -- Tom.

TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Yes, hey, Anderson, take a look at this view from some of those spectators who lined up to watch it. And listen to how they respond as this goes very, very wrong.


FOREMAN: You can hear the explosion, you can hear their reaction. That is roughly three quarters of a million pounds of thrust being released in the wrong way as this rocket fell apart. It only took seconds, the bottom two-thirds of that rocket or the first stage, the explosion seems to be absolutely been centered there. How it happened, though, is a big mystery.

The company that is in-charge of all this, Orbital Sciences corporation, based in Virginia. They are under contract to NASA for about $1.8 billion for sending supplies up to the ISS. They have issued a statement saying it is far too early to know the details of what happened. We will conduct a thorough investigation immediately so they can figure out how this happened and how to keep it from happening.

But the impact is really quite significant here. This is a two-stage rocket, the first stage is fuel. It is rocket a rocket-fueled and liquid oxygen. And it does make a difference, because the experiment was supposed to go up simply of any lost, along with the equipment and supplies to the space station.

Now, there will be follow-up very quickly in terms of the supplies. There are other flight around the world which may be able to help make the difference there. But there will be the next U.S. launch, at the earliest, would be in December, that is by another private company, SpaceX, and that would not be out of this facility. That would be out Cape Canaveral, Florida. Nonetheless, a big setback to the aerospace community in this country, this very evening, a very big one and a shocker too -- Anderson.

COOPER: Tom, thank you very much.

Now Ebola, and one virus- related symptom that is proving especially hard to control. We're not talking about Amber Vinson, the nurse who caught Ebola from Thomas Eric Duncan, her symptoms are thankfully gone. She left Emory University hospital today. Listen.


AMBER VINSON, EBOLA SURVIVOR: While this is a day of celebration and gratitude, I ask that we not lose focus on the thousands of families who continue to labor under the burden of this disease in west Africa.


COOPER: Well, she is right. To that end, Emory doctors talked a bit about some potentially valuable insights they gained while treating her and others. We will talk shortly with Dr. Sanjay Gupta about that.

But first, we're looking at people experiencing a particular kind of Ebola symptom. This one mainly strikes elected officials and military commanders as well, causing them to behave in ways that experts on the virus say just doesn't make any sense to them.

It leads to public confusion, unnecessarily fear, possibly delays containment of the virus in Africa, and it end sadly in mandatory quarantine, not their owned quarantine, others including one volunteer in the fight against Ebola you have never heard of, but will in a moment because his case is so remarkable, the one who is already famous.

The famous one is Kaci Hickox, the nurse who returned recently from treating Ebola patients in Sierra Leone, despite showing no signs of any illness was taken from Newark airport to a make-shift isolation tent, complete with port-o-potty where she was supposed to live for three weeks.

Ms. Hickox was quarantined because New Jersey Governor Chris Christie and New York Governor Andrew Cuomo, they decided last week for reason that was public health experts need to understand or agree with to impose a 21-day quarantine on any medical personnel returning from any Ebola-stricken country.

But yesterday, they were forced to backtrack on those rules and Ms. Hickox was allowed to leave the tent. However, despite testing negative for the virus and that repeating despite testing negative, she still being required to quarantine herself at home in Maine for the next two and a half weeks. Governor Christie, who first denied he changed his policy, and then

main that Ms. Hickox had been showing symptoms, which she wasn't, this morning cast himself as the victim of politics.

He spoke to NBC's Matt Lauer.


GOV. CHRIS CHRISTIE (R), NEW JERSEY: I understand there is all kinds of protestations from the CDC, but we want stricter things than what they have been willing to imposed. And now they are incrementally, Matt, moving towards our position.

What is the difference, Matt, between telling somebody who is a health care worker at high-risk that they can't go in to public places, they can't go on public transportation and we want them to work from home? What is the difference between that and quarantine? This is because they don't want to admit we're right and they were. I'm sorry about that.


COOPER: Keep then Honest, though, CDC guidelines do not consider anyone high risk, as Governor Christie suggest Kaci Hickox is, unless they'd be either suffered a needle stick or have been treating patients without wearing protective gear. Again, neither applies to her.

As for the governor, even though he clearly has his differences with the CDC and Obama administration, what we're talking about here is bipartisan. Andrew Cuomo, as you know, is Democrats. So far governors from both parties in at least eight states have imposed policies and monitoring or quarantining high-risk individuals. Though some like New York, Connecticut, and New Jersey have since been relaxed some way.

Now the army, however, which is quarantining troops just back from building Ebola treatment facilities in west Africa, not exposed to patients doing construction work. More went in to quarantine today.

So the army and those governors to one degree or another are doing one thing, the CDC is recommending another. President Obama's so-called Ebola czar so far is under the radar, is hard to spot. People understandably confused.

Late today, President Obama again laid where he stands when it comes to health care workers.


BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: We are going to have new monitoring and movement guidance that is sensible, based in science. We don't just react based on our fears. We react based on facts.

(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Well, president meets tomorrow with health care workers who are volunteering to be in West Africa. We are going to talk more about that shortly with Jim Acosta at the White House. Also about the whereabouts of the so-called Ebola czar, Ron Klain.

But first, the story of a volunteer that I mentioned, the one you likely never heard of. His name is Ryan Boyko. He spent three weeks work in Liberia on a computerized disease tracking system. He was not exposed to one single person with Ebola symptoms though he did cross paths with that NBC cameraman before the cameraman became symptomatic.

When he returned to home, he developed a fever and diarrhea and went to the hospital where he twice tested negative for Ebola, twice. He was, one the doctor said, the only person in New Haven, Connecticut he knew for a fact didn't have a virus. So why is he now spent more than two weeks under forced quarantine with an armed officer outside his door?

Ryan Boyko joins us now from quarantine.

Ryan, thanks very much for being with us. I just want to be extra clear and extra clear, you don't have Ebola. You have never had Ebola. You had no contact with anyone who has symptoms of Ebola in west Africa. You have been tested for Ebola. The test came back negative and yet tonight you remain under state-ordered quarantine in your apartment with a police officer standing out there to make sure you don't get out or anybody is in. Has anybody given you a reasonable explanation for why that is?

RYAN BOYKO, EBOLA-FREE AND QUARANTINED IN CONNECTICUT: Yes, sadly that is the case, all that is true. And nobody from the state department of public health has contacted me at all to tell me why I am in quarantine. And the Connecticut guidelines as you alluded to have been shifting and unclear and it seems to be inconsistently applied.

COOPER: No one from the state health department has contacted you so how did you get put into quarantine?

BOYKO: The -- while I was at the hospital, the -- one of the doctors actually handed me a quarantine note that had been signed by the commissioner of public health in Connecticut. And so that was how I learned about it.

COOPER: And is -- I mean, is somebody coming by and taking your temperature or anything?

BOYKO: Twice a day, the local department of public health calls me and asks me what my temperature is and if I have any other symptoms but they don't come by in person.

COOPER: I mean, what amazes me that a state government can just declare -- can basically decide to lock somebody up in your apartment. Or in the case of the nurse, lock somebody up in a tent with a port-o- potty, even though, again, and don't have Ebola and even if you did have Ebola, you're not symptomatic, but again, you don't have Ebola, so -- I mean, does it shock you that this has happen to you? That the state can just do this to you?

BOYKO: Yes, certainly the first 28-48 hours after I received the quarantine, I was in disbelief, I was very angry at the whole process. And I've had quite the crash course in public health law trying to understand it all. And trying to make it so that it won't happen to people in the future.

COOPER: I think it is important to underscore, so, you were not treating patients in Liberia, you were assisting the Liberian health ministry with computer technology. You were there to help Liberian government deal with the epidemic. How much of a chilling effect do you think this kind of quarantine are going to have on others who want to go there and help?

BOYKO: Even while I was at Yale New Haven hospital to get my Ebola rule out, one of the physicians treating me, she and her husband had been applying to go to West Africa with the WHO, had gotten a leave of absence from the hospital. They were totally serious about going and were almost ready to leave and said they just couldn't go anymore because they didn't know what to expect when they got home. They were going for four weeks, and that is what they could get a leave of absence from the hospital for. And they just couldn't afford to nearly double that amount of time off work. And they just had no idea what to expect when they got home.

COOPER: You know, I've been tweeting about this a lot for the last 24 or 48 hours. And some of the response that I got people say will look it is just out of an abundance of caution the government has a right to just lock you up. Keep you hold up in your house or whatever in a tent for 21 days, it is not pleasant but just out of an abundance of caution. It is going to protect everybody else. Does that make any sense to you?

BOYKO: No, I don't think that is applied to any other kind of the law. You can't lock somebody up because they might pose some kind of danger later. It is unfortunate in this country right now that the public health law is very vague in a lot of states and it is just not clear what the government can and can't do. But this is undermining public health efforts both in West Africa and at home and it undermines confidence in the people who are experts in public health here to have politicians going above and beyond any kind of rational science-based policy. And outwardly saying the scientists are wrong and they know more about it than they do.

COOPER: I mean, this really does seem to be about politics from these governors. I mean, they want to be seen to be doing something. Understandably, it's popular. But it is not based in science. And again, I keep coming back to do people really run the government or a governor to be able in a position to just point their fingers at somebody and say well, you're not sick, you're not contagious, but I'm going to have you locked up anyway. I'm going to quarantine you anyway for 21 days just because you might be sick someday down the road and then you will be contagious. I mean, that seems like a lot of power to give a politician.

BOYKO: Yes, I completely agree. I think that there needs to be much clearer standards. There needs to be judicial review of anybody who is going to get quarantined as the laws need to be a lot clearer. I think that in isolated cases, quarantines may make sense and for certain diseases at certain instances. But it just doesn't make sense now. And it is being used politically. And so I think there needs to be solutions in changing some of the laws and clarifying those things.

COOPER: Well, again, I want to repeat. You do not have Ebola. You are not contagious. I mean, if you develop Ebola and you develop and you start to show symptoms and be contagious, that is one thing. But you don't have Ebola and you are not contagious and yet you're stuck in quarantine.

Ryan, I'll continue to follow your case. I appreciate you talking to us.

BOYKO: All right, thank you.

COOPER: All right, a quick reminder. Make sure to set your DVRs so you can watch "360" whenever you would like.

Coming up next, lessons learned in American hospital that could help Ebola patients wherever they may be. Dr. Sanjay Gupta joins us for that. And later, we are going to take you to Hawaii where lava has for one neighborhood and its firing path. Incredible pictures ahead.


COOPER: President Obama, as we said at the top, made it clear this afternoon that when it comes to Ebola he stands behind the CDC and with the health care workers who are sacrificing their time, potentially even their lives to deal with the source in West Africa.

In a not so subtle jab at Chris Christie and other state governors, he said that facts not fear should carry the day. However, he deflected the question on why that same criticism doesn't necessarily apply to the army. And he didn't mention his owned Ebola response coordinator, the nearly invisible, Ron Klain, which only amplifies the question who is doing the coordinating.

Jim Acosta in that angle. He joins us tonight from the White House.

The president came out in strong support of health care workers who go to West Africa to assist in the fight.

JIM ACOSTA, CNN SENIOR WHITE HOUSE CORRESPONDENT: That is right, Anderson, the president tried to make the case to those states out there that the CDC's less stringent guidelines for health care returning from West Africa are the way to go and not take the approach in New York and New Jersey of tougher quarantine rules.

The president said these doctors and nurses should be quote "applauded, thanked and supported," a clear contrast the White House is with what happened with New Jersey governor Chris Christie who state confined a nurse to a tent for three says. The White House fears that kind of treatment will discourage workers from going over to West Africa which they think will impact the fight over there. COOPER: The meeting tomorrow with health care workers back from West

Africa, is that just a photo op? It that the kind to send a message?

ACOSTA: A little bit of both, Anderson, the president says he will be meeting with doctors and nurses returning from the hot zone and some who are on their way. You will recall, the president visited with, and actually hugged that nurse, Nina Pham last week here at the White House. You know, this is the White House trying to reassure the public that these health care workers should be welcome back with open arms and not quarantines.

COOPER: What about Ron Klain, the so-called Ebola czar? You questioned White House press secretary Josh Earnest about him today. What did he say?

ACOSTA: That's right. the White House's Ebola response coordinator Ron Klain, everybody is asking, where is he? He has been on the job for a week. We haven't seen him. White House press secretary Josh Earnest says that Klain has been briefing the president nearly every day since coming on the job. He has visited health and human services. He will go to the CDC later on this week.

But it is interesting, Anderson, I talked to a key Democratic strategist who asked not to be named who said, you know, Ron Klain is being in a good capacity here. He is good at the behind the scenes and working with various agencies of the federal government. But what this strategist couldn't understand is why Ron Klain is not out there more publicly. He said he excels on that area as well.

COOPER: All right, Jim Acosta. Thanks very much.

Let's take deeper now at the politics and so the potentially life- saving lessons that doctors today at Emory say they have been learning.

Joining us, chief medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta, also former CDC disease detective Seema Yasmin. Currently, she is a professor of public health at the University of Texas in Dallas and a staff writer for the "Dallas Morning News."

Sanjay, let me start with you. So Emory University said, they were saying that they have actually learned things from treating Amber Vinson and others?

DOCTOR SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes, it is very fascinating. Because it is still a small number of patients. I mean, you know, in order to really say you learned things in the publishing, you would want to look on more patients.

But one of the things that really stock to me was this idea was to say how aggressive should you be with somebody who is really, really sick with Ebola? You heard Dr. Frieden say not that long ago, we don't know if doing things like dialysis or putting someone on a ventilator is worth it. Is it really going to help somebody? And could it put the health care workers at increased risk? What Dr. (INAUDIBLE) said, he is saying those things seem to make a different. They seemed to prolong life and he would recommend it. This is a different way of looking at and treating Ebola.

COOPER: Also, Amber Vinson seemed to recover very quickly, they believe that because she probably got exposed to a small amount of Ebola?

GUPTA: There are all sorts of theories about that. I heard that theory as well. One is, you know, you get diagnosed earlier and you treated earlier.

COOPER: Because I always thought even a tiny amount of Ebola is devastating.

GUPTA: Here is the way to figure out. A tiny amount can be devastated if it starts to get in your body and replicate unchecked, if you don't get any kind of treatment. In her case, she got a blood transfusion that has antibodies from someone who would actually survived Ebola. Could those antibodies then come in at an early stage of her infection and keep that Ebola from virus from replicating and making her more sick and prolonging her illness?

We don't know. I mean, you know, people in the United States, somebody who is healthy and has a very robust immune system, they're more likely to do well as it is, as opposed to someone who has a weakening immune system. So there could be a variety of reasons. So these are all of sort of astonishingly fast recoveries.

COOPER: Dr. Yasmin, I mean, you're friends with the nurse, Kaci Hickox, the nurse who was quarantined after landing in Newark. What do you make of the fact that still today, New Jersey governor Chris Christie continues to say she became asymptomatic. I mean, she doesn't now, nor did she ever have Ebola. And the more accurate temperature readings at the hospital done the same day confirmed she didn't even have a fever.

DR. SEEMA YASMIN, FORMER CDC DISEASE DETECTIVE: It is very frustrating, Anderson, what we're being told by politicians doesn't align with the facts and not with the science either. We now got these new guidelines from the CDC that really do align with the science. Instead of blanking everybody who is coming back from west Africa is as the same category. The new guidelines categorize people with different risks, depending on what they have actually been doing in West Africa, what their activities have been and then determine the kind of monitoring they need based on that level of risk.

COOPER: You know, Sanjay, it is interesting. I talked to the head of doctors without borders in the United States. And she said without a doubt they have already seen a negative impact on the people's willingness to go over and volunteer their time because of the reaction here in the United States.

GUPTA: That doesn't surprise me at all. And I have spent a lot of time with these doctors without borders. And look, they already taking -- a lot of them have jobs, right? They're essentially going there and doing this in addition to the work they already do. So they may go four weeks or three weeks at a time. You are essentially adding three more weeks on to that when they get

back away from their jobs, away from their ability to be with their families, all that sort of stuff. So it is already taxing, difficult work that takes time away from their families and their professional life. And now you're adding this other things on. So it doesn't surprise me at all.

And remember, Anderson. Before this, we were saying that there could be 10,000 cases per week in West Africa. If you start to diminish the amount of resources in terms of these health care workers out there, I mean, that number could get worse.

COOPER: You know, Dr. Yasmin, it is interesting, because I don't see a huge international response to this. I mean, Doctors without Borders is an international group. They have doctors and nurses from all around the round coming. But in terms of governments for, all around the world, there have been some promises itself, but on the ground, you know, the U.S. has sent troops. There are some British forces who have gone and a few other countries, as well. But there have not been a huge global immediate response on the ground and that is kind of shocking to me.

YASMIN: It is very shocking. And in fact, now it seems like we're actually moving back yards, Anderson. The Australian government has been out, that they won't be sending any health care workers and is actually stopping any humanitarian aid to this part of the world. And also not allowing travelers from Guinea, Liberia, Sierra Leone to enter Australia. So at a time when we need to be really ramping up the response, sending in more doctors, more health care workers, more troops in fact, we're seeing the other countries are not stepping up. And it is delaying the response and really fueling the spread of Ebola in West Africa.

COOPER: All right, Dr. Seema Yasmin, thanks. Sanjay Gupta, as well.

As always you can find out more on the story and others at

Just ahead on this hour, imagine seeing this oozing toward your house. The people in the Hawaiian village, it is exactly what they are facing right now. We will have details on where the river of lava is tonight, how fast this moving and what in (INAUDIBLE).

More breaking news, the pictures are pretty unbelievable. You're looking at what happened to a NASA rocket. We just got late details coming up.


COOPER: On Hawaii's big island, a river of malt and rock has reached the village of Pahoa oozing closer each hour to home. It is a natural disaster unfolding and slow motion. The killer way of volcano started to spew lava back in June. The people live in Pahoa has been holding their breath. Tonight, it looks like fears could come true.

Martin Savidge joins me now.

So the residents of this place, Pahoa, have they been evacuated yet?

MARTIN SAVIDGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT: No, they haven't. I mean, there are a few who have taken it on their own voluntarily to get out of the way. But there is no official evacuation.

This is Pahoa village road that I'm standing on right here, also known as Main Street anywhere else. It is the primary road that goes to town. The road black there is trying to keep people out of the neighborhood, at least, that area which is most threaten currently. And only those who live down there are allowed to in, Anderson.

Right now, the lava of the last report we have, has burned ounce of property. It was a small structure that was burned early this morning. We are talking about a shed. But otherwise, a home that had been jeopardized, it's now pushed past that without burning it. It is still though very much a threat to this community, and the danger is only growing by the hour. So far, the people here, they are just more drawn to it as a tourist attraction.

COOPER: And Martin, I understand you went out in a helicopter today over the outskirts of the town. What did you see? How fast is this stuff moving?

SAVIDGE: We're talking about yards per hour, so it's not moving in any really fast way. But helicopter is the most incredible way to take a look at this, because once you're up in the air, it almost looks like a gray river. Only what you realize is no, that was liquid rock. The other thing that is surprising to those of us who don't follow volcanoes all the time, the lava is moving under ground. In other words, what you are seeing on top is just sort of the scarring effect of it.

But the real danger is underground and it can pop up at any place, at any time, so it is slowly moving along.

The thing is, it is just inching its way into this neighborhood. And it speeds up, it slows down. The truth is, nobody can give you an exact time frame of when a home or a specific part of the neighborhood is threatened. It just sort of all happens in slow motion.

COOPER: And is there any way, this may be a dumb question, to divert or somehow redirect the lava?

SAVIDGE: No, not a dumb question, same thing I asked. In fact, Hawaii, over the years, has tried all sorts of ways to maybe divert it. They even bombed it from the air at one point. They've constructing dikes and dams and trenches. None of that has ever worked. Nature has always found a way around it. And the problem they say with diverting it, and there are a few people here who are trying to divert it around their property, is you only push the lava somewhere else -- in other words, someone else's back yard. They do not in any way endorse that people try to do that.

COOPER: Martin, thanks very much. There is a lot more happening tonight. Randi Kaye has the 360 news and business bulletin. RANDI KAYE, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, breaking news, the U.S. government is increasing security at more than 9,000 federal buildings in the wake of threats from terrorist organizations and the recent attacks in Ottawa, Canada. Department of Homeland Security Secretary Jeh Johnson called the move a precautionary step.

In a tweet sent from his hospital room, 14-year-old Nate Hatch said he loves and forgives the cousin who shot him and four other classmates at their school outside Seattle. Two of the students and the shooter died there. Police say the gunman lured his victims, including two of his cousins, to the cafeteria with a text.

A friend of Boston marathon bombing suspect Dzhokhar Tsarnaev was convicted on two counts of lying to federal agents during the investigation of the 2013 attack. Robel Phillipos faced up to eight years in prison on each count, and a $250,000 fine.

Colorado authorities say they haven't ruled anything out in their search for a 53-year-old Denver Broncos fan. Paul Kitterman (ph) vanished during a game last week. Investigators are combing hundreds of hours of surveillance video for any possible clues.

And it is not clear what Walmart was thinking when it decided to market some of its on-line Halloween costumes as fat girl costumes. The backlash was swift and fierce. Walmart removed the page from its website and apologized in a series of tweets. Anderson.

COOPER: Randi, thanks very much. Just ahead, a 14-year-old special needs student in Alabama, this is an extraordinary story, allegedly raped by another student after a teacher's aide came up with a plan to use her as bait to catch the student in the act. We'll tell you what happened. The problem was, no one came to help her. What happened next is frankly hard to believe. That is next.


COOPER: It is a horrifying case in Alabama. The family of a special needs student at a school in Madison County is suing over an incident that happened nearly five years ago but is still affecting this young woman, devastating her life. The girl, 14 years old at the time, was allegedly used as bait to catch an accused sexual predator, who was also a student at the school. A legal brief in the case said a teacher's aide encouraged the girl to go with the boy into the bathroom so teachers could catch him in the act. Only no teachers came into the rescue, and the girl was allegedly raped. The teacher's aide has since been forced to resign, but there have been no repercussions for the school's administrators, who allegedly knew about the plan, or for the alleged rapist, beyond a few days suspension. CNN's Victor Blackwell spoke with the young woman and has more on the story.


JADEN: I just felt like I was set up by the teachers.

VICTOR BLACKWELL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: We'll call her Jaden. It is not her real name, but for the first time, she is telling her story publicly.

JADEN: They gave me a word that they could not keep.

BLACKWELL: Sparkman Middle School near Huntsville, Alabama, January 22, 2010. Jaden was just 14 years old, and a 16-year-old eighth grader was propositioning her in the hallway. Again.

What would this boy say to you?

JADEN: He would just always ask if I wanted to have sex with him and things like that.

BLACKWELL: And what did you say?

JADEN: I usually just ignored him.

BLACKWELL: Jaden says a friend suggested she tell a teacher's aide, June Ann Simpson. Simpson knew of other girls the boy had tried to lure into the bathroom for sex. So Jaden says she told Simpson. However, when Simpson alerted the school's principal, Ronny Blair, he told her it had to be proven that he was guilty of something before he could be punished, according to court documents. So Simpson hatched a plan. In this written statement, Simpson explains how she wants to catch the boy using Jaden as bait. She writes "I was tired of that kid, and she should go pretend she wanted to meet him so we could set him up to catch him."

And when she first asked you to do that, what did you tell her?

JADEN: I told her no, I didn't want to do it.

BLACKWELL: What changed your mind then?

JADEN: Because I just wanted it to stop.

BLACKWELL: So the plan went forward. Simpson says she told Vice Principal Jean Dunaway (ph) about the plan, but Dunaway said nothing. Jaden says she was there, too, but Dunaway denies that conversation ever happened. Jaden says she left the vice principal's office minutes later.

Did you see him in the hallway?

JADEN: Uh-huh.

BLACKWELL: And what did you say to him?

JADEN: I said we can do it.

BLACKWELL: Simpson watched school surveillance cameras, hoping to catch them walk in the bathroom. But she never did. Why? Well, according to Jaden, the boy made a last-minute change. He told me to go into the boy's bathroom by the gym, she writes, and then told me never mind, because everyone was around. The two went into a different bathroom. Simpson was watching surveillance cameras on the wrong hallway. JADEN: I thought they were going to do what they said they were going

to do. Be there and stop him. And just get him in trouble.

BLACKWELL: Jaden says she stalled, told him I don't want to do this and she tried blocking him, but she says it was not enough.

And no one came?


BLACKWELL: Jaden says the boy sodomized her. Simpson watched surveillance like this, given to CNN's by Jaden's attorneys, and waited for several minutes until students told her Jaden was not where she thought, that she'd gone into another bathroom. Simpson then sent a teacher to get them. They were found in a stall together.

JADEN: I told them what happened and they called the cops and my foster parent.

BLACKWELL: According to the boy's written statement, they started kissing, and that is it. Jaden, however, said from the start she had been assaulted. And although it was the aide's plan to bring the students together, the administrators shockingly said they were not convinced Jaden was actually raped. And when they were deposed by Jaden's attorneys more than two years later, they were still unsure which student's story to believe. Principal Blair said, "I still to this day don't know for sure what happened in that bathroom. And that is the way I just have to leave it." Vice Principal Dunaway told them, "I believe she took responsibility for herself when she went into that bathroom." Jaden's attorney even showed another vice principal, Teresa Terrell (ph), pictures of Jaden's anal trauma, and asked if a 14-year-old would have consented to that kind of sexual behavior.

Terrell replied, "I just don't know, one way or the other."

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: She didn't consent. She didn't consent.

BLACKWELL: This woman was Jaden's foster mom at the time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: When we send our children to school, we send them there with the trust that the teachers are going to protect them. But when you send your child there thinking they're going to be okay and something like that happens, it really thwarts your trust for the school system.

BLACKWELL: Attorney Eric Archrip (ph) represents Jaden and her father. They filed a civil suit against the faculty and the school board, claiming violations of state and federal laws, including sexual harassment provisions of Title IX.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If it had been followed, the allegations against this boy would have been properly investigated, and this result would have never happened.

BLACKWELL: In 2013, a federal court judge allowed claims of violation of state law, including negligence, but threw out federal claims against the faculty and school board. Appeals have been filed by all parties.

Attorney Mark Boardman represents the Madison County school board and school officials.

MARK BOARDMAN, ATTORNEY: He found that the board of education's policies were proper. He found that school administrators took appropriate action and complied completely with federal law as soon as they were notified of this unfortunate incident.

BLACKWELL: And what happened to the boy? Well, he was not charged with a crime. Instead, court records show the school suspended him for five days for inappropriate touching of female in boy's bathroom, and then sent him to an alternative school for a short time. But he eventually returned to Sparkman. It was at least the 13th sexual or violent incident in the boy's file, all in the space of two academic years.

What do you think?

JADEN: He just gets away with it.

BLACKWELL: If you're wondering about the aide and the administrators, June Ann Simpson, the teacher's aide, her attorney says she was forced to resign, but the others have kept their positions with the school system. Ronnie Blair and Teresa Terrell are still principal and vice principal here at Sparkman. And then there is Jean Dunaway, the vice principal who allegedly knew about the plan before it was enacted. She has since been promoted. She's now principal at a nearby elementary school.

Jaden eventually dropped out of school. And at age 19, more than four years after the attack, she continues to struggle.

JADEN: It is hard for me to have good days. I have days where I just want to sit there by myself. I get angry faster. And I -- I get insecure.

BLACKWELL: How will you get to those good days?

JADEN: By actually having our day in court and letting everything be known so that it won't happen again.


COOPER: Victor Blackwell joins me now. This is such a -- crazy it was allowed to have happen. I understand the Department of Justice has gotten involved in the case, right?

BLACKWELL: Yes, Anderson, this is now at the appellate level, but before arguments begin in that phase, attorneys for the Department of Justice and the Department of Education have released this 126-page amicus brief, it's really an opinion, point by point sharply refuting the lower court's decision. And the essence of the argument really comes down to this passage, I want to read it for you. "If Title IX imposes any responsibility on school officials to prevent sexual harassment, it surely requires a response when they learn, as here, that a 14-year-old special needs student is about to be used as bait to catch a 16-year-old student with an extensive history of sexual and violent misconduct."

COOPER: It is incredible that anybody thought using a 14-year-old as bait, it was a good idea.

BLACKWELL: Yes, the attorney for this teacher, June Ann Simpson, her attorney says that now looking back, it probably was not a good idea. And with the outcome, that he even agrees -- her attorney -- that it was the wrong choice.

COOPER: Victor Blackwell, thanks very much. Up next, more on the breaking news we brought to you at the top of the program. A NASA rocket exploding on launch, causing a huge fire ball. We'll take a look at what went wrong. CNN aviation analyst Miles O'Brien joins us with new details on this explosion, next.


COOPER: We're learning more now about that massive explosion during a NASA rocket launch in Virginia. In case you missed it, here is how the launch unfolded, then unraveled.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We have liftoff (inaudible). Main engines at 108 (ph) percent.



COOPER: So frightening to see. CNN's aviation analyst Miles O'Brien is on the phone for us. Miles.

MILES O'BRIEN, CNN AVIATION ANALYST: Anderson, thanks very much. This is a real reminder of what a dangerous and risky business this is. And we sometimes get the impression that launching rockets in space is dare we say routine? And it is not. What you're dealing with is a tremendous amount of force and energy coming out of the rocket engines. And (inaudible) problem with the turbo prop can lead what leads to catastrophic failures.

Now, we don't know much, we're expecting a NASA news conference at 9:00 p.m. Eastern time, which should shed a little more light on all this. One of the big questions will be, was there a failure that precipitated someone to initiate the destruction system on the craft, that the range safety system, or did the rocket just in fact explode because of the sheer force of all the kerosene fuel along with the oxidizer?

This rocket was built by a company called Orbital Sciences, under contract to NASA, to deliver cargo to the International Space Station. It was their third attempt to do that. They had about 5,000 tons of cargo on board. This is essential of course to keep the space station running. NASA now is going to have to step back and consider some other options for getting, among other things, food to the crew up there. There are other ways to get to the space station. The California based company Spacex provides services. The Russians have a cargo capacity, as well. So it is not as if the crew on the space station will go hungry or anything, but it is a huge setback for the program. NASA will have to re-evaluate a lot of things. Anderson.

COOPER: Miles, thank you very much.

The other breaking news tonight, increased security at federal buildings in the wake of the recent attacks in Canada, and calls by ISIS for similar attacks here. These types of warnings are not routine, of course, but in a way we're used to them. It's now the world we live in, but it hasn't always been that way. It was only 35 years ago America had its first brush with political and sometimes violent Islam. In just a few minutes, at the top of the hour, we'll bring you the CNN special report "Witnessed: The Iran Hostage Crisis," on November 4, 1979, protesters stormed the U.S. embassy in Tehran. Took 66 Americans hostage. Several were released, and 444 days later, the remaining 52 American hostages were finally freed. Tonight, we'll hear from some of those who were held captive, as well as journalists who covered the ordeal, and a White House insider. Here is a preview.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The Iranian revolution was the first time I ever heard the United States referred to as the great Satan.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This revolution was extraordinarily fast. The first outbreak of demonstrations was in early 1978. Basically, by the end of the year, the shah was leaving the country.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think we were caught unawares by the rapid rise of the revolution, by the unpopularity of the shah.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The U.S. embassy in Tehran has been invaded and occupied. The Americans inside have been taken prisoner, and according to a student spokesman, will be held as hostages until the deposed shah is returned from the United States, where he is receiving medical treatment for cancer.


COOPER: It is a fascinating look back. You can see the entire hour of the special report "Witnessed: The Iran Hostage Crisis" in just a few moments at the top of the hour right here on CNN.

First, though, can soda really age you as much as smoking? The Ridiculist is next. We'll be right back.


COOPER: Time now for the Ridiculist. I don't know if you saw the headlines about this study, but they grabbed my attention in a big way. I saw this in "Mother Jones," drinking a medium soda every day can age you as much as smoking does. Say what now? I guess smoke them if you got them. That's the lesson, right? No, that cannot be right. I am sure that is not what we're supposed to take away from the study. It is such a jarring idea, it's as if you suddenly found that eating a Big Mac is the same as shooting black tar heroin, which it's not, or if you eat popcorn and goobers at the movies, which I do, you would be better off washing down a handful of Oxycontin with a fifth of whiskey. I digress.

The study was published in the "Journal of Public Health," and it compared more than 5,000 adults who drink soda every day to people who don't, and found that people who drank a 20-ounce soda every day experienced the same kind of premature aging at the cellular level as smokers. Fellow Coke Zero addicts, take heart, they are not talking about diet soda.

So I spoke to Dr. Sanjay Gupta about the soda study, and he explained that it is the sugar that is the problem, and the way it is delivered in soda as compared to other things that have sugar.


DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SR. MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: 100 percent fruit juice has sugar in it. Did not really seem to have any impact on telomere length. Part of the reason could be is when you drink fruit juice, you are getting other stuff in there that can slow down the absorption of the sugar. If you eat a piece of fruit for example, it's much slower absorption. Candy bar is the same thing. When you drink a sugary soda, you basically -- the sugar is going straight into the system, straight into the liver and so forth.


COOPER: Basically, the study said that soda shortens your telomeres. Now, I'd explain telomeres to you, but Sanjay can do it much better because he is a neurosurgeon, so naturally he has all the hifalutin' scientific props.


GUPTA: This would be like the chromosome would be the middle part, and it is these things on the end that are your telomeres. As we go through our lives, all of us, no matter what, our telomeres start to shorten, and when they shorten a certain amount, your cells can no longer replicate. And that's when you start to have cell death, and eventually the human being will start to get to the end of their lives. What we're saying here is that the sodas tend to shorten these telomeres more quickly.


COOPER: I'll just point out that after a conversation about the dangers of sugar, Sanjay tried to give me that piece of candy. I'm just saying.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: I already had a little Kit Kat today. So I'm done. I'm done for today. I'm going to try to shorten -- limit the amount of sugar intake.

GUPTA: I want you to have long telomeres, Anderson.

COOPER: I have often wished my telomeres were bigger.


COOPER: Hey, lady! Yes, apparently now we have to worry about the size of our telomeres, as well. Thanks, science. By the way, in my defense, it's almost Halloween, there are some of these little Kit Kat bars around the newsroom. It's a mini Kit Kat. I drank a little can of Coke Zero every day. Everything in moderation, right? So here is to good health, a long life and long telomeres on the Ridiculist.

That does it for us. Thanks for watching. We'll see you again 11 p.m. Eastern, another additional of 360. The CNN special report Witnessed the Iran Hostage Crisis, starts now.