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President Obama Calls For Tougher Sanctions on Iran; Militias on the Rise?
Aired March 30, 2010 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
JOHN ROBERTS, CNN ANCHOR: Hi, everybody. Campbell Brown is off tonight. I'm John Roberts.
The president calls for tougher sanctions against Iran, but will that stop Tehran's march to nuclear weapons? That tops the "Mash-Up" tonight. We're watching it all, so you don't have.
President Obama met with French President Nicolas Sarkozy more than an hour at the White House today. When they emerged from behind closed doors, they were on the same page on Iran and its nuclear program, calling for strong sanctions.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: I'm not interested in waiting months for a sanctions regime to be in place. I'm interested in seeing that regime in place in weeks.
WOLF BLITZER, CNN ANCHOR: Sarkozy says his country fully supports harsh punishment for Iran. He also emphasizes the closeness and the strength of U.S.-French relations.
ANDREA MITCHELL, NBC: On his first visit to the Obama White House, in addition to the formal news conference, tonight, a rare perk, a private dinner with the Obamas upstairs in the family quarters, perhaps to make up for a perceived snub last June. That's when Mr. Obama refused Sarkozy's invitation to dinner in Paris, even though the first couple was staying right up the street.
KATIE COURIC, HOST, "CBS EVENING NEWS": The mood was a bit lighter across town. France's first lady, Carla Bruni, stopped by a charter school. The students gave her a warm welcome, and she read them a "Madeline" book in English.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: They had dinner at the White House, but this afternoon the Sarkozys had lunch at Ben's Chili Bowl in downtown D.C.
President Obama told reporters that -- quote -- "shows his discriminating palate."
The Tea Party Express is a cross-country tour heading for a rally at the Washington Monument. It was take place on April the 15th. Today, President Obama spoke out about his Tea Party opponents. And it sounded like he was trying to find some common ground. Listen to what he told Matt Lauer on "The Today Show."
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARACK OBAMA, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: There are some folks who just weren't sure whether I was born in the United States, whether I was a socialist, right?
So there's that segment of it, which I think is just dug in ideologically. And that strain has existed in American politics for a long time.
Then I think that there is a broader circle around that core group, of people who are legitimately concerned about the deficit, who are legitimately concerned that the federal government may be taking on too much.
There's still going to be a group at their core that question my legitimacy or question the Democratic Party generally or question people who they consider to be against them in some way, and that group we're probably not going to convince.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: A CNN/Opinion Research poll taken last month found that roughly 11 percent of all Americans said they had actively supported the Tea Party movement.
Republican National Committee chairman Michael Steele is facing fallout tonight after a committee member was fired for using RNC money to pay the tab at an X-rated club. It's a story of dirty, sexy money that has some conservatives up in arms.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
RICK SANCHEZ, CNN ANCHOR: Someone needs to tell me how to spend $2,000 at a topless club in West Hollywood.
SANCHEZ: Strike that. I think I know how.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: At Club Voyeur, there are performances by topless dancers and women in bondage outfits. In West Hollywood, it hardly raises an eyebrow. But, in Washington, it raised a major political ruckus.
BLITZER: An RNC staffer was fired for getting the party to pick up the almost $2,000 tab. CNN has now learned that the staffer, Allison Meyers, was director of the Young Eagles program to recruit donors in their 30s and 40s.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Initial reports suggested that embattled RNC chairman Michael Steele was there. But in a statement, the RNC says, "At no time was chairman Steele aware of the purpose of this reimbursement or present at the after-hours non-official get together." (END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The scandal is complicating Republicans' fund-raising efforts for the November midterm elections.
It hasn't been 40 days and 40 nights, though it might feel like it. Parts of the Northeast are watching out for historic flooding tonight, with forecasters saying drenching rains could continue for another three days in some areas.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
CHAD MYERS, CNN METEOROLOGIST: Let's just right now to -- we get to Rhode Island flooding. The water is just coming up, and people can't believe it. They can't believe it. It's in places that they have never seen it before.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Today's pounding storm left a trail of flooded homes and submerged cars from Massachusetts to New Jersey. After up to five inches of rain in Connecticut, residents saw whirlpools out their windows, and up to seven inches of rain was too much in Billerica, Massachusetts. A manhole explosion caused extensive street damage.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Throughout the commonwealth, officials are focused on swollen rivers and the dams they hope can control the rising waters.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The back-to-back storms have shattered rainfall records all along the East Coast, from New York City through Bridgeport, Connecticut. Even Boston, Massachusetts is in the midst of its wettest march in history.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: And if you're in Rhode Island, New Jersey, Massachusetts, or Connecticut, you can expect widespread flooding in the next 24 to 48 hours.
Well, this one is for the science geeks out there. Researchers at the world's largest particle accelerator said today they have replicated conditions less than one-billionth-of-a-second after the big bang took place. That's the moment that physicists believe the universe was born.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Two particle beams traveling at close to the speed of light collided at the highest ever recorded energy. This, in essence, recreates the big bang, the conditions at the very beginning of our universe.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: A couple of years ago, some folks thought, well, using the device would create a black hole that would swallow the world or even maybe help people travel through time. UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: There could also be new discoveries in what scientists call supersymmetry, the idea that every particle in our universe has a superpartner, mirrored in another quantum dimension.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: We may unlock the next secret of the universe and change the lives of every human on Earth for the rest of time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: The project has so far taken 16 years and cost $10 billion, and, as far as we know, still no black hole, at least not yet.
And that brings us to the "Punchline" tonight, courtesy of Jay Leno, who has never heard a Sarah Palin joke that he didn't like. Listen.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
JAY LENO, HOST, "THE TONIGHT SHOW WITH JAY LENO": Sarah Palin had a typical weekend for her, changing diapers, opening up jars of baby food, cutting meat into little pieces. Just another day campaigning with John McCain.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ROBERTS: Jay Leno, ladies and gentlemen. And that is the "Mash- Up."
Tonight, new developments in the alleged plot by militia members to launch their own deadly war against the U.S. government.
Plus, is this case a warning sign about other American militias?
ROBERTS: Tonight, new developments in the case of the militia members charged with plotting to kill police officers as part of an anti-government uprising.
"The Wall Street Journal" reports the FBI had an undercover agent working on its case against the Hutaree. The self-described Christian warriors allegedly planned to murder one police officer in order to draw even more officers to a funeral, where they would be attacked with improvised explosive devices.
A ninth suspect surrendered last night and appeared in federal court in Detroit today.
Drew Griffin of our Special Investigations Unit is in Detroit for us.
And, Drew, are we certain that this group was in fact planning an attack, and might that attack have been in April?
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT: I tried to pin that down today, John.
And the information that the agents in this case had was very good, which leads me to believe that that "Wall Street Journal" report has some credibility.
This is what we were learning, that there was going to be some kind of a reconnaissance mission to be done in April, and that the leader of this group told his people, look, if anybody gets in the way of this reconnaissance group, we are going to take them out.
That was enough of a threat, says U.S. Attorney Barbara McQuade, to take this group down. This is what she said to me in an interview this afternoon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BARBARA MCQUADE, U.S. ATTORNEY: This is a group that was planning some very specific acts with a specific date in April of this year. And, so, when the plans became a significant step in furtherance of a conspiracy, with a specific target date, we thought the time had come to act.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: The other thing I wanted to bring up, John, is just how the agents got on to this group in the first place. You know, they were counting on other militias to come to their aid when they started this grand war.
It turns out that the initial tipsters may have been the very militia that this group thought maybe were their brethren. That's from the U.S. attorney.
ROBERTS: So, if they were planning an attack, and it was to be in April, how far along were they with their construction of these improvised explosive devices?
GRIFFIN: You know, again, very tough to pin down. The search warrants remained sealed. I asked the U.S. attorney how far along were they? Were they actually -- did they actually have the capability to do what is alleged, which is plant a bomb in the road to kind of blow up this funeral procession of the cop they were going to kill?
Here is the answer to that question.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
MCQUADE: The indictment does allege specific acts involving training with explosive devices. You know, these are the same kinds of IEDs, improvised explosive devices, that you hear about on the roadside in Iraq. They were sort of homemade devices that they researched on the Internet and were planning to use in some of their plots.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: That struck me as very interesting, and, quite frankly, scary, that this U.S. attorney here in Detroit is comparing these militia to kind of the insurgents in Afghanistan or Iraq in their planning and technique.
But, again, we just really don't know, John, until those search warrants are unsealed, what, if any, explosive devices this group may have had. We have heard from some of their cohorts that they don't believe they had the capability, mentally, to pull anything like this off.
ROBERTS: All right, Drew Griffin for us tonight in Detroit -- Drew, thanks so much.
Joining me now from San Antonio, Texas, is Randall Stone. He is the brother of David Stone Sr., the leader of the Hutaree.
Mr. Stone, thanks for being with us.
What was this group all about? And the charges against your brother are rather serious. Tell us a little bit about him.
RANDALL STONE, BROTHER OF HUTAREE LEADER: Well, what do you want to know?
ROBERTS: Well, what sort of a fellow was he? And is he everything that the district attorney is alleging he was?
I have read the indictment online.
I haven't had any contact with my family, other than my dad, and which really surprised me in a way, because I figured that at least more than one of them would have called me and let me know what was going on. And here I am way down here in Texas, you know, and...
ROBERTS: Now, the last time you saw your brother -- sorry -- was when?
STONE: Christmas. I saw him for maybe 10, 15 minutes.
ROBERTS: Right. Did you have any kind of an inkling that any of what the DA is alleging was going on in his mind?
You know, I think some of this stems from -- a long time ago, he made this game that was like "Life," you know, the game board "Life." And it was two military teams playing against a make-believe world, have you. And they had -- he made cards. They had codes and different things like that, that...
STONE: So you could strategize against each other to overtake and conquer land and stuff like that. And that's kind of what he did. He was like a grownup game player.
ROBERTS: What was his beef with the government? Because the allegations are that he and his group were planning to kill a police officer and then kill more police officers when they were drawn to the funeral.
STONE: Well, see, I read the -- when I was reading over the indictment, that -- when I got to that part, it appeared to me that, on April 19, they were going to a demonstration, not to kill someone.
And, so, I -- and the way that the indictment is worded, it plainly and is really very clear that whoever it was that made this alleged bomb...
STONE: ... or that -- I don't know if it even exists. It probably doesn't. It's probably all fabricated. But let's say that it does.
And the guy, whoever was making the bomb, evidently didn't have enough knowledge to make the bomb, because my brother had to research it and tell him even how to do it.
ROBERTS: Well, let me ask you this question, if I could, Randall. And maybe you can shed some light on all of this.
What were your brother's religious beliefs? And what about this battle against the Antichrist that he details quite plainly on the Hutaree's Web site?
I have tried to talk to him about that. What his Web site stands for is not about Jesus Christ, that his opinion of the Antichrist and my opinion of the Antichrist is totally different.
STONE: You know, sure, he is going to be a political figure, but you're not going to be able to take him out. For one, the false prophet's got to come into play.
ROBERTS: Right. Right.
STONE: So, the Antichrist can't do anything on his own.
ROBERTS: Well, was he a real end-of-days follower, as far as you know?
STONE: He never was growing up. I was always the one.
Now, a long time ago, dad was a preacher, and we went around to different churches.
STONE: So, we wasn't one denomination or one certain religion. And we were taught that it's not about religion; it's about a relationship.
ROBERTS: Right. Right. But did he ever talk to you about the coming Armageddon and what he thought his role would be in that?
STONE: No, no. We never -- we never really discussed that.
ROBERTS: All right.
Well, Randall Stone, the brother of David Stone Jr., thanks for joining us tonight. Really appreciate your time, sir.
STONE: Well, I did want to mention one thing to you, though.
ROBERTS: Yes, go ahead.
STONE: Well, you know, all this talk about the militias and all this talk about what they stand for, you remember Paul Revere, right?
ROBERTS: Of course. Everybody remembers Paul Revere.
STONE: OK. Yes, Paul Revere had a purpose in life. And that one day proved to be a major turning point in America, whenever he was warning the militia people to get ready.
Now, that's -- you know, I don't know why my brother didn't involve himself in a militia that stood for something and had some values and beliefs.
ROBERTS: All right. Well, perhaps -- perhaps we will find out as the court case unravels.
Randall Stone, again, thanks for being with us tonight. Appreciate it.
STONE: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Well, what is the real goal of America's militias? Is the Hutaree case an isolated incident, or is it a sign that anti- government anger is boiling over? We're looking deeper into that coming up next.
ROBERTS: The arrest of nine militia members who may have been just days away from an all-out assault on police and the government raises new questions and fears about America's militias. How many of them are extreme?
Amy Cooter has spent two years researching several Michigan militias as part of her Ph.D work at the University of Michigan. She joined me -- joins me, along with John Avlon. He's the author of "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America" and senior political columnist for TheDailyBeast.com. And also with me, Tom Fuentes, a former FBI assistant director and a CNN contributor.
Amy, let's start with you.
You have spent time with virtually all of the Michigan militias, including a short amount of time with the Hutaree. Who are they? What do they stand for?
AMY COOTER, UNIVERSITY OF MICHIGAN, ANN ARBOR: The Hutaree is really an extreme element over the overall militia movement. They're very religion-oriented, while most of the militias in the state are not. That's the major difference.
So what do you think, Tom, is the difference between this militia and others in terms of let's say their law-abiding nature?
TOM FUENTES, CNN CONTRIBUTOR: Well, I don't know how religious they are. I mean, they can talk Jesus Christ. I don't know that they can preach as any kind of scholars on religion. It's just a group of individuals, as far as I'm concerned, who are extreme losers, who decided to take up arms.
And anybody that decides to kill a police officer and claim it's on behalf of Jesus Christ, I can't see that logic whatsoever.
ROBERTS: John, this Hutaree, in your new book, "Wingnuts: How the Lunatic Fringe is Hijacking America," you have an entire chapter devoted to what you call hatriot groups. Does the Hutaree fit into that description?
JOHN AVLON, AUTHOR, "WINGNUTS: HOW THE LUNATIC FRINGE IS HIJACKING AMERICA": It does.
We have seen in the first year of Obama alone, the Southern Poverty Law Center chronicled a 300 percent increase in the number of militia groups alone. And that's distinguished from patriot groups, who are more generally defined.
These are paramilitary organizations. All tend to be motivated by some brand of the some kind of fears, martial law, global government. In this case, there seems to be a self-assumed religious basis, fears of confronting the Antichrist, which is one tributary of militia movements historically.
But, of course, we have seen these groups kind -- grow in the past. And the 1990s was the time they reached this kind of frequency. But we have seen a demonstrable growth, and that's something that we should all be concerned about. This is a wakeup call.
It's been described, Amy, by -- by some people who are in other militias as being more of a cult than a militia. You have at least three members of the same family who are involved here. People who have such extreme views as have been described, how would somebody like David Stone Sr. recruit people to his cause?
COOTER: For the most part, groups that are so secretive and involved in any real activity rely on self-recruiting. They only reach out to people they trust, people in their families, people in their social networks. They don't advertise, unlike most of the other militia groups in the state, who have public Web sites, MySpace pages. There is a clear difference there.
ROBERTS: Right. This was described by Michael Lackomar of the Southeastern Michigan Volunteer Militia, who has some experience with them, because they did some training together, as being -- he told me this morning -- he says, it's more of a private army, or a terrorist organization, or even criminal organization. Really, they are no more militia than an armed gang of thugs in Los Angeles.
Would you -- with your limited experience with the Hutaree, would you agree with that description? Or did you find something else?
COOTER: That seems about right to me.
And I should clarify, my experience with the Hutaree is more by association. I have never gone to the Hutaree training, per se, but I have contact with people who are involved in other groups and have contacts with the Hutaree as well.
ROBERTS: Tom Fuentes, you heard John Avlon mention just a moment ago that there has been a 244 percent in so-called patriot groups and militias in the last year, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. What do you believe is responsible for that increase?
FUENTES: Well, I think there's a number of reasons, people that hate the government or become disaffected. You have the recession. You have, obviously, the first African-American president may disturb some, although, on the Hutaree Web page, they indicate that they started much earlier than the Obama administration taking over, and that they're not based on that fact.
So, there's a number of factors like that. And, also, you have -- I mean, you have some militias that claim that they're there to help the local police, basically, sort of a neighborhood watch on steroids, and that they're not going to do evil, and they're not going to hate people and kill the enemy, as they perceive it.
So -- so, this is far beyond any claim to be a militia. They're just using the term militia. They're using religious references. And I think they are -- I agree -- they're just a bunch of thugs, and they're in the right place now, jail.
ROBERTS: And, John, you heard Randall Stone, who is the brother of the David Stone Sr., the leader of the Hutaree, say just a moment ago: Everyone has heard of Paul Revere. I don't know why my brother didn't join a militia like Paul Revere.
You would say that they all to some degree think the same thing?
AVLON: Yes, and we have seen these groups before. Even back in the early 1960s, some of the early -- a group called the Minutemen modeled themselves as a patriotic resistance modeled on the colonial militias.
There is this Revolutionary War iconography a lot of them wrap themselves up in. This site seems to be aggressively paramilitary with sort of appropriations of biblical prophesy taken out of context, and, then, of course, a very violent overlay. The indictment indeed says that their plot was to assassinate -- to murder a member of the law enforcement community and then bomb his funeral procession in order to spark -- levy war against the federal government.
ROBERTS: But you were saying -- you were saying, though, off- camera that they all believe that they're defending America.
ROBERTS: It's just they have different ideas of who the enemy might be.
AVLON: Yes. Yes. Now George III seems to be the government of the United States, a duly elected president, rather than a dictator. And that's one of the problems we're seeing right now.
All these ideas are getting stirred up, and people believe they are the defenders of freedom. But what they're doing is attacking the cornerstones of freedom that establish our constitutional democracy.
ROBERTS: John Avlon, Tom Fuentes, Amy Cooter, good to talk to you tonight. Thanks so much.
AVLON: Thank you, Tom.
COOTER: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Just ahead; bullied to death. A 15-year-old takes her own life. Now prosecutors say nine of her classmates are to blame. We will have that story in-depth for you next.
ROBERTS: In Massachusetts, prosecutors are blaming a group of high school students for the death by suicide of a classmate, claiming teenager Phoebe Prince was bullied to death. Nine teens have been indicted.
Also singled out, but not facing charges, school officials for doing too little too late.
Alina Cho reports.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) ELIZABETH SCHEIBEL, DISTRICT ATTORNEY: The harassment reported to have occurred that day in the school's library appears to have been conducted in the presence of a faculty member and several students, but went unreported to school administrators until after Phoebe's death.
ALINA CHO, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Phoebe Prince was just 15 years old when she hanged herself in a stairway in the building where she lived with her parents, South Hadley, Massachusetts, about 100 miles from Boston. Prosecutors say it wasn't an accident that she was driven to suicide by relentless abuse.
SCHEIBEL: The events of January 14th were not isolated. Rather they were the culmination of a nearly three-month campaign of verbally abusive assaulted behavior and threats of physical harm towards Phoebe on school grounds by several South Hadley High School students.
CHO: Nine students were indicted. Three will be prosecuted as adults. Among them, 17-year-old Sean Mulveyhill, facing charges of statutory rape and violation of civil rights resulting in bodily injury. 18-year-old Austin Renaud also faces statutory rape charges. And 17-year-old Kayla Narey. She'll answer to criminal harassment and civil rights charges.
Phoebe and her family had recently moved to western Massachusetts from Ireland. Students say the torment she endured was harsh. Books routinely knocked out of her hands. Her face scribbled out of photographs on school walls. Threatening text messages constantly sent to her cell phone. The D.A. says the alleged bullying --
SCHEIBEL: Appears to have been motivated by the group's displeasure with Phoebe's brief dating relationship with a male student that had ended some six weeks previous.
CHO: At South Hadley High School, students were stunned.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Until you guys came around, I had no idea.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I think they need to be prosecuted. You know, it's not right at all.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Do you think they should face charges?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: If they had anything to do with, they should.
CHO (on camera): Phoebe Prince isn't the first student in the area to commit suicide in recent months. Last year, an 11-year-old boy subjected to harassment also killed himself.
After that suicide, the Massachusetts legislature stepped up work on an anti-bullying law. But so far that bill has not passed.
Alina Cho, CNN, New York.
(END VIDEOTAPE) ROBERTS: Joining me now is educator Barbara Coloroso. She is an expert on bullying who was brought in by South Hadley High School to address the issue of bullying a few months before Phoebe's death.
So, Barbara, what happened here?
BARBARA COLOROSO, BULLYING EXPERT: Well, I was brought in because they wanted to preempt this kind of thing after the death of the 11-year-old 40 miles away. And I talked with the educators, the administrators and parents, and talked about the three Ps, strong anti-bullying policy, strong anti-bullying procedures and programs in place that would nip this in the bud.
ROBERTS: So did they just totally drop the ball on this?
COLOROSO: I really believe the primary, elementary and middle school people ran with that. And really as they presented to their townspeople had worked with that very strongly. The area that was a gaping hole so to speak was in the high school. Not clearly defining what bullying is, including cyberbullying. And then most important, most glaringly, the failure to have a visible sign that something was being done in the early stages before it every reached criminal, the early stages of that bullying, verbal and relational before it ever got to physical.
ROBERTS: We heard the district attorney, Elizabeth Scheibel, say that some of this took place.
COLOROSO: In front of teachers.
ROBERTS: In front of teachers, in front of students. Nobody said a thing about it until after her death. How when you have responsible or seemingly responsible adults interacting with these children, looking out for them, does that happen?
COLOROSO: Well first of all, we have to remember the most culpable are the kids that actually perpetrated the bullying on Phoebe. But secondly, those who stood by and did not actively intervene to keep her safe and actively intervene to hold those who targeted Phoebe responsible for their behavior. That did not happen.
It has to be visible. You have to say we're taking it very seriously. No more, not here, never. And this will be safe harbor. And it didn't happen. And you have a dead child.
And yes, suicide is complicated. But her last three months of her life would have been certainly much better. And who knows at that point whether she would have or not have killed herself.
We have to deal with not that they caused her death, but what they did was criminal in and of itself. And some kids are more vulnerable and will succumb more readily. And most of us could not have put up with that for three months.
ROBERTS: Such a tragedy.
ROBERTS: Barbara Coloroso, thanks for being here tonight.
COLOROSO: Thanks for having me, John.
ROBERTS: Appreciate your perspective.
Well, coming up, what would drive students to torment a young girl like Phoebe? And how responsible are schools to stop it? We're getting answers from a couple of legal experts coming up next.
ROBERTS: In the wake of Phoebe Prince's death by suicide, Massachusetts governor says he will sign an anti-bullying law. The law would require faculty and staff to report any suspected bullying at school or online and would require principals to investigate.
Here with the legal perspective on all of this is Attorney Parry Aftab who specialized in Internet privacy and security. And in Los Angeles, CNN legal analyst Lisa Bloom.
Great to see both of you. Parry, I know how involved you are with this and how you have deep feelings about this. So let me throw this out there first, because as a parent, I find it difficult to understand. What's wrong with students that they would bully a young woman like they did this one?
PARRY AFTAB, INTERNET PRIVACY AND SECURITY ATTORNEY: You know, kids will act out and they do things. Unless adults train them not to, either at home or at school and catch them and say, not on my watch, not while you're under my watch, they'll continue to do what they can. And the frightening thing is the only one who was doing anything were the ones who were tormenting her. Everybody else sat back. Some of them tried but couldn't because they got no support from the school.
ROBERTS: So how do you see this, Lisa? Is this a failure of the students themselves? A failure of the parents? A failure of the school, or all three?
LISA BLOOM, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I'd say all of the above. And look, the criminal law does not recognize the word bullying. Harassment, abuse, stalking, you know, whether it happens to a kid at school or whether it happens to an adult, it's a violation of the law.
We have this sense that if something happens in a school, it's sacrosanct and is somehow exempt from the criminal law. I mean, these kids should have been prosecuted long ago. They're sending texts to her, threatening her physical safety. That's clearly a felony under every state's law.
I also hold the adults accountable at the school. How on earth are they allowing this to happen on their watch and they're not doing anything about it? They're not disciplining the bullies. They're not calling their parents, suspensions, expulsions, whatever is necessary. You know, if this happened to me, John, I'd be calling the police immediately.
AFTAB: And the school should have done that.
BLOOM: And why aren't the police called when it happens to a vulnerable child?
ROBERTS: You know, this is a question that we asked Barbara in her last segment here, Parry. At some point, because of this -- according to the district attorney went on in front of school staff members.
AFTAB: It went on in front of school staff. Phoebe's parents reported it. Other parents reported it. They knew what they were doing. Why they took no action, at best, as best I've indicated, they were asleep at the switch. At worst, maybe these kids have special privileges the others didn't have. I don't know the answer to that. But I'm telling you, when kids are physically assaulted at school, the first thing you do is call the cops.
ROBERTS: Yes. Does this sound like a case of favoritism to you, Lisa?
BLOOM: It certainly does. And I also think we have a culture where we turn the other way and we allow kids to engage in a lot of bad behavior. This was an educable moment for those teachers and those administrators. And by turning the other way, I think they are in part responsible for this death. I know those are harsh words, but I think the school has a lot of civil liability on its hands because they knew and they failed to act.
ROBERTS: Yes. You know, Parry, let's come to you on this because you are such an expert about things that go on on the Internet. A lot of the bullying took place at school. But then a lot of it took place in some of the social networking sites, text messaging.
When you are subjected to it 24 hours a day, seven days a week because you're on your Facebook page or whatever and you see these comments, how much does it amplify the harassment that you're getting at school?
AFTAB: Well, Phoebe didn't have a Facebook page, but everybody else who was tormenting her did. They passed rumors. They called her names. They texted her everywhere. She had no time to relax, no safe place to be. And wherever she was, she was under attack. When she looked for help and her parents looked for help, no one from the people who were supposed to help her during the school day stepped in.
ROBERTS: Her friends did put up though a memorial page on Facebook after her death. And even after her death, students are posting nasty things on that Facebook memorial page.
AFTAB: Four memorial pages.
ROBERTS: Yes. How, Lisa Bloom, do you stop kids from doing that? And again, I come back to my original question. How can kids be so cruel?
BLOOM: Well, I agree with Parry. Kids are going to be cruel until they're taught otherwise. Unfortunately, that's how it is.
I have two teenagers myself. There has to be harsh consequences with kids. I mean, they will stop that behavior when they understand that a suspension or an expulsion is in order. When they understand that the police are going to be called for harassing or threatening behavior, they're going to stop that behavior. If, though, they do it in front of a teacher, and the teacher turns the other way, they get the message loud and clear that this is OK, it's funny. This is the social behavior they engage in, and nothing will happen to them.
ROBERTS: And, Parry, this new law in the state of Massachusetts, it hasn't been signed yet, but it has been passed by the House, has been passed by the Senate. They just need to bring the two bills together. Do you have any faith that this is going to go any distance towards preventing something like this in the future?
AFTAB: Well, you know, if Barbara was at the school and told them what to do and they didn't listen, then they got some of the best. But in this case, they have to report it. So we're not going to have the case of favoritism. If not, we know whose heads are going to roll. And they need to get some educational programs out there. We have a stop cyberbullying tool kit totally free out at the end of April. They can use that.
ROBERTS: All right.
AFTAB: And if we can stop it, maybe one other child won't have to die.
ROBERTS: Parry Aftab, Lisa Bloom, great to see you tonight. Thanks so much.
BLOOM: Thank you.
ROBERTS: Still ahead, animated video games from Japan causing an international outrage. Are they encouraging mock rapes and torture of women?
ROBERTS: Coming up, allegations of violent abuse. This time in the church of scientology. Anderson Cooper is here with that investigation.
But first, more must-see news happening right now. Mike Galanos here with tonight's "Download."
MIKE GALANOS, HLN PRIME NEWS: Hey, John. First off, government investigator now turning to NASA to help figure out what caused the acceleration problems that led to Toyota's widespread recalls. The Department of Transportation is expected to announce that experts from the space agency will look into software, hardware and electronic issues. Toyota has recalled more than eight million cars worldwide, including six million right here in the United States.
Well, R&B singer Erykah Badu is explaining why she stripped naked in public for her new video. Badu bared all, and I mean all, a couple weeks ago in Dallas walking down a street, falling down right near the spot where President John F. Kennedy was assassinated. Some kids, by the way, got an eyeful.
Well, the singer tweeted that the nude shot was not planned and that she was, quote, "too busy looking for cops and being petrified."
And this, two women were taken for a serious ride at a county fair in Florida. Take a look at this video.
They got stranded high in the air about 70 feet up for about an hour after the space roller carnival ride stalled. How about that hanging sideways like that? They were strapped in their seats, hanging horizontally. You see the feet dangling. Both rescued unharmed, and one rider actually said it was a cool experience.
Give me a break. No word on what caused that malfunction.
Finally this, a Vermont couple reunited with their dog. They got in a car accident. One, they were on an appointment -- two dogs. One dog they found quickly. Three days later, Tater Tot was found just about where that crash took place. The order, by the way, a concussion, broken nose. So all is well, the dog is back. Everybody is fine, thankfully.
ROBERTS: Oh, the poor dog.
GALANOS: I know it. Little Tater Tot.
ROBERTS: You can just imagine what was going through his mind.
GALANOS: I know it.
ROBERTS: They were here a minute ago. Where are they now?
ROBERTS: Mike, thanks so much.
GALANOS: OK, John.
ROBERTS: "LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes' time. He's here now.
Larry, what have you got for us?
LARRY KING, HOST, "LARRY KING LIVE": John, I'm going to deal with that Massachusetts girl bullied to death. That's the story. We're going to get into the shocking suicide of a 15-year-old girl and related charges filed against nine teens.
And then a major portion of the show will deal with the Catholic Church sex abuse scandal. Victims will speak to us about what they and they said a priest did to them. The Vatican has something to say about it as well.
And singer Sinead O'Connor will sound off too. All that's ahead on "LARRY KING LIVE."
John Roberts, what are you doing up so late?
ROBERTS: Larry, I'm waiting around for you to come on because it sounds like you have a terrific show. How does that sound?
Larry, thanks. Thanks so much, Larry.
Coming up, Anderson Cooper's investigation into allegations of rampant abuse at the highest levels inside the Church of Scientology. That's coming up next.
ROBERTS: Last night, "360" anchor Anderson Cooper reported on allegations of abuse by two former high-ranking officials of the Church of Scientology. Both men say church leader David Miscavige physically assaulted members of the church's elite management team. The church claims the men are liars and are themselves violent. But as Anderson reports tonight, there are other former church managers who say abuse came straight from the top.
JEFF HAWKINS, FORMER SEA ORGANIZATION MEMBER: Miscavige was always threats, bullying, haranguing people, verbal abuse, physical abuse. That was his game. He is a bully.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR (voice-over): Jeff Hawkins was a scientologist for 35 years. A marketing director for the church, he was a member of the Sea Organization, the group that runs church operations worldwide. He had dedicated his life to scientology. A true believer, he earned just $50 a week and lived in church-provided communal housing with other Sea Org members in California.
(on camera): You've worked with Marty Rathbun. You've worked with Mike Rinder (ph). The church told us that they were the ones leading this reign of terror, that Marty was the one responsible for these beatings.
HAWKINS: Absolutely not true. Absolutely not true. David Miscavige was the one leading this whole physical violence kick. And it was him who was beating people up.
COOPER (voice-over): Tom Devocht was a construction manager for the church. He was only 12 years old when he joined. He left in 2005 because he says he could no longer accept Miscavige's violence. TOM DEVOCHT, FORMER SEA ORGANIZATION MEMBER: They asked me a question, and I couldn't tell you what the question is today. I don't remember. But the next thing I knew, I'm being smacked in the face and knocked down on the ground, in front of all these people. This is the pope, you know, knocking me down to the ground.
COOPER: Amy Scobee (ph), a scientologist for 27 years, helped run the celebrity center in Los Angeles, designed to cater to the needs of famous members like Tom Cruise and John Travolta. She says she also left in 2005, but distinctly remembers watching David Miscavige choke Mike Rinder, the church spokesman at the time.
AMY SCOBEE (ph), FORMER CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY MEMBER: He grabs Mike around the neck, swings around, and he's choking him. And he's holding his neck. And Mike is grabbing the side of his chair and like struggling like -- not knowing what was going on.
COOPER: Church of Scientology spokesman Tommy Davis insists that all these former scientologists are liars.
TOMMY DAVIS, CHURCH OF SCIENTOLOGY SPOKESMAN: These are individuals who have proven not only that they will lie, but they will get other people to lie. It's not much of a stretch for them to all get together, corroborate their stories, find some other people who've left years ago to try and corroborate it even more, and then come to the news media and attack the very person who removed them.
COOPER: Well, a group of current scientologists and ex-wives of the abusers who were also scientologists came to CNN yesterday for an interview at 10:00 tonight. You'll see what they have to say about the accusations aimed at their leader, David Miscavige.
ROBERTS: You know, Tommy Davis goes on television rarely, but whenever he does, it's usually to deny every allegation against the Church of Scientology.
COOPER: And he is saying point-blank all these people who are pointing fingers at David Miscavige, he says they are liars. We'll have a lot more from him tonight.
ROBERTS: All right, great story. Looking forward to it. Thanks, Anderson.
Again, you can see Anderson's special investigation on "AC 360," just a little more than an hour away now at 10:00 Eastern.
"LARRY KING LIVE" starts in just a few minutes' time. But first video games that make a game out of raping women.
ROBERTS: Well, it's certainly hard to believe that anyone would equate rape with entertainment. But that is just what game makers in Japan have done. Kyung Lah has tonight's "Breakout," and a warning, some of the images are very disturbing.
KYUNG LAH, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The heart of Japan's electronics district, the world's games of tomorrow on sale today. On shelves in mainstream stores, plenty of what's known here is "Hentai" games. Almost all feature girlish-looking characters. Some are violent, depicting rape, torture and bondage in detail.
It didn't take long to find a game where the object is revenge. Find and rape the woman who fired the player from his imaginary job. Most of this game we cannot show you.
"Hentai" games are not new for Japan. This country has long produced products the rest of the world would call pornographic. But before the Internet shrunk the world, it stayed here. A quick web search generates hundreds of Japanese games. Once a game goes on sale in Tokyo, it's digitized and shared everywhere.
This one called "RapeLay" begins with a teenaged girl on a subway platform. With a click of your mouse, you can grope her and lift her skirt. You the player stalk her, her sister and her mother, following them on the train.
(on camera): What follows is a series of graphic, interactive scenes that we can't show you. Players can corner the women to rape them again and again, and it goes on from there.
(voice-over): The game infuriated women's rights groups.
TANIA BIEN-AIME, EXECUTIVE DIRECTOR, EQUALITY NOW: These sort of games that normalize extreme sexual violence against women and girls have really no place in our communities.
LAH: International outrage led the Japanese developer to pull the "RapeLay" game from stores last year. But that didn't stop its spread. In fact, the controversy took it viral. That's how Lucy Kibble and Jim Gardiner in England heard about and downloaded the game, as they told me over Skype.
LUCY KIBBLE, DOWNLOADED VIDEO GAME: Just the fact it was a controversial subject and I wanted to try it really just to see what it was all about.
LAH: That global availability is why international women's rights groups say Japan needs to regulate game makers better, stopping creation of certain content.
BIEN-AIME: What we are calling for, though, is that the Japanese government ban all games that promote and simulate sexual violence, sexual torture, stalking and rape against women and girls. And there are plenty of games like that.
LAH (on camera): How sensitive is Japan to this issue? Despite weeks of repeated calls to the government, not a single government official would speak to CNN on camera. They wouldn't even make a statement on paper.
Over the phone, one official, who would not allow us to use her name, said that the government realizes these games are a problem, and it is checking to see whether self-policing by the gaming industry is enough.
(voice-over): Sexual images are subject to censorship in Japan. For example, in the "RapeLay" game, genitalia are obscured. But Japan does not have laws that restrict video game themes.
(on camera): Did you feel offended as a woman?
KIBBLE: No, not at all.
LAH (voice-over): Lucy and Jim point out it is easy to find shoot them up games, which no one seems to worry about.
KIBBLE: It's escapism. That's why people play it.
JIM GARDINER, DOWNLOADED VIDEO GAME: the idea of banning it, or telling people what they can and can't do just because on the off chance some kid might get involved in it is just ridiculous.
LAH: But women's rights groups say the interactive games step closer and closer to reality, and no one should play a game where the only way to win is to rape.
Kyung Lah, CNN, Tokyo.
ROBERTS: Escapism, really?
Thanks for joining us tonight. I'm John Roberts in for Campbell Brown. "LARRY KING LIVE" starts right now.