Return to Transcripts main page

ISSUES WITH JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL

Teacher Accused of Victimizing Dozens; Kyron`s Case Gone Cold?

Aired October 1, 2010 - 19:00:00   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.


(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, outrage in El Paso. A high school dance teacher is arrested on suspicion of having sex with 70 children. Cops say he videotaped the horrifying attacks. Tonight, why in the hell is this sicko still getting a paycheck from the school?

And desperation mounts in the frantic search for little Kyron Horman. This adorable boy vanished four months ago. Tonight, Kyron`s parents are now in the fight of their lives. Are police still searching for Kyron, or has this case gone cold?

Plus, targeted for being gay. A college freshman kills himself after he was secretly videotaped having sex with another man. This young man is not alone. Did our country`s hate and resentment of the gay community ultimately push this young man off the bridge and into the Hudson River?

ISSUES starts now.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, a teacher`s horrifying secrets revealed. Marco Alferez is accused of molesting dozens of children and recording those crimes on videotape. When feds raided his El Paso home, they found a library of child pornography: 140 videos depicting unthinkable acts with children. The details, they`re far too graphic and sickening to share with you on television. Authorities identified as many as 70 -- seven zero -- young victims.

According to the affidavit, some of the videos show unidentified men raping girls. Other videos show Alferez himself as the perpetrator.

Investigators say an emotional Alferez sat at his kitchen table, waived his rights, and admitted to taping and trading child porn for years. In spite of the apparent mountain of evidence, his family shows up at court to show their support.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MARIA TERESA GARCIA, MARCO ALFEREZ`S AUNT: We`re there for him, back him 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, perhaps she`ll snap out of denial if she`s forced to watch the sick videos.

This man was a trusted and beloved dance teacher at El Paso High School. He`s also worked at other schools, as well as youth summer camps. Talk about betrayal.

Alferez is sitting in jail tonight without bond. But get this: the school district put him on paid administrative leave. That is outrageous.

Straight out to my fabulous expert panel. I want to start with Joe Gomez, reporter for KTRH radio.

Joe, you`ve been tracking this horror story. What is the very latest?

JOE GOMEZ, REPORTER, KTRH RADIO (via phone): We know this guy has been floating around the El Paso area for the past six or seven years, teaching at different schools, even at a summer camp, Jane, where he was probably left alone with some of these kids overnight.

Right now police think they have over 200 videotapes including VHS and computer video showing Alferez showing sex with at least 70 kids. I say at least, because according to his resume, which we found, he claims he`s taught over 1,000 students. So there`s no telling how many lives this monster has ruined.

Right now he`s in jail on charges of sexual exploitation of minors and child pornography, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I`ve got to tell you: this has got to be one of the biggest pedophilia cases in that area in recent memory.

And come back to me on camera, because I`ve got a shocker for you. Just into our studios, and it`s this guy`s resume, which we were just sent by the El Paso School District, the superintendent`s office. We`ve been calling them over and over saying, "We`d like a statement. We`d like to know what you think about this person who`s working for you."

And they said, "Well, we`ll send you a statement." And what we got instead was the suspect`s resume? The suspect`s resume.

You know, Mike Brooks, I don`t really get it, except maybe it`s their way of saying, "Well, we did our background check, so it`s not our fault."

MIKE BROOKS, HLN LAW ENFORCEMENT ANALYST: Or did they do a background check? That`s the question. Or did they do a background check that was thorough enough?

But, Jane, they`re talking about 65 to 70 kids that could have been victimized by this monster. But how many are there -- these are ones that are on video. How many are not on video that may have been victimized by this guy? That`s the real question.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, we`re hearing the El Paso School District claims they did do a background check.

Here`s my big issue. These predators are infiltrating our safe zone. You send your kid to school, you send them to summer camp, you think they`re safe. Guess what? Those are the very spots where pedophiles hunt for victims. These men aren`t lurking around playgrounds in trench coats. They can be well-liked coaches, scouting troop leaders and camp counselors. They appear charming and trustworthy.

Robin Sax, you`re a former prosecutor that`s dealt with sex crimes for years. Is there any place where kids are truly safe?

ROBIN SAX, FORMER PROSECUTOR: Well, actually, one of the prime places that children can be subject to pedophilia or subject to perpetrators like this is in a school.

And I actually had a case in Los Angeles. It was the Belltown (ph) case, where actually, the teacher was so bold to do the same thing that this teacher did, and that was videotaping.

And what people don`t recognize, a lot of people say, "Oh, it it`s just child porn." Child porn is crime scene evidence. He did us a favor by documenting what he did, because many, many pedophiles don`t do that, thus putting up a he said/she said environment. This is a nice piece of evidence that`s going to hopefully ruin this guy and keep him in custody for the rest of his life.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, you know, I want to say bravo -- bravo to all the federal agents who tracked this sicko down. They were able to link the suspect`s IP address to three child porn videos that were traded online. They arrested this guy at his home September 21.

According to the affidavit, he told the feds he has been downloading child porn for years. He told investigators he was "relieved to have been caught." He also said, "My life is over." You know what? He should have added, "And I`ve ruined the lives of a lot of youngsters."

Cheryl Arutt, forensic psychologist, this guy says, "Oh, I`m relieved to have been caught."

CHERYL ARUTT, FORENSIC PSYCHOLOGIST: Yes, right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, "My life is over." Why -- if he`s so remorseful, why the hell didn`t he turn himself in and get some help for his tendencies?

ARUTT: That`s an excellent question. I`m also thinking that there are so many victims here. That`s an awful lot of young victims who did not tell about what he did. And I think we really need to tell our children that it`s not enough to explain good touch and bad touch.

But a lot of these predators say, "I`ll kill your family or something terrible will happen to you or your loved ones if you tell." And I think we really need to explain to our children that they can tell you anything, and that if somebody were to say something like that to them, that you can protect them and yourself and that that won`t happen. And that it`s OK to go to a grown-up and get help.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, it is kind of odd, Robin Sax, that if this was happening to so many children, that nobody spoke up. I mean, this was literally something that was tracked down through his IP address, that he was busted with -- with no warning.

SAX: Well, what I understand in this case, after talking to some of my sources in Tulsa (ph), is that this was a beloved teacher. Not very surprising for children not to feel comfortable exposing a beloved teacher, especially when they can be shamed. They videotaped it. They -- these kids knew about the existence of these videotapes, they are very often used as a piece of blackmail. "Oh, I`m going to show that you enjoyed this. I`m going to show that you wanted this. I`m going to show that you were with sexually aroused. I`m going to show that you are gay. I`m going to show anything."

So the amount of pressure...

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa, whoa! Let`s not confuse pedophilia with being gay. And let`s not mix that up, because people are going to get very confused. And that is part of the confusion that we as a culture have to undo and figure out. So clarify what you were trying to say, Robin.

SAX: Thank you. No, thank you. You`re absolutely right. What abusers and predators will frequently do is try to shame, making -- somehow making gayness, if it is gayness, as a shamefulness, or saying that because if there are same-sex predatory actions, that that somehow means that that`s a sign of their sexual orientation.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let me go back to Joe Gomez. My understanding is that there are girls involved in this, correct?

GOMEZ: That`s right, Jane. Police did find video of several men molesting or having sexual interactions with women, videos of this. We also understand there`s some video of boys as young as elementary school age. Apparently this guy didn`t discriminate in who was his potential victim.

I mean, he`s been in the area for at least 17 years as a choreographer. As part of this touring dance company, Jane, he`s toured all across the state. So his victims might not just be limited to the El Paso area.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But let me get this straight, Joe. I want to understand what`s going on here. They raid this guy`s house and, apparently, they find these videos and these various tapes either on his computer or various DVDs or whatever. And some of them are him molesting children, allegedly, and others are videos of other people molesting children that he has kind of traded online with other pedophiles?

GOMEZ: Well, that`s true. We don`t know if he actually traded these videos online. We don`t know if he was the person filming these videos. I mean, the possibilities really are endless here. We know at least they`ve identified him as the perpetrator in some of these videos, but also, Jane, some of the videos police have found were VHS tapes. Where is he going to get VHS tapes? Certainly not online.

BROOKS: Jane, let me also point out that the federal agency involved in this is Immigration and Customs Enforcement, which says to me that there is also leads that they are following from outside of the country. And many times when you have people dealing with kiddy porn, they -- they`re in a big network in another country.

I worked a case with customs dealing with NAMBLA one time, that was coming into the Washington, D.C., area for their national convention. And it was customs that pulled the -- actually pulled the trigger on that particular case. And that`s what I`m saying. It probably is way out there.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Let`s hope that this is just the start, and they go into that computer and find dozens more or hundreds more, whatever. Let`s get them all.

SAX (?): It could be part of a ring.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: It could be a ring.

The desperate search also for Kyron Horman four months later. What happened to this little boy? And what are cops doing to keep this case alive?

But first, more on this unbelievably disturbing story of this sicko teacher not only accused of sexually assaulting 70 children but videotaping it?

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GARCIA: We`re there for him, back him 100 percent.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DR. ELIZABETH RICHARDSON, CLINICAL PSYCHOLOGIST: Some of the most heinous crimes in this country that we`ve become aware of is done by what we`ve described often as sort of the guy next door, the nice guy next door.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Or in this case, the nice teacher. Feds found a massive collection of child porn at the home of an El Paso High School teacher, 140 videos in all, some of them starring the suspect, Marco Alferez.

And I have to go to Jeff Brown, criminal defense attorney. As I mentioned at the top of our show, the El Paso School District, when asked for a statement, sent us the suspect`s resume, which I find extraordinarily bizarre.

But looking at it, I see, you know, he`s worked in a lot of different schools and community groups and all over the place. So now what`s the investigation? They`re going to have to go to all of these places and find out what happened there.

JEFF BROWN, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes. They`ve kind of given ICE and customs a road map as to where else they look. You know, in the federal system, what they`re looking for are images. And if you have a video, that`s worth 75 images. So they count up the number of images that you have. And if the victims are under 12, if the victims are involved in photos involving sadomasochistic acts, the sentence just keeps going up.

So he`s looking probably at about a sentence of 30 years under the federal system.

But what`s really disturbing here is normally we have cases like this where they`re downloading and trading photos, and these photos were taken elsewhere by others. Here, we actually have somebody that`s taking the photos or the videos themselves.

They`re creating these images, and the real damaging damage in this case would be if he actually took these videos and put them out there on the Internet. Because they`ll never get them back, and this will haunt his victims forever.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Now, here are some gut-wrenching numbers. More than 20,000 images of child porn are posted online every single week. About 100,000 Web sites offer child pornography. There is an entire subculture of people who treat these demented images as we`ve been discussing like trading cards.

So I`ve got to ask, Mike Brooks, if they caught this guy, why can`t they sweep up all the men trading this stuff? Clearly, they would likely find tons of pedophilia-trading partners just on this guy`s computer.

BROOKS: Well, they`re not commenting on this particular case as of right now, Jane. But I guarantee you that that`s going on right now. They`ve got his computer. They`ve got every piece of electronics out of his house. And they are going over frame by frame not only the ones that he has produced, looking at other pictures to see if they recognize, possibly men and possibly women who they see in the other ones who might have involved and they might have had involved in the past.

They`re also looking at background. Where were these pictures taken? Is it here in the United States? Is it on a vacation spot? Is it somewhere, you know, outside of the United States?

These analysts are looking at this right now, because we`ve seen cases like this before where they`ve been able to identify who the victim is by where the picture was taken.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Alferez allegedly told investigators that he was molested when he was a child. A reporter asked his aunt about that outside court. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Is this the first you`ve heard of any of that?

GARCIA: Correct.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You`ve never heard that?

GARCIA: No.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Of course we cannot confirm whether or not the suspect was, in fact, a victim himself once. Either way, it`s absolutely no excuse. But forensic psychologist Cheryl Arutt, is it common for pedophiles to have a history of having been molested themselves? Or not?

ARUTT: It is common. It`s common for people who were molested themselves to repeat in some way, sometimes to repeat the traumas that happened to them.

I want to clarify a point that you made earlier, which is that pedophilia is a mental illness and that the people who are pedophiles are overwhelmingly heterosexual. And you`re right. People do have a confusion about this, and confuse that. I just wanted to make that really clear, where homosexuality is not an illness and pedophilia is.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, very, very good that you clarified that. I mean, this not a person who was, to our understanding or knowledge, having a healthy relationship with another adult of whatever sex. This is a sicko, according to cops, who was preying on children. And I think that`s the crucial difference.

And Cheryl, while we`re -- while we`re on that subject, I mean, what would you say to people to help them stay clear about that so that they understand that there`s a complete distinction between those two?

ARUTT: Well, I think I just tried to get that out there by being able to say this on the show. And I think we have an opportunity to really educate people so that they don`t have misplaced fears and also so they don`t erroneously assume that somebody is safe because he happens to be what the picture of a mainstream kind of person may be. It doesn`t necessarily mean it`s OK. We need to follow up with background checks and prepare our kids and take all the steps we can.

BROOKS: Jane, let me also point out, there`s -- there`s another organization that is -- does unbelievable work. This work on this particular case, too, and that`s the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Correct.

BROOKS: They are always in the forefront of helping law enforcement identify these victims. And if there are viewers out there who think their child may have been victimized, go to their Web site and look at what they have to say and some signs and symptoms of kids who may have been the victim of a monster like this, of a predator like this guy.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

SAX: And along the lines of what Mike is saying -- along the lines of what Mike is saying, actually, they collect a database on the national site. And what they do is sometimes children don`t even know that their pictures are out there. So what they do is they look to the community to help identify kids.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it there.

A gay student takes his own life, next.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, where is Kyron Horman? Almost four months after he disappeared, are investigators any closer to bringing the missing third grader home?

Little Kyron vanished June 4 after a science fair at his school. His step-mom, Terri Horman, took him to school that day, and suspicion still swirls around her. There she is right there.

Kyron`s parents cannot understand why she won`t tell everything she knows.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

DESIREE YOUNG, KYRON`S MOTHER: We implore Terri Horman to fully cooperate with the investigators to bring Kyron home.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sheriff investigating little Kyron`s disappearance announced a new task force last month, but that`s the last we heard of it. Is anyone out there working to bring Kyron home?

Straight out to my very special guest, attorney Bruce McCain, former captain with the very sheriff`s office investigating Kyron`s case.

Bruce, what do you know? Is anyone looking for Kyron, or has this case gone cold?

BRUCE MCCAIN, FORMER CAPTAIN, MULTNOMAH SHERIFF`S OFFICE: Well, Jane, unfortunately, this investigation seems to have really fizzled. There`s no sense of urgency, and this really rolls back to that two-week-old press conference about the so-called task force.

Remember, the sheriff made this task force announcement, but what struck a lot of people as strange is that there was no district attorney present. There was no agencies represented there like you see in the classic photo op. And just as we had feared, it looks like the sheriff basically over-promised and yet under-delivered on this task force. Because we`re now you learning that none of the agencies that he promised, except one, are willing to put forth anybody on the task force.

And that one agency that finally said yes is the Portland Police Bureau. They are the largest, most experienced detective agency in the state, and it took the sheriff four months before he finally got around to accepting their help.

So right now there`s no sense of urgency in this case. There`s no task force. It seems to be imploding on itself, which is really sad at this point.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes, it is. Especially for these parents who are desperate for answers. Kyron`s parents, like any parents would in this situation, really want to believe their son is still alive. Let`s listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

KAINE HORMAN, KYRON`S FATHER: He`s still out there. He`s still out there. We just need to find him and just the love we have for him and how much we miss him and how much we`re just trying to do everything we can to find him. He`s waiting to be found. He`s out there.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Bruce, if Kyron is still alive, is it still an option for prosecutors to try to make some sort of deal with step-mom Terri Horman to bring the child home, if police can find evidence that would point to her actually knowing where this boy is?

MCCAIN: Absolutely, Jane. It`s certainly an option. In fact, that option is, I think, kind of the elephant in the room right now, because I understand Kaine and Desiree`s desire to say that Kyron is alive. The sheriff says Kyron is alive.

But the problem I`ve always had with this theory about him being held captive by a third-party kidnapper and if only Terri would cooperate, he could be in school on Monday morning. The problem with that theory, frankly, Jane, is if that`s the case, you have to ask yourself, why has the D.A. not approached Terri Horman with that kind of deal? Either a voluntary deal or, in a last-gasp effort, compel grand jury testimony in exchange for fully transitional immunity.

And frankly, I believe the reason that has not happened is because they know in their hearts that either Kyron is dead, in which case there is no deal to be made, or if he is alive nobody, including Terri Horman, knows where he is. And therefore, there`s no deal to be made.

But you`d have to ask yourself, would the parents and the D.A. and investigators trade Terri Horman`s immunity to bring Kyron home? You know the answer is yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Got to leave it right there. Thank you for that excellent report.

A bullying crisis. Heartbreak, outrage escalates after a gay student takes his own life. Ellen DeGeneres now talking about it.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: To hear technology -- you know, to see how far you can go with that and how easy it is to access that and stream it to a large amount of people, it`s unbelievable and it`s also pathetic.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

JANE VELEZ-MITCHELL, HLN HOST: Tonight -- shock and outrage growing in the wake of the suicide of Rutgers University freshman Tyler Clementi. Outed in a live sex web cast, Tyler jumped off a bridge. He is at least the fifth teenager to take his own life last month alone after being taunted about sexual orientation.

This is outrageous. Is America`s intolerance in effect killing these young people?

Eighteen-year-old Tyler Clementi had only been at Rutgers for a few weeks. He was a star music student, a gifted violinist. He was just trying to get used to college life.

Then the unthinkable happened. Tyler unknowingly became the star of a live web cast showing him in a sexual encounter with another man. Prosecutors say his roommate, Dharun Ravi, and classmate, Molly Wei, secretly turned on the camera.

They are now facing invasion of privacy charges, but prosecutors are considering much tougher charges, including bias.

New Jersey`s governor has a 17-year-old son and says he`s incredibly sad for Tyler`s family.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

GOVERNOR CHRIS CHRISTIE, NEW JERSEY: You send your son to school to get an education with great hopes and aspirations, and I can`t imagine what those parents are feeling tonight.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Stars like Ellen DeGeneres say these recent deaths should be a wake-up call to the dangers of teenage bullying. This isn`t a joke, and it never should have been.

Young men are apparently feeling so depressed that they`re killing themselves over the behavior of those around them. We here at ISSUES want to be part of the solution.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel, we begin with anti-bullying expert Jodee Blanco. Jodee, five bullying deaths in one month and the victims also happen to be either gay or perceived as gay. Your thoughts on it?

JODEE BLANCO, AUTHOR, "PLEASE STOP LAUGHING AT ME": Well, my thought is, in terms of the bullying that happen in the middle schools, it`s been reported that the parents went to the schools and they did nothing. And parents, if you`re listening, if you go to a school and they don`t respond, take it up the chain of command. Go to the superintendent, the school board, even the press if you have to. But we cannot remain silent.

In the scene of the college incident, college is even scarier, Jane, because kids have more freedom in college. And the more freedom you have, the more freedom you have to be cruel. And administration at the college level has to take it as seriously as other schools that are younger. We have to take this seriously, or we`re going to continue to have dead kids because of the tragic lack of compassion.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Perez Hilton, founder of perezhilton.com, you are a famous blogger. You have been speaking out very, very strongly about this. What the heck is going on in our country that all these young men are committing suicide because they`re being taunted over their sexual orientation, either real or perceived?

PEREZ HILTON, FOUNDER, PEREZHILTON.COM: I think it has to do with the fact that America is still not a tolerant place for gays and lesbians. And it has everything stemming to do with the fact that we still live in a place where gays are not allowed to marry legally nationwide, where gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military, where gays in many states are not allowed to adopt, and in states outside of the coast, and it cities that not major cities, it`s even harder.

Some of these deaths have occurred in Texas in a small town, in northern California, not in Los Angeles where I live. And I`m sheltered. I just could not imagine what it would be like to be young and having to live in a place where you don`t feel comfortable being yourself.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. The old Shakespeare saying, you know it says, "doth protest too loudly". When somebody is very locally opposed to somebody else`s personal trait, it`s sometimes called reaction formation or in some circles it`s known as the Ted Haggard syndrome, the outspoken preacher who campaigned vigorously against homosexuality and gay marriage was caught himself in a gay sex scandal in 2006.

I`d like to go back to Jodee Blanco, if somebody is bullying a person because they think they are gay or they are gay, could it be that that bullier is really not secure in their own sexuality and they`re attacking the person they think is gay as a smoke screen for their own insecurity?

BLANOC: That`s certainly a possibility, but the larger possibility is that most people, when they do this, most kids when they bully, for whatever reason, in their minds, they`re just joking around. They don`t think that it`s serious, that they`re not doing any damage.

And my primary message, because I travel to schools and speak to students of all ages all across America, and my primary message is always, it`s not just joking around. You are damaging each other for life. And if these suicides don`t communicate that, I don`t know what else can. I don`t know what else can.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know I don`t necessarily buy that they`re just kidding around.

Let`s go back to this case at Rutgers. They were all -- this is just the start of the fall semester, people. So suicide victim Tyler Clementi and his roommate, Dharun Ravi, had only known each other for a few weeks when Clementi was pushed to suicide. They both moved in to the dorm in August. By August 22nd, Ravi was already allegedly sending out tweets about his roommate`s sexual orientation.

ABC reports on August 22nd, Ravi tweeted, quote, "found out my roommate is gay" and then posted a link to a gay men`s Web site where Ravi said Clementi had placed posts.

Now, it was a month later, ok, that the incident occurred that apparently pushed this young man to suicide. So if this tweet is true, the suspect was clearly fixated on his roommate`s sexual orientation a full month before he allegedly secretly videotaped him having sex with a man and then sent that out live.

You know, Mark Eiglarsh, if that tweet is accurate, doesn`t it destroy the argument that Ravi was an open-minded guy who was just worried about his roommate when he turned on the web cam to make sure he was ok?

MARK EIGLARSH, CRIMINAL DEFENSE ATTORNEY: Yes I agree with you. Those tweets are extremely compelling. I still want to hear his side. I want to know what his lawyers are representing that he was saying.

But one part is as Perez was talking about, the intolerance, the hate, the close mindedness, that`s one thing. The other thing is the technology. Twenty-five years ago you`d spray-paint stuff. Now with the click of a mouse you can go global and have tremendous power by just clicking a mouse. You could really, really hurt someone.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes. Here`s my big issue tonight. I completely agree with Ellen DeGeneres. This is a wake-up call for everybody. Ellen talked about Tyler`s suicide on her talk show today. Listen.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

ELLEN DEGENERES, TALK SHOW HOST: My heart is breaking for their families, for their friends and for our society that continues to let this happen. These kids needed us, and we have an obligation to change this. There are messages everywhere that validate this kind of bullying and taunting, and we have to make it stop. We can`t let intolerance and ignorance take another kid`s life.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: You know, Perez Hilton, they say there are three stages of any social justice movement: ridicule, anger and acceptance. With what we`re dealing with as a culture with this sort of discussing sexual orientation, are we in the anger phase? Could that explain it?

HILTON: Yes, I think it might be a backlash to everything that`s been going on in the advancements that have been happening.

You know, back to what someone else was saying on the panel, personally, I think that the Internet, though, is a great thing, especially to a young gay boy or a young transgender person or a young lesbian who may be somewhere and feel so alone and so isolated. I encourage everyone out there to reach out to someone, talk to someone on a hotline. Check out the Trevor Project`s Web site or other suicide prevention folks. It may not be comfortable for you, but talking to somebody is so much better than keeping your feelings bottled in.

(CROSSTALK)

EIGLARSH: I made the point about the Internet, Perez. I agree with you. It absolutely is a wonderful place for people to learn that there`s others like them going through what they go through. I made the point, however, that if somebody wanted to do harm and truly destroy someone, they could do it so easily these days as opposed to 25 years ago.

BLANCO: But I want to jump in really quick, Jane. It`s important. We all blame the Internet. The Internet is good, the Internet is bad. But it`s the people using the Internet.

EIGLARSH: Of course.

BLANCO: We need our parents to teach our kids compassion as children. We need the schools to reinforce the lesson of compassion. And then we need our kids to live that message as adults.

It`s what we`re teaching our children. It`s not just the Internet. That`s a blank technology. We need to be examples of compassion, and we need to teach it.

(CROSSTALK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: And Tyler`s family, as we wrap up you, issuing a statement, "Our hope is that our family`s personal tragedy will serve as a call for compassion, empathy and human dignity." Absolutely.

Thank you panel.

One high-profile celebrity has a message for Lindsay Lohan. "Recovery isn`t easy, girl." I`ll give you the latest on the troubled starlet. You will not believe what she`s doing now in her battle against substance abuse. And we`re going to talk to her dad Michael, next.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S FATHER: I know she can do it. I don`t think she can. I know she can. She`s an intelligent girl. She`s got drive. When she puts her mind to something, she can do anything in the world. But the question is, was she ready and is she ready? I think she`s going to be forced to make a decision now and the reality is starting to set in.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight -- talk of a conservatorship. Could wild child Lindsay Lohan`s life be saved with the help from her estranged father? Michael has been battling to keep his daughter alive and off drugs. Tonight is he fighting for control of his daughter`s life? We`re going to talk to him in just a moment.

Plus, Lindsay Lohan enters rehab for the fifth time. The troubled starlet has reportedly checked in to the Betty Ford Clinic. TMZ reports she will stay there until her hearing on October 22nd.

Celebrities have described the Betty Ford Clinic as a living hell. Why? Because A-Listers staying there have to make their own beds and clean their own toilets.

Tonight -- Hollywood stars come to bat for the troubled actress. Charlie Sheen, who is also famously battle addiction for years, is on team Lindsay. I don`t know if that`s good or bad. Listen to this from RadarOnline.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

CHARLIE SHEEN, ACTOR: I guess she`s doing the best -- you know, the best that she can, and it`s not -- it`s not -- it`s not easy to begin with. But then you put it under the bright lights of this circus and it makes it that much more difficult. I think people just need to leave her alone and let her do her thing and, you know, I think at the end of the day she`ll win.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Sheen was recently in rehab himself after a boozy Christmas day fight with his wife turned violent. But is rehab the best place for Lindsay? She was supposed to be behind bars right now.

Straight out to my fantastic expert panel. We begin with Alexis Teresczuk, reporter for RadarOnline. Alexis, what is the very latest?

ALEXIS TERESCZUK, REPORTER, RADARONLINE: Well, Lindsay Lohan got a get out of jail free card last week, she was sent directly back to jail by the judge in her case. She actually -- she failed two random drug tests. He said, no bail, nothing. Directly to jail, she went to the Lynnwood Correctional facility where she`d been for 14 days earlier this summer.

But her amazing lawyer got her out on an appeal. She posted bail, out of jail free. The court doesn`t require anything until her next hearing, which is October 22nd. But she took the responsible step of checking herself into the Betty Ford Clinic in Palm Springs, in California.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, responsible or just a smart chess move, I don`t know. I can`t read her mind.

TERESCZUK: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: But we are delighted to have her dad Michael Lohan with us tonight. Michael, you have apparently met with attorneys and planned to file a conservatorship and papers for a conservatorship for Lindsay.

After Britney Spears` 2007 meltdown, we all remember a court appointed her dad Jamie as her conservator. And he`s basically in charge of all of her finances and manages her personal and financial affairs, and even her health care.

Now Michael, I have to ask you. You and your daughter are estranged. Lindsay has been pretty clear that she doesn`t want you in her life. Do you think it`s likely a judge would appoint you for her conservatorship, or do you have somebody else in mind? Who do you think should do it?

MICHAEL LOHAN, LINDSAY LOHAN`S FATHER: Well, hello, Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Hi.

M. LOHAN: To begin with, you just caught me. I`m actually sitting with my -- my attorneys with David Shawn (ph) and with Dana Cole (ph) who might be a conservator and with a very dear friend.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I know Dana Cole and he`s a great attorney. And I`ve -- I`ve interviewed him many times. Here is my big issue tonight. Rehab redo? Everybody is saying, six months in rehab isn`t going to cut it for Lindsay. She needs to go in for at least a year.

Listen to this from "The View".

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

BARBARA WALTERS, HOST, "THE VIEW": It really takes a very long time.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Yes.

WALTERS: It`s not one month or two months or three months. And if she`s going into rehab, then the court has to say, I don`t know, a year, even two years. This is a very -- this is a very sick girl.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Yes.

Now, there are reports Lindsay is dead broke and the Betty Ford Center is almost $1,000 a day. So Alison Triessl, you`re not only an attorney, but you run a recovery center.

How do you think she`s affording this and how long is she going to stay there? In other words, there`s this October 22nd hearing. Does she just pop out of Betty Ford and go to the hearing and then go back to rehab? Or could the judge send her to jail even though she`s checked into rehab?

ALISON TRIESSL, CEO PASADENA RECOVERY CENTER: Well, the judge could absolutely send her to jail. And she`s -- by the way, she`s probably there on some type of scholarship. The Betty Ford Center and it is actually a terrific treatment center, this -- this attention doesn`t hurt it at all. So she may be there on some type of scholarship.

But this judge, who is a very good judge, may very well say, at her October court date, you violated your probation. I know that you`re taking steps to mitigate the damage, but I want you to do your jail time. That very much could happen.

Now, when they say you need to be there for a long period of time, that`s true. Getting clean and recovery is very difficult. It is a very long, difficult process, and the only thing I can say is lot of -- there`s -- you never give up on the person. You never say, all right, you don`t get it, you`re done.

For a lot of people it takes a lot of times until you get it right.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I have to wonder, is Lindsay taking recovery seriously or is she just going to rehab to win points for her next day in court? Check this out.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I know that I was ordered to go once a week, and I wasn`t -- you know, I wasn`t missing the classes just to hang out or do anything like that. I was working mostly, in Morocco the trip, I was working with children. It wasn`t a vacation. It wasn`t some sort of a joke. And I respect you and I`ve been taking you seriously.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Michael Lohan --

M. LOHAN: Yes.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: -- you have been quoted as saying the Betty Ford Clinic is a country club that will not help your daughter. Why would you say that?

M. LOHAN: I mean I was there. They don`t have any family therapy. They do -- if you`re on a prescription -- prescription medication regimen, they keep you on it. And if someone needs prescription meds, they put you on them. And this is the main problem that Lindsay had in all the other facilities she was in.

It`s not a hard-core facility. I mean -- granted, she will get some sort of therapy, which is very beneficial, and I think -- I think that`s great. I think she`s out of -- you know out of harm`s way right now, but at the same time we just want -- I just want her to have the right treatment.

And let me tell you this, Jane. If Dina and Luke Taylor (ph) would sit down with me and work something out and guarantee me that they were not going to seek conservatorship then I wouldn`t be there. I don`t -- I just want people in Lindsay`s life -- I don`t want to be this conservator -- conservator. I want the right people in her life to help govern it.

But if -- I`m -- I certainly believe that Lindsay could do it on her own when she`s in the right frame of mind.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Well, I think it`s fascinating that you`re going for conservatorship, even though you, as the dad, may not get it and it may go to somebody else. I think that`s very selfless of you. And I applaud you Michael. We want to have you back soon because we`re going to stay on top of your daughter`s progress.

Let`s talk at her next hearing ok. Thank you, fabulous panel.

M. LOHAN: Yes Jane.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Coming up, a disturbing story. What is behind the fur you see on some people`s backs? You will not believe.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Tonight, disturbing new documentary that shines a light on the deplorable and shocking treatment of animals slaughtered for fur.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If we`re spending $30,000 on a fur coat, we can be sure that the animals are killed humanely.

Foxes are not electrocuted by having a probe put up their anus. It`s almost impossible to do, but that`s what they say that -- can you imagine.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Can you rest assured that the animals were in fact killed in very humane methods?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Yes.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: The sad truth, animals like coyotes, minx, foxes, rabbits, raccoons and raccoon dogs are either killed in searingly (ph) painful traps or raised on horrifically crowded fur farms.

This video is disturbing but trust me, it`s nothing. These are the least graphic images. Producers of the film "Skin Trade" on a mission to expose the harsh treatment of animals and deceptive practices of the fur industry.

As you know, I`m a passionate animal advocate. I want to tell you, I`ve made a donation to the non-profit organization that help produced "Skin Trade". ISSUES reached out the Fur Information Council of AMERICA for comment, they did not respond by deadline.

Award winning director Shannon Keith of "Skin Trade" joins me now. Shannon this is a film that makes you feel like you`re inside the skin of one of these animals used for fur. What point are you trying to make with this movie?

SHANNON KEITH, DIRECTOR, "SKIN TRADE": This movie is out to expose the truth and to let consumers know that when they purchase a fur coat, they are purchasing cruelty. Retailers are lying to them saying these animals are humanely euthanized when in fact they`re being stolen from the wild, caught in steel jaw leg-hold traps, anally electrocuted and skinned alive.

They`re also being told that fake fur purchases -- and they`re $150 -- are made of synthetic when in fact they`re made of real dog and cat fur coming in from China.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: Oh, my God. Are people in denial? Are they purposely buying these absurd stories about humane fur to justify their own cravings for fur fashion do you think? Listen to this.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Well, I like to think they were just run over in the street.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: The road kill fur. The road kill fur. They have a road kill fur store there. Unfortunately it`s not that way but --

(END VIDEO CLIP)

VELEZ-MITCHELL: So another outrageous aspect is that some people are being told that they`re buying fake fur when it`s real fur. Shannon, what`s going on with that?

KEITH: Yes, exactly. There`s legislation all over the place. There`s currently a federal law trying to be passed. It`s HR 2480 presented by Congressman Jim Moran. It`s called "The Truth in Fur Labeling Act" and people need to get behind it. Right now, it`s stayed but it`s got to be taken off hold. And basically it will inform consumers of the truth

That animals that -- there are animals coming in from China, dogs and cats. Imagine your dog at home being stolen from you, skinned alive, and then put on a coat to wear. That`s what`s happening. And people go and purchase fake fur thinking I`m doing the right thing, but they`re not. It`s actually dog and cat fur coming in from China. So this legislation will close that loophole and stop that horrible cruelty.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: I see people all over New York, especially where I live, walking their dogs in their fur coats and I just want to go up to them and shake them. You`re showing compassion to your dog, but you`re wearing about 100 dogs on your back. Shannon, final thought?

KEITH: Yes exactly. Those people need to know that this is pure vanity. They need to stop what they`re doing and make the connection. Animals like their dogs have feelings just like other animals, like coyotes, like foxes. They need to stop this cruelty. And there are alternatives out there. Buy a beautiful, fashionable alternative.

VELEZ-MITCHELL: There are. You`re watching ISSUES.

END