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PAULA ZAHN NOW
Confessions of a Teenage Movie Queen; Tragic Miscommunication at Sago Mine; Mine Explosion Survivor Undergoes Treatment in Pittsburgh
Aired January 6, 2006 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
PAULA ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: And good evening, everyone. Glad to have you with us.
Tonight, new details about the Sago Mine disaster and terrible mistakes that led families to believe their loved ones had survived.
ZAHN (voice-over): Failure to communicate in West Virginia, our investigation into what caused so much grief, so many broken hearts.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Go ahead, man.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They did find them, and they're all OK, I guess.
ZAHN: How could they get it so wrong? And how are the families coping? Tonight, their pastor speaks out in an exclusive interview.
Divided minds -- the amazing story of twin sisters who are exact opposites. One hears voices.
AMELA SPIRO WAGNER, SISTER: They'd say things like kill him, kill her, kill him, kill her, kill him, kill her. Will you kill her? Will you kill her?
ZAHN: Her sister is a psychiatrist.
PAMELA SPIRO WAGNER, SISTER: There have been times when I have thought about Pammy's life and thought about my life and wondered, how is this fair?
ZAHN: A family torn apart by schizophrenia.
And Lindsay Lohan, startling new revelations and an ominous warning for a rising star.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey sat her down and said, you're going to die if you don't take care of yourself.
ZAHN: Tonight, the confessions of a teenage movie queen.
ZAHN: And we start tonight with a Sago Mine tragedy. We are just beginning to learn more tonight about the communications foul-up that compounded the pain of the miners' family.
You might remember, on Tuesday night, church bells tolled and cheers rang out when families were told that everyone had survived, only to learn, a little bit later on, the devastating truth that later that 12 of the miners had died.
Drew Griffin has been looking into where this misinformation started, and he has just filed this report.
DREW GRIFFIN, CNN INVESTIGATIVE CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The news came over a lashed together multi-stage communication system, the final relay, a telephone line stretched from the back of the rescue command center to a base inside Sago Mine number one, just behind this building.
At 11:45 Tuesday night, that phone line carried a message that sounded like, all bodies, all alive. At the command center, Dennis O'Dell, chief safety officer for the United Mine Workers of America, couldn't believe what he was hearing and couldn't believe how fast the news spread to family waiting at the Baptist church in town.
DENNIS O'DELL, CHIEF SAFETY OFFICER, UNITED MINE WORKERS OF AMERICA: We could hear the bells ringing and celebration. We couldn't figure out how -- I mean, being involved in mine rescue, like we have been in the past, I couldn't figure out how that information got down to the church as quick as it did.
GRIFFIN: Too fast, says O'Dell, and much faster than the information could be checked out. Now we're learning there was good reason to wait.
The news was traveling along an underground network of radios and telephones and rescue teams that anyone who has ever played the childhood game telephone could tell you almost guaranteed to distort the details.
At the time of the rescue, 11:45 Tuesday night, the communication system stretched more than two miles deep into the mine shaft. At the far end, a rescue team had found them, 11 miners dead, one struggling for life. The information was sent quickly by two-way radio to a second team halfway back. And that rescue team, again by two-way radio, relayed the information farther up the shaft to the fresh air base.
It was the fresh air base, connected by telephone line, that sent word back to the command center. O'Dell says, somehow, along that string of radios and telephones, the simple and very important message, all bodies, one alive, got twisted.
O'DELL: I can tell you that I talked to the team members, some of the team members, that found the bodies. And I can tell you that what they said was that they found the bodies, and one was alive.
I can tell you, I talked to some of the members who were at the fresh air base. And what they said was, the information they heard was, we found all the bodies. All are alive. So, somewhere, that message got lost.
GRIFFIN (on camera): What should have happened, says O'Dell, is, the good news should have stayed inside that command center until it could be checked out, until, he says, the actual rescue team walked out of the mine with the surviving miners.
Instead, he and others now believe someone inside the command center couldn't resist and made a phone call to the church just up this road, the phone call that spread the good news that was so wrong.
(voice-over): Near the mine entrance, emergency medical workers, also working from mistaken information, sent good news back to their ambulance dispatcher.
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK. I need 10 medic units. I need you to HealthNet. Get me any available aircraft that can fly.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: At 11:54:
(BEGIN AUDIO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And -- and what am I telling him?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: There are 12 and they're bringing them out.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: And they are all alive?
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: As far as they know so far.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: OK.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Bye.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: All right, bye.
(END AUDIO CLIP)
GRIFFIN: At the fresh air base inside the mine O'Dell says the decision was made not to wait for the rescue team to come out. The fresh air base went silent, as rescuers abandoned the phone and raced to help carry out the miners.
O'DELL: When they got there, you can imagine the sickness they had in their stomachs to see that they weren't alive. One was. The rest of them were dead. And I talked to some of those guys. And they -- you know, they went up, checked -- checked the individuals, checked the bodies to see if there was any life left. And -- and it was just a sad, sad moment for everybody at that point. GRIFFIN: The delay, from the time they had mistakenly heard the miners were alive, to the time they were back at the phone line with the accurate and tragic information, was 20 minutes.
O'DELL: Now, we're on the surface, everybody, grown men, same thing, same reaction, high-fiving, hugging, celebrating, because we thought everybody, you know, had been rescued, with the exception of the one gentlemen we had found dead earlier.
And when that second answer came out, it -- it was just going from the very highest level that anybody could be on to just a -- a gut-wrenching sickness in your stomach.
GRIFFIN (on camera): But, Dennis that very high level to the gut-wrenching should have said in that building.
O'DELL: Exactly. And that's where the failure occurred.
GRIFFIN (voice-over): O'Dell says the bad news should have been passed to the families at least as fast as the false information had leaked out.
The federal Mine Safety and Health Administration would not comment on the communication from inside the mine, saying it is part of an investigation.
Drew Griffin, CNN, Sago, West Virginia.
ZAHN: Meanwhile, tonight, the miners' families are making final plans for their funerals, which begin this weekend.
We also know more about a note that was left behind by one of those miners. It's how 51-year-old Martin Toler Jr. told everyone goodbye. His last words are handprinted in ink on the back of an insurance application. Here it is.
It's a little bit hard to read, but, on the right are the words: "It wasn't bad. Just went to sleep." And, in the center, "Tell all I see them on the other side. J.R. I love you" -- two sentences that speak volumes about love, family, and faith.
And someone who has helped the mining community sustain his faith joins me now. Reverend Wease Day is pastor of the Sago Baptist Church, where the miners' family waited for word about the trapped men. This is his first national interview.
And we couldn't be more delighted to have the opportunity to talk with you.
So, Reverend Day...
REVEREND WEASE DAY, PASTOR, SAGO BAPTIST CHURCH: Yes, good evening.
ZAHN: Good evening.
Describe to us what it was like to be in that church when that sense of joy turned to anger and outrage and terrible hurt?
DAY: We came into this trusting in the lord that he would take care of every need that we had. And, at every situation, I could see that God had things completely under control. Emotions were up and emotions came down, but, God controls everything that we say and do.
ZAHN: Reverend, we understand, in that church, some people went from praising God to cursing God. How difficult was that for you to reconcile, as you saw people's faith so severely tested?
DAY: Well, I realize that what takes place is always in God's plan. As Romans 8:28 tell us, for, all things work together for good to those that love God that are called according to his purpose.
And those -- those folks have been waiting a long time. They were tired. They were worried. They were scared. And, with all of those things, they needed to express themselves.
ZAHN: Did you feel any sense of anger that night that the news had been twisted so horribly, and, at first, these families had hope, and -- and that hope was so totally crushed?
DAY: No. I guess -- I guess there probably wasn't a thing that I tried to think about of my own thoughts or what I should be within myself.
But I was looking toward God: Where do we go from here? What happens now? I was in a situation that I had never been in before, what a wonderful opportunity to serve God and his people. And I wanted to make everyone in there, make as comfortable as they possibly could under the situation. And the spirit of God was so great, it -- it kept a comforting power on me all the time.
ZAHN: Reverend Day, we have heard some people in your community saying that it would be so much easier for them to accept the fact that this tragedy was the result of an act of God, and -- and not based on -- or not as a result of the negligence on the part of the -- on the mine's part.
Do you understand that feeling?
God has a master plan. We deal many times, ourselves, you know, with our watches, with our calendars, weeks, days, years, month, moments, but God deals in eternity. And he has a master plan. And all things happen for a reason. And God doesn't allow things like this to happen to people because they have been bad or because anything wrong has been done, because, if they did, we would all be going now. We would all be in terrible trouble. He wants us to see that we need to continue to trust in him and to give our heart totally and completely to him. And, if we will do that, one day, heaven will be our home.
ZAHN: Well, you have shown tremendous strength throughout this, as so many families have leaned on you.
Reverend Day, thank you so much for being with us tonight. We appreciate it.
DAY: Thank you very much.
ZAHN: And good luck to your whole community.
Coming up next, what's the outlook for the lone survivor of the mine explosion?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I think his condition is critical, but a lot of things are heading in the right direction.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: I will be talking with a doctor treating Randy McCloy.
And, a little bit later on, why is a high school music teacher the subject of an intense campaign of anger and outrage? Plus, why did one of Hollywood's young stars look so thin during this 2004 appearance on "Saturday Night Live"? And what's she saying about it now?
ZAHN: In Pittsburgh tonight, the only survivor of the Sago Mine tragedy is still in a medically induced coma. Randy McCloy's doctors say he does have some brain damage. They just don't know yet how much. And they are still using a high-pressure oxygen chamber to treat him for carbon monoxide poisoning.
Let's get the very latest now from Chris Huntington.
Chris, what are the doctors saying how he's doing?
CHRIS HUNTINGTON, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Paula, I have to say, the doctors today considerably more optimistic, guardedly so, but more optimistic, more upbeat about Randy's condition than they had been in the past couple of days.
Most importantly, his cardiac ability has really responded well. His heart is strong, and that's crucial -- also showing some other strong signs of recovery from some of the damage that his tissue suffered from being immobilized in the mine for so long. They are still listing him in critical condition. They are still very concerned about his left lung, which had been the lung that collapsed. They have restored that, but it's still collecting fluid and still very fragile. That's one of the reasons they are keeping him in the medically induced coma. They don't want to aggravate that situation -- also, concern about his brain. But there is some guardedly positive news about his brain.
And that is that a second CAT scan this afternoon showed no worsening of the slight lesions and slight bleeding that they had noticed before -- so, overall, stabilizing condition. They are optimistic.
Perhaps the most encouraging sign today came from McCloy's wife, Anna, who held a brief news conference this afternoon. And, frankly, we have seen her for several days. But this is the first time, Paula, that we have seen her actually smile. She even laughed. She was quite, you know, relatively speaking, upbeat in this news conference, particularly when describing what she would do when her husband wakes up.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
ANNA MCCLOY, WIFE OF RANDAL MCCLOY: I have thought about that a lot. And I will probably be speechless.
MCCLOY: I mean, I know that I'm going to squeeze him. I'm going to squeeze him, because, right now, it's kind of hard to hug him like you want to hug him. And I'm going to just tell him how much I love him and how much I'm proud of him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
HUNTINGTON: Anna McCloy slipped out at one point today to go to Wal-Mart to get some personal effects for her husband's room, including a teddy bear that's going to hold some photographs, and a Metallica C.D.
Apparently, Randy McCloy is a heavy metal fan. And she has got a boom box, going to play that I guess somewhat softly in his room, hopefully stimulus that will encourage his recovery -- Paula.
ZAHN: That would be great, if that happened.
Chris Huntington, thanks so much for the update.
And now, just a short while ago, I had the chance to talk with a doctor leading the team that's trying to save Randy McCloy's life. And I asked Dr. Richard Shannon, chairman of the Department of Medicine at Allegheny General Hospital, how he thinks McCloy is doing right now.
DR. RICHARD SHANNON, DEPARTMENT OF MEDICINE CHAIRMAN, ALLEGHENY GENERAL HOSPITAL: Randy remains in critical condition, but he is stable.
He tolerated his second hyperbaric oxygen treatment without problem. He has undergone some additional imaging tests, so that we can keep an eye on the small hemorrhages that he has developed in his brain as a result of the carbon monoxide injury.
And we have really spent the majority of the day trying to stabilize his lung function. As you know, from almost the moment he was rescued, there were concerns about his left lung. It now appears that, in the hours immediately following his rescue, as he lost consciousness in the mine, he probably inhaled a lot of particulate matter, dust and coal, as well as carbon monoxide.
And this has caused inflammation in the left lung. So, we have spent a lot of time today trying to stabilize that particular condition.
ZAHN: Doctor, given what you have just told us, is there still a chance he might not survive?
SHANNON: Well, Paula, I think he's suffering from injuries to several organs. And while some of those organs are beginning to improve, injury to the lung and to the brain of the magnitude that he, you know, has incurred are all life-threatening.
So, any one of the conditions that he suffered is life- threatening. And, together, you know, it's certainly a complex circumstance. But he is young. And, as I said, he is beginning to show signs of improvement with respect to the injury to his skeletal muscles, as well as some signs of improvement with respect to his heart function and his liver function.
So, we are focusing on the encouraging news. And we're continuing to work diligently to try and deal with those organ systems that are still problematic.
ZAHN: Finally, tonight, if he pulls through these life- threatening challenges that you have just described, how long will it be before you know how serious any of this brain damage actually is and whether any of it is reversible?
SHANNON: Well, that's really the -- the most difficult question.
Right now, it's very difficult to assess what level of neurological function he has because of the medically induced coma. And I think, even as we begin to lighten up on the medications in the future, it may take several days and even weeks to understand the full extent of his injuries, as well as what disabilities he might have.
At this point, we're trying to be as hopeful as we can by treating him with every possible therapy that we know in an attempt to try to ensure as good a recovery as possible.
ZAHN: Well, you and Randy and your team certainly have the support of a nation tonight.
Thank you so much, Dr. Shannon, for updating us on his condition.
SHANNON: Thank you. Thank you, Paula.
ZAHN: And, just ahead, what did Randy McCloy look like just moments after he was rescued from the mine?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
DR. ROBERT BLAKE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: He was having difficulty breathing. He was not awake. He had no movement and was working to breathe. They -- he also had a pulse.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Coming up next, the doctor who was at Sago Mine on Tuesday night, what else did he see in all of the confusion and shock?
Also, stay with us and meet two remarkable sisters. We often hear that twins think alike. How could these two women be so different?
ZAHN: Tonight, we're just beginning to get a better picture of exactly what happened the night the victims of the Sago Mine disaster were found, and the information comes from the first doctor to treat the sole survivor.
He was there for all the confusion over just how many survived. And, then, he was there when the only survivor, Randy McCloy, was taken out of the mine.
Senior medical correspondent Dr. Sanjay Gupta had an exclusive interview with emergency physician Robert Blake.
DR. ROBERT BLAKE, EMERGENCY PHYSICIAN: I was standing probably 10 yards from the entrance to the church when someone ran up, a young -- a couple young men ran up, looked, appeared to be family members, and ran up and ran into the church, and started saying that people were alive.
And you heard a huge cheer. And then the church bells started ringing. And that's when we decided to get aboard the ambulance that was actually -- they were exchanging ambulances at that time for the night shift. And that's when we jumped up on that ambulance and then went in.
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN SENIOR MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: So, when you went down into the mine, what did you already know? What was going on down there? What -- what had you heard?
BLAKE: Basically, what everyone else heard, that -- that there -- there were 12 survivors. I did not know their condition. I asked for their condition.
Just before I went in, I heard that that was serious. But they couldn't tell me who -- if it was one serious or 12 serious injured. I didn't know if they could walk. So, I just played it as if everyone would be serious. And we took a number of extrication equipment, like backboards, and -- and enough oxygen for everybody.
GUPTA: You examined Mr. McCloy in the mine.
BLAKE: A quick exam, yes, sir..
GUPTA: What did you see?
BLAKE: He was having difficulty breathing. He was not awake. He had no movement and working to breathe. They -- he also had a pulse.
At that time, I was understanding that there were 11 others still down there alive. And there was five of us. I made a quick decision that we should rush this gentleman out, so we cleared the way. And that -- that bus went on out. And we continued on in.
And one of the rescue workers who was right behind me asked, where are the other guys? And he said, who? And he said, the survivors. And he goes, there are none, except the one we just sent out. And he said, what do you mean? The rest have perished.
And that's when we become -- we had the realization that -- that he was the only one.
GUPTA: You didn't see these 11 miners yourself?
GUPTA: The only people that had actually seen them were rescue workers, nonmedical people.
I mean, if -- if it's cold, if the conditions are extreme, could they have been alive, but actually just looked dead? How did they know that they were dead for sure?
BLAKE: We just -- we took the word of the -- or the care workers that were in there, the rescuers. You can't be 100 percent sure unless you -- unless you have a physician, ideally, looking at them and -- and know.
But one thing I didn't say earlier is, when we were at -- at that second -- the last bus coming out, he said that the director said, everybody out of the mine now. So, I couldn't have proceeded any further to check them, anyway.
GUPTA: I mean, in scenarios like this, that you had a young guy, Randy McCloy, who was near death, but survived. You had 11 other guys down there who were not as young as Randy, but were probably near death as well.
GUPTA: And a physician, a medical person, a nurse, no one ever actually saw them down in the mine. And under the situations of hypothermia and all that, they could have looked dead, but maybe not actually been dead.
BLAKE: Potentially, yes.
GUPTA: That's a frightening thought.
BLAKE: It -- it is. However, we got one out. And he's alive. And -- and I consider it a victory, because people don't survive these things. They just don't.
ZAHN: Dr. Sanjay Gupta with the first doctor to actually see mine tragedy survivor Randy McCloy.
And Anderson Cooper will have much more on the disaster in a special report, "Hope and Heartbreak: Inside the Sago Mine Tragedy." That gets under way at 11:00 tonight.
Coming up next, we move on to some startling new allegations about the hunt for Osama bin Laden. Did the U.S. miss a chance to capture or even kill him? Well, a former CIA field commander now breaks his silence.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: It's unfortunate. We had an opportunity, but it required a bit more acceptance of risk in that case.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: So, what we want to know is, just how close was Osama bin Laden to being cornered? Ahead, a story that hasn't been told until now.
Plus, real-life confessions of a teenage drama queen, but is Lindsay Lohan telling the full story this time? You get to be the judges of that.
ZAHN: Tonight U.S. intelligence experts are combing the videotape you're about to see for any clues to the whereabouts of al Qaeda leader Osama bin Laden. The tape surfaced earlier today.
Bin Laden's top lieutenant Ayman al-Zawahiri tells followers that the U.S. is now begging to get its troops out of Iraq and that President Bush has admitted defeat by planning to withdraw American forces.
As for bin Laden, himself, the search is now into its fourth year. And take a look at the latest CNN poll. It shows an overwhelming majority of Americans, 68 percent, think he will not be killed or captured this year.
But if it's true, here's the real shocker according to a former CIA operative. That bin Laden could have been brought to justice long ago, but once again this is his allegation our own military missed the chance. The ex-operative says he had to fight the spy agency so he could tell his story.
Here's national security correspondent David Ensor with tonight's eye opener.
DAVID ENSOR, NATIONAL SECURITY CORRESPONDENT (VOICE OVER): In late November of 2001, the CIA sent a four-man CIA military team to hunt Osama bin Laden in eastern Afghanistan.
With donkeys and ten Afghans for security, the team scaled a 14,000 foot peak overlooking al Qaeda's mountain retreat at Tora Bora. From there the men used lasers to call in massive firepower from the air.
GARY BERNSTEIN, AUTHOR, "JAWBREAKER": And they rained down death and destruction on al Qaeda up in those mountains. The first 56 hours alone.
ENSOR: One of the team's leaders radioed Gary Bernstein, their CIA boss in Kabul, the U.S. should send troops to make sure bin Laden did not get away somehow. Bernstein pleaded the case.
(on-camera): How many times and in what way did you ask for American forces?
BERNSTEIN: Well, I did it in writing, and then I did it orally with the senior military commanders on the ground.
ENSOR (voice over): But the troops to block the Pakistani border were not sent. General Tommy Franks, the regional commander of U.S. forces at the time, told Paula Zahn in 2004 he wasn't even sure bin Laden was there.
GENERAL TOMMY FRANKS, REGIONAL COMMANDER OF U.S. FORCES: But I'm not yet quite convinced that the issues around Tora Bora, as we discussed them, are conclusive with respect to the notion that, well, we missed him.
BERNSTEIN: Of course he was there.
ENSOR (on-camera): How do you know?
BERNSTEIN: Well, we picked up a radio off of a dead member of al Qaeda and it was an open radio un-encrypted. And we were able to listen to bin Laden apologize to the people that were with him that had fallen back with him.
ENSOR: Did you ever hear Osama bin Laden's voice? BERNSTEIN: I didn't listen to it, but my linguist was listening to him on the radio, on that un-encrypted radio. And the linguist I had listened to Osama bin Laden's voice four years straight. Any time we wanted someone to translate something it was him.
ENSOR: So he knew for sure it was him?
BERNSTEIN: He knew for sure. He knew for sure.
PAUL ZAHN, CNN ANCHOR: Maybe if you had to go back and do it all over again you would immediately have sealed the borders between Afghanistan and Pakistan.
FRANKS: I might have done that.
ZAHN: Why didn't we do that?
FRANKS: Well, because I think not so well reported the fact that Pervez Musharraf, the president of Pakistan, had put at our request 100,000 men on that border.
ENSOR (voice over): Former CIA officials, Bernstein included, say in fact, Pakistan sent nowhere near that number of troops.
BERNSTEIN: Musharraf sent a lot of people on to the border. I think the number may have been closer to 4,000.
ENSOR: Not enough. Osama bin Laden and his men got through.
BERNSTEIN: That's a tough area. It's a big isolated large area. It doesn't have a lot of roads. These are passes. This is not an easy thing to cover. And it's unfortunate. We had an opportunity. It would have required a bit more acceptance of risk in that case.
ENSOR: General Franks later wrote in a newspaper commentary that, quote, "We did not out source military action. We did," he said, "rely heavily on Afghans because they knew Tora Bora."
They knew Tora Bora, but Bernstein says they could not be counted on.
BERNSTEIN: It's Afghanistan. And the Afghans have a way of switching sides, which you have to constantly be concerned about. Therefore I think that they were willing to take our money and just as easily would have been willing to allow bin Laden to escape.
ENSOR (on-camera): Which is why you wanted American forces up there in Tora Bora.
BERNSTEIN: Exactly right. Exactly right.
ENSOR: And why couldn't you convince the U.S. military of that?
BERNSTEIN: It all happened very, very fast. It all happened very, very fast. And they just wanted to rely on air power. The air power had proven effective up to that point. ENSOR (voice over): Though he supports President Bush and is proud of the CIA and the military, Bernstein wanted to tell the story, warts and all. He submitted his manuscript as all CIA employees must then went ahead and published with the censored parts clearly marked.
Bernstein vividly remembers the pit in his stomach when this picture was taken as he left, Afghanistan.
BERNSTEIN: It was bittersweet. And I didn't want to leave.
ENSOR (on-camera): You wanted to get bin Laden.
BERNSTEIN: I wanted to end it. I wanted to end it. But unfortunately it didn't work out that way.
ENSOR (voice over): Bernstein says bin Laden remains dangerous. He hopes the CIA can get him soon.
David Ensor, CNN, Washington.
ZAHN: And coming up next, we change our focus to a scandal at a New Jersey high school. Would a suspect have been caught if someone hadn't read a student's e-mail?
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They were clearly inappropriate communications between the teacher and the student, and based on that we immediately suspended him.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: And they learned that was only the tip of the iceberg. Next, what happened at Somerville High. And why did it allegedly go on for so long?
And a little bit later on, what would cause twin sisters to grow up so differently.
ZAHN: Tonight a former New Jersey music teacher is behind bars in a Texas jail cell suspected of committing shocking sex crimes. By all accounts, William Thompson was well respected and popular with the students, but after several young girls began to speak out he's now a wanted man in the New Jersey town where he once taught.
Here is Allan Chernoff.
ALLAN CHERNOFF, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): The scandal at Somerville High began with e-mails a parent of a graduating senior discovered last summer. The 43-year-old music teacher, William J.R. Thompson had allegedly sent suggestive messages to one of his students, according to the school board's attorney.
MICHAEL ROGERS, SOMERVILLE SCHOOL BOARD: They were clearly inappropriate communications between a teacher and a student, and based on that we immediately suspended him.
CHERNOFF (on-camera): Of a sexual nature?
ROGERS: They were close enough that they were of a sexual nature, yes.
CHERNOFF (voice over): Rogers said the school had no idea how big the scandal would become. As Somerville High moved to fire Thompson they brought in police to investigate, who found three other girls who had allegedly been far more involved with their music teacher.
The county prosecutor yesterday charged Thompson with sexual assault allegedly having sexual intercourse at the high school and at his home with students who were 15 and 16 years old during the past two years, as well as with a 17-year-old student nine years ago.
The sex appears to have been consensual the prosecutor says. But he charges the acts were criminal because Thompson was their teacher, and Prosecutor Wayne Forest suspects more girls were involved.
WAYNE FOREST, SOMERSET COUNTY PROSECUTOR: We're hoping that there is other victims that we don't know about at least at this time would in fact come forward affirmatively come forward, contact law enforcement, and let us know that they, too, have been victims of this man.
CHERNOFF (on-camera): Thompson's mother runs a school of music a few blocks away from the high school. She wouldn't speak on camera but told us for the past two months her son has been in rehab.
Late Thursday William Thompson was arrested at the Sante Center outside of Dallas. A facility that treats a variety of addictions, including sexual disorders.
(voice over): Thompson's attorney had no comment. But people in town who know the teacher find the charges hard to believe.
MICHAEL TARENTINO, CONNIE'S MUSIC CENTER: I know he has a wonderful family. And he's a product of an excellent family background. These allegations are complete surprise.
CHERNOFF: Thompson's students have only good things to say about him.
NICK FUSCO, SOMERVILLE'S H.S. SENIOR: He was a good teacher. He knew what he was talking about. He was very friendly. He didn't give anybody any problems or anything like that. But other than that he was a great person.
CHERNOFF: Thompson is in a Texas jail and will be brought back to New Jersey to face sexual assault charges. If convicted, he could face up to 20 years in prison.
Allan Chernoff, CNN, Somerville, New Jersey.
ZAHN: And coming up next on this Friday night we thought we'd fill you in on what a teenage star is talking about in the trials and tribulations in her life and growing up in Hollywood spotlight.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
LINDSAY LOHAN, ACTRESS: I'm healthy. And I'm not an idiot, and I have people around me that would say, hey, stop it.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: Oh, but was she telling us the full story about that dramatic loss of weight? What's Lindsay Lohan saying now?
ZAHN: Check out that back there.
Tonight Hollywood is buzzing about one of its hottest young stars. Lindsay Lohan is making her mark in pop music and on the big screen, of course, but her sudden hospitalization this week in Miami and a very revealing interview in the latest issue of "Vanity Fair" is raising some serious questions about the pressures and the price of teenage fame.
Here's Brooke Anderson.
BROOKE ANDERSON, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice over): She's become a presence on the pop charts, a major force in the movies and a tabloid darling all by the age of 19.
Legions of young female fans look up to Lindsay Lohan whose credits include "The Parent Trap," "Mean Girls" and "Confessions of a Teenage Drama Queen."
LOHAN: Lola. My name from this day forward is Lola.
ANDERSON: Now some confessions of her own may shock those fans. Confessions that revolve around her sudden weight loss last year.
EVGENIA PERETZ, VANITY FAIR MAGAZINE: I think she felt, oh, OK, well, this is fun to be really thin. But she definitely took it too far.
ANDERSON: In a stunning interview with "Vanity Fair" Lohan reveals what turned her from a curvaceous teen into the subject of tabloid speculation.
She told the magazine in her words, "I was making myself sick." Words the magazine characterized as bulimic episodes. Something her publicist denies. The author of the article says it was a hospitalization for exhaustion in 2004 that may have triggered the problem.
PERETZ: She started to lose weight when she was in the hospital. She was hospitalized during the filming of "Herby Fully Loaded," and she lost about 15 pounds in the hospital. And then when she got out of the hospital she really liked the way she looked.
ANDERSON: Lohan says her wake-up call came when she hosted Saturday Night Live last May. She told "Vanity Fair," "I knew I had a problem. I saw that SNL after I did it. My arms were disgusting. I had no arms." Her SNL friends drove the point home.
PERETZ: At a certain point before the show, Lorne Michaels and Tina Fey sat her down and said, you know, you're going to die if you don't take care of yourself and we have seen this happen to too many people. And you need to start really paying attention to this.
And that made a huge impression on her. And she said she started bawling and I think that was probably the turning point for her.
ANDERSON: Before that reckoning Lohan had attributed her weight loss to an exercise program. In fact, she insisted to CNN around the time of her SNL appearance that she did not have an eating disorder.
LOHAN: Everyone has their own reason for why they want to be thin or how they get that way. I'm healthy, and I'm not an idiot. And I have people around me that would say, hey, stop it, that I can trust and that I will actually listen to. But I don't want to be sick. I'm not like that.
ANDERSON (on-camera): Besides the controversy over her weight loss, Lohan also admits in the interview to dabbling in drugs, but insists that's over.
PERETZ: She quickly said I have gotten that out of my system. And, you know, when I prodded her a little bit more on the subject she became very rattled. It's a very touchy subject.
ANDERSON (voice over): A touchy subject no doubt because of what Lohan describes in the interview as her own father's drug use. Michael Lohan has had frequent run ins with the law, including convictions on seven criminal charges in 2004. One for attacking his brother-in-law. He's currently serving time for a DUI.
Lohan's new single is a bitter Valentine to a father she feels abandoned her.
PERETZ: I think she probably vacillates between being completely horrified by him and loving him.
ANDERSON: Add a hospitalization this week for an asthma attack, and Lohan has had enough drama in her life recently to fill several scripts.
But she seems nothing if not resilient. As Lohan told CNN back in 2004...
LOHAN: You know, you live and you learn, and that's what's great about growing up.
ANDERSON: Brooke Anderson, CNN, Hollywood.
ZAHN: And then there's this to add: Lindsay Lohan's mom says her daughter went to the hospital for asthma, and that she is doing just fine tonight.
Coming up next, a fascinating look at twin sisters and how their minds work, but it's not what you might think.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KYRA PHILLIPS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Can you imagine life without your sister, Pam?
PAMELA SPIRO WAGNER: No.
CAROLYN SPIRO: No. How could I give up on her? I mean, she is part of me.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
ZAHN: One has a mental disorder, the other specializes in treating them. Can these twin sisters in the end help each other out?
ZAHN: You're about to meet twin sisters, who, as girls, were identical in every way, but who grew up to be shockingly different. One devoted her life to treating mental illness; the other started to hear voices. Kyra Phillips has their story.
PHILLIPS (voice-over): Two beautiful babies, twins. Carolyn and Pamela. So alike that it's almost impossible to tell them apart.
As the twins began to walk and talk, the comparisons began.
CAROLYN SPIRO, SISTER: I was seen as the fragile, second twin. Pammy was seen as the strong, smart twin, who didn't have problems.
PHILLIPS: And yet it was Pamela, who everyone called Pammy, the strong, smart twin, whose life began to unravel when the girls were in the sixth grade. She remembers the day she first heard the voices -- November 22nd, 1963. The day President John F. Kennedy was killed.
PAMELA SPIRO WAGNER, SISTER: It was the first time I heard voices.
PHILLIPS: What did the voices say to you? WAGNER: They'd say things like kill him, kill her, kill him, kill her, kill him, kill her. Will you kill her? Will you kill her?
PHILLIPS: Did you tell anybody?
WAGNER: No, I didn't.
PHILLIPS: Carolyn, when did you realize...
SPIRO: That something was wrong?
PHILLIPS: ... that something was wrong.
SPIRO: Seventh grade. She didn't shower. She didn't know how to dress. She didn't do anything that all the other seventh grade kids seemed to know how to do.
PHILLIPS: Pammy struggled for years to ignore the voices. No one knew that she was suffering from schizophrenia, and she continued to excel in high school.
She was accepted to Brown University, as was her twin, Carolyn. But this is where the twins' lives took dramatically different paths.
Carolyn went on to graduate from Harvard Medical School and became a psychiatrist. She got married and had two children.
But right away, things were very different for Pammy. She overdosed on sleeping pills during her freshman year at Brown, and began cutting and burning herself.
WAGNER: All logic is suspended, and when they say, burn, baby, burn, then they start telling me that I have to kill myself, I have to do it.
PHILLIPS: Although Pamela graduated from Brown, she's never been able to keep a job, or hold on to a romantic relationship. She has spent years in and out of hospitals, fighting the demons in her head.
WAGNER: I would say it's a waking nightmare. It's hell.
PHILLIPS: Are there any alternative therapies?
Last year, the voices ordered her to light herself on fire, suicide attempts. A body covered in cigarette burns.
SPIRO: I can't stop her. I can't -- I'm a psychiatrist. I'm her twin sister, and I can't stop her.
PHILLIPS: Carolyn couldn't stop Pammy's pain, but she could help her express it. And here's where the twins, whose lives had taken such opposite paths, began to come together again.
WAGNER: I wake in a psychiatric ward, on a bare mattress on a floor of an empty room.
PHILLIPS: The sisters began a memoir called "Divided Minds."
SPIRO: I want to dare her to kill herself.
PHILLIPS: The book is a gripping tale of the tragedy of mental illness. It chronicles the tested but unbreakable bond of two sisters.
Carolyn, you wrote in the book, "I can never really know the hell in which Pammy lives. When I hang up the phone, hell disappears, but she knows nothing else. Hell is her life. When I look back over the past decades, I weep for her."
Is that hard to listen to?
SPIRO: There have been times when I've thought about Pammy's life and thought about my life, and wondered how is this fair? I have had so much joy. I have had -- I have such an incredibly wonderful life. And she has all the suffering.
WAGNER: You know, I've never felt, one, envious of Linny, and I never felt like I deserved more. Not because I feel guilty or evil, but because I could have developed cancer at age 19 and died at age 20. So, there are fates that are worse.
PHILLIPS: The last time Pamela was in the hospital was nearly a year ago.
Finding the right treatment has been difficult. Out of desperation, Pamela even resorted to electroshock therapy. Finally, her doctors found a combination of medicines that help. Still, a visiting nurse keeps the pills in a lock box, so Pamela only takes what she needs.
WAGNER: To look at me, I'm doing a million times better than I was just a year ago.
PHILLIPS: The voices are still there, but they don't control her the way they did for so long.
WAGNER: Hurtful, harmful voices don't come right now.
PHILLIPS: Yet, even today, evidence of her illness remains in her own home. She put tinfoil up on her bedroom walls to block out radio waves that she says contaminate her brain.
WAGNER: And I think that the radio waves contaminated my brain.
PHILLIPS: As babies, they were mirror images of each other. As adults, they mourn the part of their lives together that has been lost.
SPIRO: She doesn't really understand what she means to me.
PHILLIPS: Can you imagine life without your sister, Pam?
WAGNER: No. SPIRO: No.
PHILLIPS: That's love.
WAGNER: Well, I -- I think it is love, I guess. I just don't know what it feels like.
SPIRO: How could I give up on her? I mean, she is part of me. But it's like -- it would be like stopping breathing myself.
ZAHN: And that is it for all of us tonight. We hope you have a great weekend. See you on Monday night. Good night.
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