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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
Could He have been Stopped?; Health Care Abortion Battle; A Priest's Secret Son; Sarah Palin on Oprah
Aired November 12, 2009 - 23:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN HOST: Tonight, "Keeping them Honest": the Fort Hood shooting suspect and more it missed warning signs. Over the last two years Major Nidal Hasan's superiors were reportedly concerned he might be psychotic. So why didn't they take stronger action, why some who knew him say political correctness played a role.
Also tonight, "Up Close" a secret exposed. The Catholic Church paid child support to a woman but only if she kept silent about the child she conceived with a popular priest. Twenty-two years later, her son is dying and she is now talking. And what does the church have to say about the deal that protected the priest? Find out ahead.
And later, Sarah Palin in her own words. What she told Oprah today about Katie Couric and what she wrote in her new book that has the McCain camp firing back.
First up tonight, the Fort Hood shooting case: the suspect, Major Nidal Hasan, an Army psychiatrist was charged today with 13 counts of premeditated murder. He could face the death penalty if convicted. The charges were filed in military court but tonight there are new questions about why the military didn't do more after serious red flags were raised about Major Hasan.
The problems date back to at least 2007. And some of Hasan's former classmates believe his faith and political correctness actually protected the troubled officer from closer scrutiny.
Brian Todd tonight is "Keeping them Honest."
BRIAN TODD, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): A former colleague of Nidal Hasan's during his medical training tells CNN Hasan's contemporaries had widespread concerns about his competence as a psychiatrist.
Former colleagues who did not want to be identified because of the ongoing investigation say they thought Hasan's presentations were not academically rigorous. And one said, quote, "No one in class would have ever referred a patient to him."
Earlier this week, Hasan's supervisor at Fort Hood was asked about reports of problems. COL. KIMBERLY KESLING, DERMAL ARMY MEDICAL CENTER: His evaluation reports said that he had some difficulties in his residency, fitting into his residency. And so we worked very hard to integrate him into our practice and integrate him into our organization. And he adapted very well. He was doing a really good job for us.
TODD: But Hasan's former colleagues tell us of Hasan talking about the persecution of Muslims, justifying suicide bombings during presentations in class and saying his allegiance was to the Koran not the Constitution.
NPR reports Hasan's superiors had a series of meetings in 2008 and 2009 discussing whether Hasan was psychotic. But they didn't find clear evidence that he was unstable.
Why wasn't he disciplined or at the very least counseled? At least two of Hasan's former classmates believe they know Hasan's superiors were reluctant to discipline him because they didn't want to alienate a Muslim soldier. While this was their strong belief, they didn't provide evidence of that.
A retired military lawyer familiar with such investigations says political correctness does factor in these situations.
CAPT. TOM KENNIFF (RET.), FORMER ARMY NATIONAL GUARD, JAG OFFICER: In a post 9/11 world, there are a lot of forces in the military that may be very hesitant to give the appearance that they're singling out Muslim soldiers even when that individual Muslim soldier may be making statements that are looked at as very incendiary and very questionable.
TODD: Defense Department officials wouldn't comment on that. And there's no specific information that Hasan's superiors didn't address his presentations with him or that they avoided doing so because he's Muslim.
Given these patterns, should someone have intervened with Nidal Hasan. General Russel Honore, who was not involved in Hasan's career, makes this point.
LT. GEN. RUSSEL HONORE, U.S. ARMY (RET.): Something was missed in this major's tone, his demeanor and the things that have been reported that he has said that we could have possibly done more to help him before he got that far.
TODD: The former colleague I spoke with says he's beating himself up these days over that same question, asking himself repeatedly if he could have done something. He says he doesn't think he could have -- Anderson.
COOPER: Brian thanks.
President Obama said today he has ordered a review of intelligence related to the shooting and Hasan around the same time Hasan's colleagues at Walter Reed were raising red flags to their superiors. Terrorism investigators were looking into e-mails Hasan sent to a radical Islamic cleric overseas.
Let's "Dig Deeper" with former military prosecutor Thomas Kenniff who you just saw on Brian's report. What do you make of this? Some people saying political correctness may have played a role in why people didn't kind of voice their -- you know, make more of the red flags that have been raised?
KENNIFF: Sure, well look, you know Anderson, within the last 10, 20 years, the Army has vigorously pursued equal opportunity complaints. And it's not just based on religion. It can be based the sex, race, ethnicity and so forth, much to its credit. But you know if, you're an officer and you're moving up the ranks to the chain of command in the military, the quickest way to sabotage your career could be to subject yourself to an equal opportunity complaint.
So, you know, let's say hypothetically that you're a mid-level to upper-level officer and you're sitting in that briefing room at Walter Reed while Major Hasan is giving that Power Point presentation...
KENNIFF: ... and making these sort of outlandish remarks.
You have to stop and question yourself and ask yourself, hey, do I want to come forward with this and risk my own career that, you know, even assuming that the higher ups do investigate it, what if that investigation leads nowhere and just says, well, hey, you know, he was out there and he was expressing his own first amendment rights to free speech and rights to religion.
KENNIFF: Well, if you're left holding the bag and then you're allowing yourself to be followed with his reputation and sort of being bigoted or showing religious intolerance...
KENNIFF: ... then and that is going to be absolutely detrimental to your Army career.
COOPER: It's interesting because it is a fine line. I mean, these people are -- the term political correctness comes with a lot of baggage. But one wants a military in which there are strict rules about, you know, how one interacts with fellow colleagues and not, you know -- I mean there's a good side to political correctness as well for anybody who's a minority or anybody who has -- maybe different in the military. And, yet, it can also go too far.
KENNIFF: Yes, there's a wonderful side to it. And look, in a lot of ways the military has been on the forefront of civil rights in this issue. I mean, African-Americans served admirably in the U.S. Army during the Civil War, during the 1940s and 1950s. The military really integrated well before the rest of society.
KENNIFF: And that was a very courageous move because the military has always been heavily southern Army. So at the time when, you know, areas of the south had Jim Crowe laws and so forth, it was a desegregated military. So there's no question that political correctness can be a very good thing.
COOPER: You also say that maybe the fact that this guy was an MD, which is kind of a rarefied world within the military; that might have played a role as well.
KENNIFF: Right. Because, look, first of all, doctors, MDs are treated very well in the military; and you know, I think there may have been a reaction among his colleagues of, look, you know, yes, this guy has some outlandish views and maybe he's off the reservation a little bit with his political and religious beliefs.
But he's a psychiatrist. You know, other than writing prescriptions, he probably doesn't have a lot of weapons in his arsenal. So, you know, we'll just let him continue to operate and as long as he's kept within the medical corps, he probably can't do much damage.
COOPER: Right, well, again, still a lot we don't know. Thomas Kenniff, I appreciate you being on again, thanks very much.
KINNEFF: Thank you, Anderson.
COOPER: We are curious what you think about these new developments in the Fort Hood shooting. Join the live chat which is under way now at AC360.com.
Ahead tonight in this hour: new outrage in the health care debate over an abortion amendment that would affect the public option. Could it sink health care reform overall? Debates within the Democratic Party about this.
We want to hear from you on all sides. Text your questions and thoughts to AC360 or 22360 and remember, standard rates apply.
Later, long-kept secrets revealed. The Catholic Church paid child support to a woman who had a son with a priest but only if she kept the secret. The priest kept his career, now their son is dying and the woman is speaking out.
Gary Tuchman is "Keeping them Honest."
COOPER: Well, the health care reform battle has taken a sharp turn with abortion now threatening to overshadow everything else at stake. After a bitter debate the House add a tough restrictions on abortion to its version of the health care reform bill; it allowed allow them to pass it. Now the Senate is preparing to possibly do the same and that's causing major divisions among Democrats.
Tom Foreman has the "Raw Politics."
TOM FOREMAN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): In the growing church/state war over abortion and the health bill, one target is Congressman Patrick Kennedy, he's Catholic and a Rhode Island bishop is suggesting that because he did not go along with the church anti- abortion effort in the health care reform bill, he should leave the faith.
REV. THOMAS TOBIN, BISHOP OF PROVIDENCE RHODE ISLAND: If you freely choose to be a Catholic it means that you believe certain things -- you do certain things. If you cannot do all that in conscience, then you should perhaps feel free to go somewhere else.
FOREMAN: At issue is a few pages in the massive bill; the Stupak-Pitts amendment which bans almost all abortion coverage for women who would enroll in the proposed public option.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: This is a bipartisan amendment.
FOREMAN: In the House, groups against abortion rights threaten to bring the whole bill down if the amendment was not approved. Many lawmakers fought back saying it would impose new abortion limits. But the majority swallowed hard and passed it anyway to keep the overall bill alive.
REP. NANCY PELOSI (D-CA), HOUSE SPEAKER: The bill is passed.
CECILE RICHARDS, PLANNED PARENTHOOD FOUNDATION OF AMERICA: Am I happy with that bill? Absolutely not.
FOREMAN: Now Planned Parenthood and others are scrambling to make sure the idea is dropped in the senate.
RICHARDS: And we would be very hard pressed to support any bill that had this Stupak Amendment in it. Because I think it's bad for American women.
FOREMAN: But those who want abortion coverage kept out of the health care bill are still pushing hard too, calling on church groups and especially Catholics to lean on senators, a quarter of whom are Catholic themselves -- Anderson.
COOPER: Tom thanks.
So the abortion issue of course, raises the political stakes for the health care debate even higher. President Obama, of course, promised to support abortion rights during the campaign. So did many lawmakers.
Let's talk Strategy in a "Strategy Session" with CNN political correspondent Candy Crowley in Washington and CNN senior political analyst, David Gergen in Boston.
David, I want to read part of an op-ed in today's "New York Times" by two prominent pro-choice activists.
They write and I quote, "The Democratic majority has abandoned its platform and subordinated women's health to short-term political success. In doing so, these so-called friends of women's rights have arguably done more to undermine reproductive rights than some of abortion's staunchest foes."
So did the Democrats back themselves into a corner by supporting this amendment?
DAVID GERGEN, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, they did, Anderson. And it was it -- it's been a very difficult choice for Nancy Pelosi to allow this. But Democrats -- some Democrats who are pro-choice allowed this to happen. Because they thought it was the price of getting a health care bill. And they hope to come back and correct it.
But we now have two things that are going on. There is a building firestorm among pro-choice groups about this amendment. Enough so, so that if a final bill comes out of conference and goes back to the House of Representatives without this kind of language in it, there is a danger that health care could go down.
Women's groups also feel very strongly that as in the past when there have been conflicts over women's rights versus other preferences that women often come last and that men push it.
On this bill, only two Democratic women voted for the Stupak Amendment. There are some 61 Democratic women in the House of Representatives. The rest voted against it.
COOPER: And Candy, now at the senate, are they likely to have similar language?
CANDY CROWLEY, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL CORRESPONDENT: Yes. They're working -- whenever they tell you they're working on the language that means they have a problem. And, in fact, that's what they will tell you when it comes to this abortion issue. Because they have Democrats that have said flat out, no way am I going to support a bill. Ben Nelson, one of them.
Am I going to support a bill that does not have this restrictive abortion language in it that the House bill has. It's not as -- doesn't cut as cleanly in the Senate side simply because you do have some pro-choice Republicans.
So, you know, here's -- I just think that it's important even though the process may be boring to point out that a lot of this had to do with the fact that Democrats want to just keep the train rolling. This would not be the first bill that goes into a conference committee and comes out completely different.
So that really was the strategy is on the Democratic side in the House. I suspect it will be the strategy on the Democratic side in the senate. But it's also made a little more interesting because Senator Reid who, of course, is the leader in the senate and the Democratic leader is anti-abortion except with exceptions for life and rape and incest. So he, of course, is on the anti-abortion side.
So that will make it an interesting dynamic because he's the guy trying to figure out the language.
COOPER: Yes David, we've got a text 360 questions from a viewer. The question is, "Are the new rules about funding for abortion procedures any different than the current rules?" Congressman Bart Stupak, the Democrat who actually co-sponsored the amendment says that pro-choice activists are quote, "distorting the hell out of it." Is there a clear answer here?
GERGEN: This is very complex, Anderson. It's hard to know. I started thinking -- I started out by thinking that Congressman Stupak was right, it didn't change anything. The more I've look at it, the more I'm persuaded that the number of women who will have access to abortion insurance will be much less under the Stupak Amendment than if there were no such amendment in there.
I might also just add as a political note of irony, Anderson, in order to build a Democratic majority, it was Rahm Emanuel in the House of Representatives who went out and recruited a lot of Democrats to run for office for more conservative districts. And the only way he'd get people who could win was to recruit pro-life Democrats. And it's those pro-life Democrats who are now coming back to bedevil the party.
COOPER: Candy, are Republicans seeing this as an issue which could bring down this whole -- I mean, the whole idea of health care reform?
CROWLEY: I think the political reality remains at this moment that the Democrats one way or the other are going to go ahead and pass this. Because you are already hearing something that David alluded to earlier from the Democrats which is there are these issues. And then there is the overriding need to pass some form of health care reform.
And in some ways it's a game of chicken between Democrats who really would abandon a health care bill if it did or did not contain the abortion language. And so that has to be, you know, that's what they do head counts for. So it's definitely caused tension and definitely will continue to.
But in the end, there are many Democrats who look at this issue, understand that it's important. But believe that the overriding important thing is to get some health care insurance...
CROWLEY: ... a health care reform passed through to try to cover people that don't have any kind of health care reform at all much less coverage for an abortion.
COOPER: Yes. It's going to be contentious. Candy, I appreciate it. Candy Crowley and David Gergen as well.
Ahead on the program tonight, Sarah Palin making the book rounds: in an interview she taped with Oprah today, she talks about her infamous interview with Katie Couric and a lot more. Sarah Palin "Going Rogue" in her own words coming up.
And later, new numbers showing swine flu has killed nearly four times more Americans than previously thought including more than 500 kids. Details ahead.
COOPER: More on breaking news out of Pakistan. Erica Hill has the details in the "360 Bulletin" -- Erica.
ERICA HILL, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, at least seven people are dead, 30 others wounded after a car bomb explosion in Peshawar, Pakistan. The attack occurred outside of Pakistan's intelligence office. We'll continue to follow any developments for you there.
Meantime here in the U.S., the swine flu epidemic we're told has killed now more Americans than previously thought. The Centers for Disease Control now says nearly 3,900 people, including 540 children have died from the H1N1 virus. Millions are still trying to get vaccinated but many having trouble finding the vaccine.
And super model Cindy Crawford and her husband, the latest targets of an alleged extortion scheme. Court documents filed today say an acquaintance of the couple's former nanny threatened to sell an unflattering photo of their daughter when the little girl was 7 years old -- Anderson.
COOPER: Yes, creepy.
Next on the program, uncovering a priest's secret. The truth he kept hidden and the money paid by the church officials to keep it that way.
And later, Sarah Palin and Oprah Winfrey, we'll show you some of the interview. We'll also tell you about her new war of words with Senator John McCain's campaign coming up.
COOPER: "Up Close" tonight: a story about faith, family and the extreme length Catholic Church officials have gone to keep a priest's secret from ever coming to light. As you'll see, the secret is that the priest has a son.
The child's mother says church officials agreed to pay child support if she kept quiet. But when he became sick, she claims they largely abandoned them.
Gary Tuchman reports.
GARY TUCHMAN, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This photo doesn't nearly tell the whole story. This priest not only baptized this baby, but he is also the baby's father. And that fact will be kept secret for 22 years. It was a secret forged in a legal agreement between church officials and the mother. Her name is Pat Bond.
(on camera): So they told you if you sign this, you can never talk about it?
PATRICIA BOND, HAD AFFAIR WITH PRIEST: Yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): In the agreement, the Henry Willenborg, a Franciscan priest declared he is the baby's father. In exchange for her silence, the agreement promises the Franciscans will quietly pay financial support for her son.
(on camera): Confidential?
BOND: Yes, oh, yes. Oh yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Pat says at the time she was very vulnerable. She left her husband for the priest. Was under psychological care and had considered suicide. She says she was intimidated by church negotiators and that she had poor legal advice. But she saw no other way to support her son.
His father, the priest, had no intention of leaving the priesthood even though she says they continued their relationship.
(on camera): Patricia Bond was a very devoted Catholic. She loved her church. And as it turns out, she loved her priest.
This is the church in Quincy, Illinois, where her son Nathan was baptized by Father Willenborg. And right across the street from the church, this green house, this is where she used to live. She says Willenborg would celebrate mass during the day and often come here to sleep with her during the night.
(voice-over): The secret relationship would end after five years. Nathan was a toddler. Pat worried about how to care for him. She felt the church agreement she signed wasn't enough. But she kept her silence.
Her son Nathan grew up: smart, athletic, popular. But three years ago he was diagnosed with brain cancer.
What's the prognosis now?
BOND: I'm losing my son. TUCHMAN: Doctors say Nathan may only have weeks to live. The church has paid for some medical care. But Pat had to fly him to New York this summer for late stage cancer treatment. They had to stay for weeks.
BOND: And I begged and I am saying that I begged the church, "Please send us help."
TUCHMAN: The Franciscans gave her $1,000. But it was only a tiny fraction of the cost. Pat says she pleaded for more saying church officials had a moral obligation.
(on camera): What did the church say?
BOND: They said, no, we are not Nathan's biological father. We have no legal obligation to your son.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Franciscan Provincial Minister, Father William Spencer, would not go on camera. But in a letter to CNN he says, "Our payments have exceeded legal requirements." He also writes, "When the mother made requests on multiple occasions -- (we) made further payments for the child's support, education and health care."
In total, the Franciscans tell CNN Pat Bond received about $233,000 over the last 22 years. But doing the math, that averages less than $11,000 a year.
(on camera): The Franciscans' insistence that they've been generous over the years with Pat Bond seems to miss the larger point. And that is why was such an agreement signed in the first place?
In the Catholic religion, priests are not allowed to have children. So why didn't the Franciscans say to Father Willenborg, "Listen, you had a child. You can no longer be a priest? So take care of your child. Take care of the woman you have the child with."
And why, pray tell, was this agreement confidential?
(voice-over): We wanted to ask these questions to the man who made that decision, who was the lead negotiator 22 years ago. Pat Bond says she didn't know what became of him but she remembers his name.
BOND: Father Bob Karris.
TUCHMAN: And this...
REV. ROBERT KARRIS, FORMER FRANCISCAN PROVINCIAL MINISTER: Father Robert Karris.
TUCHMAN: We found him at St. Bonaventure University in New York State where he is a renowned scholar.
(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: Up next, what Gary discovered when he met with the man who negotiated that agreement. The mother of the child wants answers. Part two of Gary's report ahead on 360.
And later, Sarah Palin in her own words. What she told Oprah Winfrey today about her interview with Katie Couric and about a possible peace treaty with Levi Johnson.
COOPER: Before the break, we told you about how officials in the Catholic Church paid a woman child support but only if she kept quiet about the son she had with a priest. The child is now very ill and his mom says church officials have betrayed their promise to them. They say they did not.
We'll have more of that in a moment. First, Gary Tuchman continues his report beginning with the search for the priest with a secret. Watch.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Father Robert Karris is the priest who represented the Franciscans 22 years ago when they offered Pat Bond a legal agreement. In exchange for her silence, they would pay to support the boy she had with Franciscan priest Father Henry Willenborg. Instead of seriously punishing Father Henry, Karris says sent him to a treatment center and ultimately he was back in the church community.
As for Nathan, Father Henry's son...
KARRIS: We are doing and are committed to continue to do what is best for Nathan, the son of our brother.
TUCHMAN (on camera): do you think you should have said to Father Henry, "We don't really want you in the church anymore. You've had a child. Get a job. Take care of this woman and take care of your child. That's the best thing for Nathan. Not the church sending money. You take care of him." Don't you think that would have been the right thing to do?
KARRIS: Well, there are broken families. There are families which...
TUCHMAN: But the church is in the business of being ethical and humane. Wouldn't that have been the best thing for Nathan, for Father Henry to take care of his son?
KARRIS: It would have been the best thing. But that's not the reality.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): Barbara Blaine is the founder of SNAP. The group helps women who have had sexual relationships with priests. She says that the same pattern for the truly faithful a priest has an exalted position. They are vulnerable because they offer unconditional trust.
BARBARA BLAINE, FOUNDER, SURVIVORS' NETWORK OF THOSE ABUSED BY PRIESTS: The church here is trying to protect themselves. And we believe that keeping secrets is what has enabled the abuse to go on for so long.
TUCHMAN (on camera): When you had discussions with your colleagues protecting the church was part of the reason you wanted to have this confidential agreement, right?
KARRIS: That is part of the reason, yes.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But he also says protecting Pat Bond and Nathan was another part.
(on camera): Was the church concerned about your son?
BOND: Oh, no. No. Never, ever, not now, not then, not ever, no. They were concerned about getting us out of their life. And I guarantee you the day my son goes, the church will rejoice because he's...
TUCHMAN: Because he's what?
BOND: Because he's gone.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But Nathan is still fighting. He has a remarkable attitude.
NATHAN HALBACH, SON OF A PRIEST: If I just live my life as happy as I can during this time. I can just have all the fun I have before that horrible stuff happens.
TUCHMAN: He hasn't seen his dad for many years.
So where is Father Henry? For the last four years he'd been a priest in this Ashland, Wisconsin church where he was extremely popular. His boss, this man, a bishop.
BISHOP PETER CHRISTENSEN, DIOCESE OF SUPERIOR, WISCONSIN: The innocent one in this is Nathan.
TUCHMAN: But the bishop has not punished Father Willenborg for fathering Nathan. He has taken action against him for another reason. Only last month the bishop suspended the father because of new allegations that when he was having an affair with Pat Bond, he was also having relations with another woman while she was under 18.
(on camera): Because of the allegation that he had an affair with a minor, you decided you needed to suspend him?
TUCHMAN: And was there any other reason you suspended him?
CHRISTENSEN: No. That would be it. TUCHMAN (voice-over): The bishop says Father Henry denies an improper relationship with that woman when she was a minor. With his suspension, he's no longer at the church. And no one seems to be able tell us where he is.
We went to the Franciscan offices in St. Louis where he used to live.
(on camera): Is father Willenborg here?
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: As far as I know, no. I have not seen him at all.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): But we had his cell phone number and he did answer.
(on camera): The reason I'm calling you is we're doing a story about -- he hung up on me.
(voice-over): "The New York Times" did get a comment from him.
Willenborg telling the paper, "We've been very caring, very supportive, very generous over these 20-something years. It's very tragic what's going on with Nathan.
TUCHMAN (on camera): After Father Willenborg hung up on me; I called him back again, got his voice mail and left my phone number. I also left my phone number with one of his assistants inside the church. But he has chosen to remain silent with me. Silence from Henry Willenborg; it's painfully familiar to his son.
How do you feel about him right now?
HALBACH: It's hard. He's never really been around. He's popped up here and there throughout my life. But I've never, ever gotten the full respect and love out of him that I always wanted.
TUCHMAN (voice-over): And now this painful discussion, what happens when Nathan dies, how to pay for the funeral.
BOND: They're questioning is having a staff at the visitation necessary?
TUCHMAN: But after we interviewed her, lawyers for the Franciscans wrote this. It says, "We will cover 100 percent of the expenses of Nathan's interment and monument/memorial expenses.
And they add, "Please advise if there is any additional assistance that the Franciscans can provide to Nathan at this time."
She hopes it means they will pay for a part time nurse at home for Nathan. Because recently Pat learned she may not be able to take care of everything herself.
BOND: In June I was diagnosed with carcinoid cancer.
TUCHMAN: But for now she says she must focus on her son. They've decided he will die at home.
Gary Tuchman, CNN, O'Fallon, Missouri.
COOPER: A lot of unanswered questions. We're "Digging Deeper" now. With us is William Donohue, president of the Catholic League; and Barbara Blaine who you saw in Gary's report. She is the founder of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests or SNAP is the acronym.
What do you make of this? You say actually church officials were too generous in this case. How so?
WILLIAM DONOHUE: They were. They were unwittingly generous. And they proved to be enablers. They helped out a troubled priest who they should have held out a big stop sign to very early on. But with their delinquent decision making, they didn't. And then they dealt with a troubled woman.
We're not dealing here with Santa Claus and Snow White. We're dealing with a man and woman who had a consensual affair. There are no victims here in that sense.
But we're dealing with a church which is torn between the idea of moral standards and forgiveness and redemption. I understand the conflict. But at some point when the person is engaged in this seriatim, one affair after another, they should have had the decency to call the priesthood and say, "You can't go by your celibacy vow. We're going to help you and we're going to help you reintegrate into society."
COOPER: It sounds like you're blaming the woman in part and when, in fact, I mean...
DONOHUE: She's not an innocent soul in this, no. She took the money for years.
COOPER: But can any relationship between a priest and parishioner be consensual?
DONOHUE: Why shouldn't it be? Why couldn't it be? After all, he didn't force her. There's no rape here. You can say it's illicit. I would say illicit. I would say it was unethical on what the priest did. But this woman is not Snow White here. She knew exactly what she's doing and she took the confidentiality (INAUDIBLE) and she took the money.
BLAINE: That is so wrong and that is so naive.
BLAINE: That is so wrong. Here the relationship between a priest and a congregant is sacred. There is a power imbalance. The priest is in a position of power and authority. It's not unlike a doctor-patient or therapist-client relationship. Those are forbidden and illegal in every state.
And in many states, it's illegal for a cleric, a priest or minister to have sexual relations with a minister. We have to understand that it's not as though that Pat met this man, Father Willenborg at some bar or something. She met him looking for spiritual counseling when she was extremely vulnerable and wounded on a retreat weekend.
So to say that this is not a power imbalance and that Pat is not a victim is totally wrong here. And what we have is basically the church officials covering up for a predator. When, in fact, I agree with Mr. Donohue that those that the predators should have been removed from the priesthood a long time ago. But let's not continue to blame victims.
COOPER: Shouldn't this guy, this priest have, you know, stepped down, gotten a job and cared for his son?
DONOHUE: Yes, absolutely.
COOPER: Why should he be in a position where he is still counseling people?
DONOHUE: And the church blew it. And they had a guy now by the name of David Letterman over there who's involved in sexual harassment and CBS did nothing about it.
Look, this is not -- this is an anomaly. This is an anecdote...
BLAINE: But, David Letterman and CBS...
DONOHUE: Excuse me, miss. We're acting like as if this is some type of norm or something. This is strange case.
COOPER: Wait a minute, the church has a long record of moving priest who've been having improper...
DONOHUE: and the public school teachers; we're learning more and more about it. There is a lot of dirt to go around.
I find it interesting when the Catholic Church's dirty laundry, seems like the whole world wants to get a chunk of it.
BLAINE: You know, this is not about -- first of all, let's look at the fact that the Catholic Church officials have a different moral position in our world than someone like David Letterman or CBS. And the bottom line is that for decades these church officials have sought secrecy from the victim and from the boy.
They have been callous in giving the bare minimum while, in fact, they themselves live in luxury and have every possible medical care for them. They have the best education. They have beautiful retreat centers in luxury places all over the globe. And they go on retreats. And they have the time and wherewithal to do that. Pat struggled to put nickels together to try to make ends meet to care for Nate. And she's done a beautiful job. And our hats go off to Nate because at this point in time in his life, the last thing on earth he needs to be doing is to care about someone else. And that's what he did today.
COOPER: It does seem stunning Bill that a priest who is counseling other people in their marriages and stuff has basically abandoned the little boy; whether the church has fulfilled any responsibilities to the child or not, it's separate. But this guy hasn't even seen this kid in years.
DONOHUE: No. He is despicable. All right? He is delinquent.
And I guess my point is, you know, if the point is that we have a troubled guy here who took advantage of a situation but I will not buy the business of the one more victimized woman who didn't know what she was doing, but we do have a lousy situation here.
What's the bottom line to be drawn from this? He didn't need to be treated. He had a natural influence over a woman. He needed to be counseled and told if you can't abide by your vow of celibacy, get out. We have imams and we have rabbis and we have ministers who can't abide by their marital vow and they cheat on their spouse. What are we going to do about that?
I think what's driving this is, is celibacy the question? Let's have an honest discussion about what is really at issue?
BLAINE: And let's be clear that Father Willenborg was using his position of power and authority and actually involved with three women at one time that Pat knew about. And the bottom line is that today Nate has spoken out because he cares and wants to help other kids who were fathered by priests. And I think he's to be commended and we are extremely grateful to Pat.
And now more than ever, anyone else who has information about father Willenborg or any other predator should come forward and report the information you have. Father Willenborg might be in jail if we did that.
COOPER: Well, we certainly wish Nathan the best. He seems like a great young man and certainly wish him well.
Barbara Blaine, appreciate you being on and William Donohue as well. Thank you very much.
DONOHUE: Thank you.
BLAINE: Thank you.
COOPER: Appreciate it. It's a tough subject.
Up next, Sarah Palin in her own words: she goes one-on-one with Oprah Winfrey and tells all about that infamous Katie Couric interview during the campaign and whether she's inviting Levi Johnston, the father of her grandchild, to Thanksgiving dinner. I'm not holding my breath.
Also ahead, another interview you don't want to miss. Erica and I talk trash, among other things with none other than Oscar the Grouch. We'll be right back.
COOPER: Sarah Palin's new book is out next Tuesday and her media blitz promoting "Going Rogue" is already in full swing and with it a new dust up with her former running mate. According to the AP her book, "Going Rogue" alleges that the McCain team billed her for half a million dollars after the election demanding she pay up for money spent during the vetting of her as a candidate. Well, today a McCain former adviser shot back calling Palin's allegation, quote, "100 percent untrue". The adviser says the bills were in fact from her personal attorney who was representing Palin on a slew of cases.
Palin taped an interview with Oprah Winfrey yesterday and airs on Monday. We got an early look at their conversation and it is worth a listen. The former vice-presidential candidate talked to Oprah about that infamous interview Katie Couric, the one where the then-governor of Alaska rambled about foreign policy and had a hard time identifying what magazines she read.
Take a look.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
KATIE COURIC, CBS NEWS ANCHOR: What specifically, I'm curious that you...
SARAH PALIN, FORMER GOVERNOR OF ALASKA: All of them, any of them that have been in front of me over all these years.
COURIC: Can you name a few?
PALIN: I have a vast variety of sources where we get our news. Alaska isn't a foreign country.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oprah asked Palin about the Katie Couric encounter. Watch.
OPRAH WINFREY, HOST, "THE OPRAH WINFREY SHOW": Did you think that was a single (ph) defining moment for you, that interview?
PALIN: I did not. And neither did the campaign. In fact, that is why segment two and three and four and maybe five were scheduled. The campaign said, "Right on, good, you're showing your independence. This is what America needs to see. And it was a good interview." And of course, I'm thinking if you thought that was a good interview, I don't know what a bad interview was. Because I knew it wasn't a good interview.
(END VIDEO CLIP) COOPER: Palin also talked about Levi Johnston, the father of her grandson, the former boyfriend of her daughter and soon to be "Playgirl" centerfold. The two have been slamming each other in public about their personal battle; it has been very ugly.
Here's what Levi told "The Early Show" about their bitter war of words.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
LEVI JOHNSTON, FATHER OF SARAH PALIN'S GRANDCHILD: They threw me out during -- that came out that Sarah really didn't like me. I knew Todd didn't like me. So they were kind of betraying me at the same, back-stabbing me, just putting on a front to make Sarah look good at the convention and everything else. So I really don't care anymore.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Are you hurt by all this?
JOHNSTON: I was, yes. Now it's just kind of like all right, well -- now it's my turn.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Oh, Levi. So Oprah asked Palin about Levi. And as you'll see her answer may suggest a kind of olive branch, maybe. Here's what she said.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
WINFREY: So one final question about Levi. Will he be invited to Thanksgiving dinner?
PALIN: You know that's a great question.
You know, it's lovely to think that he would ever even consider such a thing because of course, you want -- he is a part of the family. You want to bring him in the fold and kind of under your wings. He needs that, too, Oprah. I think he needs to know that he is loved. And he has the most beautiful child.
This can all work out for good. It really can. We don't have to keep going down this road of controversy and drama all the time. We're not into the drama. We don't really like that. We're more productive. We have other things to concentrate on and do, including...
WINFREY: Does that mean yes is he coming or no he's not.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Stay tuned. As we said, it's only the beginning of the book tour. You can bet there's going to be more.
Meantime, let's get the latest on other important stories we're following. Erica Hill has the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Erica. HILL: Anderson, balloon boy's parents officially charged today for the hoax that captivated the nation.
Richard Heene. First we start with Richard. Richard Heene facing a felony charge of attempting to influence a public servant. His wife, Mayumi, charged with false reporting to authorities. That is a misdemeanor. They're both expected to plead guilty.
Now, the deal, Anderson will also keep Mayumi Heene in the U.S. because she's a Japanese citizen and a felony conviction would have meant deportation.
Another "360 Follow" for you on stolen valor and the California man pretending to be a decorated marine officer; Steve Burton pleading not guilty to the unauthorized wearing of military medals. His trial is set for January.
New rules to protect you from overdraft fees. The Federal Reserve will prohibit banks from automatically enrolling you in overdraft protection programs. These are the ones that charge rather hefty penalties when your account is the overdrawn but they let you do the charges anyway? Well, now you will actually have the choice to opt in. That new rule takes effect in July.
Check out this tantrum. The coach of the Louisiana Ice Gators, an independent ice hockey team, just getting going there; also happens to be the owner and general manager of the team. Not sure if that's what motivated the team. But they did rally back from a 5-1 deficit. Not quite enough to win, though, they still lost that, 5-4.
COOPER: Then he's like, "All right come on, guys. Let's do it."
HILL: Yes. Yes.
COOPER: Time now for our "Beat 360" winners: our daily challenge to viewers to come up with a caption better than the one we can come up with for a photo that we put on the blog every day. Tonight's photo, the Jonas Brothers and Andrea Guasch of Spain's Disney Channel -- I'm not sure I pronounced her name right -- stand on the pitch during a visit to Madrid's premier soccer stadium.
Our staff winner tonight is Steve. His caption: "We could have won if Miley Cyrus hadn't gotten that red card."
HILL: I like it.
COOPER: Viewer winner is Brad from Wilbraham, Massachusetts. His caption: "Never having a real childhood, the Jonas Brothers contemplate this round sphere before them and wonder what it could possibly mean."
HILL: Very clever that.
COOPER: Brad, congratulations. Your "Beat 360" T-shirt is on the way. I like that one.
Up next, celebrating 40 years of "Sesame Street" with a visit from none other than Oscar the Grouch. And he's grouchy.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: What's Elmo like to work with?
OSCAR THE GROUCH, "SESAME STREET": Elmo, he's a jolly little fellow. I find him truly annoying.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Elmo annoying? More from Oscar's trip to 360, coming up.
COOPER: Tonight we welcome a special guest to 360. He loves children and he loves trash. And although he may be grumpy at times, he's always loveable. Oscar the Grouch is with us here to celebrate the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street".
OSCAR: Never welcome a grouch.
COOPER: How do you say hello to a grouch?
OSCAR: Say beat it.
HILL: Well beat it, Oscar.
COOPER: This is Erica Hill.
OSCAR: Hey, I'm in love.
HILL: I love you, too, Oscar. This is going to work out very well.
COOPER: It's the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street". I actually visited "Sesame Street" when I was a kid and somehow I have aged dramatically and yet you seem to retain a youthful glow.
OSCAR: Yes, well, it's the fine habit of good food and good eating.
COOPER: Good eating, that's good to know.
HILL: Do you get all the good food from the trash can?
OSCAR: I actually like some things that grow naturally, you know, for instance, if you enjoy some asparagus with sardines and cold gravy.
COOPER: Oh, gross.
HILL: Sounds like a lovely combination.
OSCAR: Am I making your mouth water?
COOPER: So any big events happening over on "Sesame Street" that we should know about?
OSCAR: We're going healthy; healthy and green.
COOPER: You're going green? You've been going green for a while now.
OSCAR: I have. It's been noted that I used to be orange and that's true. Actually, if I took a bath, I'd still be orange.
OSCAR: But this is moss.
COOPER: Do you watch a lot of news, Oscar?
OSCAR: I try not to.
COOPER: You try not to? Why?
HILL: Even though you have your own news network?
OSCAR: Yes, well, I have to report a lot of the news. But it's mostly of interest to grouches.
COOPER: You have other correspondents; you have Walter McCranky.
OSCAR: Yes, we do.
COOPER: And Dan Rathernot.
OSCAR: Dan Rathernot, yes. Every time we send him on assignment, he says I'd rather not.
COOPER: He's very difficult to work with.
OSCAR: Yes, he is.
COOPER: I worked with him. He was tough.
Do you use a Blackberry at all?
OSCAR: No, I have a Blueberry.
COOPER: You like the blueberry better?
HILL: Is it one that you found on the street?
OSCAR: It doesn't work anymore. I danced on it too much.
HILL: You weren't born a grouch, you really had to...
OSCAR: Well, it does run in the genes but my mother and father are both extreme grouches.
HILL: Do you have any brothers or sisters?
OSCAR: I have my cousin, George, Smiling George; but every family has got to have a black sheep.
COOPER: Oscar, every night on this program, Erica and I do something called "The Shot", which is a funny piece of video or something which people would enjoy. So is it all right if you do "The Shot" with us tonight?
OSCAR: Yes. I could give it a "Shot".
HILL: He's quick.
COOPER: Here's a video. A New Jersey man didn't know it but when he threw out the trash he actually threw out his wife's wedding and engagement rings. The couple has been married for a long time, 55 years; even before "Sesame Street" was on the air. He talked to a sanitation worker and with their help began digging through lots of trash, they carried away ten tons of trash to be exact.
COOPER: Look at that.
And guess what, after sifting through all the garbage he found the rings and his wife is happy to have him back.
HILL: Is that like your dream to get to sift through that much garbage? Ten tons; can you imagine the treasures in there.
OSCAR: That lucky guy, having a chance to go through ten tons of trash and getting the reward at the end, his wife will speak to him again.
COOPER: Oscar, thank you so much for being with us and congratulations on the 40th anniversary of "Sesame Street".
OSCAR: All right. We'll accept that. And I want to say to you, Coop and you Erica -- have a rotten day.
HILL: Thanks, Oscar. We appreciate it.
COOPER: I like him when he's grouchy.
HILL: Yes. He was actually very -- he was mildly grouchy. I though he'd be a little grouchier.
COOPER: I think he was sleepy because it's late in the night for him. HILL: It is. It is a little late for him. He does a morning show.
COOPER: He does have a morning. He's got to get up early. I didn't realize that Oscar is actually 43 years old.
HILL: Forty-three and as he mentioned too, was originally orange but he's covered in moss now.
COOPER: For the first year he was orange and technically he still is orange. He's just covered in moss. I did not know.
HILL: Fun fact.
COOPER: Hey, that does it for 360. Thanks for watching.
"LARRY KING" starts right now.