tv America Tonight Al Jazeera April 11, 2015 9:00pm-9:31pm EDT
>> on the weekend edition of "america tonight," firing lines. [ gunfire ] the nra takes a clear shot at controlling the law. >> we have 200,000 people. we're powerful, and we don't mind putting that power to work for our constituents. >> i found out a long time ago that there is only one way to deal with bullies that is to stand up to them. >> christof putzel on the gun lobby.
community power. and big league dreams and how he said his coach exploited them. >> why didn't you tell anybody? >> how do you tell somebody that without feeling--like just a piece of dirt. >> do you think that everything you did as a coach was appropriate. >> define what you mean appropriate. >> thethe player turned prey. thanks for joining us. i'm join chen. youth athletic it's create great memories an opportunity for kids. more than 50 million are involved in youth sports, and for most relationships with their coaches are good ones. but as we've seen tragically often, the relationship between a young player and a coach can be exploited. we look at how abusers can take advantage of young athletes, and how they get away with it.
>> it seems like i could say anything about it or i would be worse off than i already was. just keep quiet or that's it for your career. >> a career in baseball is all anthony ever wanted. he spent his childhood dreaming of the big leagues and put his trust into the coach who helped him perfect his pitch along the way. a man named spiro. >> i thought he would help me get to where i wanted to be in life in baseball and everything like that. i thought baseball was my out. he took all that away from me. >> it wasn't long into his college career when collaro's close relationship with the coach crossed a line. in a lawsuit filed late last year he claims that the
lempesis asked him to perform sex acts in exchange, lempesis promised him meetings with baseball scouts. >> he said you can do these videos and everything like that, and you know, if you do these videos i'll help you really get to where you're going so you can either do this for me and you'll be good here, you'll play baseball and i'll get you where you're going pop or if you don't, things will go really tower for. >> you why didn't you tell anybody? >> how do you tell somebody that? i mean, that's----i'm so embarrassed by it. how do you tell somebody that you had to do that. how do you go about that without feeling like lower like just a piece of dirt. >> lempesis, who agreed to speak with "america tonight" admits that he made the sexes. >> i regret it.
it shouldn't have happened. i'm the coach. you know, some people will say i used undue influence. i don't think so. i know his lawsuits say i promised all these things and forced him into it, but that's a complete lie. >> his career as college coach came to an abrupt end when a player came forward and said that he asked him to make videos too. but collaro said he groomed him. >> he doesn't have a criminal history pertain to go sexual assault. what do you think they would have found if they had done additional checking on this guy. >> i think they would have found that this is a type of person who should not nobody this position of power. >> he was in an university, he was supposed to protect them and safeguard them and keep them safe. >> and collaro's lawyer. >> when anthony was a minor
spero was there to recruit him to concordia. he would shadow him, give him pitching lessons. >> collaro said that he first met spero lempesis when he was a young player. he would take him to games and offer free pitching lessons. >> he would ask me to manger hang out ask me about my girlfriends, can alaska me about stuff i was doing sexually. >> collaro started to remember inappropriate encounters with lempesis in high school. he showered with him and touched him inappropriately. >> he said he was going to get me a pair of sliding shorts so he had me fully undereats in front of him. he god down in his knees was fondling me and checking everything out and whatnot and he had his hands all over my if
he genitals. >> he said i was inappropriate with him in high school yet he'll come to concordia? who would do that. if you're abused by somebody in high school, would you play for them? >> we talked to him he's sitting there with steers streaming down his cheeks. >> it's a nice show. >> his argument was he felt like i was under spero's power. he was the coach. i had to do what he wanted me to do. that's his argument. >> really? come on. if i had such control. >> do you see his argument? >> i don't see it at all. >> collaro is not the only one charging that lemesis has a history of sexually abuseing minors. >> i looked him in the eye and i think he thinks what he has done is perfectly okay. >> concern enwright is a lawyer for ryan kelly.
>> he's accused of taking him to a mobile home orally and an anally raping him on numerous occasions. taking him and staying overnight at his house. sexual acts of violence at his house. and videotaping it. >> kelly decline to speak with america tonight but he claims that coaches raped him a dozen times often with other men. he, too, is suing the school district. >> a healthy coach relationship is one based on trust. what becomes problematic if that relationship begins to change into a power control relationship that becomes coercive that becomes intimidateing. >> executive director of the chicago children's advocacy center say most cases are never reported to authorities. >> how easy is it for an abusive
coach to england in as a--blend in as a caring coach. >> there is a fear of false reporting, i don't think there is a desire for children to be hurt. i don't think that's where the motivation is coming from. i think there is a motivation to kind of pull in and protect the organization. >> lemesis maintains he's guilty nothing more than poor judgment. >> i sleep well because i know i'm innocent. if i was guilty it would be rough. i'm not in jail anywhere. i'm not locked up. why? because i have not done these things that these two are accusing me of. >> but he told me at another time that his close relationships with kids throughout his career could be misconstrued. sometimes he would spend the night at parents homes when their parents were traveling. and a mother caught them
wrestling with her teen son. >> she did send a letter to the superintendent and the principal, and i said my meeting with them we talked about it. said yeah, it's not good to be alone with an individual when the parents are not there. >> do you think everything you did as a coach is appropriate. >> was it appropriate? define what you mean by appropriate. >> do you think the way you hung out with some of these kids, do you think those pro appropriate behaviors for a coach-player relationship. >> i think 99% of it is appropriate. >> he admitted to being in the boys showers after pe in middle school. he said he was instructed to get them out in six minutes. >> they were getting dressed and getting glout is it ever appropriate for coaches to be watching children in a chow?
shower. >> no, when you cross that line into that could be misconstrued into inappropriate behavior, that's going too far. if a coach goes down that road, that may be innocent but you could intervene and say that's a line you don't want to cross. >> collaro's lawsuit takes aim at concordia university for failing to do enough. concordia would not speak to america tonight on camera but said it fired lempesis when it learned of inappropriate behavior. it was two years later when the police arrested the coach for having sexual relations in at backseat of a car with a 16-year-old boy. >> he was a sexual predator who could or might continue to harm children. >> lempesis said that the boy
lied to him about his age. he said he was 19. the police agreed and did not file charge. >> i have no future. people say good, you shouldn't be around kids any more. i can under conspiracy having that perspective from what they read none of it is true, but unfortunately with today's social media that is out there and i can't change that. >> what is this like? >> not as fun as the other up. >> anthony collaro said his future isn't what he expected it to be either. he never made it to the big leagues. he works at a catering service now, but he didn't giving up hope to put all the bad memories behind him and one day become a coach himself. >> i don't think it will ever be over for me. i really love baseball that much. i don't want to carry this around with me any more. i want to just get it done and over it and have some peace and resolution and move on with my life.
>> al jazeera, chicago illinois. >> next, the witness behind bars. he saw suspect die at the hands of police. why that kept him locked up. >> ahead the nra takes a shot at controlling the law. >> we have 200,000 people. we're powerful. and we don't mind putting that power to work for our constituents. that's what they expect us to do. that's what they ask us to do. and by god we're going to do it. >> christof puts. erputzel on the gun lobby. and hot on america tonight's website, job jones university, why sex assault victims fear they were failed by faith in their leaders. that's at www.aljazeera.com www.aljazeera.com/america tonight.
>> a twist of justice. the police chokehold that killed a staten island man last year led to outrage but no charges against the officers involved. the one person who did end up behind bars is the eyewitness who shot video of eric beganner's death. his wife told america tonight that his arrest was bay pay back for exposing what happened. >> i understand you're stressed out, but you're taking it out on me. >> emotions run high when she gets an is phone call from her husband, he took a video of staten island police officers who are accused of killing a man in custody. eric garner detained for illegally selling cigarettes. adam ramsey was hailed a hero
but now he's in jail, and he claims its retaliation. >> what are you going to do about this mess that you're in right now? >> i'm going to fight it to the end, and hopefully i'll win. hopefully people will realize. >> speaking to america tonight from jail, he claims that he was set up on a bogus charge of illegally possessing a handgun. >> have you ever seen your husband with a gun? >> never never. >> when you heard about the charges against him what was your initial reaction. >> i cried. i cried. i said that's total [bleep]. i told him what are you talking about? i was in shock. >> do you regret the fact that ramsey took this video? >> i don't regret it. i wish the whole thing never happened. it's sad that this man had to also his life, but it's something that had to be expose exposed. but i hate the fact that what's
going on with ramsey, you know. >> fast forward now, ramsey orta has been in and out of jail since he shot the video. most recently on a drug charge. a crowd sourcing effort built around the allegations that he's been scape goaded helped him to make bail, $50,000 was pledged. the bail was posted but then the prosecutor objected to the online funds. and for now orta will stay. the nra and why some mayors find themselves on the firing line. a three-part series on violence against youth athletes, sex crimes in sports begins with a look at the power athletes have on campus. >> athletes are--they're different on campus. they're the kings. it's why it's not surprising to me that they are as many cases as they are. what surprises me is that there is not more.
>> our series sex crimes in sports begins tuesday on america tonight. new york city police commissioner william bratton >> they just respected this department >> restoring trust... >> it's going to be difficult... >> modernizing the force... >> this is going to be a revolutionary year >> protecting lives... >> the technologies we have available to us are phenomenal >> every sunday night. >> i lived that character. >> go one on one with america's movers and shakers. >> we will be able to see change. >> gripping. inspiring. entertaining. talk to al jazeera. only on al jazeera america.
>> we think we learn the rules about making law in high school civics but political power does not always play by the books. nowhere is that more parent than apparent than communities. being tested against one of the nation's most powerful lobbies the national rifle association the nra. christof putzel now with local leaders on the firing line, and fighting back. >> rick bunker considers himself a responsible gun owner.
>> you keep all of your guns locked up. >> yes always. i have a 12-year-old at home. so i have a safe. >> and you would report to the police if someone stole one of your guns. >> sure, i would report to the police if someone stole anything but especially a gun. i don't want my gun hurting someone. >> bunker owns a half does guns and enjoys hunting. he also supports a local measure requiring residents of his hometown of pennsylvania to inform police within 82 hours discovering a gun lost or stolen. >> you didn't have to register guns ahead of time. it didn't say that you couldn't own them or what kind. it didn't restrict my ability to happily own guns and use them in any way i wanted to. just said if they're lost or stolen report them to the police. >> despite his support for the law, last november as vice president of the borough
council, he voteed to rescind it under threat of a law enforcementlawsuit. act 192 to let nra to sue cities and towns over local gun restrictions. >> they gave us choice between solventcy and great town mayor ed foley said that his quiet community of 4,000 but had little choice but to do with a it's lost and stolen ordinance. >> we couldn't afford to fight against an organization with deep pockets like the nra. we had no choice than to rescind the ordinance and take it off the books. >> with an annual budget of $6 million jen kin town could in the risk costly litigation especially act 192 would have forced the town to cover the nra's legal fees. >> as much as i had to hold my
nose to do t and as much council had to hold their nose to pass it. they rescinded the ordinance. >> it's not often when someone goes in to vote for something not wanting to vote for it. >> it's a stark illustration position that that was put in by the legislature. as a responsible law--i don't know how this can stand up to a court challenge. >> doesn't sound like a pretty good idea to report at stolen gun. >> it may or may not be. but that's not really what's at issue. what's at issue is is that the municipalities have no right power to pass those sorts of laws. >> jonathan goldstein say that the issues in this case go to the heart of democracy who has the right to make laws. in pennsylvania our elected legislature has decided that an uniform scheme of gun regulation across the state is desirable
period, full stop, and these municipalities cannot sub state thorough own judgment over that our dually elected governor. >> do you own a gun. >> of course. >> if it was stolen, would you report it? >> i may. that might be the right thing to do. but i'm not obligated to do so under pennsylvania law and that's the choice that our law make verse made. >> do you think its possible that this could save some lives. >> it may it may not. it may make a law abiding gun owner in a criminal. those arguments those discussion points are perfect fodder for a debate with the general assembly. it's not up to the city of lancaster or philadelphia or pittsburgh to take those powers. >> in january the nra filed suit against those three cities. lancaster, philadelphia and pittsburgh. all three refuseed to resend locally passed gun laws. they said that it went around a
legal issue that by law state legislatures preempt decisions made at the local level. >> the notion of preemption is a part of our law in pennsylvania that prohibits municipalities from passing local regulations of firearms. it's a set of regulatory powers that the general assembly, our state legislature has reserved to itself. act 192 was designed to bring more force to that preemption. >> but it may be subject to constitutional challenges. philadelphia pittsburgh and lancaster argue that the measure passed in 2014 was inappropriately attached to a bill on scrap metals. >> in a sense does the nra have nothing to lose here because you'll have your fees covered either way. >> if the act is found unconstitutional our fees are not covered.
just because it's put in place asystemmic, we have our legal fees and they don't, does not mean that it's right. many across pennsylvania heeded the warning. lancaster, philadelphia and pittsburgh feel they have special knowledge and they fail to do so through their own peril. >> do you think the other cities felt that they doesn't forward too so. >> they didn't want to explain why they were spending money. we're powerful, we don't mind putting that power to work for our constituents. that's what they asked us to do, and by god that's what we're going to do. >> there is only one way to deal with bullies and that is to stand up to them.
>> mayor of lancaster is being sued. >> win lose or draw, when i'm done being mayor this is one of the proudest moments. we accomplished a lot on lancaster to say that we're not going to fold just because you file a lawsuit. >> the mayor said that while his city of 60,000 does not have much gun violence, he felt compelled to act after a local 9-year-old girl was killed in a gang cross fire. >> this is not some theoretical issue. this is not some arcane argument about the constitution. this is dead kids. now the nra says enforce the laws that you have, whatnot well what good does it do if your child has been shot by some people. >> wouldn't the nra say that's a crime problem not a gun problem? >> that's a crime problem committed with a gun. if you want to jump the step if they were fighting with knives that girl would still be alive today. if they were fighting with fists
she would still be alive today. >> the mayor said that in this community there is a lot of support for the stand against the nra. >> has anyone reported stolen guns. >> oh sure, sure, absolutely. in fact, last year i think we seized 35 or 40 stolen guns. how did we know they were stolen? somebody reported them. >> most gun owners i found support what we're doing. they don't understand the nra's opposition to reporting lost and stolen guns. and the response is why wouldn't i report it? >> lancaster has established a legal defense fund and raised $20,000 in donations. nearly enough to meet its insurance deductible under the nra lawsuit. >> there is no guarantee that you're going win this. >> sure, we've won it already. >> you think so? >> yep. >> how so? >> i think the nra has just overstepped so far here.
that people--it's almost a levels of ridicule when i talk to people about it not only don't they understand, but they shake their head and said what's the problem? [ gunfire ] >> as a gun owner when you come to the range do you find that there are other people here that have a problem with the idea of having to report stolen gun within 72 hours? >> i've never heard a single complaint about it. the lost and stolen ordinance only inconveniences people who are trying to funnel guns to those who are not allowed to buy them. so i've never heard a complaint. >> his town may have been overpowered by the nra but the fight in pennsylvania isn't over yet. christof putzel, al jazeera, jen jenken town, pennsylvania. >> tell us what you think at america tonight. we'll have more "america
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