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tv   America Tonight  Al Jazeera  April 14, 2015 10:00pm-10:31pm EDT

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convincing young people that they have a better chance of securing a job if they do. that's it for it edition of al jazeera america news. >> thanks for watching. i'll see you again in honour. -- again in an hour. on "america tonight" juveniles, justice and the journey to a dead end. >> it didn't mean i was going to die in prison. >> this is an issue about how much we want to undo wrongs that we did in the 1990s. "america tonight"s christopher putzel on mandatory minimums in
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prison. does a kid' life matter also sex crimes in sport. sara hoy leads off the series - when the truth is not enough. >> it's a violent crime. >> reporter: that he confessed to? >> yes, there was no question of what happened. >> for all the reasons why you don't want to come forward, they are magnified when the guy you are coming forward against is the most famous guy on campus. why athletes get a pass from their colleges thanks for joining us, i'm joie chen, we begin at the intention of sport and sexual assault. as we have seen in the reporting sex crimes on campus more young women turned to a federal law we know as title nine to level the playing field in sport and special safety. that attempt can be limited when academic demrns fail to act. in the first of our series sex
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crimes in sport. sara hoy investigate why when it comes to cases on campus star athletes can get a pass. >> in america. sports are an unofficial relagon, whether in college or the pros, athletes are revered and performances bring in millions in profits. there's a dark side to the admiration. a dark side this student at the university of alabama in huntsville learnt. she asked we conceal her identity out of fear of retaliation. it began on jan 12th 2013. after drinking at a party, she decided to stay in a friend's dorm room. later she was awakened by a man she didn't know. he told her it wasn't safe and she had to leave. dis oriented, she left with him. >> it was scary.
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i don't know if you have been woken up by a stranger standing over i while you sleep, but that is something i will never forget. it was awful. >> he took her to his room where he kissed and groped her before he raped her. >> the word no never crossed my mind. it was "who are you, what the heck are you doing?" >> reporter: she reported her rape to campus police and was able to identify her attacker as stand out hockey player. >> when i was first interviewed by the police and they told me that it was fine to have sex with people you didn't know at all, and didn't know their name or anything and that it was common for the hockey players to share girls when they said stuff
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like that it was no that's not what happened. >> then she said something unexpected happened. i had a call from the sergeant saying "i have an interesting turn of events with your situation." >> reporter: an interesting turn of events. >> yes. i went down, he said "i got a confession out of him. he cried when he got in the police car, and, honestly it seemed he was trying to make me feel bad for him and he was really sorry about it. >> reporter: so when you heard in this person confessed, what were you thinking at that moment. i said good someone will believe me. >> she said the officer told her she had no case in court. and advised her to pursue the matter through the disciplinary system of the school. and not the police. >> reporter: how difficult was it for you to come forward and
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say what happened that night? >> it was hard. i didn't want to just like no one wants to. which is why it's under-reported. >> for all the reasons you don't want to come forward, they are magnified when the guy you come forward against is the most famous guy on campus. >> jeff benedict is a writer for sports illustrated. >> now we are really talking about reasons to not come forward. not only do you not have to be incredibly huge ill kated and embarrassed by sitting across the desk from a police officer, and a doctor in a hospital and this guy and this guy and this guy to tell them your story, you have to be aware because of who you are accusing might be on e.s.p.n. your twitter feed will blow up. people on campus will hate you, because you are hurting the team. >> reporter: benedict was a lead reacher on one of the few
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studies of violence against women in the '90s. >> what we found when we looked at the data student athletes were 3% of the male student population but they were responsible for 19" of the reported -- 19% of the reported incidents of violence against women on the campuses. the reality is that student athletes and certainly professional athletes have many more opportunities to abuse women, and they don't have to work as hard. >> in the alabama case the school's conduct board found them responsible for the assault, and recommended taking away the scholarship. >> i was happy about that. >> reporter: the decision was appealed and he remained on campus. >> i thought he was gone. and they said "no, he filed an
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appeal." . she was running into him on campus. >> he looked at me like he just absolutely hated me. it was terrifying. the look in his eyes was terrifying. >> he was allowed to play out the rest of the season for the beloved hockey team never missing a game. on march 21st she lived an email informing her that the university's probost overturned the decision and he would be allowed to return to campus. >> i got in my car, drove obvious, walked in to the probost office and started crying and said "tell me why it doesn't matter." and he said i'm not saying it didn't matter. >> i said "yes you are." tell me what did you say in his
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appeal that made you make this decision. he said "i can't discuss what was said in the appeal. he said i'm going to tell you that i'm following precedent, and that the only thing we have expelled someone from the university for is academic misconduct. >> when you hear that what is going through your head. >> i said thank god you got the treaters off the street. >> reporter: why were you mad? >> it's insane. it's a violent crime. >> reporter: that he confessed to. >> yes. there was no question of what happened because there's two sides of the story, there's three sides his, hers and the truth, our side is pretty much hit together. is at the point that matter. >> not satisfied with the final decision she went to the local magistrate. she was arrested and charged with first degree rape. he fled the country, returning
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to finland, avoiding an indictment. he continues to play hockey there. she has filed a federal title 9 lawsuit against the university administrators and a campus police officer, claiming the school delayed and reduced punishment. >> i want to make sure it doesn't happen to anybody again and they can't do that to people again. >> federal laws mandate ta schools take action to investigate allegations of rape on campus as well as reporting them to police. ordering to campus records, the university police never reported the rape to huntsville police or the maddison county district attorney university officials declined to appear on camera, issue this statement instead:
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after his arrest the hockey coach tweeted: >> it has a special place. >> reporter: was it fair to say hockey players here can do no wrong? >> yes, clearly. >> reporter: i hate to say this i say do not use a single campus facility after you've been raped for beaten up. do not. no campus police no crisis center no campus medical center - nothing like that. you go off campus. and i've had ... >> reporter: why? >> because of the influence of that - of the athletic programme. it's just that influential. >> kathy redman brown speaks from personal experience. in 1995, it claimed the university of nebraska handled rape.
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the founder of a national coalition against violent athletes and she works to change the culture of sports, working against athletes and rape victims. >> there's so much that needs to be done. the current culture in this society is making it difficult to do what needs to be done. >> why is that. >> because fans identify with the teams. for many people, this is a religion. >> a number of recent high-profile cases around the country underscored the charge that athletes get special treatment. like florida state heisman trophy winner cleared of sexual assault charges and missed questions about whether the university and local police did due diligence. >> what we should ask is why doesn't title nine have more teeth. why doesn't the cleary act have more teeth.
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>> to lay out, you have winson wins the heisman, and florida wins the championship with an allegation and lack of investigation hanging over their heads. >> did you ever blame yourself? >> yes, for a while. >> how did you get over that. one day you have to say it wasn't your fall you are not a victim. you have to be a survive yore. it's like having one break into your home and beat you up, except when people beat you up they believe you. >> "america tonight" it the tells us the n.c.a.a. overseeing college sport has no identified penalties for sexual assault. the n.c.a.a. decided to leave that responsibility to
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individual schools and to the police our special series sex crimes in sport continues tomorrow. >> we wanted to know what current training exists for coaches and students to prevent hazing in the future. >> i have no comment. >> "america tonight"s lori jane gliha on the bloodstains sport in high school athletics - violence hazing. and a culture that keeps it covered up. what is happening in the locker room and why team-mates are getting away with it. and hot on "america tonight"s website now - young athletes and powerful coaches. the disturbing story of a player turned prey. that's at"america tonight".
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in our fast-forward segments labour pain. facing sky rocketing numbers of babies born addicted tennessee went after the mother charging aggravated assault by the mothers against the children. what happens when states criminalize pregnancy. >> you see babies scratching having convulsions. >> reporter: this is a district attorney a supporter of the new law. >> a lot of attention is on the plight of the mother. what about the plight of the
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babies? >> reporter: why is threatening the women with prison gaol time the right thing? >> it holds women responsible for their conduct, and we hope that it deters future behaviour. >> state legislators in passing the law made clear they have little regard for the difficulties addicts face. here is state representative terry weaver as she introduces the legislation. >> these ladies are the worst of the worst not thinking about prenatal care. i want to emphasise what they are thinking about - that is money for the next high. >> they are not using a medical tool tore strategy. >> dr ron bailey is a psychiatrist in charges of addiction treatment at the medical college. along with a dozen major american medical associations he warns that the new law will discourage women seeking treatment for fear of doing gaol time.
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>> you can have a significant decrease and willingness of future patients that may have a problem. >> people will be afraid. >> doctors or clinicians. >> why single out women and pregnant women in particular. >> you forget the consequences and that woman has a choice the baby never has fast forward to how the law is working or not. drug dependency is on the rise. 28 women have been charged. none of the convictions have led to gaol sentences next here - locked up for life. a juvenile sentence and a legal review. can an old wrong now be made right? >> i see people walk out of here every day. i'll always have hope you know that my day will come. >> "america tonight"s christopher putzel on juvenile
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justice, and the possibility of a second chance? >> this was a storm of the decade >>...hurricane... >> we can save species... >> our special month long focus, fragile planet
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[ ♪♪ ] now we consider lives at a dead end. we want to see convicted criminals pay for their crimes even life without parole can seem a just sentence, when the crime is heinous. at what point should we consider the circumstances of the convicted's life in passing the judgment. the supreme court drew a line against mandatory sentences for juveniles, but left open what to do about certain cases. "america tonight"s christopher putzel considers whether young criminals locked up for life deserve a second chance. >> reporter: after 24 years
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behind bars adolph davis returned to court for what could be a chance for freedom. davis was just 14 when he was sentenced to life imprison without parole convicted of his role in a robbery that turned into a double murder. in object 1990 three members of the gangster disciples turned out to settle a score. the youngest two months past his 14th birthday was adolfo davis. >> i hear a lot of people say "gangs gangs, gangs" my destiny was written when i was born into a chaotic family. >> in the turf war, two gang members were shot dead. it was never proved that davis fired a gun, he was tried as an adult and convicted as a double murder. the law was clear and
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uncompromising. if you are part of a group that convicts a murder, sentencing rules are unforgiving. the double homicide required the judge to commit a sentence. vicious drug worlds overwhelmed the city. adele foe's case barely caused a ripple. his case is now at the center of a movement to rethink the juvenile justice system and rite old wrongs. >> i see people walk out of here every day. i always will have hope. my day would come. >> reporter: in the summer of 2012 davis found a new reason for hope in the case of miller v alabama, the u.s. supreme court issued a landmark ruling - mandatory life without parole
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for juveniles were unconstitutional. patricia works for a law center. >> at the time of the sentences, no court considered their youth or the characteristics that come with youth, the facts of the role that they played in the offense on this point the u.s. supreme court was clear - a child's circumstances matter and its cruel and unusual punishment to impose life sentences on them. father dave kelly met a young adolfo davis when locked up at 14. barely 5 feet tall and over 100 pounds. what was your first impression of him? >> scared. he was scared but a strong little guy one on one there was a level of fear of what this meant. >> reporter: kelly learnt of his troubled home life absent
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father drug addicted mother. his grandmother was the primary caregiver. >> my grandmother took care of me and everyone else. she couldn't keep an eye on mean. i was in the streets. >> reporter: davis's first brush with the law came at the age of nine. >> i was home, a girl came out the store with a bag, and i snatched a bag of food because i was hungry. she held on to the bag and she dropped $0.75 and food scraps and i went to the restaurant for something to eat. police caught me eating food. >> he grew up outside of the house because of chaos in the house. there wasn't food or anything that a little kid needed. he found it on the outside. little by little he hung out with older guy and they took care of him because he was a likeable kid. >> davis's unstable family life
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was documented by the illinois department of children and family services. according to the court documents the juvenile court acknowledged he'd fallen into the cracks of the welfare system. >> that didn't stop him sent to adult court. >> what is your biggest fear? >> dying in prison. >> why? >> because i don't want this to be the last thing i see. this is a whole beautiful world out there. and it's like a nightmare. >> there's no way you can reopen all the cases. for resentencing you cannot recreate due process of law in cases that are decades old. >> many victims of violent crime are taking a stand against the notion that old cases can be reopened. jennifer led the rite motivated by a personal experience. her pregnant sister and
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brother-in-law were brutally murdered by a juvenile the same year davis was arrested. >> i was re-traumatised by the fear of this offender possibility being released and facing him again going through two years of legal proceedings in his case was devastatingly overwhelmingly difficult. >> i think the crime, the death of two people is horrific. my heart goes out to the families. but all the punishment of adolfo davis will not help that family or those families. that is the punitive system that we are a part of. >> now, after the first hearing of its kind in illinois adolfo must wait until the judge's time decision next month. he has served 24 years in prison. with time off for good behaviour, could be released right away. >> what is the first thing you want to do if you get out?
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>> go to disneyland. i'm serious. i want to be a kid. i want to be - i want to do things i was not able to do. >> you think about going to disneyland. >> i want to do and see things things that i was going to. i was going to lose him when i was a kid. i was going to steal, i didn't pay attention to the exhibits. i want to go there and take in what i missed. >> what do you think it will be like if you do get out and adjust to going outside. >> i think it's scary, it's like you know how you never been to prison. when you are out there, all the director you feel is like reverse for me. in is all i know. >> reporter: if he is released. adolfo davis will walk into a world na in some ways has been
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transformed. in others is the same. the poverty rate in washington rate in washington park was the highest in the 1990s, and remain so today. the streets are still filled with hungry kids going straight things to survive. at least now the courts will have to listen to their stories before passing judgment. that's "america tonight". tell us what you think. at "america tonight". talk to us on twitter or facebook and come back. more of "america tonight" tomorrow.
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default and desperation in california where thousands have gone without water for sinks, tubs toilets. >> what will we do without water? i still don't know what to do a battle for breathing room in the bronx. how activists are targetting trucks to fight pollution. and an environmental mystery that could wipe out bees and cause a food d disaster. i'm ali velshi a special report on