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tv   CBS Evening News With Scott Pelley  CBS  May 24, 2012 6:30pm-7:00pm EDT

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>> pelley: tonight a cold case turns hot. a possible break in one of the most famous missing children's cases in america. john miller has been on this story for 33 years. a catholic monsignor tells a philadelphia court he compiled a list of pedophile priests but admiss he did nothing about them. elaine quijano is covering his trial. the first wave of tsunami debris from japan is about to reach the united states. john blackstone is in alaska. and he made these kids a deal-- they kept their end, and and now he's about to make their dreams come true. >> the promise you made these kids 12 years ago was what? captioning sponsored by cbs this is the "cbs evening news" with scott pelley.
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>> pelley: good evening. police in new york city say they are holding a man who has confessed to the murder of etan patz. the six-year-old boy who vanished without a trace 33 years ago tomorrow. the enduring mystery of etan's disappearance, the anxiety felt by parents across the country, combined to revolutionize the nation's approach to missing children. after all this time, it was a telephone tip that led the police to 51-year-old pedro hernandez. now detectives have to figure out whether his confession is true. we have two reports. first, senior correspondent john miller, who has covered the patz story since the day the boy vanished. he's been talking to his sources. and he joins us now. john. >> reporter: well, scott, as you said, it is an enduring mystery but it's complicated. so far, all the police have to
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go on is the suspect's word that he did it. in 1979, pedro hernandez, then 18 years old, worked at his familyee small grocery in the soho neighborhood just a block from where six-year-old etan patz disappeared on his way to school. yesterday, based on a tip, detectives from new york city drove to this small house in maple shade, new jersey, and brought hernandez to the camden county prosecutor's office. detectives say he confessed to killing etan patz. sources say that hernandez admitted to luring the boy into the store with candy, strangling him, and placing the body in a box. he says he put the box out with the trash and when he came back later, it was gone. the case has remained so high profile that even before prosecutors would bring a charge, mayor michael bloomberg confirmed the story. >> we have a suspect in custody who has maid statement to the n.y.p.d., implicating himself in
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the disappearance of etan patz 33 years ago. >> reporter: prosecutors at the manhattan district attorney's office are proceeding with caution. even with the alleged confession, it will be difficult to corroborate hernandez's story. the story as given also leaves police no closer to knowing where to look for a body. the new twist comes just a month after the cold case drew headlines when police dug up a basement in the same neighborhood where etan disappeared. that lead turned cold but the renewed publicity may have led to this break. investigators say they were tipped to hernandez just days ago when someone he'd confided in called police. hernandez had lived in new jersey since the early 1980s and his family members left his home this afternoon under police escort without commenting. hernandez has a trail of arrests for minor charges including bad checks, drunk driving, and at least one charge of domestic violence. we spoke to people who lived in
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the maple shade community. >> all we can tell you is they were normal neighbors. they were. they were the normal neighbors. >> pelley: john, you said it would be hard for the police to corroborate the confession after all these years help. highway do they go about doing that. >> reporter: in a normal case you would say where did you put the body you would dig it up. in this case, you have a strangulation an individual who says he put the body out there and then it was taken away. so now you're going to have to go back to that location, find people who were in that store, other people who worked there say were you there that day? did you see pedro? did you see him with etan patz? did pedro disappear for a time? basically you have to turn the case upside down where instead of using the evidence to get the confession using the confession to try to guide you to the evidence. >> pelley: tough case. john, thanks very much. as we mentioned, the patz case changed everything about how police and communities react to a report of a missing child, and we asked wyatt andrews to tell us about that.
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>> reporter: it was the picture that both shocked america and changed america. before etan patz went missing, most parents thought their children were safe in the neighborhood and most police couldn't be bothered to quickly search for a lost child. etan patz, among the first children pictured on a milk carton, was the cray wake-up call. >> and it really shone a light on the fact that our response to missing child cases in this country was woefully inadequate. >> reporter: ernie allen is the country's leading authority on missing children. allen says the 1979 patz case, followed by the 1981 modern of six-year-old adam walsh in florida, led the country, congress, and president ronald reagan to take action. missing children began to be entered into f.b.i. crime database and allen's agency, the national center for missing and exploited children, was created to help the police. how did the patz case change law
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enforcement? >> etan was a catalyst for the creation of a coordinated national system so that today when a child disappears, police take an immediate report. there is immediate distribution of a child's photo and information. >> reporter: that mindset change from "wait and see" to urgent response helped lead to the amber alert system on the nation's billboards. it led to companies like wal-mart posting picturees of missing children. today, out of 800,000 children reported missing, 99% come home safely. that's up from 62% in 1990. of the 115 children abducted by strangers last year, 57% came home. >> our commitment to these families is that no case is ever closed until we either find the child or we learn with certainty what happened. >> reporter: that's one of the lessons here, isn't it? >> it really is. >> reporter: it's never over. >> it's never over. >> reporter: that explains why
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dozens of n.y.p.d. and f.b.i. agents are still on the case of etan patz. it's the kind of response that did not happen and could not have happened on the day he went missing. but, scott, in the 33 years since that day, thousands of children have been saved because of him. >> pelley: wyatt, thanks very much. a trial in philadelphia is exposing a massive cover-up of child sex abuse by priests in the catholic church. in testimony today, monsignor william lynn said that he typed up a list of 35 alleged predator priests in the archdiocese of philadelphia but did not warn others. lynn is charged with child endangerment and conspiracy, the highest ranking member of the church to stand trial so far. elaine quijano is covering the trial. >> reporter: monsignor william lynn repeatedly defended his action through six hours of blistering questions. the prosecutors zeroed in on a secret list lynn compiled in
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1994 of 35 priests suspected of sex abuse. three were diagnosed as pedophiles by mental health experts hired by the archdiocese of philadelphia. can you point to one single memo off the top of your head about you doing anything about any of those priests, lead prosecutor patrick blessington asked. "no, not off the top of my head" lynn replied. the list was compiled from post personnel files locked away in the archdiocese secret archives a room on the 12th floor ofheadquarters. susan math use who used to work just three floors below at the archdiocese's official newspaper, says she was shocked to learn what was contained in those archives. >> it says that there's a culture of secrecy, and as a catholic, i'm very uncomfortable with that. you know, it's-- this isn't the middle ages. this shouldn't be. this is not it's church is everyone. the church is, you know, consists of the lay people, consists of the clergy, consists of the hierarchy. we are all supposed to be of one. >> reporter: lynn was
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responsible for recommending priest assignmentments and investigating child sex abuse accusations. lynn saws he was powerless to act without the approval of his boss, the late cardinal anthony bevilacqua. the prosecutor asked, "how many times in your 12 years did you pick up the phone and call the police? how many times?" "none," lynn replied. at one point, prosecutors grilled lynn about whether he should have done more to warn parents about a priest who wrote a graphic letter purportedly fant sizing about a seventh grade boy. "i did the best i could," lynn said. "i never said i was perfect." monsignor lynn is set to take the stand again next week when the trial resumes and, scott, he could face up to 21 years in prison if convicted. >> pelley: thanks, elaine. this evening, firefighters are venting spoke from a nuclear submarine that was wrecked by fire overnight. the uss "miami" was being overhauled at the portsmouth naval yard in maine.
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firefighters battle an inferno in the forward compartments of the boat, working in tight spaces amid extreme heat and smoke. there were no weapons on board. the navy says the nuclear reactor had been shut down for two months and is not in danger. an admiral called the firefighters heroes, but the $900 million sub might be scrapped. only seven minor injuries, no word on how all that started. as for the weather at sea, the government forecast today that we will have a near-normal hurricane season this year with up to 15 named storms in the atlantic. as many as three could turn into major hurricanes, category three or higher. hurricane season began in-- begins in june, but it got a head start when tropical storm alberto formed last saturday. folks in alaska are watching a wave of debris come ashore from
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that tsunami that hit japan last year. an estimated five million tons of debris was washed into sea. boats, cars, houses, buoys-- you name it. in 14 months, the currents and winds have carried some of it 4,000 miles. it's hitting alaska first, but that won't be the end of it. john blackstone is joining us in seward, alaska, tonight, and, john, what are you seeing? >> reporter: well, scott, the harbor here? seward opens up to the gulf of alaska, and out there, we saw the first large-scale evidence of wreckage from the japanese tsunami making it all the way across the pacific and now washing up on beaches here. it's a disturbing sight, a wilderness beach but littered everywhere with plastic bottles, fishing gear, and big chunks of yellow foam believed to be insulation from ruined buildings swept into the sea. now, every year some trash washes up on these beaches and every year chris pallister leads cleanup crews there. >> it's just far more than we've
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ever had come in at one time. and, you know, i would guess that the influx of debris-- and this is just the first wave of this tsunami debris. >> reporter: what's-- like for you flying in a helicopter above that looking down there at the debris? >> well, today it really hit me. before when i went out there i was just shocked and kind of stunned by the magnitude of it it all. today when i went over there and i looked at that and saw that helicopter picking up that styrofoam, i just felt like crying. >> reporter: here's one thing we found out there-- a plastic fuel container. it has japanese writing on it, and it's the kind of thing-- it's light weight, floats. it can be blown across the ocean very quickly. and things like this could now hit the beaches all the way down the west coast, all the way to california. >> pelley: john blackstone in seward, alaska. john will have a lot more from alaska next week here on the evening news, and tomorrow on "cbs this morning." a high school football star jailed for a rape he didn't
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commit is exonerated. changing times for a famous newspaper. and the race to conquer a crowded mount everest when the cbs evening news continues. ready? as i'll ever be. break a leg! i used to love hearing that phrase... but not since i learned i have... postmenopausal osteoporosis and a high risk for fracture. i want to keep acting but a broken bone could change that. so my doctor and i chose prolia® to reduce my risk of fractures. prolia® is proven to help make bones stronger. proven to help increase bone density. i take prolia®. it's different. it's two shots a year. [announcer:] if you take prolia® (denosumab) you should not take xgeva®. prolia® can cause serious side effects, including low blood calcium levels, serious infections... ...some of which may require hospitalization, and skin inflammation, rash and eczema. tell your doctor if you develop dental problems... ...as severe jawbone problems may happen.
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>> pelley: it was an emotional scene today in a long beach, california, courtroom. a 26-year-old man who was sent to prison for a rape that never happened saw his conviction thrown out after his accuser admitted that she lied.
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lee cow an picks up the story. >> the petition is granted. >> reporter: a judge threw out the rape charge that sent him to prison for more than five years. >> my only dream in the world was to just be free and to have the same opportunity as everybody here. >> reporter: he was a 16-year-old star linebaker with a full scholarship to u.s.c., and a dream to play in the nfl, when in 2002 a classmate accused banks of raping her in a stairwell of their long beach high school. although banks insisted it was consensual and there was no sex, he told kcbs-tv that his defense attorney at the time gave him a choice-- plead no contest to rape or risk a trial that could send him to prison for life. >> when you go into that courtroom, the jury is going to see a big, black teenager, and you're automatically going to be assumed guilty. those are her exact words. >> reporter: he took the deal,
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went to prison, and had to register as a sex offender. he thought that was the end of it. but after he was released, came a surprise. a friend request to facebook from his accuser one gib. >> i remember closing the laptop, and just like real quick, and i was thinking, like, what did i just see. >> reporter: so banks arranged a meeting with a private investigator who videotaped the whole thing. gibson later explained she had not wanted to say that publicly for fear of losing a $1.5 million settlement that her family had gotten after suing the school district. >> i may not ever get the answers as to why i was supposed to go through what i went through, but i know that i'm here today and i remain unbroken. >> reporter: unbroken and working to get his life back on track. those dreams of playing in the nfl, he says, might be realized yet. lee cow an, cbs news, los angeles. >> pelley: we're continuing to
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follow a dangerous drama playing out at the top of the world. today, about 100 climbers set out to reach the summit of mount everest, elevation 29,035 feet, a similar crowd tried to climb everest last weekend and five died. experts tell us the large crowds are dangerous because they have to go up essentially single file. bad weather is expected. we'll know how many made by tomorrow. a shortage of cancer drugs for children. will congress finally take action? that's ahead. with alzheimer's disease. t's how it is she needs help from me. and her medication. the exelon patch, it releases medication continuously for twenty-four hours. she uses one exelon patch daily for the treatment of mild to moderate alzheimer's symptoms. [ female announcer ] it cannot change how the disease progresses. hospitalization and rarely death have been reported in patients who wore more than one patch at a time. the most common side effects of exelon patch
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>> pelley: a senate committee voted today to withhold millions in aid to pakistan to protest the jailing of dr. alfreedy. he was convicted of treason for helping the cia track down osama bin laden. the appropriations committee voted unanimously to chop $33 million out of the $1 billion aid package for pakistan. $1 million for every year of alfrayedy's 33-year sentence. we've been telling you about a bill stalled in congress that is supposed to fix a national shortage of cancer drugs for children. dr. jon lapook introduced us to elena schoneveld, 10 months old and fighting leukemia. she's one of hundreds of children whose chemotherapy drugs are running out. four weeks ago, dr. lapook asked senate majority leader harry reid where the bill, which
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has bipartisan support, has been stuck more than a year. >> reporter: when is that going to happen? >> well you're asking me to look into the future and try to pinpoint a time. we're going to do it as soon as we can. >> reporter: next two weeks, next two months? next year? >> i hope to get it done some time before the fourth of july recess. >recess. >> pelley: and sure enough, today, the bill passed the senate, 96-1. there's no word on when the house will consider it. today may be a milestone in the transition to the digital age. the only daily newspaper in new orleans announces that it will publish on paper only three days a week while it publishes online every day. "times-picayune" won two pulitzer prizes for its katrina coverage, published daily since pulitzer prizes for its katrina coverage, published daily since 1837. circulation has been falling. the staff will be cut back. during katrina, those employees refused to evacuate and kept the
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so why are you doing hers? only your doctor can determine if your persistent heartburn is actually something more serious... like acid reflux disease. over time, stomach acid can damage the lining of your esophagus. for many, prescription nexium not only provides 24-hour heartburn relief, but can also help heal acid related erosions in the lining of your esophagus. talk to your doctor about the risk for osteoporosis-related bone fractures and low magnesium levels with long-term use of nexium. possible side effects include headache, diarrhea and abdominal pain. other serious stomach conditions may still exist. let your doctor do her job, and you do yours. ask if nexium is right for you. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. >> pelley: our final story begins more than a decade ago when a businessman made a deal with some kids in rural georgia
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who were just starting the first grade. jim axelrod tells us the deadline for that deal has come. >> all students, are you now dismissed. >> reporter: these days, most kids at green county high school are dreaming about summer break. >> go down for your orientation on friday. >> then these taisha dalton. >> i worked very hard to get where i am. >> reporter: she spent 12 years dreaming about a future beyond greensboro, georgia, where nearly 20% live in poverty. >> in this community, some might have been in foster care and not really have a home or a room that they can call their own. >> reporter: this was dalton in the year 2000 when she was one of 54 first graders chosen to be part of greensboro's "i have a dream" program. >> let's make sure tomorrow we practice. >> reporter: the project was created by tom kelly, a health care executive who had moved nearby when he retired. >> my mom came from ireland, and
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if she had a nickel, she gave it to someone, and she always told us, you better give back. you have to give back. >> reporter: the promise you made these kids 12 years ago was what? >> the promise was that we will help you get into college, and we will pay so that you can definitely not have finances be a problem in going to college. >> reporter: kelly raised $2 million to pay student expenses not covered by scholarships. dalton and her fellow dreamers committed to staying late at school on week days, attending study halls on weekends, and taking summer classes. >> we have never had a summer as a regular kid. >> reporter: she was in fourth grade when "60 minutes" first reported on the dreamers. >> when i grow up, i would like to own my own baby-sitting daycare. >> reporter: and while her dreams intact. >> and i want a daycare. >> reporter: ...the program has widened her field of vision. >> i want to be a pediatrician. >> reporter: that's exactly what tom kelly had in mind. it's why he took them on more
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than 80 trips, brought them to space camp. >> leave your knife on the side of the butter plate. >> reporter: even made sure they learned proper table manners the thinking is you cannot dream about what you want to be unless you know what's out there. >> reporter: last friday, all the dreamers who started at green county high graduated, 85% are headed to college or trade school. so you're going off to college. >> yes, sir. >> reporter: you feel ready? >> i do. >> reporter: you have confidence. >> yes, confidence. >> reporter: which has a lot of people applauding in green county, maybe one man a little louder than the others. jim axelrod, cbs news, greensboro, georgia. >> pelley: and that's the cbs evening news for tonight. we're anything to leave you now with traditional decorating of arlington national cemetery in honor of memorial day. for all of us at cbs news all around the world, good night.
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this is 9 news now. we begin tonight with breaking news, another shakeup at the general services administration, the gsa, 9news investigative reporter russ ptacek learned five people are now out at the agency and officials want to oust four others all in connection to that lavish las vegas convention. russ, are these the same five people your investigation profiled tuesday? >> we're still gathering information on this. we've confirmed at least one jeffrey neely, one you saw tuesday night, and trying to identify the four others right now. our investigation uncovered gsa documents showing those five officials received bonus money just a few months ago all linked to that lavish $823,000 convention including neely who is famous for a bathtub photo and globe trti

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