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tv   60 Minutes  CBS  February 19, 2017 7:00pm-8:01pm EST

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captioning funded by cbs and ford. we go further, so you can. >> i think you still have lots of secrets. >> sure. yes. >> he's the highest ranking defector from north korea in decades. and you're about to hear why he thinks the situation is as dangerous as it has ever been. the american general in charge of korea would agree with that, and told us how the u.s. would respond to kim jong-un's use of nuclear weapons. >> it will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. >> wipe north korea off the map? >> whatever overwhelms you. >> pain is my constant companion. >> roger stringer is in pain because his son zac shot and killed his kid brother with his remington 700 hunting rifle.
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but zac said he never pulled the trigger. >> no ma'am. >> years later, the family learned the rifle had a trigger defect. has remington ever admitted wrongdoing? >> never. you cannot admit wrongdoing when you have seven million of these things on the market. >> just knowing how vulnerable i was as a kid, just ruined me. >> the girls would say, yeah, he touches you funny. >> they were top u.s.a. gymnasts who are on "60 minutes" tonight to reveal an awful secret: years and possibly decades of sexual abuse inside u gymnastic system, including some of america's top olympians. >> i believe what-- at the end of the day, there are members of every single olympic team since 1996 he did this to. that's what we're going to end up with. >> i'm steve kroft. >> i'm lesley stahl. >> i'm bill whitaker. >> i'm scott pelley. those stories, tonight on "60
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going further to help make drivers, better drivers. don't freak out on me. that's ford. and that's how you become america's best-selling brand. >> whitaker: in thursday's press conference, president trump would not say how the united states will respond to the actions of north korea's dictator over the last week. kim jong-un tested a new type of missile. then his estranged brother was poisoned in a malaysian airport. south korea's spy agency believes kim ordered the hit. kim has nuclear weapons and has promised to test an intercontinental ballistic missile.
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such a weapon could eventually carry a nuclear warhead and threaten american cities. that possibility, and the missiles he has aimed at south korea are so dangerous, u.s. defense secretary james mattis went to seoul on his first foreign trip. we went just days later and saw how tense the situation has become. we got two important perspectives. we spoke to the commander of the 28,000 american troops there, as well as the highest ranking north korean to defect in decades. he told us the missiles and murders are part of kim's raging obsession with the survival of his regime. >> thae yong-ho: i've been in seoul for six months, and to be honest, i was never public until now. >> whitaker: we went for an evening out in seoul with thae yong-ho. he was north korea's deputy ambassador in london before he
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defected in august. a defection by someone of his rank is extremely rare. this was the first time he had walked about in public. just off camera, six bodyguards watched his every move, as we made our way down one of the busiest shopping streets in asia. north korea has assassinated defectors in seoul. >> thae yong-ho: in order to prevent more possible defections from north korea i think kim jong-un will do anything. >> whitaker: even kill you? >> thae yong-ho: of course. why not? >> whitaker: the man who could order an assassination is kim jong-un. the dictator is the third member of the kim family to rule north korea. they have controlled the impoverished country with an iron-clad fist for 70 years. this was last week's missile test.
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country's economy to weapons like this, and his million man army, despite widespread food shortages. >> thae yong-ho: kim jong-un strongly believes that once he possesses i.c.b.m., then he can easily scare off america. >> whitaker: right now, how dangerous is north korea to the stability of south korea and as a threat to the united states? >> thae yong-ho: kim jong-un's capability to wreak harm, not only to america but also to south korea and the world, should not be underestimated. >> whitaker: during his five years in power, kim jong-un has expanded north korea's nuclear arsenal, despite international sanctions that have brought his country's economy to its knees.
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electricity is scarce. from space, north korea is a black hole. that's it, wedged between the shining lights of south korea, and china to the north. thae said he was living a comfortable life here at the north korean embassy in london before he fled with his wife and two grown sons. his job in london was to spread north korean propaganda, and report back on his colleagues. you all live together under one roof? >> thae yong-ho: yes. >> whitaker: so you could keep an eye on each other? >> thae yong-ho: keep an eye on each other, control each other, and even spy on each other. >> whitaker: but thae said he lost all faith in the regime when kim jong-un killed his own uncle in 2013, and executed dozens of perceived enemies, including diplomats. i have seen tape of you-- >> thae yong-ho: yes.
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>> whitaker: --giving speeches in london. you're very convincing. you seem to be a true believer yourself. >> thae yong-ho: if i show any sign of hesitation, then i would be, you know, sent to-- >> whitaker: what would happen to you? >> thae yong-ho: i would be sent to prison camps. so my whole family's life will be jeopardized. >> whitaker: thae said there was one big obstacle to his defection. >> thae yong-ho: all north korean diplomats are forced to leave one of their children back in pyongyang as a hostage. >> whitaker: as a hostage? >> thae yong-ho: yes. >> whitaker: his break came when that policy unexpectedly changed, and thae's oldest son was allowed to join the family in london.
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they all agreed to defect. he would not give us the details of his escape and who helped, but we know he was kept in a safe house by south korean intelligence agents and questioned for more than three months. he said it was too dangerous for us to meet his family. now, i've been talking to you for a couple of days now. you come from a secretive place. >> thae yong-ho: yes. >> whitaker: but i think you still have lots of secrets. >> thae yong-ho: sure. yes. >> whitaker: how do we know that what he is telling us is the truth, not just self-serving? >> chung min lee: you know, when a defector makes a decision to jump ship, he is doing it at a huge cost, his co-workers or relatives, in-laws will be purged or killed. >> whitaker: chung min lee was south korea's ambassador for national security until last year. he said looks here can be deceiving.
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the risk of war today is exceptionally high. i think most americans right now would see this as a holdover from the cold war. but it seems to be quite hot when you're here. >> chung min lee: that's right. this is the only place on the entire planet where you have nearly a million forces on both sides standing, ready to fight a war in basically a nanosecond. and who is there right in the middle of this? it's basically the u.s. forces. >> whitaker: lee helped shape seoul's policy toward north korea. he went with us to panmunjom, the village in the two and a half mile wide demilitarized zone that separates north and south korea. as we got closer, seoul's sprawl gave way to military check points. the agreement that suspended the korean war was signed here. but there's still no peace
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treaty. the war began when the communist north invaded in 1950. 34,000 americans were killed in what amounted to a stalemate. >> chung min lee: so this is the longest war on paper since world war ii. so we are still technically in a state of war. >> whitaker: today both sides still stare each other down. that's north korea right there, that building just 100 yards away. we were told to avoid sudden movements that could be interpreted as threatening. it wasn't long before north korean soldiers took an interest in all the activity. so we went inside a negotiation hut that straddles the border. what is right behind the door? >> chung min lee: right behind the door is, basically from there this is north korea. once you go out, that's it. we have no jurisdiction on that side of the door. >> whitaker: so if i were to walk out that door? >> chung min lee: that's it. >> whitaker: i'm in the hands of north korea?
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>> chung min lee: that's true. >> whitaker: let's stay on this side. it was all surreal. this part of the d.m.z. closest to seoul had the feel of a cold war theme park-- complete with a fake village on the north korean side built to impress the south. and in case you missed the point, loudspeakers blared propaganda: marshal songs praising kim jong-un. a few miles away, tourists crowded an observation deck, snapping photos with troops, cardboard cut-outs, and the real ones. what the visitors could not see on the other side of those mountains are 10,000 artillery pieces the north korean military has aimed at seoul. all of which could reach the 28 million people in and around the south korean capital. u.s. war planners estimate
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500,000 people could be killed in a second korean war. is there any other metropolitan area on earth this vulnerable? >> james slife: certainly nothing that approaches seoul in terms of the size, the density of the population. there's nothing like it. >> whitaker: u.s. air force general james slife flew with us over the city. it's just 30 miles from the d.m.z. we landed at osan air base where korean airmen and their american colleagues monitor all activity north of the d.m.z. for security, they shut off the giant video displays right before we came in. this facility is among the first to detect north korean missile launches. you're, like, on a war footing all the time. >> slife: that's right. this is truly one of those places where the best way to prevent a war is being ready for a war.
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>> whitaker: the north's latest missile test used a new type of solid fuel engine and was fired from a mobile launcher, making it quick to deploy and difficult for u.s. satellites to detect in real-time. >> slife: with the development of ballistic missiles, with the development of nuclear weapons, things here have a tension that you can feel in the air as you move around places like this. >> whitaker: we wanted to talk to the general who leads u.s. forces in korea and would command korean troops in the event of a war. he asked to meet us at guard post four. it's a citadel on critical high- ground at the end of a road lined with land mines. we were the first american news crew allowed in. this was no cold war theme park. body armor was required and artillery was on standby in the event we came under fire. general vincent brooks has
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commanded u.s. forces fighting in iraq and afghanistan. i don't think people at home know how tense this line is. >> vincent brooks: what it takes to go from the condition we're in at this moment to hostilities again, is literally the matter of a decision on north korea's side to say "fire." and on top of this, we have the missile capability that's been developed, over 120 missiles fired just in the time of kim jong-un alone. >> whitaker: so now they're talking about i.c.b.m.s that might be able to reach the west coast of the united states. how do you stop them from taking that next step? >> brooks: north korea's responsible for the direction that the region is going. it is responsible for the conditions of instability that are starting to arise. it has to take responsibility for that and stop. >> whitaker: his country is poor. his people are starving. what is it that he wants? >> brooks: survival--
quote
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>> whitaker: survival. >> brooks: --and recognition. >> whitaker: kim jong-un is now recognized as a global threat. u.s. intelligence estimates he has at least ten nuclear weapons. if the u.s. decided it had no choice but to launch a pre- emptive strike on an i.c.b.m. test site, it could trigger the unthinkable. >> brooks: if north korea uses nuclear weapons, it will be met with an effective and overwhelming response. now they can take it to the bank. we make that same point to our allies and partners, like the republic of korea and like japan. >> whitaker: effective and overwhelming response? >> brooks: effective and overwhelming response. >> whitaker: wipe north korea off the map? >> brooks: whatever overwhelms you. >> whitaker: that warning rang in our ears as we returned to seoul and met one last time with defector thae yong-ho. we asked about his brother and sister, still in north korea. what do you think has happened to them? >> thae yong-ho: they will be sent to prison camps.
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that is what i am absolutely sure. >> whitaker: does that weigh on you? >> thae yong-ho: of course. yes. i cannot get rid of that kind of nightmare after night of seeing my brother and sister in prison camps. >> whitaker: thae told us he believes he can help topple the north korean regime by encouraging other defections and speaking out. during the campaign, president trump called kim jong-un a "maniac." his language has been much more careful since the latest missile test. >> join the "60 minutes" team under the watchful eyes and loaded guns of the north korean army. go to 60minutesovertime.com. sponsored by viagra. viagra single packs...
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>> stahl: a federal judge in missouri heard arguments this past week in a case involving one of the most popular bolt- action rifles in american history: the remington 700 series. here's the problem. thousands of owners have complained that these rifles have fired without anyone squeezing the trigger. the company has downplayed the danger for decades, and the complaints represent only a fraction of the rifles out there. but ten attorneys general wrote the court saying, "there are potentially as many as 7.5 million defective rifles at issue," and that, "remington knows, or should know, they are unreasonably dangerous." one avid hunter and gun-lover is on a mission to raise awareness
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about what he calls the rifle's defect. and he has good reason. >> roger stringer: i have become so accustomed to unpleasant thoughts and hardship, till that has become my new normal. >> stahl: one of roger stringer's sons is dead; the other went to prison. >> roger stringer: pain is my constant companion. >> stahl: family photos of better days show dad and sons hunting. roger, a powerline construction foreman from enon, mississippi, owned a remington model 700 rifle, and he bought another one for his older, then 12-year-old son, zac. >> roger stringer: we loved the one that i had and he was old enough and mature enough. >> stahl: and how much was the safety stressed? >> roger stringer: paramount. >> stahl: but one night in 2011, the two boys, zac and justin, home alone, got into a fight.
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zac, then 15, got his remington 700. >> zac stringer: and i loaded it. i loaded it with the purpose of scaring him. >> stahl: you knew you weren't supposed to load the gun in the house. >> zac stringer: yes, ma'am, i had been-- i had been taught better. >> stahl: he says eventually emotions calmed down. >> zac stringer: and i started to stand up off of the couch and when i-- when i bent at the waist and started up, i heard a click. and it went off. and i remember the fire leapin' from the barrel. i remember seein' it hit. it was-- half his head was gone. >> stahl: panicking, he says, he went and got justin's gun and placed it between his brother's legs to make it appear as though he had shot himself. then zac called his parents. >> roger stringer: and zac met me outside and he said, "daddy, don't go in there." and i just pushed him aside and i came on in. and it was really obvious that--
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( crying ) >> stahl: it was right here, too. >> roger stringer: he was right there. >> stahl: detectives suspected right away that this wasn't self-inflicted. zac was arrested the day of justin's funeral, and later confessed that it was his gun, but he insisted it went off by itself. >> zac stringer: well, i didn't know how it had went off. >> stahl: did you deliberately kill your baby brother? >> zac stringer: no, ma'am. >> stahl: did you pull the trigger? >> zac stringer: no, ma'am. >> stahl: but zac was convicted and sent off to prison for ten years. is it true that you actually testified against him at trial? >> roger stringer: i did. i did. because i'd never heard of a gun goin' off without a trigger bein' pulled. it made no sense.
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>> stahl: what roger didn't know was that by then remington had gotten some 200 complaints claiming just that, about rifles like zac's, with a trigger mechanism called the x-mark pro. six months after justin was killed, another tragedy with the same trigger, this time in chadbourn, north carolina. 16-year-old jasmine thar and her cousin jahmesha were about to go christmas shopping. >> robert chaffin: they were standing out in the front yard, with the grandmother sitting on the porch. >> stahl: robert chaffin, an attorney for jasmine's family, made this animation: a neighbor across the street in his bedroom picked up a loaded model 700. the safety was off. >> chaffin: and it fired through a closed window. and in what could be the most random act you ever heard of, the bullet traveled across the street and went through jahmesha's chest, barely missing her heart, and basically hit jasmine almost directly in the heart, and she died in her
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grandmother's front yard. that's an incredibly tragic case. >> stahl: in a deposition under oath, james anthony blackwell, a former marine and experienced hunter, couldn't explain how his rifle went off: >> chaffin: do you, anthony blackwell, believe that you pulled the trigger? >> anthony blackwell: no, sir. >> chaffin: do you think you touched it in any way? >> blackwell: no, sir. >> stahl: so, was he prosecuted? >> chaffin: no. >> stahl: chaffin had already won $17 million from remington in 1994 for a client who shot himself in the foot when he said his 700 fired on its own. back then, rifles were made with another trigger called the walker. the company has faced 150 lawsuits alleging injury or death related to that trigger, but argues it's always human error and never the gun's fault. has remington ever admitted wrongdoing? >> chaffin: never. you cannot admit wrongdoing when you have seven million of these things on the market. >> stahl: but according to a
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remington internal document, the company had evidence of the problem as early as 1975, when its own tests showed some of the model 700s firing without the trigger being pulled. and this 1979 document indicates the company considered a recall. that never happened, but a decade ago it did switch from the original walker trigger to the x-mark pro. >> chaffin: they admit under oath in recent testimony that the new model was brought about to the market because they had so many complaints with the older model, not that there was anything wrong with it. and it turns out the new model was actually worse than the old model for the first eight years they manufactured it. >> stahl: that's stunning. the x-mark pro came out in 2006. >> chaffin: yes, ma'am. >> stahl: how soon after that did remington start getting complaints? >> chaffin: soon. >> stahl: and they kept coming. "gun fired when safety was taken off-- twice;" "trigger was not touched."
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three police departments complained. by early 2010, remington was getting videos from customers claiming they captured the trigger going off on its own after the safety was released. >> so you see the rifle did fire. >> never touched the trigger. >> stahl: for years, despite the videos, and testing hundreds of rifles sent to the company, remington typically marked complaints "could not duplicate" and filed them in a database. and regulators couldn't do anything, because their hands are tied: the government is allowed to recall toy guns, but not real ones. then, in february 2014, remington received this video: >> you'll notice i'm in my coat. >> stahl: a remington owner videotaped an experiment in his garage, showing that the spontaneous firing is more likely in cold weather. >> as you can see, it fired.
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>> stahl: with the video all over youtube, remington did its own tests in bitter cold: four out of ten rifles went off. in april 2014, the company fixed the problem, and announced a recall of over 1,300,000 rifles. yet-- and here's where the critics weigh in: remington continues to insist no one had been harmed by the x-mark pro defect. it says that, even after settling the case over jasmine thar's death. jasmine's family sued remington. >> chaffin: yes, they did. >> stahl: and how much did they sue for? >> chaffin: they sued for over $100 million. i cannot tell you the terms of the settlement. >> stahl: and in that settlement, as all the others, remington admits no wrongdoing? >> chaffin: true. >> stahl: and gets the silence of everybody. >> chaffin: true. it's a critical part of it. >> stahl: chaffin says that even when remington offers to fix the triggers, they do too little to notify gun owners. the company declined our request for an on-camera interview, but
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in a statement told us they "broadly promoted and advertised" the recall. yet almost three years in, only about one in four of the rifles has been fixed; nearly a million remain out there. do you think there are people with this gun, with this trigger mechanism, watching us right now saying, "whoa! i have that gun."? >> chaffin: this'll be the first time they ever heard of it. >> stahl: and there's still the issue of the original, walker trigger that remains in millions of rifles. remington keeps getting complaints: nearly 2,000 in the past four years alone. it's also facing a class-action lawsuit in which owners of guns with the walker claim the company knowingly sold them a defective product. remington agreed to settle, offering to replace the triggers for free, even though it "vehemently denies there is any design defect in the walker." a judge has yet to approve the settlement.
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todd hilsee, an expert on class- action notices, says the company is confusing its customers by burying the danger. >> todd hilsee: no highlighting of "stop using your gun; it might kill someone." >> stahl: what do they say? >> hilsee: they say, "we deny there's a problem. we deny any wrongdoing." >> stahl: there's nothing wrong with this gun, but let's-- >> hilsee: but we're willing to fix it. >> stahl: amplifying his point, ten attorneys general wrote the judge, chastising remington for refusing to "acknowledge responsibility for the harm caused by its defective triggers." if everyone turns their guns in, how much would this cost remington to fix the problem? >> hilsee: the value would be $487 million. >> stahl: half a billion dollars. >> hilsee: half a billion dollars. >> stahl: in mississippi, roger stringer knew nothing about the class action lawsuit or the recall. he was visiting zac in prison as often as he could, and zac kept telling him that he never pulled the trigger.
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so one day in 2015, roger picked up his iphone. >> roger stringer: i googled "remington model 700, spontaneous firing." >> stahl: and? >> roger stringer: i just about dropped the phone when all that stuff showed up. i mean, there was just mountains and mountains of information about those guns; story after story of it happening to other people. >> stahl: he called remington and found out that zac's rifle with the x-mark pro was under recall. that rifle is still being held at the local court house. a state forensic expert did test it before the trial, but hal kittrell, the prosecutor in the case, says he didn't know there had been other instances of the gun going off by itself. if you had known about this issue with the gun, the trigger problem, would you have gone ahead with the trial? things may have gone differently? >> hal kittrell: i say this, lesley, i mean, had we known that there was a problem with the trigger before we were
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getting ready for trial, i can assure you we would've looked into that. we would've assessed this case based on that evidence, there's no question about that. >> stahl: shortly after we approached the prison to interview zac, roger unexpectedly got word that after five years behind bars, his son would be released for good behavior. roger now believes his son is innocent and says he will soon ask the mississippi supreme court to reconsider zac's conviction. he's also written to the judge in the class-action case, asking him to hold remington's feet to the fire. >> roger stringer: what i'm pushing for is for nobody else to have to walk in my shoes. i don't want anybody else to have to see their baby in the shape that justin was in that night. >> stahl: what would you like to see remington do now? >> roger stringer: eliminate the danger that is lurking in so many households.
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>> stahl: some people are gonna say that it's convenient to blame remington. in other words, what if you're wrong about zac? >> roger stringer: there are going to be naysayers. i accept that. i welcome another day in court. but let's do it with all the facts. i'm ready for it. bring it on. >> this cbs sports updated is brought to you by the lincoln motor company. in top 25 college basketball action, wisconsin ended its two-game losing streak by beating maryland. creighton knocked off georgetown and butler powered past duvall. in the nhl today, the rangers and the red wings were both victorious. and later tonight, it's the 66th annual nba all-star game in nowrls. lebron james and kevin durant are among the stars showcasing their talent.
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for more sports news and information, go to cbssports.com. i'm steve obermeyer. ♪ lease a 2017 lincoln mkx for $369 a month. only at your lincoln dealer. hi, i'm frank. i take movantik for oic, opioid-induced constipation. had a bad back injury, my doctor prescribed opioids which helped with the chronic pain, but backed me up big-time. tried prunes, laxatives, still constipated... had to talk to my doctor. she said, "how long you been holding this in?" (laughs) that was my movantik moment. my doctor told me that movantik is specifically designed
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for oic and can help you go more often. don't take movantik if you have a bowel blockage or a history of them. movantik may cause serious side effects, including symptoms of opioid withdrawal, severe stomach pain and/or diarrhea, and tears in the stomach or intestine. tell your doctor about any side effects and about medicines you take. movantik may interact with them causing side effects. why hold it in? have your movantik moment. talk to your doctor about opioid-induced constipation. if you can't afford your medication, astrazeneca may be able to help. we have a question about your brokerage fees. fees? what did you have in mind? i don't know. $6.95 per trade? uhhh- and i was wondering if your brokerage offers some sort of guarantee? guarantee? where we can get our fees and commissions back if we're not happy. so can you offer me what schwab is offering? what's with all the questions? ask your broker if they're offering $6.95 online equity trades and a satisfaction guarantee. if you don't like their answer, ask again at schwab.
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>> stahl: now, dr. jon lapook on assignment for "60 minutes." >> lapook: the u.s. women's gymnastics team, for all its success over the past few decades, has become embroiled in a dark and disturbing scandal concerning sexual abuse. last year, the "indianapolis star" investigated cases in which male coaches, members of the national governing organization u.s.a. gymnastics, were accused of sexually abusing female gymnasts. that report prompted young women to come forward with accounts of abuse they had suffered within the u.s. gymnastics system for many years, as young girls and competitive gymnasts. these new accusations concern not a coach, but a prominent doctor who'd been working with u.s. olympic and national teams
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and other athletes for three decades. more than 60 women have filed complaints so far, and some believe that number may reach into the hundreds. now, for the first time, three former members of u.s. national teams, one an olympic medalist, describe, in what you should be warned is disturbing detail, the treatment they received from dr. lawrence nassar, a man they trusted and felt so comfortable with, they called him, "larry." >> jeanette antolin: all the girls liked larry. >> jamie dantzscher: he was, like, my buddy. he was on my side. >> jessica howard: he was so sure of himself. and as a young girl, you're confused. you don't know what's going on. >> lapook: jessica howard was the u.s. national champion in rhythmic gymnastics from 1999 to 2001. >> very creative, innovative skills. >> lapook: jeanette antolin competed with the u.s. national team from 1995 to 2000. >> she's been solid.
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>> lapook: she helped u.c.l.a. win three national championships. jamie dantzscher won a bronze medal in the 2000 olympics and was recently inducted into u.c.l.a.'s athletic hall of fame. >> she's taken the apple cart and flipped it upside down. >> lapook: they were teenagers, in a sport where injuries are common, and the professional they turned to for help staying in competition was this man-- seen here in instructional videos he posted on his web site. lawrence nassar, an osteopathic physician, was one of the most famous doctors in the world of gymnastics. as a trainer and doctor, he worked with olympic and national womens' artistic gymnastics teams for more than two decades. that's him right after kerri strug's famous ankle injury in the 1996 olympics in atlanta. and that's him today. since december, he's been held without bail in michigan, where he worked at michigan state university's sports medicine clinic. he's charged with possession of child pornography and criminal sexual conduct involving the daughter of a family friend.
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investigators were able to make the case against him because gymnasts went public after years of silence. the police and f.b.i. are now investigating dozens of other cases involving nassar, some decades old, others within the last two years. >> dantzscher's off to a great start tonight. >> lapook: jamie dantzscher says she started seeing dr. nassar around 1995, after she became a member of the u.s. junior national team. >> dantzscher: i started having really bad lower back pain on my right side on my back. so i went to him for my back pain. >> lapook: what specifically would he do? >> dantzscher: he would put his fingers inside of me and move my leg around. he would tell me i was going to feel a pop, and that that would put my hips back and help my back pain. >> lapook: how old were you then when he first did that procedure?
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>> dantzscher: i was either 13 or 14. >> howard: i was 15 years old and i had a hip problem. a very severe hip problem. and u.s.a. gymnastics suggested that i go to the karolyi ranch to work with their doctor. >> lapook: the karolyi ranch outside houston, texas is a mecca for elite gymnasts who have given up any semblance of normal childhood to pursue their olympic dreams. run by the legendary coaches bela and martha karolyi, it's where members of the u.s. national team for artistic gymnastics come roughly once a month for several days of intensive training. the girls stayed in cabins on the property, and dr. nassar would be there to provide medical treatment. >> howard: he started massaging me. and, he had asked me not to wear any underwear. and then he just continued to go into more and more intimate places. >> lapook: and when that happened, what, what was going through your head? >> howard: i remember thinking
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something was off, but i didn't feel like i was able to say anything, because he was, you know, this very high profile doctor, and i was very lucky to be at the ranch working with him. >> lapook: did any of the other girls in your cabin talk to you about dr. nassar? >> howard: yes. the girls would say, yeah, he touches you funny. >> antolin: i remember being uncomfortable because of the area. but-- in my mind, i was like, "if this helps, i'll do anything." >> lapook: did you ever complain to anybody about it? >> antolin: no. >> lapook: why not? >> antolin: it was treatment. you don't complain about treatment. >> lapook: dr. nassar has pled not guilty to the charges against him in michigan. in a statement from his lawyers, he has defended his treatment as legitimate. there is a rare therapy for back and hip pain where specialists massage areas inside the vagina. but for a minor, it's expected such a procedure should involve a chaperone and use of a glove.
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>> lapook: did he use a glove? >> dantzscher: no. >> lapook: and how many times did you have this kind of a procedure? >> dantzscher: i mean, it happened all the way to the olympics in sydney, till i was 18. >> lapook: from the time you were around 13 or so until 18? >> dantzscher: yes. >> lapook: and it was just-- in your mind, normal medical treatment? >> john manly: you've got a 52- year-old man placing his hand in the vagina of nine-year-olds, ungloved, for no good reason. wrong. >> lapook: california attorney john manly represents the women we interviewed and more than 40 others- one as young as nine years old, and most under 18 at the time they say they were abused. >> lapook: how many women do you think he did that to? >> manly: we know there are at least 60 that have come forward. but my best-- estimate is it's in the hundreds and possibly more. >> lapook: are you saying that
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members of the last two olympic teams from rio and from london were affected by dr. nassar? that they were abused by him? >> manly: i believe what-- at the end of the day, there are members of every single olympic team since 1996 he did this to. that's what we're going to end up with. >> lapook: what makes you so sure about that? >> manly: because this is somebody who is a serial predator. but the story here is that no one was watching to protect these girls, and they put medals and money first. >> lapook: by "they," manly means u.s.a. gymnastics and the karolyis. he's not arguing they knew anything about sexual abuse. many years went by before the women we interviewed complained to anyone in authority. but part of the reason for that, manly argues, was a high- pressure, emotionally abusive environment at the ranch, which he says made it easy for nassar to win the girls' trust. >> dantzscher: i mean, the--
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like, yelling and screaming, that was, like, normal. >> lapook: really? >> dantzscher: yeah. >> lapook: what kind of abusive things were said to you? >> dantzscher: it was never good enough. "you're not good enough." >> antolin: the pressure that they put on you to-- be perfection for them, it was very overwhelming and stressful. >> manley: it was an environment of fear. and he stepped in and became the good guy. and-- >> lapook: dr. nassar did? >> manly: dr. nassar did. and-- he gave 'em candy. he gave 'em encouragement. he acted like he cared about them. no one else there gave that impression. >> lapook: what were these girls so afraid of? >> manly: not being able to fulfill their dream. i mean, you've given up your childhood and you've given up your adolescence to represent your country. and the karolyis and the selection team who are there have control on who goes. so your fate is in their hands. you must do what they say. >> lapook: on behalf of the
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women, attorney manly is suing the karolyis and u.s.a. gymnastics for failing to protect their athletes. u.s.a. gymnastics president steve penny declined to speak with us on camera about dr. nassar. in a statement, the organization said it is "appalled that anyone would exploit a young athlete or child in this manner." u.s.a. gymnastics "first learned of an athlete's concern about dr. nassar in june 2015," the statement said. five weeks later, after an internal review, it "reported him to the f.b.i. and relieved him of any further assignments." u.s.a. gymnastics told us it has long had a policy that adult staff should "avoid being alone with a minor." how often were you alone with him? >> antolin: most of the time. >> lapook: just in the treatment area, or also in your bedroom? >> antolin: in our-- cabins. they were like cabins. yeah. >> lapook: that's like your bedroom. >> antolin: yeah. uh-huh. >> lapook: yeah. and did the karolyis know that dr. nassar was alone with you for these treatments? >> dantzscher: yeah.
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>> lapook: how-- how do you know that? >> dantzscher: well, they had to know. i mean, there-- there was no one else sent with him. and that's the thing, too, to think, like-- what-- they-- in-- in the bed? why would you-- like, the treatment was in the bed, in my bed that i slept on at the ranch. >> lapook: bela and marta karolyi declined to give us an interview, but in a statement they said they "were never aware" that nassar was performing this procedure or was "visiting athletes in their rooms without supervision." they also deny that there was an emotionally abusive environment at the ranch. long before dr. nassar's arrest late last year, u.s.a. gymnastics was facing criticism over its handling of sexual abuse complaints about coaches at its member gyms throughout the country. according to an investigation
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published by the "indianapolis star" in august, u.s.a. gymnastics received a complaint that one of its coaches, william mccabe, should be locked up "before someone is raped," but did not report it to the authorities at the time. it was only after the mother of a gymnast called the f.b.i. seven years later that mccabe was sentenced to 30 years in prison for sexually exploiting gymnasts. marvin sharp was named u.s.a. gymnastics women's coach of the year in 2010, but was the subject of a sexual abuse complaint the following year. u.s.a. gymnastics didn't report sharp to the police until four years later, when another complaint came in. sharp killed himself in jail while facing molestation and child pornography charges. >> senator dianne feinstein: an association has a responsibility, or should have a responsibility. and that is to take care of its members. >> lapook: and do you think u.s.a. gymnastics has done that? >> senator feinstein: no. >> lapook: senator dianne feinstein is the ranking member of the senate judiciary committee.
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she's met with the women we interviewed and other gymnasts and is now working on legislation to correct what she sees as a problem in the reporting of sexual abuse complaints. >> senator feinstein: if-- an amateur athletic association, like u.s.a. gymnastics, receives a complaint, an allegation-- they must report it right away to local police and the united states attorney. >> lapook: so this wouldn't apply just to gymnastics. it would apply to all olympic sports that have a national governing body? >> senator feinstein: all amateur athletic organizations. that's right. >> what i like about this routine is, she has a real variety of skills. >> lapook: it's been nearly two decades since the women we interviewed competed at the highest level of their sport. >> she's a young new up and coming star. she has really been having the meet of her life. >> lapook: today, they say they're still grappling with the psychological impact of their competitive careers. jeanette antolin told us it was only last year, after speaking with other gymnasts, that she
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realized dr. nassar hadn't been helping her with her back pain after all. >> antolin: it was like-- almost like a light bulb went off. like, "oh my gosh. like-- are you kidding me? like-- i trusted this man." and-- just knowing how vulnerable i was as a kid, to even not even think that something like that would be inappropriate, just-- ruined me.
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>> whitaker: i'm bill whitaker. we'll be back next week with another edition of "60 minutes."
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