Skip to main content

tv   2020  ABC  March 10, 2017 10:01pm-11:00pm EST

10:01 pm
i don't want to talk to you! >> why not? >> because i don't like you. >> tonight, a yearlong "20/20" investigation that led to this unbelievable parking lot meltdown. a man accused of keeping teenagers almost imprisoned. >> i can't stop seeing their faces, hearing their crying. >> at the camp where their parents put them to change their sexuality. camps trying to pray away the gay. but tonight, the teen who managed to escape. the retired cop who exposed a
10:02 pm
nightmare nightmare. and tv star jeremy jordan coming to the rescue of his cousin. >> they were taking drastic measures and putting her away for being gay. >> good evening. i'm elizabeth vargas. >> and i'm david muir. tonight, here our "20/20" cameras going undercover to investigate the controversial use of gay therapy, banned in five states. >> and what brian ross discovered for camp counselors using the cloak of god and away with what many see as outright abuse. let us know what you think on facebook and twitter, as we take you into a hidden world.
10:03 pm
>> in three-quarters of a mile, turn left onto county road 87. >> i know we talked on the phone previously.m. >> and you know that my main concern is that my son believes he's a homosexual. >> take a slight left turn on to rural road. >> reporter: we found what we were looking for down a county road in alabama, the blessed hope boys' academy. >> where's brother gary?gary. >> i think he's in the office. >> okay, thank you. ♪ >> reporter: a place where a christian pastor will tell our "20/20" undercover investigators that with a bible and sometimes a belt he knows how to deal with teenagers who consider themselves gay. >> it's going against the word of god. it is not biblically right. >> reporter: it is just one of a number of places discovered by abc news in a yearlong investigation, some operating with brutality, and others with just therapy, practicing a tion denounced by leading medical groups that gaens can choose to change their sexuality. >> for every camp like this,
10:04 pm
there are nobody knows about, that nobody exposing on tv. >> reporter: including one place run by men who call themselves christian pastors with a track record of cruelty. >> these are not religious people, these are people using religion as a weapon against these kids for further abuse. >> reporter: the first leads in our investigation came months earlier, from two gay teens who say they had been held against their will in so-called christian camps or academies. one, a 16-year old boy who arrived in new york on a late night bus. lucas greenfield, telling us he had just escaped from one of the >> how are you fee >> tired, really tired. >> reporter: and the other teen, 17-year-old sarah gibert from a small town in texas, w sent to a christian boarding school for couns after she defied her parents and went to the high school prom with her girlfriend.eliefs told them that people who were gay would go to hell. and so i think that the thought
10:05 pm
of their own daughter not being with them in heaven was probably upsetting to them. >> reporter: in the case lucas greenfield, he was which became his home after he was adopted at the age of 3. lucas was raised in what he calls a christian home, but he says he increasingly came to know he was gay, to his mother's great distress. >> because she wanted me to change into more of what she wanted me to be, which was very christian, very religious, almost like a perfect kid. >> reporter: lucas, trying to find a place where he could be accepted as gay, and sarah, declaring her affection for a girlfriend in texas, both had to face what many gay teens find, a religious parent who cannot deal with their child's sexuality. >> it's this fear, it's all motivated by fear of somehow disappointing god. >> reporter: susan cottrell is
10:06 pm
the mother of a gay daughter. she works with other christian parents to help them accept their children as they are. >> they send them to camps hoping to outsource the problem of their kids, and get help for their kid not to be gay. >> reporter: lucas' mother would not agree to appear in our report, but told us on the phone she was only trying to help her son. >> she eventually was like, "you know what? you're going to a program." >> reporter: the first program where lucas was sent was located outside mobile, alabama, in the town of pritchard. it called itself the restoration youth academy, surrounded by barbed wire. >> since i've been at this program, i've come closer to god and my family. >> reporter: for the outside world, the academy used testimonials to promote itself as a place for troubled youth of all kinds to turn their lives around with prayer and the bible. >> and god also intervened in our life really, really dramatically. >> reporter: now closed, other teens sent here, both gay and straight, say it was a place of
10:07 pm
torture and abuse, carried out by the so-called christian pastor who ran the boys' facility. >> he claimed to be a straight homophobe, and he said that he would cast out every homosexual spirit in every single homosexual male and female. >> reporter: gaylin wheeler, one of the nongay troubled teens, says he was a witness to how lucas and other boys who were gay were treated. >> they would try to preach to them about how homosexuality is a sin and everything. and if that didn't get through to them then they would resort to alternative methods, as they called it, isolation, beatings, getting whipped with a belt. i can't stop seeing their faces, hearing the screams. hearing the crying. that's why i don't sleep at night. >> reporter: lucas was only 13 years old when he says his
10:08 pm
mother left him here in the hands of the pastor whose brutality would emerge once she left. >> he asked her, he's like, "do you mind if we spank your kid?" and you know what she said? "beat his ass." >> reporter: and did that happen? >> oh, yeah, it happened. >> reporter: even worse, lucas says, were these so-called isolation rooms, where he and others were left for long stretches of time. >> i only got let out about once a day to go to the bathroom. and sometimes they wouldn't feed you the three meals they were supposed to. >> reporter: this is worse than any prison in the country? >> oh, yeah. prisons have laws and things they have to follow. this place, it was unlicensed, nobody even knew it existed. >> reporter: but it turns out someone did know it existed, this pritchard police captain, charles kennedy, who drove out here after a call from the concerned parents of another boy, and discovered what he would call pure evil.
10:09 pm
>> i thought, "my god. he is here. lucifer is here doing business in our city with these children." >> reporter: 450 miles away, outside hallsville, texas, this is where sarah gibert says she was also being held against her will, a christian facility that claims it helps gay teens. like lucas, sarah felt powerless to resist what her parents arranged. >> and i was kind of in shock for a minute. and then, i started yelling at them and i told them that they couldn't do this. >> reporter: but they did, and she says she was told she would bere for a full year, unaware that someone was about to come to her rescue. her own personal superhero, her cousin and tv star jeremy jordan, outraged that sarah and other gay teens are sent away like this. >> you're telling them, "we don't accept who you are, and we want to cleanse the world of your kind."
10:10 pm
>> reporter: the tv star and his effort to rescue his lesbian teen cousin. >> i don't want to talk to you! >> reporter: the brutal pastor in alabama who beat the teens under his control. and lucas' daring escape to help bring down his abusers. when we return. but once!! uh, excuse me, waiter. i ordered the soup... of course, ma'am. my apologies. c'mon, caesar. let's go. caesar on a caesar salad? surprising. excuse me, pardon me. what's not surprising? how much money matt saved by switching to geico. could i get my parking validated? fifteen minutes could save you fifteen percent or more.
10:11 pm
♪ oh! ♪ ♪ the things you say ♪ ♪ oh! ♪ ♪
10:12 pm
♪ ♪ you're unbelievable ♪ ♪ you're unbelievable ♪ living healthy is a balancing act. that's why i love light & fit greek nonfat yogurt. each delicious cup contains 12 grams of protein and 80 calories. it's nutrition that fits my healthy life. light & fit. do what fits you. we can't stay here! why? terrible toilet paper! i'll never get clean! way ahead of you. charmin ultra strong. it cleans better. it's four times stronger... ...and you can use less. enjoy the go with charmin.
10:13 pm
discover card. i'm not a customer but i'm calling about that credit scorecard. give it. sure! it's free for everyone. oh! well that's nice! and checking your score won't hurt your credit. oh! i'm so proud of you. well thank you. free at at discover.com/creditscorecard even if you're not a customer.
10:14 pm
once again, brian ross. [ train whistle ] >> reporter: at night, locked into a christian camp for troubled youth in alabama, sometimes in shackles and handcuffs, lucas greenfield could hear the train whistles in the distance, and dream of escape. >> there's a train really close to there that actually goes to california. thought safety, thought hope but thought impossible. i would've done anything to get out of there. anybody would've. >> reporter: lucas says he imagined himself as a character in some escape movie. like escape" from a nazi prisoner of war camp. like ice cube escaping to fight
10:15 pm
corrupt politicians. but that was hollywood, and the reality for lucas was bleak, even as the train whistles beckoned. >> every freaking night. it was really kind of depressing. because we never made it out. >> reporter: one year after we first met him, a lost teen sent to the camp and punished for being gay, lucas was now 17, a young man with a new look, but still struggling to get over what he had been through. >> it robbed me of my childhood. most people don't come back from stuff like that. every day i try to become better, but it almost, like, is impossible. >> reporter: but what kept lucas going, he says, was a determination to do something about the so-called christian pastors he said physically abused him here, especially this one. william knott, feared by the children for his quick temper and special leather belt for
10:16 pm
whippings. >> he had names for the belts. one of them was "judy," one of them was "sugar mama." >> reporter: karen bazor was a counselor at the camp, who says she quit when she saw the sadistic abuse by knott and others. >> will knott is a sadist. o? >> i know so. anybody that has names for their belts to whip children with, with their bare bottom, is a sadist. >> everybody was scared of him, because they w don't listen to him, he's going to beat you.me ets thrown in isolation, and beaten, and everything else. >> reporter: because? >> because they were assumed to be gay. a sin? >> gay is a sin. is evil. gay is the worst abomination to god. gay is horrible. >> reporter: knott refused our requests to talk about the allegations. so we tracked him down, catching up with him in a restaurant parking lot. where we saw for ourselves how this christian pastor reacts to sot like. >> i don't want to talk to you. >> reporter: why not? >> because i don't like you. get away from me.
10:17 pm
>> reporter: is this how you treat the young boys? >> this is how i treat you, get away from me. >> reporter: is this how you treat the young boys? >> get away from me, sir. >> reporter: court documents obtained by "20/20" show that before knott came to alabama, he was accused in a lawsuit of what a judge called "medieval torture" at a another christian boys' academy for troubled youth. this one in mississippi. including reports he used an electric cattle prod. >> you don't have a right to do this. >> reporter: i have a right to ask you a question, sir, i want to ask you -- >> no you don't, i deny -- >> reporter: what did you do to those young boys? knott did not know at the time, but he was about to be taken down, and it would be with the help of lucas greenfield that it happened. so you were thinking, "i'll get you one day"? >> yeah. i knew they were going to get what's coming to him eventually. >> reporter: that day of reckoning began years earlier when the police captain, charles kennedy, showed up here and soon realized something was not right. >> i noticed this. that when the boys were sitting there, nobody was talking,
10:18 pm
nobody was smiling. they were just too quiet. >> nobody talked. >> reporter: why not? >> they were scared. >> reporter: so he went around asking -- >> everybody for information. and we all said, "sorry. i can't help you." >> reporter: but when he returned some of the children slipped handwritten notes to captain kennedy, pleading for help. "i've seen people get slammed, choked and hit. before it's to late! no one should be treated like this!" >> they were taking a terrific risk. a terrific risk. because things could get brutal in there. >> reporter: and then captain kennedy says he saw on a surveillance monitor in knott's office, a young boy named austin who was locked in one of the isolation rooms, naked, because he had apparently threatened to kill himself. >> i pulled austin's chair over and i put my hands on his knees. "austin, look at me, what's going on here?" he said, "yesterday, is they took me into knott's office in there.
10:19 pm
knott pulled out a .380 automatic pistol. and told me that since i wanted to commit suicide, told me told me to put the gun to my head and mr. ross, yo me out of that chair with a >> rs knott admitted to re no bulletly almost went cold, i could not believe what i was hearing. >> reporteo keed on s own, working inve court records on knott.alling.ing pa other teens who had been sent there to take action. >> that place just ruined his life. i mean, you know.te he's not the ne whose lpeople.to a wall. a wall of indifference from local officials who were friendly with the pastors.hat if i estigate this thing, that i would be fired for insubordination. >> reporter: and he says the nt all the way to the statehouse, in montgome >> nobody was interested in lifting a finger to save these children from this abuse. general, luther strange, who has now been appointed to the u.s. senate the attorney general investigator, kennedy says, reported to him that range wasn't going to take any action.ote, "these children are out their parents don't vote here.
10:20 pm
and i don't want to get the churches mad at me. and so we're not going to take on this issue." >> i d possible could have gotten m me.orte hill office, senator strange told "20/20" he sent two top t they found no wrongdoing. how could yo not find anything? >> question, but i have total confidence in their --ation or just a cursory effort? >> they spent a significant amount of time there to my understanding. >> reporter: in fact, it was only several hours at the camp, according to t investigator, who told us he the boys. with no one able or willing to act, the camp continued to ate for more than three years, its teen captives locked up and beaten, they say, on a regular basis. >> my mind kind of just, like, shut off. it was just like, "okay, well, i'm done." >> reporter: but then, with captain kennedy still on their case, the academy left the town of pritchard, and moved in with a local church under a new name, inside the actual city limits of mobile.
10:21 pm
and it only took one parent to complain to the mobile police department before officers moved in. now it was william knott and two other pastors who were in handcuffs, charged with child abuse. and the teens inside, including lucas, were free, finally. >> i live here and this is a humiliation and an embarrassment to think that we h. >> reporter: when we come back, the tv superhero, jeremy jordan. and his lesbian cousin, sarah. what it took to gain her freedom. matoid arthritis. because there are options. like an "unjection™". xeljanz xr. a once daily pill for adults with moderate to severe ra for whom methotrexate did not work well. xeljanz xr can reduce pain swelling and joint damage, even without methotrexate. xeljanz xr can lower your ability to fight infections, including tuberculosis. serious, sometimes fatal infections lymphoma and other cancers have happened.
10:22 pm
don't start xeljanz xr if you have an infection. tears in the stomach or intestines low blood cell counts and higher liver tests and cholesterol levels have happened. your doctor should perform blood tests before you start and while taking xeljanz xr, and monitor certain liver tests. tell your doctor if you were in a region where fungal infections are common and if you have had tb hepatitis b or c or are prone to infections. needles. fine fl a day may provide symptom relief. ask your doctor about xeljanz xr. an "unjection™". nobody likes a dog with bad breath. that's why there's oravet dental hygiene chews. oravet cleans teeth and gets to the cause bad breath. ask your vet about oravet chews. serious oral care made simple
10:23 pm
[brad] new in town? [man] witness-protection program. [brad] with apartments-dot-com we can find you something nondescript yet extraordinarily comfortable... [man] well, if my name isn't gary "the rat" paticoff...oh no! [brad] change your apartment. change the world.
10:24 pm
my laptop has the nastiest virus and i'm terrified. yeah, that is scary. you know an ipad pro doesn't get pc viruses, so relax there's nothing to be afraid of. ... except ghosts! ahhhhh! you said you wanted to feel better about your cereal. general mills big g cereals hear you. that's why we say "yes" to whole grain as our first ingredient. and "no way" to high fructose corn syrup. so no matter what your favorite is, you can feel good about general mills big g cereals.
10:25 pm
rush job.emy jordirl's sidekick in the g? >> >> reporter: when he got somws that would affect him, the news about his 17-year-old lesbian cousin sarah, who had been sent away by her parents. >> they were taking drastic measures and putting her away for being gay. and she was terrified. >> reporter: it was a cry for help? >> yeah, of course. >> reporter: sarah gibert was being held incommunicado at the heartlight christian boarding school outside hallsville, texas, a well-kept, sprawling ranchlike facility. her parents deny they sent her here because she had a girlfriend, but heartlight says it is a place of refuge for teens, including lesbians. >> well, we kind of specialize in that now. >> reporter: this is how its owner, mark gregston, describes the work on his website. >> i meet with girls across the country that are struggling in same-sex rust gained an understanding about how to approaah's friends feared that she was about to be put through an ordeal designed
10:26 pm
to stop her from embracing her sexuality. they took away her phone, she was just basically in this sort of surprise prison almost.ter: prison? >> yeah.r: jordan's cousin sarah is one of the unknown number of american gay teens who have been sent away to religious programs. >> as a christian, i believe that the bible teaches that to choose to engage in homosexual conduct is a sin. >> reporter: pastor peter sprigg of the powerful conservative group the research council says there's no place for brutality, but insists what he calls sexual reorientatn therapy with spirituality can work, disputing leading medical groups and the general, which say that such therapy is not effective and >> no, i don't agree w >> reporter: you think it is sound? >> i think it is sound. >> reporter: and that it does not harm the people who are put through this therapy? >> that's correct. with teenage boys and girls it's probably the most likely to be effective, because their sexuality is still developing and therefore they're less set in their ways. >> reporter: six months earlier, sarah had been taken by her
10:27 pm
parents to another christian facility, this one in indiana, for a three-day session with her parents and a christian counselor.he kind of just said, "either you changer you don't get to go to heaven," kind of made it, like, an ultimatum. >> reporter: now sarah was stuck at the facility in heartlight says it does not practice gay conversion but does warn the its website, that "doing nothing only allows her to sink deeper into a lifestyle that god warns against." while sarah says she saw no physical abuse here, she was still desperate to escape. within days, running out to the road to flag down a passing motorist. >> i got into a car with this lady, and she, i guess, put two and two together and figured out that i had run from the boarding school program. and so she just took me back. >> reporter: but help was on the way, thanks to her celebrity cousin jeremy jordan, who told "20/20" he rallied other members of the family to support sarah. i was excited.ke, "yes.
10:28 pm
we get to have a gay person in the family." my mom always thought it was going to be me. so i was like, sorry. >> reporter: and as small town texas boy who is making it big in show business, this was jordan in the broadway play ♪ut to use his celebrity tocampai get sarah out. >> and i was like, we this. we started a gofundme page and basically told sarah's story. which is the story of so many young, gay teens, especially in the south. and put it out there. >> tonight, family members of a gay te christian boarding facility. >> and within, like, a couple of days, it w news sitehe worlda to save his cousin from an antigay facility. >> kids would be like, "i'm going to ask my mom how much money i can borrow. i'll put my allowance in for this." >> reporter: to help sarah? >> yeah, to help her. >> reporter: but there were also those angry about what jordan was doing to help his gay cousin, against her parents' wishes. >> you know, i can't belie that you're goinag girl's parts. >> reporter: in a statement to "20/20," sarah's parents said
10:29 pm
the programs they sent their daughter to were loving and could help. quote, "although we do not agree with some of our daughter's decisions, we love her unconditionally and continue to pursue a close relationship with her." >> it's very insulting to some parents to suggest that if the parent does not think that same-sex attractions are normal and natural and tries to discourage their child from pursuing homosexual relationships, that that's sohow unloving. >> reporter: is there any evidence at all, anywhere, that that works? >> no, no. the evidence is, it angers the child, it drives them to despair. it doesn't make them not gay. that's the one thing it doesn't do, is make them not gay. >> dude, that's not family. family is not about scorekeeping, or who did more. >> reporter: like his character on "supergirl," jeremy jordan put family first when his cousin sarah was shipped off. you brought the heat. basically, people were writing
10:30 pm
to them and threatening to protest outside of their wal you know? people were really taking action. >> reporter: and it worked. in the wake of all the public attention, the heartlight christian school sent sarah home. >> i think eventually they just had me leave because people were threatening to come protest and, liker way in to get me out. >> reporter: sarah now lives with relatives in austin, near her girlfriend haley, finishing high school, hoping that her parents and friends and neighbors in her small texas town will one day understand. >> at the root of it all was her sexual identity and not being able to truly be who she was >> reporter: but for other gay teens who don't have a famous cousin, teens like lucas greenfield, they have been on their own. next, we go undercover to learn what teens like lucas went through at a place callesed hope boys' academy, a place where counselors first use the bible, and then the belt. when we return. (players, spectators shouting) they say glory awaits at the finish. but what about the start?
10:31 pm
at mom all those reasons "why not" and decide to begin. get your start with under armour, now at kohl's. slow wifi at home... guess i'm studying at the gym tonight. that is rough. you know... ipad pro has lte like your phone, so you can get internet pretty much anywhere. anywhere! living healthy is a balancing act. that's why i love light & fit greek nonfat yogurt. each delicious cup contains 12 grams of protein and 80 calories. it's nutrition that fits my healthy life. light & fit. do what fits you. ther than my vacation. so when i need to book a hotel room, i want someone that makes it easy to find what i want. booking.com gets it. they offer free cancellationdecide to go from now i can start relaxing even before
10:32 pm
the vacation begins.important. that's why booking.com makes finding the right hotel for the right price easy. visit booking.com now to find out why we're booking.yeah
10:33 pm
[tina fey] when you start out, you might not know where you're going. or what you'. or why you're carrying this red rose with [robert redford] you just keep going. keep your focus and avoid the distractions.irls swooning] [amy adams] lat on your face. but technically that's still moving forward. [earvin "magic" johnson] you gotta pick yourself up. make some moves. and do it all with a smile. [steveelieve in yourself. you think that any of these folks believed that i'd make it? [darryl] definitely not. [steve carell]that was a rhetorical qioou want to make an albu [stan lee] if you want to make a universe, make a universe. [jimmy kimmel] if you want to play the clarinet, maybe don't dress like this, but play the clarinet. [viola davis] the point is,all dreams are within reach. all you have to do is keep moving towar [fred savage] here's to chasing dreams and the amazing places they lead.
10:34 pm
the all-new cr-v. from honda. >> reporter: with the brutal n handcuffs, his so-called christian academy shut down. lucas greenfield was sent home to his mother in naples, florida. more firm than ever that he was definitely gay, to the outrage of his mother. >> and she said, "look, as christian parents, as people of god, we cannot have you being who you are, your lifestyle of homosexuality. we cannot have that inside our n house." >> reporter: and within days, lucas was being driven by his mother back to alabama, turned over to another christian academy in that state's secretive network of places available to parents of gay teens.
10:35 pm
the blessed hope boys' academy, in robertsdale, alabama. >> they can help you. they can change your sinful ways through prayer and the bible. >> reporter: and when you pulled in there, what did you think? >> what the hell? what is this? and i got out of the car. gay kid, right?" and i' yeah, i'm the gay kid." they're like, "well, we're going to change that." and i'm like, "no, you're not." >> reporter: leading advocates of therapy to help teens reject a gay lifestyle insist there are no such places like this one. >> i think this idea of sort of reorientation camps is part of the mythology that has been ilt up around this. and they really don't exist. >> reporter: they don't exist? >> if you know of any, i found tangible evidence of any, i would like to see it. >> where is brother gary? >> reporter: so watch this video, recorded by a "20/20" undercover the bless
10:36 pm
inside, a chorus of teens singing hymns.♪ our undercover team included the actual mother of a gay teen from washington state, accompanied by abc news producer brian epstein. >> well, imade it.? >> repor meet with the himself brother gary. executive the so-called disenfranchised youth. >> i know we talked on the phone previously. >> yes, ma'aat my main concern is that my son believes is a homosexual. >> i've had some boys who come in the program. told me the same thing you've told me, that he says he is queer. one way get a handle on it. you know, this boy here homosexual. >> during his preaching sometimes, brother gary would say to t that's just queer. what are you, queer? are you a faggot, son?" >> reporter: one former teacher, rodney pinkston, said he warnearrived to be very gar
10:37 pm
>> brother gary does the fact that boys would be with other boys here. if you are that way, don't do anything. >> reporter: but brother gary told us he has a huge record of success with his methods. >> so you get quite a bit of feedback then on how successful this line of redirection is? >> yes, i do. >> and what is your success? >> if i had to guess out of 100, i'd say probably 80. >> reporter: and so what did they do to try to convert you? >> the bible. read these passages about how wrong homosexuality is. write this down 100 times.t sins of the flesh. >> it's going against the word of d. anybody else says, is not ri relationship with your parents is choicede the choice to be gay, so now you'rgoing bei >> the short time that he was here, brother gary moved from the bible to the belt when he resisted. you know you got t right?" "no. not going to happen." "well, then we're going to try
10:38 pm
to make you." >> reporter: took a belt? >> yeah, took off his belt and started swinging. "i'm going to beat the gay demon and the catholic occult out of you." >> reporter: those were brother gary's words? >> yes. i had big marks all over my back and my leg. and actually i had them on my arm, too. i had on my hand where i grabbed it. >> reporter: through his lawyer, brother gary said he has never assaulted any young men under his care in any way and requires parents to permission to strike their children, what hats. >> i wouldn't do it just cause, for one, just because he says he's queer. i'm not going to do that. it's got to get to the point where he is doing something really bad. >> reporter: he calls it a swat. what do you call it? >> i call it child abuse >> reporter: on a tour of the facility, brother gary told our o keep his boys here for a year or two, and charges $21,000 >> we have a doctor and a dentist we use.
10:39 pm
>> reporter: in the last three years, he took in close to $1 million. >> it's very disturbing to me that one man can be in charge of a whole camp like this, and run it the way he runs it, and has no oversight. >> reporter: under alabama's religious freedom law, neither brother gary nor the blessed hope boys' academy nor anyone working here is required to be licensed or in any way supervised because it is all considered part of a church ministry. >> he's ruling by fear. he can swat them, he can do whatever means it takes, he said, to get compliance. of course they're afraid of him. it's spiritually abusive, it's physically abusive, it's in many ways abusive. >> reporter: our background check on brother gary found that gary wiggins has a criminal record going back to the 1990s, including convictions for le and possession of cocaine. but wiggins claimed to our undercover team he works closely with the local sheriff, who he said helps round up teens who try to escape from the camp. >> because sometimes they will
10:40 pm
run. this boy has run on me before. this boy right here. and the law brought him back. >> reporter: but lucas did not need to escape from here. a few days a sesisting br trouble, lucas was being moved late at night to a new chris ministry across the state line in florida. when the staff stopped for gas and a bathroom break, lucas made his break. >> i waited for the guy to get out of the car. i climbed right over the driver's seat, opened the door, walked out, and i took off running. >> reporter: they were running after you? >> yeah. i ran into a construction site, jumped the fence, basically stayed in the construction site overnight. made it to the next little town over and i knocked on the guy's door and i told him, "hey, this is what happened. i need you to call the police."
10:41 pm
allergies with nasal congestion? find fast relief behind the counter with claritin-d. [ upbeat music ] strut past that aisle for the allergy relief that starts working in as little as 30 minutes and contains the best oral decongestant. live claritin clear, with claritin-d. ♪ happiness is powerful flea and tick protection from nexgard. a delicious chew that protects for an entire month. asion. reported side effeng. nexgard. the vet's #1 choice. don't look now but chuck norris is right behind you.ck norris comics. i heard at night, the boogeyman checks
10:42 pm
under the bed for chuck. i heard cats say they have chuck-like reflexes. do you think he's still got it? i bet you a buck he catches this salt hey! chuck! you owe me a buck. you can't always see what's coming but when you choose unitedhealthcare finding an in-network doctor that's close to home is easy. whah with chuck norris. ♪ ♪ unitedhealthcare.
10:43 pm
10:44 pm
♪ machines don't have emotions. but the rare few can inspire them. ♪ the new lc. the new ls. the new lexus. experience amazing. >> reporter: i'm brian ross from abc news. when we first met william knott, hair-trigger temper that so frightened the teens under his control. >> i don't want to talk to you. >> reporter: why not? >> `cause i don't like you! >> reporter: but now at the circuit courthouse in mobile, alabama, it was a much different william knott, finally facing justice, on trial along with two others for child abuse at the n academy
10:45 pm
they ran. >> they want to bring in these reomes, through abuse and coercion. they're making money off of the families.orter: the case was prosecuted by assistant district attorney keith blackwood. is very important for mobile c alabama and really t because these types of, quote, "schools," and i use that very loosely, but these types of places seem to pop up all over iving at the courthouse to be a key witness against knott, lucas greenfield, the gay teen who says he was beaten and abused by knott so many times, reunited with the ta now-retired charles lucas. >> this is payday. you have the power to tell people what they did, expose the evil that these people stood for. >> repor other teens, gay and straight, took the stand, coming face to face with the man who they say so abused them.it difficult to face down will knott? >> at first. >> reporter: why? >> because he tried giving me that little stare, that evil -- that evil little man stare like, "i'm going to do something." but he couldn't do any >> reporter: you told the truth?es.
10:46 pm
>> reporter: and what'd you say? >> exactly what happened. i told them about the beatings, i told them about the abuse, i told them about everything.cuffs. the isolation. >> lucmely important to the trial. the main reason is because he was one of the first witnesses that was willing to tell the truth about what happene they were being threatened, and lucas was one that finally said, "something can be done this time. we need to tell the truth." and that's what happened. obile county jurors heard from child abuse victims today. >> and testimony in the case resumes tomorrow with more witnesses from the state. >> reporter: after five days of testimony, the case went to the jury. >> it's like a weight lifted off. it brings a lot of peace to me to know that i, what i do is i stand up for what i believe in and what's right and this is definitely something that i needed to do. >> reporter: and then the verdict, guilty on all counts. knott christian pastors taken away in handcuffs, sentenced to 20 years in prison. a sentence judge ch tol "20/20" was more than warranted
10:47 pm
given the crimes committed. >> very disturbing, brian. >> reporter:ears. >> yeah, and i'm not sure it wasn't sev out across wherever these places might exist to let prosecutors and judges and others know, that these people can be prosecuted and severely punished. >> conversion therapy has been widely discredited. >> discredited practice of conversion therapy. >> reporter: across the country, even for those places where so-called remains highly controversial. in washington, senators demanded to know how president trump's nominee for secretary of education, betsy devos, stood on the issue. >> it has been shown to lead to depression, anxiety, drug use, particularly in lgbt mrs. devos, do you still believe in conversion therapy? >> senator franken, i have never believed in that. >> reporter: but her republican party at its convention last year appeared to tacitly endorse "right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor
10:48 pm
children." just like the language the family research council uses to defend the legality of therapy >> i don't think it should be illegal because we a decisions for their children regarding their medical care. we do not delegate to minors the ability to make these adult des. >> reporter: you call this medical care? >> well, i call it a form of mental h disorder they're trying to cure? is that what you're saying? >> well, if someone is experiencing something mentally, like same-sex attractions, that is causing distress, then that's a mental health issue. >> i'm a christian, conservative, and a hat order. >> reporter: and the research council says it hopes efforts to make the therapy illegal will stop under the trump administration. you think they support your view? >> well, i hope they support my view. >> reporter: when mike pence ran for congress in indian 1990ected rd those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior." according to the vice president's spokesperson, mr. pence did not and does not support gay conversionrapy. but it is the continued belief
10:49 pm
that there is a way to change a teenager's sexuality the places where lucas greenfield and others were so abused. >> me liking guys over girls. that's what messed up my whole life. >> reporter: adopted at age 3, essentially abandoned at age 13, and through his ordeal with one brutal christian pastor after another, there was only one adul >> he sh still good people out there that willelp you. >> reporter: the alabama police captain who put his career on the line to help, becoming the father figure lucas wishes he had had. >> he went beyond being a police officer, hian, anything. >> reporter: and lucas did n know it, but as kennedy worked to expose what was happening, lucas and others were helping to fill the hole in the death of his a serious illness. >> i miss him. >> reporter: and in a way this half of sean? >> that's right, because children should be treated decentlysuffer
10:50 pm
we'll play something besides video games.y day is a gift. especially for people with hday there's entres a breakthrough medicine that can help make more tomorrows possible. tomorrow, i want tsee teddy bait his f in the largest heart failure study ever entresto was proven to help more people stay alive an than a leading heart failure medicine. women who are pregnant must not take entresto. it can cause harm or death to an unborn baby. don't take entresto with an ace inhibitor or aliskiren. if you've had angioedema while taking an ace or arb medicine don't take entresto. the most serious side effects are angioedema kidney problems, or hssium in your tomorrow, i'm gonna step out with my favorite girl. ask your doctor about entresto. and help make the gift of tomorrow possible.
10:51 pm
the following ad is being condensed for your viewing convenience. so i just switched to geico. what took you so long? i know, i saved a ton of money on car insurance. that's what i'm talking about! geico also gives you 24/7 access to licensed agents! booooyah. good game, you really crushed it. no son, geico crushed it. ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ ♪ oh! ♪ ♪ the things you say ♪ ♪ oh! ♪ ♪
10:52 pm
♪ you're unbelievable ♪ ♪ you're unbelievable ♪ try nivea essentially enriched body lotion. the unique formula with nourishing almond oil... ...leaves skin smoother. moisturized for 24 hours. nivea essentially enriched. for noticeably smoother skin. their bums. what? (laughs) (laughs) what does cleanripple texture do? catches all the stuff that you want to get out. this is really nice.ne is, like, it goes theextra step.s it all clean. how does being clean feel?kind of sassy. uh, breezy.eeee my bum is saying, "thank you very much." cleaipple texture is go cottonelle, go commando. and now, a look at a special two-hour edition of "20/20" next
10:53 pm
the bone-chilling story infamous murderer manson. psycholog of how ordinary people can be brainwashedhey follow a leader with no remorse? >> he said thee as jesus. now i'm coming as the devil. >> manson has it all. it has glamor movie stars.oal in life was to become a bigger rock star than the beatles. >> i never told anybody to do anything other than what they wanted t >> a wanted to do murder? >> it's none of mybusiness woman. i'm not a sunday school teacher you
10:54 pm
can't leave the group. >> the family friday at a special time. >> it's really going to be fascinating, starting at 9:00 p.m. next friday. thanks for watching. i'm elizabeth vargas. from all of >> up next on "action news, cars pileup on an icy bridge in the lehigh valley. three attacks in delaware no a similar attempt in penylvania. police in two states are on the case. next.
10:55 pm
♪ ♪ "action news," delaware leading news program with jim gar >> had steady snow. other times we were caught in the middle ofw it played out as accuweather e
10:56 pm
10:57 pm
10:58 pm
10:59 pm
11:00 pm
11:01 pm

305 Views

1 Favorite

info Stream Only

Uploaded by TV Archive on