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LIVE FROM THE HEADLINES

Interview With Bill Schwartz

Aired July 18, 2003 - 19:36   ET

THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.

ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: All right. Police in Miami say they've arrested a 40-year-old registered sex offender after a department store video camera caught him on tape groping a 12-year-old girl. Now, it is disturbing to watch. It also suggests just how calculated the act may have been. And it shows that it can happen even in a crowded store, even with a parent standing right by the child's side.
Brian Andrews of Miami station WSVN has the details.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

BRIAN ANDREWS, REPORTER, WSVN-TV (voice-over): Miami police say a convicted sexual predator is shopping for trouble.

Security guards at this Sears are focusing in on him. He's wearing a striped shirt. His actions catch their attention, because, at first, guards think they may have a pickpocket on their hands. They watch the man approach a 12-year-old girl and her younger sister. He's reaching over, perhaps targeting her back pocket, then quickly turning away.

The young girl realizes something just isn't right, and she walks away, but continues shopping, admiring a display. That's when the man wearing the striped shirt does something unimaginable. Watch this. The act is blatant and brazen. The man doesn't even walk away. In fact, he prepares to strike again, backing up into the girl, assaulting her a second time.

The young girl looks him in the eyes, but, perhaps too frightened, too shocked, she remains silent. The suspect slowly walks away, and continues window shopping as if nothing has happened.

But enough had happened, and it turns out this is not the first time. Police say their suspect, Bayardo Chamorro, is a sexual predator, that he's been arrested several times before.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: He's got priors for sexual assault on children. He's got two priors that are related to this. He's on probation for these crimes. This person is actually exactly what the title says, he's a predator.

And as a predator, what he does is, he looks around to make sure nobody's watching him, and he's OK. And it doesn't matter if you're in broad daylight, if you're in the middle of a store, like in this particular case, OK. They don't really care if there's 100 people around. And as you watch this tape, you're going to see basically, there's more than 20 people that will cross this man's path while this is happening.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: That report was from WSVN's Brian Andrews.

Right now, joining us from Miami, is Lieutenant Bill Schwartz, spokesperson for the city of Miami Police Department.

Lieutenant, thanks for being with us.

I imagine you've seen a lot in your time on the force. But, I mean, looking at that tape, it is just sickening. What has happened to this guy now?

LT. BILL SCHWARTZ, CITY OF MIAMI POLICE DEPARTMENT: Well, what's happened to this guy? Not enough. This is his third time being arrested for something like this. Let's hope that the three strikes and you're out law will hold up this time, because this guy is bad news.

COOPER: I understand he's not a citizen here. I mean, is he going to be deported if he is tried and convicted here? Would he be put in jail here? How does this work?

SCHWARTZ: Well, it's really up to Immigration about deportation. We don't usually get involved with that issue. But our detectives want to maximize the possibility that this guy does not threaten any more children in this country. So they have spoken with Immigration.

Now, first, the judge will make a decision about bond, and then he'll be held. He will be held, because we don't want this guy back on the street. He'll stand trial. He'll go to jail. And then after that, if he gets out of jail, then we can talk about where he's going.

COOPER: What has he been charged with, at this point?

SCHWARTZ: He's been charged with lewd, lascivious molestation. And like I said, this is the third time for this guy.

COOPER: I mean, let's give something for people watching this at home to take away. I mean, what is the lesson here? I mean, we've seen in the last, you know, week and a half or so a couple of alleged cases like this. And the lesson seems to always be, you know, parents, watch your kids. But, I mean, in this case, this girl's father was right next to her, and, I mean, it's just remarkable.

SCHWARTZ: Yes, well, you know, imagine that father looking at this videotape. Imagine how angry he must be right now. I'm angry looking at that tape again. I guess the question is, if you're in a crowded store, it's well lit, and the child is right by your elbow, is she safe? Well, this is videotaped proof that she's not completely safe.

So you have to be extravigilant, and you have to talk to your kids.

COOPER: Well, it's also remarkable work by the security personnel at this store. I mean, they picked this up on this, you know, grainy video camera and followed this case, and apprehended the guy.

Lieutenant Bill Schwartz, appreciate your joining us for the update. Thank you.

SCHWARTZ: Thank you.

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