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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES

Seized at Sea; Iraq & Gonzales; A Soldier's Surprise; Sex and the Pulpit; Oprah's School a Prison?

Aired March 30, 2007 - 23:00   ET

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


(COMMERCIAL BREAK)
ANDERSON COOPER, CNN ANCHOR: A priest addicted to sex, using church money to pay for it. That's one of the stories ahead this hour.

Also, Oprah Winfrey's dream school and the parents calling it more like a prison. We'll hear from parents and Oprah on this one. That's coming up.

We begin, however, with a crisis that is only heating up tonight. Iran holding 15 British sailors and marines. They have been using them so far as propaganda in showdown with the West. But with American warships on maneuver in the Persian Gulf and U.S. war planes overhead, it's safe to say the region is on a hair trigger.

In a moment, a deeper look at how the showdown is playing out in Washington.

First, how we got to this point from CNN's Candy Crowley.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CANDY CROWLEY, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Iran and a hard place. A week of diplomacy, escalating tension and videotapes.

Monday and Tuesday Iran promises to interrogate the 15 British service members in its custody. Iraq backs up British claims that when seized, the group was in Iraqi, not Iranian waters. The British threaten a step beyond diplomacy.

TONY BLAIR, BRITISH PRIME MINISTER: I hope we manage to get them to realize they have to release them. If not, then this will move into a different phase.

CROWLEY: Wednesday, a face to the crisis. The Iranians air footage of the prisoners. The lone female is featured.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Obviously, we trespassed into their waters. They were very friendly, very hospitable, very thoughtful, nice people.

CROWLEY: A letter she supposedly wrote calls for the British to pull out of Iraq.

In Tehran, Thursday protestors call for death to the British. In New York, the U.N. Security Council approves a statement announcing its grave concern, far softer than Britain wanted.

By week's end the European union voices solidarity with Britain, and there are more letters, more videotape.

NATHAN THOMAS SUMMERS, BRITISH SAILOR HELD BY IRAN: I'd like to apologize for entering your waters without any permission.

CROWLEY: The Brits fire back rhetorically.

BLAIR: I mean, all it does is it haunts people's sense of disgust, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) personnel being paraded and manipulated in this way don't fool anyone.

CROWLEY: Throughout the week the U.S. takes a low profile, reportedly at the request of the British.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: CNN's Candy Crowley joins me now, along with CNN's Bill Schneider and Professor Larry Sabato of the University of Virginia.

Candy, at this point with the U.S. heavily invested in Iraq and stuck in Afghanistan, do we have any other options besides diplomacy to try to help resolve this?

CROWLEY (on camera): Well, what the -- the U.S. option when it comes to the whole British/Iran problem is to stay out of it. They've reportedly been asked by the British to stay out of it. The U.S. can do nothing but muddy the waters here.

What Britain is trying to do at this point is keep the lid on tensions, is to say now we can work this out diplomatically as to kind of scale back some of the things that happened this week.

This was something that the British sort of hoped would be quick, that they could do this in a rather mild way. And it has escalated through this week and now looks like there's not an end in sight at any rate. But what they want the U.S. to do is stay out of it.

COOPER: Bill, you know, there's the U.N., the U.S. Senate and the E.U. All have condemned the taking of these hostages. But it's a bit of a catch 22. If the West ratchets it up, then Iran doesn't want to look like they're bowing to pressure. But if the West doesn't show resolve and strength, it emboldens Iran.

BILL SCHNEIDER, CNN SENIOR POLITICAL ANALYST: Yes, well, what Iran is looking for here is confrontation. The Iranian regime thrives on it. They want to stand up to the West. They want it -- they're inviting confrontation. They're holding innocent hostages. The only thing the West can do is to exercise patience, diplomacy, a diplomatic process. It could take longer than we think. But that's what worked in the Iranian hostage crisis back in 1979 and 1980 and it's likely to work again.

COOPER: What's particularly difficult, Larry, is it seems like Iran is playing to the Islamic world by the taking of these hostages. Less so to the West. Are they winning the public relations battle in the Islamic world?

LARRY SABATO,UNIVERSITY OF VIRGINIA: They're winning it in the Islamic world and they're winning it in Iran. Look, there's an old principle of international politics. When your regime is weakening and you're becoming unpopular, you need to cause a diplomatic incident or a war. And that's exactly what the Iranian government is doing. So the less we do to aggravate the situation, the less the Iranian government will win.

COOPER: Well, if Iran and what to do about it turns out to be the next big battle between the White House and Congress, it will be the third front in a war that already includes Iraq and the nation's top law enforcement official.

Again, Candy Crowley with the latest on those fronts.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

CROWLEY (voice-over): A collision course along Pennsylvania Avenue. The Senate, like the House, approved timetables for troop withdrawal from the Iraq, and the president put his foot down.

GEORGE W. BUSH, PRESIDENT OF THE UNITED STATES: If either version comes to my desk, I'm going to veto it.

CROWLEY: The timetables are attached to a bill funding the Iraq war. If the money pipeline to U.S. troops begins to slow, who will get blamed? Aye, there's the P.R. war.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: If he doesn't sign the bill, it's his responsibility.

BUSH: If Congress fails to pass a bill to fund our troops on the frontlines, the American people will know who to hold responsible.

CROWLEY: Also building tension along Pennsylvania Avenue, aide to Kyle Sampson, the former chief of staff to Attorney General Alberto Gonzales, says his boss signed off on the firing of eight U.S. attorneys.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: So he was involved in discussions contrary to the statement he made in his news conference on March 13th?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I believe -- yes, sir.

CROWLEY: The White House responded that its embattled attorney general could speak for himself, and he did.

ALBERTO GONZALES, ATTORNEY GENERAL: At the end of the day, I know what I did. And I know that the motivations for the decisions that I made were not based upon improper reasons.

CROWLEY: Gonzales is expected to testify before Congress by mid- April.

(END VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: And we're back with Candy Crowley, Bill Schneider and Professor Larry Sabato.

Candy, at this point is Alberto Gonzales safe?

CROWLEY: No, in a word. You know, nothing safe until we see him up on Capitol Hill trying to explain this. The problem is every time he tries to explain this, it seems to get a little worse. We've also seen what looks like a backing off from the White House. They say it's not, but when you've got a spokesman saying well, I'm going to leave it up to him to explain this, that's not exactly something I'd like to take to the bank. So this is a man whose -- clearly whose job is in jeopardy. Whether or not he can save it, certainly the president is rooting for him and I think will use anything he can put up there if he can possible get himself out of that. The president wants to keep him. That doesn't mean he will keep him.

COOPER: Well, Bill, the other thing he can't necessarily take to the bank is the president's support verbally at least. The president said in the past, you know, that he supported Donald Rumsfeld right before he resigned. And the same about Harriet Myers. And look what happened to her.

What are the signs you're getting about Gonzales's future?

SCHNEIDER: Well, what -- the signs I'm getting are that the president intends to stand by him because he's a very close, personal friend. And they're in a wait and see mode. Wait and see what happens.

When Congress goes into recess, will this cool down? Wait and see what happens when he testifies. But If things continue to get worse -- and they're very bad now -- you can expect some people in the White House -- not the president -- but some people around the president to go to Alberto Gonzales, the attorney general, and say you are damaging the president. You're hurting the president. It might be a good idea that you think about leaving.

COOPER: You know, Larry, what's so fascinating about this is yet again in Washington someone is in trouble, not necessarily for what they did, but because of what they said about what they did. I mean, prosecutors can be fired for any reason the president wants, but that's not what the attorney general said happened.

SABATO: Well, it's the old Watergate principle. It's the cover- up. It isn't the original offense. And Gonzales, I suppose at this point President Bush has to ask what's he really worth to him? Is he worth the continuation of this scandal or could Gonzales be the pound of flesh that is needed to shut this particular scandal down.

COOPER: Candy, the president says both the Iraq bills are political theater. Could they actually backfire on Democrats at this point?

CROWLEY: There's a possibility, but the advantage is to the Democrats right now. They first of all have the country on their side, and they obviously have the majority microphone up on Capitol Hill.

There is always the old stereotype of Democrats, which is that they're soft on defense, that they haven't supported U.S. troops in the past. So they have to be careful of stepping into that shadow. But at the moment, if you were going to be one or the other, it seems that the Democrats have the upper hand in the P.R. wars.

COOPER: Larry, in the terms of perception, the Democrats came with a mandate of change. How are they doing so far?

SABATO: Well so far they're doing reasonably well. It's only been three months. They've done some of the easy stuff. The more difficult pieces remain to be done.

As far as the war is concerned, I think Candy is absolutely right. The American public is opposed to the war by about 2-1, and almost 90 percent of Democrats are opposed to the war, and the new majority is Democratic.

COOPER: Bill, (UNINTELLIGIBLE) a lot of pork in it, money allocated to spinach farmers, peanut growers. Who gets the blame for that?

SCHNEIDER: Well, I think it puts off some people. It's a little embarrassing that Democrats had to -- shall we say, lard it up with pork to get people to vote for it.

Why can't they just make a statement about the war in Iraq? Well, that's how legislation is done. But in the end, the question is how the American people are going to react. They're a lot angrier about Iraq than they're likely to be over pork barrel spending.

COOPER: Interesting.

Bill, Candy, Larry, thanks.

COOPER: Nearly half of all American service men and women are parents. And a good number of them are fighting in Iraq and Afghanistan. Some of them, of course, never make it home alive. But those who do come home from war and while words are not enough to describe that moment, you have to see it. And you're about to. And if you have not seen this tape, I really urge you to watch.

Here's Elisa Hahn of CNN affiliate KING in Seattle.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

ELISA HAHN, KING REPORTER (voice over): For the last seven months, Ensign Bill Hawes has been in Iraq, an eternity for his family, especially his 6-year-old son, who had no idea his dad was coming home and was surprising him in class.

WILLIAM HAWES, PETTY OFFICER 1ST CLASS, U.S. NAVY: I missed you, too, kiddo.

JOHN HAWES, SON OF U.S. SOLDIER: I missed you, too, daddy. HAHN: All year, the Sedro-Woolley (ph) 6-year-old had written letters to his dad. And his kindergarten class at Central Elementary joined in, sending the sailor care packages.

A tearful John got to introduce his father to all his pen pals.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: What's his name?

J. HAWES: Bill.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: This is Bill.

W. HAWES: Oh, it's great to be home. Seven months over there, it's nice to see my kids and all again, see my wife.

JULIE HAWES, WIFE: I am so ecstatic, because my husband's home. I'm so proud of him.

HAHN: The Hawes family was happy to share their joy with the whole class, who all took part in the welcome-home party, the sweetest homecoming for a sailor who had been gone too long, and for a little boy who dreamed of this day with his dad.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Great homecoming there. That was Elisa Hahn of KING reporting in Seattle.

Just ahead tonight on 360, he was supposed to be a minister to the needy, but he didn't end there.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): A priest with big problems.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you get the money to pay these prostitutes?

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: I had money from donations to the church.

COOPER: And that wasn't all. Just ask Don Slats. The father is his father. And what he's alleging goes way beyond priestly sex addiction.

Also, Oprah Winfrey's new school in south Africa and parents complaining about her first one, some even comparing it to a prison.

OPRAH WINFREY, SCHOOL FOUNDER: I saw the newspaper article where two parents were quoted.

COOPER: We'll hear from Oprah and parents and get the facts firsthand when 360 continues.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

(COMMERCIAL BREAK) COOPER: This story triggered an avalanche of e-mail on the blog. Joseph Kowalski of North Huntington, Pennsylvania, wrote, if anyone thinks that these are isolated cases, then I suggest you pull your head out of the sand.

He's talking about the priest you're going to see in a moment. He says he's addicted to sex -- the priest does. He also admits to stealing from his flock to pay for prostitutes. But that's not all. He's telling his story now, decades later, because he has to by law.

CNN's Drew Griffin reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

DREW GRIFFIN, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): This is the taped deposition of a retired priest under oath, a man compelled by law to tell the ugly truth about his past.

Father Jim Jacobsen was sent to minister to people in remote Alaskan villages in the 1960s, virtually unsupervised. Through this testimony he reveals what his superiors are now saying about Father Jim, the 83-year-old Jesuit priest is a sexual addict.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And so your testimony then was that your best estimate was that you had five sexual affairs while you were in Alaska?

REV. JIM JACOBSEN, RETIRED PRIEST: Right.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: And is that still your testimony today?

JACOBSEN: I would say maybe seven. I would change it to seven.

GRIFFIN: Father Jacobsen's past probably would have stayed secret if this man, Don Slats, had not come forward. He opened the door on the priest's affairs, his alleged rapes, thefts, and his four abandoned children.

DON SLATS, JACOBSEN'S BIOLOGICAL SON: He didn't even know who I was. From my understanding, he didn't even recognize my mom. That's what happens when you turn into a (EXPLETIVE DELETED) monster. I'm sorry. Too busy raping people. You can't even recognize their faces anymore.

GRIFFIN: This is the story of how a predatory priest was turned loose on a needy people and how the church failed to act.

You heard Father Jacobsen admit to seven affairs. He also used money donated to the Jesuits to pay for sex.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How many times?

JACOBSEN: I have no idea.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Don't you have to pay prostitutes?

JACOBSEN: Yes.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: How did you get the money to pay these prostitutes?

JACOBSEN: I had money from donations to the church from -- I got money from the bishop to run the parish.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You used the church's money to buy prostitutes, is that right?

JACOBSEN: Well, it was the Jesuits' money. It was money that was given to me for, you know, the work I was doing.

GRIFFIN: Records show the Society of Jesus, the Jesuit priest knew a lot about Jacobsen even before he was ordained.

Their own doctor discovered Jacobsen had been treated for gonorrhea. Jacobsen admitted he had promiscuity issues.

By 1967 Jesuit documents describe serious moral charges made against the priest by a village leader in Alaska. Jacobsen's bishop asked for an investigation. At the time the charges were discounted, blamed on local politics.

But Jacobsen remained in Alaska another decade. In 1977 his superiors ordered Jacobsen to get help for his particular problem. They relocated him to Oregon, where he became a chaplain for three state prisons, was paid a salary and even earned a state pension. But he couldn't stop himself.

As late as 1992, memos from the Society of Jesus report Jacobsen was involved in an affair with another woman in Oregon. And then finally, Don Slats came forward.

He is a little lighter skinned than other native Alaskans in the tiny village he grew up in. As he grew up, his nickname was little preacher.

(on camera): When they drew blood from you to test the DNA and they sent it off to a lab, were you hoping for a different result? Were you hoping it wasn't true?

SLATS: Yes, in a way. You know, I just wanted -- I just wanted everyone to be wrong.

GRIFFIN: To be wrong?

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: And when we come back, the answer. We'll tell you about Don Slats's discovery and the repercussions of it. That's coming up next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Before the break we introduced you to Father Jim Jacobsen and Don Slats. It turns out that Don and Father Jim have quite a connection. Quite a connection.

Here again, CNN's Drew Griffin.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

GRIFFIN (voice-over): Growing up, Don Slats knew he was different than other kids in his Alaskan village. There were cruel jokes. He felt like an outcast. But he asked only one time about his family secret.

SLATS: When I was a teenager I asked my mom, you know, because different things about me. My eyes were lighter. Different color hair was coming out of my face. You know, and I always look at it in the mirror.

And so I asked my mom. And I've never questioned by mother, you know, and She told me that yes, you might have another father, you know, but this is your family. You know, it just went as far as that, you know.

GRIFFIN: Now in his 30s, Don Slats has filed a novel lawsuit against Father Jim Jacobsen and the Society of Jesus.

DNA testing shows that without a doubt Father Jim Jacobsen is his biological father. Slats is suing for years of unpaid child support for his own childhood. Despite her shame, his mother has also revealed another secret. She claims Jacobsen raped her repeatedly. Other village women have also come forward to say Jacobsen raped them.

As for Jacobsen, he denies the rapes, but admits he can't even remember Don Slats' mother.

GRIFFIN: Yet you had sex with her, didn't you?

JACOBSEN: I must have had. I believe -- I know that I didn't force her. I don't remember any particular time that I had sexual relationships with her, but I'm positive I didn't force her or anybody else.

GRIFFIN: In fact, Jacobsen, in his deposition, partly blames the women. Women, he says, who knew he felt isolated, lonely, and when night fell there would be the knock, he says, on his door.

JACOBSEN: There would be like 9:30 at night. The village light plant would be turned off, so you just had -- which meant that everybody was at home.

GRIFFIN: Was she the initiator? She started -- she initiated the sex?

JACOBSEN: No.

GRIFFIN: You did?

JACOBSEN: Well, it was a -- it was like she flirted with me and I flirted with her. GRIFFIN: Jim Jacobsen now lives here, the retirement home for the priests on the campus of Gonzaga University in Spokane, Washington, where according to his supervisors, he is under close supervision.

Jacobsen refuses to talk to CNN.

But we did ask Father John Whitney, who now heads the Society of Jesus Oregon Province, about Father Jim Jacobsen's case.

How did this happen? How did this guy happen for so long?

FATHER JOHN WHITNEY, SOCIETY OF JESUITS, OREGON PROVINCE: You know, if I had the answer to that, I don't know. It's an incredibly difficult -- I find it -- some of the revelations that are coming out in the public are just coming to me as well.

GRIFFIN: Whitney admits mistakes were made, warnings overlooked. Jacobsen was even confessing his sins to fellow priests in Alaska, and yet none alerted their superiors.

WHITNEY: And so he was allowed -- and I make no excuses for it. I don't find this -- this is a difficult job for me because I find it unconscionable that people weren't more proactive, more active in this. But I think nobody directly was coming forward saying this happened to me until far later.

GRIFFIN: The Jesuits have just offered to settle Don Slats' lawsuit. The nearly $2 million settlement includes lifetime counseling for him, his mother, another biological son of the priest and for another woman who claims she was raped.

In his deposition, the priest wishes he had been more closely supervised and offers this to his victims.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You know, we're -- we're tape recording and videotaping this deposition. And it's possible that your children and grandchildren could see it one of these days. Is there anything you want to say to them?

JACOBSEN: Well I'm sorry that they were put in this position by my actions.

GRIFFIN: Is there anything you want them to know or remember about you?

JACOBSEN: Well, I'm sorry that they have to know that I'm a priest who didn't earn a religious -- that didn't live up to his vows and his obligations as a priest in their village.

GRIFFIN: Don Slats says in the far away place he grew up, the place the church sent Father Jacobsen, they were all just trusting lambs.

SLATS: They understand that us native people in them villages hold them up to a pedestal. That they're higher than any authority. They're the -- they sit at the right hand of God. That what you're taught in catechism.

GRIFFIN: Don Slats left the Catholic church when he was 13.

Drew Griffin, CNN, Anchorage, Alaska.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Remarkable story.

Ahead on 360, a religious story that is literally causing a food fight. Jesus sculpted in chocolate.

Plus this...

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER (voice-over): Oprah Winfrey's new school in South Africa, and parents complaining about her first one. Some even comparing it to a prison.

OPRAH WINFREY, SCHOOL FOUNDER: I saw the newspaper article where two parents were quoted.

COOPER: We'll hear from Oprah and parents and get the facts firsthand.

Also, more heartache for country singer Winona Judd.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: They are saying that somebody under the age of 13, that is a legally significant age and he is in a heap of trouble.

COOPER: He is Judd's soon to be ex-husband, charged with sex crimes involving a minor. The investigation that led to his arrest, next on 360.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: Oprah Winfrey is defending her dream even as she opens the second installment of it, her second school in South Africa. We were there a few months ago when she opened the first, $40 million Oprah Winfrey Academy for Girls. But now some of the parents are comparing that dream school to a prison. CNN's Africa correspondent Jeff Koinange reports.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

JEFF KOINANGE, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): She's back in Africa, building another school.

But even as she was inaugurating this school for boys and girls in a remote town in South Africa, Oprah Winfrey found herself facing the first big test of a philanthropic venture. Her $40 million Leadership Academy for Girls in Johannesburg has come under pressure lately after newspaper articles accused her of denying the students e- mail access and cell phone privileges during the week and banning junk food in the school compound.

(on camera): Now back in January when Oprah officially opened her Leadership Academy for Girls, she stressed that one of her goals is all about building bridges and creating a new generation of leaders in South Africa.

Well, some of the girls here, many of whom who are barely in their teens, are finding it tough going in the early days, quietly complaining that some of the school rules are too strict.

OPRAH WINFREY, TALK SHOW HOST: I saw the newspaper article when two parents were quoted. I called those parents and they were very surprised that their comments about the school were interpreted as they were.

They said to me that, yes, they do believe that the school is strict, but it's necessary for it to be strict. They said the school is strict, but the children also love the school and the children are doing well in the school and the children - and she said my daughter has rosier cheeks.

KOINANGE (voice-over): Oprah insists her number one priority is the well-being of her hand-picked students.

WINFREY: I would say this about the complaints. I'm not bothered by the complaints, because the number one priority for me is the safety and well-being of the children. And if you look at any other private schools or public/private schools in South Africa and throughout the world, there are rules, there are rules.

KOINANGE: Other reports allege the Leadership Academy limits the number of visitors a student can see to four a month, they all have to come at the same time, and the visits must be approved two weeks in advance.

WINFREY: We have a visitors policy that says you can't bring more than four guests at one time to family functions because the school is going to eventually hold 450 girls. We're making rules now that will be applicable three, four years from now. Every year we add 75 more girls. You can't have more than four family members because there's just not enough room.

KOINANGE: We tried to get a response from parents quoted in the newspaper articles but nearly all the parents we contacted refused to talk to us. All of them except Anushka Meyers. You may remember Anushka Meyers. We visited her back in January. Her daughter, Mbale (ph) is one of Oprah's chosen few. Anushka Meyers is 29, single, and jobless. She lives in a one-room shack in Alexandra, one of Johannesburg's poorest suburbs.

She has seen the newspaper articles quoting some parents and completely disagrees.

ANUSHKA MEYERS, MOTHER OF STUDENT: Why should they complain about it? It's -- I don't know how - why they must complain about it, because it's a nice thing. It's an opportunity for our children. If there wasn't Oprah, I don't know. I don't know. I really don't know. We must say thanks and stop complaining. It's a nice thing. At least we see our children. Our children are very happy. The school is strict, yes. It's a nice thing, because in school it's not -- they never -- they never learn.

KOINANGE: And she's quick to defend the single monthly visits as well.

MEYERS: For me it's fine. Because you can't (inaudible) children there. If we see the children now and then, we are hurting them. It's nice to see her once a month. It's fine, because they're doing great at school.

KOINANGE: Meyers says her daughter's happiness is her ultimate goal.

MEYERS: I'm happy, and she's happy. If she's happy, I'm happy.

KOINANGE: And she's told you this?

MEYERS: Yes. She phones me every week, and she tells me she's very happy and she's doing great at school.

KOINANGE: It's not clear whether this controversy about the Leadership Academy is just a case of a few disgruntled parents or a genuine cause for concern. Oprah says she puts her girls first, and nothing will stop her from achieving her goal of giving every child a chance in South Africa.

WINFREY: The drums of Africa still beat in my heart. They will not let me rest until every black boy and every black girl has had a chance to prove their worth.

KOINANGE: Jeff Koinange, CNN, Johannesburg.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, "On the Radar" tonight, your reaction to this story. Here's a sampling of the many, many e-mails we've been getting on our blog. Eric in Nairobi, Kenya, wrote us, "Those that feel Oprah is running a prison should remove their children from there and leave those who really care for their children's future in peace. Oprah, keep it up," he says. "Please open as many such institutions in Africa as possible."

From Alex in Oberlin, Ohio. "What is it about African boys that makes them less deserving of Oprah's teachings when compared to African women. Does Oprah believe that education should be offered solely to people of one gender?"

Alex, we should point out that the new school she opened up is for both girls and boys.

And this from Monica in South Africa. "Oprah Winfrey has a good heart and has done an enormous amount for the underprivileged in South Africa. She understands the spirit of ubuntu. You educate a woman, you educate a nation."

As always, we want to hear from you whether here in America or around the world. Just go to cnn.com/360blog. Let us know what's on your mind.

Just ahead tonight, is it free speech, is it hate speech or simply art? The outrage over a chocolate sculpture of Jesus and why the artist fears for his safety, tonight.

Plus, drugs and divorce and worse. Country singer Wynonna Judd's real life love story that has taken a tragic turn.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: That six-foot tall sculpture of Jesus is made of chocolate, and this week it set off a big firestorm in New York. It was supposed to be displayed in a gallery at a New York hotel next week, Holy Week for Christians.

But today the exhibit was canceled after a big outcry by Catholics. The Catholic League called the sculpture, which is anatomically correct, hate speech. That's what they called it.

The artist, Cosimo Cavallaro, sees it differently, of course, and he's been getting threats for it. A few minutes ago I talked with him and to Bill Donahue, president of the Catholic League.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Cosimo, I want to start by asking you what your intention was with this piece of art.

COSIMO CAVALLARO, ARTIST, "SWEET JESUS" SCULPTURE": My intention was to celebrate this body of Christ and in a sweet, delicious, tasteful way.

COOPER: Why use chocolate?

CAVALLARO: Because it's a substance that I like, and it's sweet. And I felt that the body of Christ, the meaning of Christ is about the sweetness.

COOPER: Were you trying to shock? To cause attention? Usually when Christ is shown, he's wearing some form of clothing. This is a naked Christ, which has also caused some concern.

CAVALLARO: No more than the religion the way they use it. I was just using it as an iconic figure. My intention was to shock people? No. My intention was to have them taste and feel what they're looking at in their mouth.

COOPER: Bill, you called this exhibition hate speech and you said it's quote, "one of the worst assaults on Christian sensibilities ever." What specifically offends you about?

BILL DONOHUE, PRESIDENT, CATHOLIC LEAGUE: Well, of course, asking the public to come in and eat Jesus with his genitals exposed during Holy Week I think would be self-explanatory.

If we took an image of this artist's mother and made her out of chocolate and with her genitals exposed, of course, to be equal, and the ask the public to eat her on Mother's Day. He might have a problem. Maybe he wouldn't.

You know what bothers me? It's not even the artist. We have a lot of these loser artists down in Soho and around the country. What bothers me is this guy knows, he's the artist in residence, the owner, the president and CEO of an establishmentarian site, the Roger Smith Hotel, 47th and Lexington, in the heart of Midtown Manhattan.

That's what bothers me. Now we have the establishment kicking in. And you know, to put this out during Holy Week on street level when kids can walk in off the street, these people are morally bankrupt and my goal is to make him financially bankrupt.

COOPER: Cosimo, do you understand the outrage this has caused? Do you think it's overreaction? Do you get it?

CAVALLARO: Yeah, I get it. I think it's an overreaction. You just heard the gentlemen calling artists losers or me a loser. I think his assault is on the public at large, artists and freedom of speech and every Catholic. I'm a Catholic and I'm a Christian. And I think this gentleman doesn't even represent the people that are in his faith.

DONOHUE: That's funny. You said I put out a fatwah, right? That was the guy who ran the lab. Says I put out a fatway. I put out a news release. You're accusing me of being like the Taliban, is that right?

CAVALLARO: Who, me? You're not that intelligent.

DONOHUE: Let me tell you. You're lucky I'm not as mean because you might lose more than your head.

COOPER: Cosimo. Did you want people to eat this? Was that part of this?

CAVALLARO: No. Did you hear what this gentleman is saying, that I'd lose my head?

DONOHUE: You heard what I said. You're lucky I'm not like the Taliban, because you'd lose more than your head. That's why you didn't do this to Muhammad at Ramadan.

CAVALLARO: No, Because I'm a Christian ...

DONOHUE: You're a Christian? Please. Don't lie about it. All right?

CAVALLARO: I'm not lying about it.

DONOHUE: Yeah you are.

CAVALLARO: I want to ask you a question, Mr. Donahue.

DONOHUE: Yes.

CAVALLARO: Where do you think I should exhibit this? You've bamboozled an art gallery and you've bamboozled an establishment and you've put fear in people to listen to your rhetoric. And to believe - just because a man has got his arms extended and he's made of chocolate, it's your Christ and it's offensive.

DONOHUE: That's right.

CAVALLARO: And by the way - excuse me. I'm going to talk to you for a minute. You keep quiet.

You go to the Catholic Church ...

COOPER: Let Cosimo finish his point.

CAVALLARO: You go to the Catholic Church and you are going to see statues of Michelangelo that are nude. Are you going to clothe them for the Holy Week? Are you telling me apart from the Holy Week we can do anything we want with the genitalia? What are you talking about?

COOPER: Let Bill answer.

CAVALLARO: First of all, Leonardo you're not. Quite frankly, where should you have this displayed? In New Jersey is where New Yorkers put their garbage. There's a big sanitation dump. That's where you should put it.

COOPER: Bill, let me read you something that David Kroll (ph), the former assistant to President Bush who worked in the office of faith-based community initiatives said in reference in your protest. He said, quote, "Instead of getting all amped up over this art Christians should spend time facing the real and very challenging Jesus of the Gospels and encouraging others to do the same."

Are you making a bigger deal out this than this deserves? Doesn't this in fact give it more attention than it would have received otherwise?

DONOHUE: If in fact it was at some dump in Soho, I probably wouldn't pay too much attention. But the fact that the Roger Smith Hotel right here in New York City is doing this thing -- If I don't pay attention to it, than my people should ask me to be fired. By the way, I'm delighted with the response from Jews, Muslims and others, not just Catholics and Protestants with this. People are basically saying enough is enough. This is revolting and what you're saying, sir, is totally disingenuous. No one belives -- I don't even think you believe it.

COOPER: But Bill, don't people have a right to express themselves, and isn't that what art is about? Aren't artists supposed to provoke thought? DONOHUE: That's right. If we put a swastika out on a stamp in the United States, we could call that art. An art exhibition. I don't think Jews would go for that. Just because art is art, doesn't mean it's a right that's absolute. Art can be insulting and it can be offensive. And when these people are whining claiming victim status as this guy is doing because of my exercise of my First Amendment right of freedom of speech, I didn't call the cops to come in and censor this.

I am simply am saying I called up about 500 of my friends in different Catholic, Protestant, Jewish, Muslim, Hindu and nonsectarian organizations to boycott the Roger Smith Hotel. They're morally bankrupt and I want them to be financially bankrupt.

COOPER: Cosimo, I'll give you the final thought. Do you plan to display this elsewhere?

CAVALLARO: Yes, I do. I'd like to add to the gentleman who referred to the swastika, he's actually acting like a Nazi. And I would like to ask one question, where do you suggest that I exhibit this? You basically pulled it out of a gallery for me. Where do you think that an artist should exhibit his work that you don't infringe on?

COOPER: Go to some dump in Soho where nobody pays attention?

CAVALLARO: There is a church in Soho that's a dump, too? Let me tell you something.

DONOHUE: Yeah, yeah.

CAVALLARO: There's two priests that want to exhibit this in their church.

DONOHUE: Is that right?

CAVALLARO: Absolutely.

DONOHUE: Give me their names.

CAVALLARO: I will not you're a bully. And you know what? I believe there's people in your organization that would like you to resign.

DONOHUE: Is that right?

CAVALLARO: Absolutely.

DONOHUE: I haven't heard from them.

CAVALLARO: I have to tell you something. There's more filth that comes out of your mouth.

DONOHUE: Is that right? You lost. You put your middle finger at the Catholic Church, and we just broke it, didn't we pal?

CAVALLARO: No, you're wrong.

DONOHUE: You lost. We won. You're out of the job.

CAVALLARO: I'm a Christian and there is a lot of people like me who are opposedto what you're doing.

DONOHUE: I have a job and you don't.

CAVALLARO: I have a job and you don't? You're acting like a five-year-old and I feel sorry for you.

DONOHUE: I won on this and you lost, didn't you?

COOPER: Let's leave it there. You both expressed your opinion. Bill Donohue, I appreciate you being with us and Cosimo Cavallaro, appreciate as well. Thank you, sirs.

CAVALLARO: Thank you, Anderson.

DONOHUE: Thank you.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: Well, we'll see where it ends up.

Ahead on 360, Wynonna Judd has seen the light. Heading for divorce court because her hubby could be headed for a long stretch in jail.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: It is country music material all the way. Infidelity, irreconcilable differences, divorce. But for Wynonna Judd it is nothing to sing about, because it's all too real. And this one has an especially ugly twist. Allegations of child abuse. The story is one of the top items this week on cnn.com. Erica Hill joins us now with details.

Erica?

ERICA HILL, CNN ANCHOR: Anderson, it really looked like Wynonna Judd had found happiness. In 2003 she married her longtime bodyguard, she was hosting "Nashville Stars", she had beaten an eating disorder, but then she learned last month her husband was the target of a police investigation and her marriage really began to crumble.

(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)

HILL (voice-over): It was supposed to be a love story, set to a country beat, of course.

WYNONNA JUDD, COUNTRY MUSIC SINGER: I got to see the spiritual person, not just the worker in a suit.

HILL: In 2003 Wynona Judd married Dan R. Roach, the man who was her bodyguard for years. JUDD: I fell in love with him because he's been there 12 years, the ups and the downs.

LARRY KING, CNN HOST: He was your bodyguard like the Whitney Houston movie.

HILL: But that love tune turned sour when Wynona's husband was arrested in Abilene, Texas charged with three counts of sexual battery involving a child under 13. That was last Thursday. The arrest was apparently too much to bear for Wynonna who has two young children from a previous marriage. Less than five days later she filed for divorce citing irreconcilable differences.

HARVEY LEVIN, TMZ.COM: In terms of marriages, that is what you call a buzz kill.

HILL: Roach was arrested in Texas, but that arrest followed a month-long investigation by the sex crimes unit in Nashville, Tennessee.

LEVIN: She separated from him on February 18th, and we know that this investigation got rolling in February as well. So it sounds as if she got wind of something that was going on with respect to the early stages of the investigation and then left him. And when the charges ended up surfacing publicly, that's when she filed.

HILL: When she filed the papers, Dan Roach was in rehab as the same Texas clinic where Wynonna once sought treatment for food addiction and where her sister Ashley was treated for depression.

Wynonna and her mom Naomi were a blockbuster country duo back in the '80s. And when her mom retired from the act, Wynonna went on her own. In all, she sold more than 30 million albums but her private life hasn't always been a hit.

In 2003 just a week before her wedding to Dan Roach, Wynonna was arrested for driving drunk.

JUDD: I think we're just the typical family.

HILL: But she put all that behind her, patched up strained relationships with her mom and her sister and had a seemingly happy marriage until it all fell apart.

This week, Wynona posted news about her split on her Web site telling her fans, quote, I'm obviously devastated. Our family will pull together, begin the healing process and hopefully by the grace of God become stronger. We will move forward with our faith, family and our friends to find resolution to this difficult situation.

Her soon-to-be ex-husband is fighting extradition to face the charges against him in Nashville.

(END VIDEOTAPE)

COOPER: So Wynonna isn't, I guess, the only celebrity marriage to be south. Today Britney Spears marriage to K-Fed officially ended.

HILL (on camera): That is the word. Apparently a representative for his lawyer is saying, yes, they did come to an agreement. They were at her attorney's office for I believe about five hours yesterday.

About at one point he took a smoke break. She went out. They were seen talking for 15 minutes. So they've come to an agreement apparently on the marriage and custody of the kids. Exact details haven't been released yet but from what I understand they also need to be signed off on by a judge. So as long as the judge approves them, then I guess we're done.

COOPER: I think it was nice we were showing pre shaved head pictures of Britney there.

HILL: I'm sure she appreciates it, too. Although lately she has got the wig going on, so you wouldn't know.

COOPER: But there she has got a dog that's bald.

HILL: Yeah. I think the dog's name was Bit Fit, if I recall.

COOPER: Oh, gosh. I don't know how you know that.

Have you been watching "American Idol"?

HILL: You know, I catch a little bit here and there.

COOPER: The Sanjay guy - Sanjaya ...

HILL: Sanjaya?

COOPER: Is that who it is?

HILL: Sanjaya is all the rage. Of course, you couldn't miss his hair. I hope this - yeah, that is his hair from the other night. I'm liking it too. Sort of a Roman gladiator brush helmet thing.

COOPER: It is sort of an a homage to that. He is watching "Rome" on HBO, maybe.

HILL: He might have been. But he's still around. And the crazy thing is there are actually Web sites now that are getting people to vote for him just to keep him around. And frankly, he could be a nice kid, but honestly not the best singer out there.

COOPER: True. But I guess that's why some people like Howard Stern, I guess, is on a campaign, not Howard K. Stern, Howard Stern ...

HILL: You don't want to get those mixed up.

COOPER: Howard K. Stern maybe also be voting for Sanjaya. I'm not sure.

HILL: He could be. Right now he's just voting for, you know, more time with his court battles as I understand it.

COOPER: That's what it sounds like. Erica, I'll talk to you later. Have a great weekend.

HILL: Thanks. You, too.

COOPER: A little more 360 after the break. Stay tuned.

(COMMERCIAL BREAK)

COOPER: A quick programming note. We've been working on two special hours for next week about Christianity, what is -- part two and three on our, "What is a Christian?" series. One is about science and creation, and the other is about Christianity, sex and salvation. Here's a preview of the science and creation.

(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Dinosaurs and people living together in the Garden of Eden. A new museum claims that's the way it was and the founder says he can prove it.

KEN HAM, PRESIDENT, ANSWERS IN GENESIS: Genesis is written as literal history. Why are we sinners, because there was an original sin. Because a real man in a real garden with a real tree and a real fruit, a real event, really happened.

COOPER: One of the most famous and respected scientists says no human being can solve the greatest riddle ever, how it all began.

UNIDENTIFIED MALE: You're saying that's one of those fundamental questions that science doesn't seem designed to answer.

DR. FRANCIS COLLINS, DIRECTOR, NATL. HUMAN GENOME RESEARCH INSTITUTE: How can something like the universe have had a beginning without having a creator -- and a creator that is outside of the universe, outside of that event -- and that sounds like God.

COOPER: And millions of Christians believe God still lives among us, healing the sick through the power of prayer.

PASTOR EVON HORTON, BROWNSVILLE ASSEMBLY OF GOD: Some say the age of miracles is past. I don't believe that. I believe God is still doing miracles today. Do you? It is true.

(END VIDEO CLIP)

COOPER: Our series, "What is a Christian?" airs next Wednesday and Thursday at 10:00 p.m. Eastern. And those are new episodes in our "What is a Christian?" series. Signs and creation on Wednesday, sex and salvation on Thursday.

That's 360 for the night and the week. Have a great weekend. I'll see you on Monday. LARRY KING is next.

TO ORDER A VIDEO OF THIS TRANSCRIPT, PLEASE CALL 800-CNN-NEWS OR USE OUR SECURE ONLINE ORDER FORM LOCATED AT www.voxant.com

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