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ANDERSON COOPER 360 DEGREES
New Details of Sexual Abuse Scandal at Penn State
Aired November 11, 2011 - 20:00 ET
THIS IS A RUSH TRANSCRIPT. THIS COPY MAY NOT BE IN ITS FINAL FORM AND MAY BE UPDATED.
ANDERSON COOPER, HOST: Erin. Thanks. Good evening, everyone.
We begin tonight with major developments in the Penn State child sex abuse scandal in a 360 exclusive. We're going to talk to the mental health professional who's been treating one of the alleged victims, victim number one. Today his mom spoke out.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: I want justice. I want him -- I want him to be locked up. There's no -- there's no help for somebody that does this. There's -- you know, not like this. He needs to be put away. He needs to be put away for a long time.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Her identity, obviously, hidden there. That appeared on "GOOD MORNING AMERICA." She's talking about former Penn State football coach Jerry Sandusky, once a top assistant and possible successor to the legendary Joe Paterno. He's now facing a 40-count indictment. The allegations detailed a nauseating 23-page grand jury report. In it, the boy whose mother you just heard from is known as victim number one as I said.
Now, according to the grand jury document, "victim number one testified that ultimately Sandusky performed oral sex on him more than 20 times through 2007 and early 2008."
But even though he's called victim number one, he's actually the last in a long line of alleged victims that stretches back to the 1990s. We have detailed the abuses, especially two alleged incidents, one in 1998 and one in 2002.
The first, a series of fondling incidents was reported to campus and local police as well as university officials and Pennsylvania's child welfare agency. Ultimately, nothing more was done.
The second major alleged incident was simply grotesque. In 2002, the alleged rape of a 10-year-old in a campus locker room shower. Again, nothing done beyond the university barring Sandusky from bringing boys into the locker room, that was it.
Boys, by the way, he's accused of recruiting from the children's charity that he founded. And that goes to the heart of the scandal. To put it bluntly, was what happened over the years a cover-up. Mike McQueary who says he witnessed the 2002 rape, witnessed it, was a graduate assistant at the time. That's him now. Since then he was promoted to assistant coach, but he's now on administrative leave. He says that back in 2002 he gave details of what he saw to Joe Paterno, who told his boss, athletic director Tim Curley.
Now, McQueary also briefed Curley and Gary Schultz, Penn State vice president for finance and business who, also, over saw campus police. And here what's really stunning, Schultz told the grand jury he never saw or received a report on the 1998 incident from campus police. Remember, there was a paper trail, a police report that was never sought out, even though this was the second serious allegation, yet they, local police, the county D.A. and child welfare authorities did nothing more about it.
Now, Sandusky retired from coaching at the peak of his career no less to spend more time with second mile, his charity. Then again, four years later, even more serious allegations and even less was done about them.
Now, the university did nothing except bar Jerry Sandusky from bringing any more kids from his second mile program into the football building and notify second mile. And second mile didn't bar Sandusky from contact with kids. Let me repeat that. Sandusky's charity did not bar him from having contact with kids until 2008 when he notified them he was the subject of a grand jury investigation. Yet many people knew or had reason to know about the 1998 and 2002 allegations, including, apparently, Penn State general counsel Wendell Courtney, who reviewed the 1998 report on Sandusky. That's according to the grand jury filing.
Now, at the time he was and remains counsel for, guess what, second mile. Courtney claims that last part is mistaken, but a spokesman for the Pennsylvania attorney general's office told the "Pittsburgh post-gazette," quote," it is clear from the findings of the grand jury that Mister Courtney had direct dealings with both Penn State and the second mile and he acknowledged and was aware of the 1998 incident."
So that's raising suspicions, was there a conflict of interest. Also raising questions tonight, how did just about everyone know about the 1998 allegations except head coach Joe Paterno, who says his first inkling of trouble with Sandusky was in 2002. Was he being protected? Was he aware and not being truthful? We don't know.
Also, raising questions about a possible motive for hushing up a scandal, big money renovations going on in 1998 to Beaver stadium. Sixty luxury sky boxes and 12,000 more seats being added. Paid for my donations that might have dried up, if there had been a scandal. There are a lot of questions tonight.
We begin, though, with a 360 exclusive. My conversation moments ago with psychologist Mike Gillum, who is counseling victim number one.
(BEGIN VIDEOTAPE) COOPER: How is victim number one doing right now?
MICHAEL GILLUM, PSYCHOLOGIST: Obviously any individual that sustained this kind of abuse, you know, they typically suffer from anxiety, depression. They have a lot of concern that's very humiliating to have to not only experience this but then to, you know, have to discuss it with law enforcement.
It's difficult then to be fearful or live in fear that others may determine who you are, your identity, and, you know, they may or may not, you know, approach you about it. And again, very awkward, very embarrassing for the individual, even though he's a hero, not necessarily something that everyone understands or appreciates.
COOPER: I do think that's a really important point that the public understand is just the role this young man played in setting off the chain of events setting off the investigation, which ultimately, you know, led to these charges.
At this point what do you think people should know? There's obviously a lot you can't say, but what do you think people should know about what happened here?
GILLUM: People should know that there's a power differential I would say between the victim and the perpetrator, and the more status the perpetrator has, whether it be status in the family or in the community, the more difficult it's going to be for the victim to come forward, and in particular expect to be believed when they do tell what happened to them.
COOPER: What's your impression of how other officials at Penn State dealt with the information that they knew?
GILLUM: Well, I think, yes, there are many different witnesses and probably the reasons vary somewhat among those witnesses. I think some were probably very intimidated or fearful about what may happen to them should they make a report, but as a psychologist I'm still stunned that this number of individuals actually did what they did in the cover-up.
COOPER: So you believe there was a cover-up?
GILLUM: I believe that, yes, certain individuals did not -- I know they didn't pass the information forward to law enforcement.
COOPER: Michael Gillum, I really appreciate your time tonight. And please give our best to the family involved, and I hope they know how many thoughts and prayers are with them. Michael, thank you.
GILLUM: Thank you. And you're very welcome.
COOPER: I just want to point out Mister Gillum was very careful not to talk about specifics about his client, victim number one, or any of the details of the ongoing investigation because it is obviously ongoing. That is one side of the story.
Jason Carroll joins us now live from State college with the other side.
Jason, we understand you met with Sandusky's attorney today. What did he say?
JASON CARROLL, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, first off, Joseph Abendola who represents Jerry Sandusky spoke specifically about victim number one. Sandusky simply says, Anderson, it is not true.
He says those allegations simply did not happen. He also says he is anxious to defend himself against those specific allegations. He said, quote, "I want to fight this." He says it started out as allegations of fondling and then Sandusky's lawyers say it went from allegations of fondling very quickly to a sexual assault case.
So, once again Sandusky's lawyer telling me tonight that those allegations from victim number one, as well as those other allegations from the other seven victims outlined in that grand jury report, simply are not true. Anderson.
COOPER: Jason, you know, it's interesting you say that, Jason, because I specifically talked to Michael Gillum, the psychologist for victim number one, about what I assume was going to be the defense attorney's tactic, which was basically to say, well, the story shifted over time of this boy, this young man, and maybe he was coached.
Michael Gillum when I asked him about that said often defense attorneys use that strategy. Michael Gillum said in his questioning of victim number one, he was extraordinarily careful in how he asked the questions. He has a lot of experience in talking to kids who have suffered abuse and knows how not to lead them, so he is certainly prepared for that strategy from the defense.
CARROLL: I think what you're going to end up seeing in this, Anderson, is both sides preparing themselves as best they can. This is a case that has received so much publicity that it would be a mistake for any defense attorney not to do everything that he or she could to speak out or defend their particular client.
But all I can do is just tell you what this defense attorney is saying about that, and basically he said not only with this particular case but some of the other allegations that are being presented as well, he said that there are a lot of inconsistencies in the stories that are not coming out yet, but he says they will. Anderson.
COOPER: Also when I talked to the psychologist, he pointed out that it is very common for particularly teenage accusers, when they come forward, teenage victims when they come forward for their stories to shift because often what they tell initially are the least egregious examples of abuse, because of the embarrassment and sense of shame, humiliation, and it's only later as they become more comfortable that they reveal the full details of what happened.
Jason, again, I appreciate all of your reporting for the last couple of days on this.
Let us know what you think. We're on facebook or on Google plus, add us to your circle or follow me on twitter, @Anderson cooper.
Jerry Sandusky officially retired from college football near the top of his coaching game. That's important because at the age that he retired he should have been able to get a job elsewhere but he didn't.
We are going to take a closer look at his career on the field and with his charity. Were there clues back then there could be something very wrong? Did other people know that and that's why he didn't get another job? That's next.
Also ahead, more Syrians died today. The government's brutal crackdown shows no signs of slowing, did after, remember, they had promised their policy was going to change.
Instead it actually seems to have worsened an intensified, the deaths and the killings. Tonight a new report details just how common torture and murder are in Syria. We are going to speak to one very brave Syrian man, telling us his story tonight. His bravery I think is really going to inspire you.
Let's check in with Isha Sesay who is following some other stories for us. Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, this is the most remarkable story. Congresswoman Gabby Giffords shot in the head suffered a severe brain injury ten months ago but she is on her way back walking and talking and along with her husband telling her incredible story. It's a story Doctor Sanjay Gupta has been following very closely and he'll be here with the latest on the recovery. That and more when "360" continues.
COOPER: As far as most of the world knew Jerry Sandusky another had two careers, two passions, football and helping kids. But the grand jury reports turns out to be accurate though. He betrayed both in the worst way imaginable and possibly top university officials were complicit either by their silence or worse by their actions. That remains to be seen.
What is plain to see right now, though, is how strange and creepy it now seems that a top football coach, Joe Paterno's heir apparent, would quit at the peak of his career to spend more time with the kids he claimed to love.
More on that now, from Mary Snow.
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: This is the last game coached by Jerry Sandusky, a 24 to nothing drubbing of Texas A&M in the 1999 Alamo Bowl, broadcast by ESPN. After the victory, players dumped Gatorade on him, an honor usually reserved for the head coach, a fitting end to a storied career.
UNIDENTIFIED MALE: That's his son, John. Especial moment right there.
SNOW: For more than two decades, Sandusky was the coach of a football team dubbed Linebacker U because of its stifling defense. Twice he was named assistant coach of the year. In fact many regarded Sandusky as the heir apparent to legendary Penn State coach Joe Paterno.
But Sandusky walked away from it all at the age of 55 when most coaches are in their prime. Never to coach college football again. The question is why? Was Penn State trying to move him out of their program because they knew of the allegations against Sandusky?
For his part, Sandusky said he stepped down to focus on his charity, the second mile. He also went on to volunteer as a high school football coach. Still, it was clear he had coveted Paterno's job. "I wouldn't call it devastating", Sandusky told Sports Illustrated, "that was definitely a goal of mine when I started."
The grand jury report paints a similar picture. In it, victim number four, who had been at the stands at the Alamo Bowl and said that Sandusky tried to rape him, described Sandusky as emotionally upset after meeting with Paterno and being told that he would not be the next head coach at Penn State.
Victim number four says that meeting with Paterno occurred in May of 1999, before Sandusky announced his retirement, but by then Penn State officials were made aware of some troubling allegations made against Sandusky by the mother of a different young boy, victim number six.
In 1998, she had complained to university police about her son being forced to shower with Sandusky. Detectives opened an investigation and listened on the phone as the mother confronted him. A detective testified Sandusky admitted to hugging her son and even showering with other boys, telling her, quote, "I was wrong. I wish I could get forgiveness. I know I won't get it from you. I wish I were dead."
Despite that admission, the investigation was closed without any charges ever being filed against Sandusky. He was named professor emeritus when he officially retired in 1999, retaining access to Penn State facilities, including the locker room showers where prosecutors say he abused and assaulted other boys.
Sandusky denies the charges against him and now many of his former players are shocked by what has happened to the coach they held in high esteem.
BRYAN SCOTT, FORMER PENN STATE FOOTBALL PLAYER: As a coach and as a person, he was top notch. I saw the way that he interacted with you know, myself, my other teammates, even with the second mile program. I saw how he interacted with the kids. And he just seemed like a great, great person. SNOW: Mary Snow, CNN, State College Pennsylvania.
COOPER: It seems a far different story right now.
Jason Carroll is back with us live from State College. Also Cory Giger of Altoona Mirror Newspaper and the local ESPN radio stations and CNN legal analyst Jeffrey Toobin joins us, as well.
So Cory, Sandusky retired at what a lot of people thought fairly early on his career at a, you know, very successful career. Isn't that a bit odd looking back?
CORRY GIGER, SPORTS REPORTER, ALTOONA MIRROR NEWSPAPER: Very strange. There's every reason to believe that Joe Paterno knew a lot about those 1998 allegations. One interesting story is at Sandusky's retirement dinner, Joe -- there was a very peculiar situation.
Joe spoke very briefly, only a few words, a minute or so, only stayed at the celebration for a few minutes and then left. And it was very odd to many people at the time. No one really knew exactly why. You would think that Joe would have stayed for a long time.
But there was every reason to believe looking back on all of that that Joe was probably disgusted by the 1998 allegations and kind of just wanted to distance himself as much as possible from Jerry, so, therefore -- but that breeds the question why was he allowed to coach the 1999 season.
COOPER: Well, I mean that's an extraordinary idea that if he knew about the 1998 allegations and knew and, you know, at the retirement dinner, you know, didn't want to hang around because of his thoughts on Sandusky, what's extraordinary about that and the significance of it, Cory, and in fact and, you know, explain this to our viewers is that Sandusky continued to have privileges where he could -- and was seen bringing children to the facilities and it's in 2002 that he was accused in fact of raping a child in the locker room, in the shower room at Penn State.
So if Paterno knew back in 1998 or '99 and still allowed this guy to have privileges, that's extraordinary.
GIGER: Yes, it's very troubling. And even after the 2002 incident, he was spotted with a child at a practice in 2007. So you have to figure -- you would think Joe and Mike McQueary, the receivers coach, another key figure in all of this, you would figured that they might have seen Jerry at that 2007 practice with a child and they knew that he was continuing to work with children with the second mile.
So again, very troubling and unsettling if you add all that up. So many people you would think would have to have known about these incidents in '98 and 2002 and still said nothing. And that's really why when you look over the totality of this, you just have to wonder why so many people did not come forward. COOPER: Jason, so you talked to Sandusky's attorney as we talked about earlier. Did he say anything about why Sandusky would be showering with a young boy or with several young boys in the locker facilities back in -- why would he be in a shower with a boy in 1998 and why again in 2002?
CARROLL: He did actually. And again, this comes from his attorney as we talked about earlier. He basically told me this. This was his explanation for this for now. He said you have to look at it, Jason, from the aspect of an athlete. He said a lot of athletes shower with each other after a game, after a practice, and because he was working in an environment with athletes, according to his attorney, Sandusky's attorney, he said that was his explanation for him showering with these young boys.
I know that sounds incredulous, as I say it, but again, you have to remember this is his defense attorney. That's what his job is, to start building a defense. And that's what he's saying, at least for now, about his explanation in terms of why Sandusky seemed to be showering with these boys repeatedly. And he admits to that. So we'll have to see how that ends up shaking out in court, but that's his explanation for now.
COOPER: Yes, we know one of the boy's mother, actually, confronted him about that and he said he didn't plan on stopping the practice.
Jeff, there are reports that Sandusky may have molested one of the victims while in Texas. Is it possible that he could face charges in Pennsylvania and Texas as well as federal charges?
JEFFREY TOOBIN, CNN SENIOR LEGAL ANALYST: Well, there is so much -- that 23-page report, it's detailed, but it raises so many questions. And that is certainly one of them. Did he transport these kids?
There's a famous old federal law called the man act, sometimes called the white slavery act, it's a really old law, which involves taking people across State lines, usually young women, but it can apply to men, for, you know, for purposes of sex.
If he brought some kid to Texas or brought someone from Texas to Pennsylvania, that would certainly raise that possibility. I mean you have the department of education investigating, you have the Pennsylvania attorney general, Penn State is investigating internally. I mean there is a lot that I am sure is still to come out in this case.
COOPER: What are some of the other questions that the grand jury report raises for you, Jeff?
TOOBIN: Well, the most important certainly is what did Joe Paterno know? And when did he know it? I mean there is only one reference in those 23 pages to Paterno being informed of a sexual conduct involving Sandusky. It's the 2002 incident where Mike McQueary, the then graduate assistant, now assistant coach, sees a rape in progress in the showers and tells Paterno. That's the only time he's informed of anything.
Is it plausible? Is it believable that in all these years, '98, '99, all the way to 2011, Paterno didn't hear anything else? I mean I thought that was a fascinating story about the dinner in 1999, the farewell dinner. I mean that suggests he knew something then. Year after year him knowing something and what did he does. That's a real big unanswered question in this case.
COOPER: Well, and so with McQueary as well, we don't know. I mean how is it that -- what I just can't wrap my mind around is how is it you witness a child being raped, don't try to intervene in that second, only alert your superior, you know, the coach Paterno and then have one other interview about it and then continue to be in that program, work in that program, work in that stadium and not every day try to find out what exactly happened and what's being done about what you witnessed.
TOOBIN: And what happened to the kid, is the kid OK? Only two people so far have been charged under the Pennsylvania law that says you have to report child molestation accusations, the athletic director and the vice president. That investigation is certainly going to continue and I would not be surprised to see more charges.
COOPER: Jason Carroll, Cory Giger, Jeff Toobin. Thank you all.
Coming up a closer look at the assistant coach, we've just been talking Mike McQueary, who says he saw Jerry Sandusky raping a boy in 2002 and reported to Joe Paterno. McQueary is on in definite administrative leave. We'll look at how he got his start at Penn State and his history with Paterno.
Also ahead, an Arab league deal that was supposed to stop the violence in Syria. We reported on that last week. But tonight reports that nothing has changed, not by a long shot. In fact the bloodshed seems to be worse.
Syrian human rights watches Syrian security forces have killed more than a hundred people since that deal, hundred people since that deal.
Coming up, speaking with a very brave voice from inside Syria, an activist who says the deaths continue and enough is enough.
COOPER: Penn State assistant coach Mike McQueary reportedly says he is in protective custody at a secluded location that's not at State College. The local newspaper (inaudible) is reporting McQueary talked to players by speakerphone today after he was put on indefinite administrative leave.
During the call, team sources say that McQueary told the players he want to let them know, he's not their coach anymore. McQueary saw Jerry Sandusky allegedly raping a 10-year-old boy back in 2002, or a boy estimated to be around 10. Once again, here's Mary Snow with an up close look. (BEGIN VIDEOTAPE)
MARY SNOW, CNN CORRESPONDENT: His name is Mike McQueary, an assistant football coach at Penn State. And it's what he saw in 2002, say authorities that led in part to child sex abuse charges against former coach Jerry Sandusky.
Sandusky maintains his innocence. McQueary grew up around Penn State, becoming a quarterback for the team under Coach Joe Paterno. He would later hope to follow in Paterno's footsteps as head coach.
At 28 when he was a graduate assistant, according to a grand jury report, he alleges he witnessed Sandusky raping a boy believed to be 10 years old in a locker room shower at Penn State. McQueary was described as being distraught and leaving immediately, turning to his father and then going to Coach Joe Paterno.
Paterno told grand jurors he was made aware that Sandusky was doing something of a sexual nature to a young boy. "The New York Times" quoted a person familiar with McQueary's account as saying McQueary did tell the full story to Paterno and others at Penn State.
This past week, Paterno has insisted he didn't know the full extent of what's been alleged. With Paterno and the Penn State president ousted, questions are now focused on McQueary, who's keeping his assistant coaching job.
On campus there are open calls for McQueary to also go. Many question why he didn't call police.
MARK CAROLL, PENN STATE STUDENT: I wasn't in his position, but I feel like any normal human being when they see something like that happening, they would react a lot more with better intent than he did.
SAM MESSA, PENN STATE STUDENT: I figure if you're going to fire Joe Paterno, you should fire him because he did exactly the same thing Joe Paterno did.
SNOW: McQueary's father, John, told us he's been advised not to talk because he's a witness in the investigation. As for his son, John McQueary is quoted in "The New York Times" saying he thinks it's eating up his son not to be able to tell his side of the story, and adds, he'll make it, he's a tough kid.
SNOW: Pennsylvania's attorney general has stressed that grand jurors found Mike McQueary to be a credible witness. CNN has reached out to McQueary several times, but so far hasn't gotten a response.
Others here at Penn State involved in the investigation have said that they have been advised not to talk. Mary Snow, CNN, State College, Pennsylvania.
COOPER: We're going to continue to follow this. There's a lot more to learn still ahead. Let's check in on some other stories. Isha is back with the "360 News and Business Bulletin" -- Isha.
ISHA SESAY, CNN CORRESPONDENT: Anderson, President Obama marked Veterans Day by laying a wreath at the Tomb of the Unknowns at the Arlington National Cemetery. In his remarks he noted with the wars in Afghanistan and Iraq winding down, this holiday season will be one of homecomings. He also urged Americans to hire returning vets.
Mexico's interior minister died in a helicopter crash today south of Mexico City. The crash killed seven other people. There were no survivors. The cause of the crash is being investigated.
The Greek government has a new leader tonight. Economist Lucas Papandemos has been formally sworn in as interim prime minister. One of his first orders of business is the controversial bailout package European leaders agreed to last month.
Wall Street ends the week on an up note. The Dow rallied for a second day closing up 260 points. Anderson, listen to this, a Florida man had to sift through the local garbage dump after he accidentally threw his wife's engagement ring out with the trash. The good news is he found it, but along with a lot of other stuff as well.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
BRIAN MCGUINN, HUSBAND: I was lifting, you know, chairs out of the way, broken glass, other sanitary items I don't want to get into, but it was horrific, to say the least.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
SESAY: Well, better to sift through the garbage dump than be in the dog house for the rest of his life.
COOPER: Yes, that's for sure. All right, let's check out this shot. We found this on YouTube under the title Oscar. Take a look. That is the weirdest thing. He clearly was streaming video. His paw stand lasts a full 20 seconds. That's pretty amazing there.
SESAY: And he just -- yes. I don't know is that nature or nurture. Someone taught him that.
COOPER: Is that nature or nurture? God, I hope somebody did not teach him that. We'll check in with you a little later on.
Let's turn to a former serious story. A new case of Amish on Amish violence in a close knit Ohio community. Such a bizarre series of attacks we've been documenting. Surprising suspects in this latest attack. We'll tell you about that ahead.
Also a new report shedding light on the violence Syria's government is trying to hide from the world. We're going to speak to a man who knows it all too well. He is risking his own safety right now tonight to tell you his story.
Also Gabby Giffords triumph after the tragedy at Tucson. We have the latest on her recovery. (COMMERCIAL BREAK)
COOPER: We're getting word out of Syria that security forces there killed some two dozen civilians in the latest round of violence today. Some two dozen people just today. A tragedy that's now all too common according to a new report just out from Human Rights Watch.
The new report describes the new constant torture and murder is nothing short of crimes against humanity. The report backs up what we've been seeing in amateur video on the internet. International journalists as you know are barred from Syria, so CNN is unable to independently confirm what's happening on the ground there.
The report from Human Rights Watch calls on the international community to step in and protect the Syrian people. The Assad regime reneged on a deal this month brokered by the Arab league to withdraw troops from cities and allow international monitors.
Since then according to Human Rights Watch, more than 100 Syrians have been killed and the bloody crackdown shows no signs of slowing down. I spoke with one brave man who wanted to offer his firsthand account of what he has seen.
He is from the city of Daraa and spoke to us from Damascus. He insisted that we identify him by his real name, despite fears of repercussions.
COOPER: You live in Daraa, what happened there today?
ZAIDOUN ALZOABI, SYRIAN ACTIVIST (via telephone): I live in Daraa, but I'm right now in Damascus. I came yesterday from Daraa. Throughout this week nothing changed from before the Arab initiative. The same killing is happening on a daily basis, shooting, arresting people, firing at peaceful demonstrators.
The regime seemingly doesn't want to move to a peaceful transition. And I don't know until when this is going to last. On a daily basis, we are losing 20 people, 25 people. Today, we lost almost 25 people. A quarter of them possibly in Daraa and maybe other places where we are facing war against the people.
COOPER: November is turning out to be one of the bloodiest months in Syria that we have seen. To your knowledge has the Assad regime complied with any of the agreement they came up with the Arab league? Have they lived up to any of them?
ALZOABI: Not a single one. There is no sign of anything happening in the future.
COOPER: You have coordinated demonstrations. You've attended demonstrations in Daraa and Damascus. Who is on the streets? Who's attending the demonstrations? Because if you listen to the Assad regime, they say it's Islamists. It's foreigners. It's armed terrorists. It's gangs. ALZOABI: People on the streets are from universities, from different sects. They were not Islamists. They were not from one sect. They were not the poor people. It's everybody.
COOPER: You're being extraordinarily brave. You're using your full name, you're asking us to use your full name. You're telling us where you are. I know you've been interrogated by Syrian security forces. Why are you still willing to speak out and use your name?
ALZOABI: Because it's enough. People are dying over there for just saying freedom. I'm telling the regime it's enough. Don't think people will go back to their homes after eight months, you still believe a lie, that you can control and overcome this uprising.
It is impossible. You can just do one thing now, save more lives, please. Stop the killing. When I chant "I want freedom" I can hear my voice for the first time in my life. Now how can I give up this, even if it costs me my life?
COOPER: What does that feel like to be the age that you are and to be able to hear your voice for the first time? That's an extraordinary statement, to hear -- that you're hearing your voice for the first time.
ALZOABI: You know, Anderson, you don't know this feeling. Maybe you were born free. You could always say whatever you liked to say. But when you dismiss that for 30 years and you think you can't do this. And this is something impossible, something you don't have to think of, believe me when you do it then you can just easily give up your life after that.
COOPER: Zaidoun Alzoabi, I hope to meet you one day in Syria. Thank you.
ALZOABI: Thank you very much.
COOPER: Stay safe.
COOPER: Still ahead on "360" another attack in Amish country. Elderly men assaulted. Their hair and beards cut. We'll tell you what's behind these kinds of attacks in this normally peaceful community.
And just ten months after she was shot in the head, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords is fighting to come back. The latest from Dr. Sanjay Gupta on her recovery when we continue.
COOPER: Welcome back. Only 10 months ago, Congresswoman Gabby Giffords was shot in the head as she attended one of her Congress on your corner events in Tucson in a parking lot. Against all odds, she survived. And now along with her husband, astronaut, Mark Kelly, she's telling her story to "People" magazine and ABC News' Diane Sawyer. They talked about the most private, difficult moments.
Her panic when she realized she could not speak and her grief when she learned she was not the only victim of gunman Jared Loughner. She speaks too about how difficult it is to make a comeback.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: How do you feel?
CONGRESSWOMAN GABRIELLE GIFFORDS: Pretty good.
UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: Is it painful? Is it hard?
GIFFORDS: It's difficult.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Dr. Sanjay Gupta has been following Gabby Giffords' remarkable road to recovery right from the start and had access to her doctors. We spoke a short time ago.
COOPER: Sanjay, considering the seriousness of her injury, Gabby Giffords' recovery, is it really been remarkable. In the article, her husband references the extensive therapy that she's been going through. What kinds of things has she been doing in rehab?
DR. SANJAY GUPTA, CNN CHIEF MEDICAL CORRESPONDENT: Well, we saw exactly some of this when we were down at the rehab hospital where she's been. They're focusing on two primary things, the right side of her body in terms of strength and also her speech, because of where this injury was.
All sorts of things from essentially harnessing someone up in a machine that you see there, they call it the superman machine. It allows you to get rid of your body weight and teaches you how to walk again.
They use things like shopping carts, all of that to be able to get her to be able to do this, you know, to walk back on the floor. Speech therapy also very specific, not just learning words, but really learning how to reuse your mouth again so the pa sounds, the ta sounds and ah sounds in the back of your mouth.
So it goes from sort of broad concepts to very specific and you know, it goes on for some time. She's still getting it as you know now, Anderson.
COOPER: She was able to say a few words fairly early on in rehab, but according to what Mark Kelly writes in the book, she wasn't really able to ask a question until July, seven months after the injury. Why does asking a question come so much later after she already had the ability to speak?
GUPTA: This is absolutely fascinating, Anderson. I'll tell you. First of all, when you think about speech, sort of generally speaking, it means several things to a neurosurgeon or neurologist.
It means your ability to understand speech, it means your ability to speak itself and it means your ability to understand your own speech. There are people who can understand perfectly well, but can't say anything, and that's sort of the position she was in for some time. She was understanding. She was able to hold up two fingers when asked, but she couldn't speak. Then it was just simple words.
But when you start to ask questions, it requires accessing your memory stores, because you're asking a question about something that's presumably happened in the past and also your ability to integrate more complicated thought.
So the complicated thought, the memory combining that all with expression, that's when you start to ask questions. That just takes a longer time.
COOPER: Her husband also writes about the first time that she realized that she couldn't actually speak, that she began to hyperventilate, to cry, realizing that she was kind of essentially trapped within herself. Is that a common reaction for patients who when they first experience that kind of trauma?
COOPER: It is. That moment typically takes place not, you know, in front of doctors or nurses. It takes place in front of family members the way that Mark described it. It is quite striking to think, you know, I understand everything.
I fully -- you know, I'm cognizant of my surroundings, but when it comes time to express myself through the spoken or written word, it simply isn't happening. It is a very frustrating experience because she was very cognizant of everything else happening around her.
COOPER: She has until May to decide whether or not she's going to run for Congress again. Given the extent of her injuries, do you think it's possible for her to do that?
GUPTA: You know, Anderson, I asked all of her doctors this, including the doctors who took care of her immediately and the doctors at the rehab hospital, and they all seem to say yes.
I mean, it's going to require work, they concede, but they all think it's quite possible she could run again in terms of her capabilities. What I will tell you this, 10 months since this tragedy happened.
In the rehab world, in the neurosurgery world, she's sort of in the middle of the game right now. Now it's November. May, six, seven months away, she may be an entirely different person.
COOPER: That's good news. Dr. Sanjay Gupta. Sanjay, thanks.
GUPTA: Thanks, Anderson.
COOPER: Let's check in with Isha again for an update on what we're following in the "360 Bulletin" -- Isha.
SESAY: Anderson, a "360 Follow," another attack on an elderly Amish man in Ohio. The local sheriff said the man was held down and his own hair and beard were cut by his own son and grandchildren.
An act considered extremely offensive within the Amish community. The Jefferson County sheriff said the attacks are connected to Sam Mullet, the leader of a breakaway Amish sect in the area.
Venezuelan authorities are not releasing new information about the kidnapping of a Major League baseball player, Wilson Ramos. The Washington Nationals rookie catcher was taken from his mother's home on Wednesday. Yesterday, police searched an SUV they believe was used in the kidnapping. They also say they have created sketches of two suspects.
President Obama is witnessing a little college hoops history this Veterans Day. He is attending the Carrier Classic on board the USS Carl Vinson between the University of North Carolina and Michigan State.
It's the first time a college basketball game has ever been played on board an active aircraft carrier. Now, you remember the Vinson is a ship that carried the remains of Osama Bin Laden to his burial at sea -- Anderson.
COOPER: Wow. That's cool to see that.
All right, up next, what would you do if your iPhone wasn't working, all right? Forget those genius guys at the Mac store, one genius in Illinois decided to call 911 and he called his way on to the "Ridiculist." That's next.
COOPER: Time for the "Ridiculist." Tonight, we're adding a man by the name of Michael Allen Skopek. As you might be able to guess from the mug shot obtained by the smoking gun web site. He ran into a bit of trouble this week.
According to authorities in Illinois he called 911 to report, wait for it that his iPhone wasn't working. And when I say he called 911 to report his iPhone wasn't working, I mean to say he called 911 five times to report his iPhone wasn't working.
Now I know what you're thinking if only there had been some examples over the years that might have taught Mr. Skopek that 911 is only to be used only in case of emergency.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP) UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I just ordered some food and the manager just took my money and won't give me my money back. They're trying to make me get something off the menu I don't want. I ordered chicken nuggets and they don't have chicken nuggets. And so I told her to just give me my money back and she told me I have to pick something else off the menu.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: This I can relate. In fact, who among us hasn't thought to ourselves, you know, this lack of chicken Mcnuggets is something for the police to look into. Let's hit the sirens and send in the SWAT team. This hasn't been an epidemic happening from Florida to Oregon. Wait, it did happen in Oregon.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I was at a McDonald's. I paid $10 and these guys gave me one burger and a fry.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: Sir, this is not a 911 emergency. Sir, this is nothing the police are going to get involved in. You need to take it up with the manager.
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: You cannot tell me I can call 911 and not get a cop right here. If I can't get a cop right here at 82nd and Sunnyside Road, I will sue (inaudible) your office right now.
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: Of course, not all misuse of 911 involves fast food disputes or broken iPhones, some people just want advice.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: 911. What's the location of your emergency?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Let's not get into that yet.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: Is it life threatening or an active crime in progress?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Crime in progress, possibly. I was just growing some marijuana. I was just wondering what the -- how much, you know, trouble you can get into for one plant?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: He found out the answer to that question, by the way, when the police showed up at his house. But let's be honest, those incidents are by far the exception. Most calls to 911 do involve true matters of life and death.
(BEGIN VIDEO CLIP)
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I think I'm having an overdose and so is my wife.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: Overdose of what?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: Marijuana.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: Do you guys have a fever or anything?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: No, I'm just -- I think we're dying.
UNIDENTIFIED DISPATCH: How much did you guys have?
UNIDENTIFIED CALLER: I don't know. We made brownies and I think we're dead. I really do. Time is going by really, really, really, really slow. What's the score of the Red Wings game?
(END VIDEO CLIP)
COOPER: The Red Wings score. By the way, that caller, a police officer who had confiscated the pot from suspects. As for the guy who called 911 about his iPhone not working, he was released on his own recognizance and is due in court next week.
We called a number listed for him to ask for comment, but perhaps not surprisingly we got no answer. Lucky for him, though, tech support is open 24/7 on the "Ridiculist."
That's it for us. We'll see you again at 10:00 tonight for another edition of 360. "PIERS MORGAN" starts now.