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Passenger Jet Nearly Collides with Drone; Report: Nigeria Knew Abduction Were Coming for Girls; Is Religion Getting Bullied in America?; Report: MH370 Search May Be in Wrong Ocean

Aired May 9, 2014 - 19:00   ET


ERIN BURNETT, CNN HOST: Next, breaking news. An American Airlines passenger plane in a near collision with a drone.

Plus two brothers ousted from hosting an HGTV reality show. They say they were targeted because of their religion. Is faith under attack in America? Megachurch Pastor T.D. Jakes is OUTFRONT.

And the search for Flight 370 and new reports as searchers may be looking in the wrong ocean. Let's go OUTFRONT.

Good evening, everyone. I'm Erin Burnett. We begin OUTFRONT tonight with breaking news. A passenger jet nearly colliding with a drone. This is the first report of a near miss between an American airliner and a drone. This incident happened about 2300 feet in the air near Tallahassee, Florida. The near miss occurred in March, but the incident is obviously just coming to light tonight.

Jack Nicas broke the story for "The Wall Street Journal." He joins me now. Jack, how did it happen?

JACK NICAS, REPORTER, "WALL STREET JOURNAL": That's a good question and that's what many people are trying to figure out. What we know right now and what an FAA official revealed on Thursday is that a U.S. Airways regional jet pilot was flying, approaching into Tallahassee and saw a -- what would be a drone, what probably is a model aircraft come as close as according to the FAA official that he had hit it.

Now later inspection of the aircraft revealed that they had not touched. But two aircraft coming this close airborne is extraordinary, because under FAA regulation, aircraft should be at least 1000 feet apart vertically and several miles apart horizontally. So obviously this is an extraordinary incident.

BURNETT: Extraordinary. And how big of a danger could the drone pose to the airliner? We've seen planes that have been forced to land because of geese. I mean, is this something that could bring down a jet?

NICAS: Absolutely. If an aircraft jet engine, what they call ingested a drone, it certainly could bring down the aircraft. The FAA official pointed out this is not a bird, but this is plastic, metal, and also potentially a lithium battery. So this could potentially be catastrophic.

BURNETT: Thank you very much. We appreciate it. Jack Nicas breaking that story.

And now our other top breaking story tonight, the kidnapping of nearly 300 girls in Nigeria. According Amnesty International, the Nigerian military had four hours of advance warning before 276 girls were kidnapped by Boko Haram on April 14th. But they say the government failed to act.

Tonight a top Nigerian government official exclusively tells me they're investigating the report. Just moments ago, I spoke to Nigeria's deputy minister of defense. Here is what he told me.


MUSILIU OLATUNDE OBANIKORO, NIGERIAN MINISTER OF DEFENSE: Well, for us, this is news. But I want to assure you that we're going to get to the bottom of that and ensure that if found to be true, necessary actions are taking to ensure it does not happen. I want to emphasize that we have some of the finest men and women in uniform you can find anywhere in the world.


BURNETT: Tonight 223 of those girls are still missing and on the ground, many Nigerians are critical of their military's efforts to find the girls. The father of two them spoke with our Isha Sesay today. She asked what the government has done to help.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing on the ground.


UNIDENTIFIED MALE: Nothing, nothing. Up to 21 days, nothing has been done.


BURNETT: Vlad Duthiers is in the capital of Abuja tonight. Vlad, the deputy minister of defense, you know, when I ask the questions, many say the military is inept, the military is corrupt. They weren't there to help. He says he thinks that is grossly unfair, but on the ground I know you're hearing a lot of frustration, aren't you?

VLADIMIR DUTHIERS, CNN CORRESPONDENT: That's right, Erin. In fact, the report by Amnesty International dovetails very closely with what people on the ground in Chibok have told us, which is that the military security officials were not around when this attack first happened. In fact, one gentleman that we spoke to, father of two daughters who have been abducted said that the few security guards that were there actually dove into the bush with the residents of the town as the town came under attack, as the school itself was under fire.

The military, the defense ministry just moments ago releasing a statement themselves saying that they don't believe the Amnesty report to be true. They say that in fact reinforcements were called during the attack and that is what Amnesty is getting wrong essentially. They said that the military received the call while the attack was in progress. They started to send reinforcements.

Over 120 kilometers, which is a pretty good distance. During the movement from point A to point B to meet the attackers at the school, they say the reinforcements came under attack by some militants, and they sustained some casualties. But they categorically say that the Amnesty report is incorrect -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much, Vlad Duthiers in Abuja.

More than 2,000 people have died in the violence in Northern Nigeria this year alone, more than 300 killed by Boko Haram just this week. The terror group doesn't just kill, it kills brutally, students burned alive, throats slit. We spoke to one man who was shots in the face, the sole survivor of a brutal Boko Haram attack.


DAVID MATTINGLY, CNN NATIONAL CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): The scars on his face reveal a fraction of his pain and the soft-spoken words cannot hide the urgency of his message.

IKENNA NZERIBE, SURVIVED BOKO HARAM MASSACRE: Just like al Qaeda, they are very, very destructive.

MATTINGLY: Ikenna has a warning about the Nigerian terrorist group, Boko Haram and their leader, Abubakar Shekau.

(on camera): Should Americans be worried?

NZERIBE: Absolutely. And everything he says he will do, he does them.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): In 2012, he was a young, handsome, ambitious banker, part of the Christian minority in the north eastern Nigeria town of Mubi when masked Boko Haram gunmen stormed his church chanting Allah Hu Akbar, God is great.

NZERIBE: They came in with guns. They start shooting everybody, everybody inside.

MATTINGLY (on camera): What happened?

NZERIBE: They shot everybody in the head.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): When it was over, there were 13 dead. Shot in the face, he was the only one to survive.

NZERIBE: I knew it was over for me. The only thing I could do was to say a last prayer, which was blood of Jesus, cover me and that was it for me.

MATTINGLY: The bullet from an AK-47 blew away his jaw, his lips, and part of his tongue. Surgeons in London struggled to rebuild his face. NZERIBE: I think in London when they showed me my -- they gave me a mirror. Yes.

MATTINGLY (on camera): What did you see?

NZERIBE: A very different person.

MATTINGLY (voice-over): It was just the beginning of a long road of recovery. More than a dozen surgeries later and still more to go, he is a full-time patient now living in Houston. He is out of immediate danger, but not free from fear. The town of Mubi where he used to live is only about 60 miles from where Boko Haram abducted the 276 young schoolgirls. Watching the menacing ramblings of the group's leader on video, he says the threats are real.

(on camera): If he says he is going to sell these girls, do you believe him?


MATTINGLY (voice-over): So he prays for their safety, just as he once prayed for his own, and hopes the world takes action to stop a group responsible for so much death. David Mattingly, CNN, Houston.


BURNETT: Joining me now is Richard Barrett, a former British intelligence officer who led the U.N. team that monitored al Qaeda and the Taliban. That piece is hard to watch.

RICHARD BARRETT, FORMER BRITISH INTELLIGENCE OFFICER: Indeed it is. It reminds you that terrorism has victims, and they're not just the people who get hurt like that, of course, but the families as well. For example, the mothers of the children now who have been kidnapped.

BURNETT: Who are suffering and you obviously have been tracking these groups. How does the world stop this group from becoming another al Qaeda? You just heard the defense minister. They seem to have a lot of questions about whether they can even handle the situation.

BARRETT: Yes. I think it is very difficult for them to handle the situation. The terrorism comes out of a community and unless there is some sort of support within the community, then a terrorist group like Boko Haram cannot survive. There are people who must know where they're hiding there are people who are supplying food and stuff like that. So long as the community feels that in fact they're better off helping or not giving away Boko Haram, than helping the government, then the government's got a major problem.

BURNETT: Well, you heard our report on the ground that they're saying some of the security soldiers were the first to jump in the bush. They're afraid too. That matches other reporting that we've had. Are they going to be able to stop them? Because what I'm curious about, there is a $7 million bounty on Abubakar Shekau's head, the leader of boko haram now, and no one has turned him in. BARRETT: No one has turned him in. And now they put a bounty on somebody providing information to help them find the girls, but I think it's very unlikely that anybody is going to be able to claim that bounty, quite frankly. It will be intelligence-led investigation that leads to the girls I think rather than community tipoffs.

And I think that is precisely where the weakness in the military operation lies. They started in May 2013 about a year ago, I think, with the state of emergency in that area of Nigeria. And since then, they've been going and engaging people. But also I think a lot of innocent people got killed in the process. And that doesn't help community relations.

BURNETT: All right, thank you very much. I appreciate you taking the time.

OUTFRONT next, did the gay lobby bully HGTV into cancelling a show? Megachurch Pastor T.D. Jakes is OUTFRONT tonight.

Plus new analysis suggests investigators have been searching for Flight 370 in totally utterly completely the wrong ocean.

And a new explanation from Clippers owner, Donald Sterling, for the rant.


DONALD STERLING: If you were going to have sex with a girl and you're talking to her privately, you don't think anybody is there. You may say anything in the world. What difference does it make?



BURNETT: Tonight, is faith under fire in the United States? That's what brothers, David and Jason Benham, believed. HGTV is cancelling their reality show "Flip It Forward" after a controversial report on the web site, "Right Wing Watch that labels David Benham ads as an anti-gay, anti-choice extremist. HGTV is not commenting on its decision.

I spoke to the Benham brothers last night about their comments and why HGTV pulled the plug on their show.


DAVID BENHAM,, SHOW CANCELED BY HQTV: Never have I ever spoken against homosexuals as individuals and gone against them. I speak about an agenda and that's really what the point of this is, is that there is an agenda that is seeking to silence the voices of men and women of faith, and that's what all this is about.


BURNETT: T.D. Jakes is OUTFRONT tonight. He is the founder and pastor of the Potter's House in Dallas. It has more than 30,000 members, more than 50 outreach ministries. He is also the author of "Instinct, The Power To Unleash Your Inborn Drive." Mr. Jakes joins me now. I really appreciate your taking the time. I mean, this is a fascinating topic of conversation in this country because it depends on -- depending on where you live, you think everybody thinks the same thing.


BURNETT: But it's really sort of split almost half and half but not quite. You heard the Benham brothers. Do you think there is an agenda in this country that is seeking to silence people of faith?

JAKES: I think that more and more we bring diversity into this country, the more we're going to have these kind of debates. And what we need to find is a way to agree not to agree on everything, because you're not going to get a homogeneous society with this many people in one country.

BURNETT: But when it comes to this issue of gay marriage as just one example, do you think it's appropriate that someone could make comments like they had made about a homosexual agenda taking over the country and have a TV reality show?

JAKES: Well, I'm concerned if we ever get to the point -- there are a lot of people that say things that I don't agree with, that I don't like, but I defend their right to have their opinion. I think when we take away our right for opinion, we have taken away the freedom of speech. I think it's very important we maintain that, even when we're saying something that I don't agree with. That's what makes America different and sets it apart from other parts of the world.

BURNETT: Bobby Jindal is going to be speaking at Liberty University for their commencement tomorrow. That's where the Benham brothers graduated. I'm going read to you what he is going to say. He is talking about the brothers. If these guys had protested the Republican Party convention instead of cancelling their show, HGTV would probably have given them a raise. Do you think there is a double standard when you say something that is seen as conservative, you get judged more harshly than something that is seen as socially liberal?

JAKES: I think it depends on where you say it. That's very interesting. Even what television station you saw it on. We have divided into so many tribal ideas and I think it's detrimental to our country. I think we really need to meet with a centrist idea and focus on things that we can agree on and enjoy the idea that we do have diversity in this country. If we are going to teach tolerance on one side, we have to teach tolerance on both sides. What is good for the goose is good for the gander. That's something both sides need to understand.

BURNETT: They made this argument to me last night that this is what their faith believes, that the scripture says that you don't go ahead with gay marriage. This is not something to condone. I get confused on that. I'll read it. In Exodus, when a man strikes his slave male or female with a rod and the slave dice under his hand, he shall be avenged. But if the slave survives for a day or two, the slave is not to be avenged because the slave is his money.

JAKES: That particular scripture you pulled out of Exodus, an old testament written to the children of Israel about a lifestyle that was thousands of years ago.

BURNETT: Couldn't you make the same thing about the bible saying --

JAKES: You could if you interpreted the texts. This are texts in the Old Testament and New Testament that could argue the point either way. I don't think this is the forum to debate theology. What we need is a society that embraces the diversity there are some people that don't believe in the bible at all. They're still Americans. They still have their right to their opinion. When you start dealing with the theology of it, you can argue the texts all day long. But the particular scripture out of exodus is totally inapplicable to what we're arguing today.

BURNETT: It seems when people hide behind what scripture says or my religion says, the bible says a lot of really hateful stuff. So does the Koran. A lot of the hateful things that you would sit here and say that's hateful. I don't agree with it. Cherry picking some things.

JAKES: These ideas are not fanatical. Maybe in the secular world. But orthodox Jews have those ideas, Jehovah Witnesses have those ideas, Baptist Methodist, Catholic people have that idea. To pick out a particular group as if they are extremist on this particular issue, it's not a really fair representation of people of faith.

BURNETT: So what do you think about the bottom line of what they're saying on this issue?

JAKES: I think the bottom line is the fact that America has to accept that we are a country of diverse people with diverse ideas. We have to focus on the things that are centrist and central to our survival, rather than focus on going on the things that divide us.

BURNETT: So does HGTV do the right thing by cancelling the Benham brothers' show?

JAKES: I don't think we get to do the right thing in business because when the sponsors and advertisers come against us in fear, sometimes we snuff out things that we might actually agree with. It's a business. You don't look for justice when money rules.

BURNETT: Amid the business decision they had to make.

JAKES: I think it was. I know it was.

BURNETT: Well, Bishop, thank you so much for taking the time and joining us tonight. Jason and David Benham say HGTV actually knew about their views all the way along and they were willing to go through with the show. They actually feel that the network was bullied by a blog. Here is what they said about that.


DAVID BENHAM: I'm grateful for the opportunity to say directly to the camera that we love homosexuals, and we love Muslims, and we have absolutely nothing against the people. But we will not stand and -- there is a difference between the people and an agenda.

JASON BENHAM, SHOW CANCELED BY HGTV: Our heartbreaks for HGTV. We had such a great relationship, and we still do with several of the folks there. Our heartbreaks for them that the same thing that happens all the time when one view is able to be put out there, but then if you represent what we believe would be pro-family, the pro- family view, you're not allowed to have that anymore. And I believe that HG was pushed into this. We have nothing but love and admiration for all the folks at HG.

DAVID BENHAM: We felt that HG was bullied. We felt that HG knew who we were. They believed in us, in our show and our expertise in real estate. They were willing to take a chance with us.


BURNETT: Joining me now is our political commentator, Sally Kohn, crisis communications manager, Fraser Seitel and Mediates, Joe Concha. Joe, you believe faith is under fire in this country?

JOE CONCHA, COLUMNIST, MEDIATES: There I believe is a pc movement in this country that is overwhelming right now. That it is dictating the way certain things are decided. I see a Condi Rice get bullied out of speaking at Rutgers University. I see the Mazillo CEO who is forced to leave his company, $300 million company because not because of anything he said, because of a pledge he made to Prop 8. Do I believe faith is under fire in this country? I believe certain little aspects of it.

If you say like the Benham brothers did that there is -- that they believe that gay marriage is wrong, then HGTV, because of social media and a right wing blog says we have to get rid of a show.

BURNETT: Sally, it's interesting here. He has a point. If you see something about a homosexual lobby in this country, you will be vilified. But when you look at the polls, 59 percent of the country support gay marriage, 41 percent don't. It's hardly 99,1.

SALLY KOHN, CNN POLITICAL COMMENTATOR: There is two problems I have with what Joe said in this larger conversation here. One is this is not people of faith versus everybody else, right, versus gay people and sort of people of faith who oppose gay marriage. No. Good people of faith in this country, the strong majority of people who support gay rights, forget gay marriage for a second, a vast majority over 80 percent think you shouldn't be able to get fired in your job because you're gay.

Those are people of faith too. To say it's sort of religion versus gay rights is a false dichotomy, completely false and not in keeping with modern America, number one. Number two, this wasn't him saying or either of them saying we're against gay marriage. I think they could have survived that. I think it is OK in this day and age. Look at the number of politicians who are against gay marriage.

They were talking about -- they were saying -- they were saying much sort of more kind of right wing organizery, there is this ugly homosexual agenda. It sort of harkened back to the '60s, '70s, very -- they're kind of infiltrating. This was right wing activist speech. They at right wing events giving speeches. This wasn't just them expressing their personal views, right? And a private company has the right to stand with the majority of Americans and be against it.

BURNETT: That's what T.D. Jakes was saying. What about the handling sense? Last night they were saying we just have a problem with the agenda. We don't have a problem with the agenda people. The way it came out is I love homosexuals.

FRASER SEITEL, PUBLIC RELATIONS PROFESSOR, NEW YORK UNIVERSITY: Because they say there is no such thing as -- there is no such thing as bad publicity. Of course, you tell that to Donald Sterling or Paula Deen, they wouldn't agree. I thought they handled themselves very well. They were magnanimous. They didn't blame HGTV. They did say we'd embrace gay people on our show, but they understood that HGTV as Reverend Jakes said got rid of them because it's business.

Because they should have done their social media due diligence. They didn't. This firestorm started. We're stepping down. I -- the best thing that happened to these guys last night yesterday morning they had zero recognition. Nobody ever heard of these guys. Today they're celebrities. So are they through? I don't think so. I think they can parlay this.

CONCHA: See, I have to disagree with that. Let's face facts. They are screwed. They are not getting a show on any other network because here is the thing. With Robinson from "Duck Dynasty," right, that show made $400 million just with the retail contract with Walmart alone. Paula Deen just secured $100 million in private equity. So she could restructure her brand.

BURNETT: They all these people totally redeemed, but they had brands to begin with.

CONCHA: Exactly. They already had an audience. No one heard of these guys.

SEITEL: The only point I'm making is that no one ever heard of these guys yesterday. Now we're devoting network time to it. I'm saying might they not get a show? Maybe. But can they rise in terms of being spokesmen or advocates or whatever they want to do as aggressive as they want to make it, I think they can.

BURNETT: What about Glenn Beck? OK? Glenn Beck went from Fox News, had a massive audience. Glenn Beck has a very, very loyal demographic. People are picking him up on cable channels. He doesn't need the broad people in the middle. KOHN: I mean, look. I wish them well. And here is the other thing by the way. They didn't retract what they said by the way about the sort of vicious agenda stuff and all that.

BURNETT: They tried to make the distinction between the group and the individual.

KOHN: I also think people should be allowed to grow and change. If they want to sort of prove themselves as having a -- and I mean, this literally come to Jesus moment and change their views on gay folks, they are welcome into the fray. That's number one. Number two, where this is different from Paula Deen and those other examples and certainly "Duck Dynasty" is that the base for the HGTV shows is straight women and gay men. So HGTV pretty much knew their audience would not stand for this whereas Paula Deen and "Duck Dynasty," they weren't that ruffled by it.

CONCHA: No guarantee of ratings and it would have been a PR nightmare because social media would have stayed on it and affected over shows on the network as well.

BURNETT: Terrified of social media and the pilon. I think that's what we're seeing in case after case.

SEITEL: Big business abhors controversy of any sort.


SEITEL: This was a controversy. They cut and run. They did the right thing.

BURNETT: All right, thanks to all.

KOHN: Thank you.

BURNETT: And next, the search for Flight 370. A big new detail tonight that raises the question that they have been looking in the wrong ocean.

And an OUTFRONT investigation, allegations of abuse in a mental health facility, and the man who was running it didn't even have a license to treat the patients.


BURNETT: New details in the case of missing Malaysia Airlines Flight 370. And here is the bottom line: searchers may be looking in the wrong ocean.

According to a new report in "The Atlantic", experts now have serious questions about that crucial data, the satellite information from Inmarsat. This comes after authorities have based the entire search spanning tens of thousands of miles on that data almost exclusively.

OUTFRONT tonight Michael Exner, he is the founder of the American Mobile Satellite Corporation, one of the analysts who looked at the data. And David Soucie, CNN safety analyst and accident investigator.

All right. Great to have both you have with us.

Michael, I know it's complicated, but in English -- you know, you've been going through this data. What do you see is its biggest problem?

MICHAEL EXNER, AMERICAN MOBILE SATELITTE CORPORATION: Well, the biggest problem is that Inmarsat hasn't released enough detail about the BFO chart or the so-called rings to allow outsiders to confirm any of their analysis. The experts I've been working with on have come up with a number of models that could reproduce what Inmarsat has produced in the way of analysis.

But the very same models can produce final positions anywhere along that arc, including the north and the south. We have not been able to find anything in the release data that will conclusively direct you to the south.

BURNETT: And yet they have been so confident. I mean, based on this analysis, your takeaway is they really could be looking in the wrong ocean. This could be really, really off.

DAVID SOUCIE, CNN SAFETY ANALYST: This could be really bad. But the point to remember, as Mike said, it's the released data. We don't have the released data. That doesn't mean it doesn't exist.

And Michael pointed out we spoke earlier about the fact this is not about the data itself. It's about the analysis of the data. How are they looking at it? So, without some external verification, it is real? Is it really that viable?

BURNETT: When he says it could be anywhere along that arc, we're talking north from Kazakhstan, all the way to south in the Indian Ocean, right where we looking at there.

SOUCIE: That's right.

BURNETT: That means the plane could be in a mountain. The plane could be in another body of water. I mean --

SOUCIE: Yes. I mean, we have to assume that they do know what they're doing and there is a reason for it. The point is they're not giving anyone information outside of them to say this is it. When you make a statement like that, you need to say this expert said we're looking in the right place or that expert, and here is how they came that conclusion. To just say trust us, that's where it, I don't think that's acceptable.

BURNETT: I mean, Michael, trust us is really what this has all come down to. I mean, there's been basically nothing else to go on, right? I mean, yes, countries along that arc have said we didn't see the plane. I mean, there have been things that have sort of generally seemed to corroborate it. But really, all the faith has been in this data.

EXNER: Right. We're working strictly from the so-called ping data or handshake data, and the Doppler data. And my focus has been on the Doppler data. And we've been able to reverse engineer the Doppler data and confirm with ground that we got from ATSB and radar data.

We know we have a good model for the BFO data now. And we're very, very confident that something happened on the airplane to disrupt the normal flow of nav data going to that Inmarsat terminal. So, we know that the BFO values after about 17:07 means something quite different than the ones before 17:07.

We're trying to interpret that data, and we'd really like to share it with Inmarsat.

BURNETT: So, David, what about, though, if it's not where they're looking, if it turns out they're wrong. How would you explain the other pings, the ones that have been under the water that they picked up that have supposedly come from the black boxes.

SOUCIE: Well, and that there's some new information that I just received information that we're investigating about that as well. We can't really confirm it yet. But we're waiting for last-minute information from some of the airlines that are testing those pingers to see if they really can have a lower frequency or higher frequency. And so far, it looks like they can only reproduce wit a higher frequency.

BURNETT: And of course, they came in lower.

SOUCIE: That's rights. So, there are some real question there's as well. We've been saying all along it's this convergence of data, this convergence of information that gives us so much confidence. There's two things pointing to the same place.

Now with this in question and with the pingers in question, is it really convergence of data or is it conclusions we have drawn others ahead of time. So, that's the question.

BURNETT: All right. Well, thanks very much to both of you. It's pretty incredible that after all this time that we could be now starting again.

Well, still to come, a church without god. Is it possible?

Plus, disgraced L.A. Clippers owner Donald Sterling attempts to explain the rant.


DONALD STERLING, LA CLIPPERS: I'm trying to have sex with her. I'm trying to play with her.


BURNETT: Breaking news: the NBA has named a new CEO of the Los Angeles Clippers. Former Time Warner and Citigroup chairman Richard Parsons. He just spoke to our Poppy Harlow moments ago, saying, quote, "This is actually a large and important issue not just for the Clippers and the NBA, but for the country in some ways. I'm happy to help. I love the game."

Parsons will not be replacing Donald Sterling. This is important to emphasize. The word here is CEO. According to the NBA, he is just going to oversee the team business operations while the NBA tries to force sterling to sell the team for the racist remarks he made to V. Stiviano.

Now, we are learning what may have prompted those remarks, a man believed to be sterling, in a new and very graphic recording, says the rant was prompted by sex and jealous, not race.

Jason Carroll is OUTFRONT.


DONALD STERLING: But I'm talking to a girl. I'm trying to have sex with her. I'm trying to play with her.

JASON CARROLL, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Donald Sterling round three, another audiotape released by Radar Online of what is believed to be Sterling. CNN cannot independently confirm that the voice is actually his. This time, he is allegedly heard explaining what drove him to the racist rant recorded during an argument with V. Stiviano.

STERLING: You know, if you were trying to have sex with a girl, and you're talking to her privately, you don't think anybody is there. You may say anything in the world. What difference does it make? Then if the girl tapes it and releases it, my god, it's awful. Who thinks anybody is going to tape something?

What the hell? I'm talking to a girl. The girl is black. I like her. I'm jealous that she is with other black guys. I want her.

So what the hell can I in private tell her, you know? I don't want you to be with anybody. I mean, do I have -- can I -- am I a person? Do I have any freedom of speech?

CARROLL: No apology heard on the recording released between Sterling and an unidentified man. The embattled Clippers owner does admit that what he said to V. Stiviano, who is African-American and Hispanic, was wrong.

STERLING: I have a girl here who has black kids and is partly black I think myself. I love the girl. So she is telling me I'm wrong. I'm know I'm wrong, what I said is wrong.

But I never thought a private conversation would go anywhere. Out to the public? I didn't want her to bring anybody to my game because I was jealous. I mean, I'm being honest. And -- it doesn't matter. No one is going to hear it but you and me. So --

CARROLL: Sterling's estranged wife Shelly continues to distance herself from her husband, who is now banned from the NBA. Her attorney says she owns 50 percent of the team and wants to be a passive owner, not involved in management or trades, but still owner. PIERCE O'DONNELL, SHELLY STERLING'S OWNER: She is passionate about her ownership of this team. She loves the team. Players love her. Doc Rivers has been very supportive of her.

CARROLL: Maybe so. But Clippers Coach Doc Rivers says that doesn't mean the team supports her.

DOC RIVERS, L.A. CLIPPERS COACH: I think it would be very difficult. I guarantee you every person would be on board with that. Whether I would or not, I'm not going to say. But I just know that that would be a very difficult situation for everybody.


CARROLL: Since he was asked about Shelly Sterling, he told "The L.A. Daily News", quote, "She doesn't have a current role with the team, and I do not believe that will change" -- Erin.

BURNETT: All right. Jason Carroll, thank you very much.

And I want to bring in our legal analyst Sunny Hostin.

All right. Sunny and I were sitting here.

What I did was wrong, I know it was wrong. Is that an apology?

SUNNY HOSTIN, CNN LEGAL ANALYST: I think it's as close as we're going to get. But let me make this clear -- I believe that it's Donald Sterling that's leaking these tapes. I think that this is his first step in trying to reclaim the team, by changing the narrative.

BURNETT: Right, it's not race, it's sex.

HOSTIN: It's not race, its' not sex. I'm not a bigot. I am an octogenarian victim. I was victimized by V. Stiviano, and I was in love with her. I was jealous.

And I think what's interesting is that if you look at our poll, the poll CNN did, 50 percent of people don't think he should be forced to sell the team.

BURNETT: And that was before he said it's sex, not race.

HOSTIN: That was before this was leaked. And so, my sense is how many men wouldn't sort of understand that? Like wow, maybe you do say these things to get in a girl's pants. Maybe that's why he said it.

And I think it will ring true in terms of changing this narrative. In some respects, it's sort of brilliant. So those people that are saying he is some wacky, quacky guy, I don't know. I think he may be like crazy like a fox.

BURNETT: Well, I mean, especially because there is that no one but us is going to hear this anyway. But then I'm you know what? You did leak the tape.

HOSTIN: Of course, he did. Of course, he did. There's just no question about it.

BURNETT: So you think the narrative has changed here? I mean, is this going to change to such a level that Sterling or himself or his wife keep the team? Is that possible now?

HOSTIN: Well, I always thought it was very possible his wife will keep the team, especially as passive owner. If they now have the new CEO and she doesn't have a day to day management operations, then why shouldn't she be able to keep it? Adam Silver sort of misstepped when he said this punishment only has to do with Donald Sterling. It has nothing to do with any other member.

But I think now, Donald Sterling, we know he is not going to give up without a fight.

BURNETT: Well, he is willing to humiliate himself even further. I mean, it's not --

HOSTIN: Absolutely.

BURNETT: -- like anything he is saying on the tapes is -- it's not just gross, it's pathetic.

HOSTIN: It's pathetic. But I think people will think oh, poor Donald Sterling. He is doing what any guy would do. He is jealous and he is saying these things in a private conversation. I wonder if we do the poll again, will this have tipped the balance in his favor.

BURNETT: All right. Sunny Hostin, thank you.

HOSTIN: Thanks.

BURNETT: Still to come, an OUTFRONT investigation: allegations of abuse in a mental facility for teens. The man running it not even a doctor.

Plus, an atheist church. Is it an oxymoron? Morgan Spurlock is OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: For decades, an unlicensed professional who led families to believe he was a medical doctor ran a facility for children and adolescents with mental issues and drug abuse problems, this despite complaints after complaints, the state of Colorado alleging verbal abuse, sexual abuse, mistreatment involving psychiatric medications and outright fraud.

Now, a judge is set to rule on a cease and desist order against the man at the center of the allegations.

Ana Cabrera has this OUTFRONT investigation.


ANA CABRERA, CNN CORRESPONDENT (voice-over): Jessica Palmer was a star soccer player, a gifted writer and loved the outdoors.

RICK PALMER, JESSICA'S FATHER: She was life. She was bubbly, wonderful, energetic.

CABRERA: But she was a troubled teen.

(on camera): So there were at least a couple of psychiatrists who had diagnosed her with bipolar.

PALMER: Yes, and we knew what we were dealing with. We didn't have the tools to deal with it.

CABRERA (voice-over): In 2011, her parents turned to a state- regulated in-patient psychiatry facility and treatment center, Adolescent and Family Institute of Colorado, also known as AFIC.

But instead of getting help, the Palmers claim Jessica was cut off from her family, abruptly quickly taken off her bipolar medicine and was brainwashed into believing she was faking her mental illness. These allegations are now part of a civil suit at AFIC and its founder denied.

UNIDENTIFIED FEMALE: AFIC psychologically broke her.

CABRERA: We found more than a dozen civil suits against AFIC and at least two dozen complaints to state authorities that back to the mid- 1980s. There are allegations of sexual abuse that include fondling and measuring genitalia during physical exams, and complaints of abusive language.

A county social worker who attended a patient evaluation wrote to state regulators in 1998 saying the kid was stripped of his dignity, they tore him to shred, incarceration is more humane.

Also shocking? AFIC's president and founder who families say enabled the sexual abuse and participated in the other abuses wasn't even licensed to practice medicine or psychology, but was allegedly treating patients.

PALMER: He claimed on his Web site, claimed it in person that he was the ultimate expert.

CABRERA: Alexander Panio Jr., who goes by Dr. Panio, got his PhD in 1979. We found Panio's doctor in psychology came from a distance learning school. Its accreditation at the time not government approved and it's no longer offering PhDs in psychology.

But Panio was calling himself doctor as early as 1972 while he was teaching at Northwestern University.

We tried repeatedly to talk to Panio but he avoided our cameras and never returned our phone calls.

In court documents, Panio denies the allegations of abuse and stands by his credentials. His lawyer says he can't talk due to settlement terms in a number of suits, including the Palmers, and another family, the Donabedians.

AIMEE DONABEDIAN, CHRIS' MOTHER: Lives have been destroyed.

CABRERA: Aimee Donabedian has her son, Chris, was among those neglected and abused at AFIC in 2010.

DONABEDIAN: No one did anything.

CABRERA (on camera): Why?

DONABEDIAN: Incompetence? I don't know.

CABRERA: We've gone through hundreds of pages showing that state regulators were alerted to problems at AFIC. And they did investigate. But time and again, the allegations could not be confirmed.

(voice-over): The Department of Human Services, the Department of Regulatory Agencies and even the governor's office refused multiple requests to be interviewed. Instead, we got this joint statement. "Mr. Panio and the respective license and credentials is part of an ongoing case in which the final disposition has not been reached and therefore cannot be discussed in an interview."

For the Palmer family, it's not enough.

SYLVIA PALMER, JESSICA'S MOM: The mess they made in her mind was permanent and final.

CABRERA: At 17, Jessica Palmer took her own life less than a year after leaving AFIC. Her parents allege she was convinced by the AFIC staff that she was faking her mental illness.

A note from her journal written at AFIC reads, "I am a fraud. I am just a waste of space. I want to be gone from here, whether that looks like jail, an institution or death."

Ana Cabrera, CNN, Denver, Colorado.


BURNETT: Incredible story. Well, the state never shut down the center but the facility did close about a year ago. No criminal charges have ever been filed. The police say they're investigating and can't discuss details.

We'll continue to follow that and see if it changes.

Still to come, do churches need less God? Morgan Spurlock is OUTFRONT.


BURNETT: Is America turning heathen? According to a WIN/Gallup poll, in the past ten years, the number of people who say they have no religious affiliation has surged from 27 to 40 percent. Now, that number isn't all atheists. It includes people who don't regularly attend a particular church, agnostics, as well as atheists.

Which brings me to the number: 5 percent. That's the percentage of nonreligious people who say they are convinced atheists, as in they know there is no god. That's up from 1 percent a decade ago. And the number could continue to climb, because of the atheists in the United States, 55 percent are under the age of 35.

Still, it would be a mistake to think that people with no faith have no community or don't -- you know, in fact some atheists actually have a church, an atheist church, yes. Who better to explain it than our inside man, Morgan Spurlock.


BURNETT: OK, so can I just start with --


BURNETT: -- oxymoron, what the heck is an atheist church?

SPURLOCK: Incredible, right?

So there were these two comedians in the U.K. who said, listen, we're atheists. There's no place for us to go to church. Let's start an atheist church. And they thought of it as a joke.

And then, suddenly, cities and towns all around the world said, but we want to start one in our town. We want to do it.

So, they were like -- there is a revelation that they should be doing this in more places. And now, there are 40-plus Sunday assemblies around the world, and another 70 about to open, and it's a place where people can go. They can build a community. They sing. They can be together.

It's just they're not, you know, worshipping god.

BURNETT: What do they believe in? What do they sing about?

SPURLOCK: They sing the best pop songs you could imagine. They sing "Livin' on a Prayer", you know? They sing Bon Jovi, as you should when you're in church. Yes.

BURNETT: So what perspective do you come to with this? I mean, are you religious? Do you believe in God? I know this is personal but --

SPURLOCK: Yes, I was brought up in a not really religious household, I was brought up Methodist, and I believe in God growing up. But as I got older, started travelling around the world and met people with different religions who, everyone was suddenly saying, well, they're all wrong, that god doesn't exist, our god is the only way. You know, I started to become much more agnostics.

I know I don't know. And especially when more people are saying everybody else is wrong, I find that to be a problem.

BURNETT: So did you go to an atheist church?

SPURLOCK: I did in this episode. Yes. Not only that I go, I actually ran the service. Yes.

BURNETT: That's awesome.

SPURLOCK: It's great.


BURNETT: I am dying to find out about the atheist church, and really I want to hear what they sing. I mean, do they sing all the songs you sing in church? I mean, you know, that different words?

Anyway, you've got to watch. "INSIDE MAN: Religion", this Sunday. It's 10:00 Eastern, don't miss it.

Right now, though, "ANDERSON COOPER 360" begins.