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tv   Rock Center With Brian Williams  NBC  August 16, 2012 10:00pm-11:00pm EDT

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tonight on "rock center," she is mitt romney's real running mate. ann romney opens up to natalie morales about her heritage, her husband, her health and her own critical role in the race for the white house. >> i don't think he could do it without me. i don't believe he could. i couldn't, obviously, be here without him either. >> if that statement from ann romney surprises you, wait till you hear her tough response to calls from both sides to release more of their tax returns. >> we have done what's legally required and there's going to be no more -- there's going to be no more tax releases. also tonight there's trouble in treatment. some of scientology's biggest stars have touted the success of
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narconon rehab centers in helping adcts recover, but harry smith reports on disturbing questions raised by recent patient deaths. >> do you blame narconon for your daughter's death? >> absolutely. stacy wasn't the only one. the way they're running now, she won't be the last one. >> naurk naup sarconon says it' nonreligious rehab program. but critics say it relies too heavily on the teachings of the founder of scientology. >> what did the training entail? >> i had to listen to 12 one-hour tapes of l. ron hubbard. >> so nothing about drugs. >> oh, no. nothing. you never talk about that ever. >> and what happens after the gold rush for our returning olympic athletes? willie geist reports on the line dividing those who get offered a pile of money and those facing a pile of bills. >> turning down that money is like absolutely unheard of. >> 17-year-old swimming phenom missy franklin may pass up
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millions to stay amateur. a payday john orozco wanted so badly he fears it ruined his olympic dreams. >> i'd never been so nervous in my life, you know. i picked a great time to be nervous. >> that and more as "rock center" gets under way. good evening and welcome. the most talked about marriage in america right about now might be the political union of mitt romney and paul ryan. but long before there was a paul ryan in his life, mitt romney was by all accounts heavily relit upon one true north star, his wife ann romney. tonight we begin a candid conversation. nbc's natalie morales sat down with ann romney, who was and remains for this candidate the real running mate. >> reporter: this is an image of ann romney seen by millions of americans. wealthy and privileged. watching her dressage horse
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rafalca at the london olympics. 200 miles away, though, i saw something different. as the voices of a welsh choir echoed from a church where her ancestors are buried, we visited the hard scrabble coal country of southern wales. >> it's very emotional for me to come back and to know what kind of lifes my grandfather lived and my father. how tough their living really was. >> reporter: her grandfather was just 6 when he began working at a mine similar to this one. her father, edward davies, grew up here too before emigrating to america where he made a fortune as an engineer and businessman. those family traits, both toughness and ambition, were very evident when i sat down with ann romney and we talked about her role in the campaign. >> it sounds like you counsel
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mitt a lot in many ways. >> i feel like we are partners, true partners in every sense of the way. i don't think he could do it without me. i don't believe he could. i couldn't, obviously, be here without him either. >> reporter: for her, that partnership is about more than just politics. >> we have a reason why we're running and it's because i believe in my heart that mitt is going to save america. that economically we are in such difficult times and that he is the person that's going to pull us through this. and it's propelled me through the negative criticism. and i am stalwart and steadfast and confident that still to this day that mitt is the person that's going to save america and he's going to get us back on track. >> reporter: 15-year-old ann davies met 18-year-old mitt romney at a party in suburban detroit in 1965. >> i was very careful. i never let him know how i felt. i was very coy about that. i think it drove him crazy. >> reporter: her initial caution didn't last long.
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when 21-year-old mitt romney returned from his two-year mormon mission in france, he and ann decided to get married right away. >> i was 19, nearly 20. and my parents and mitt's parents did not think that was a very good idea. >> too young? >> way too young. they didn't approve. i will amend that. mitt's father got the biggest kick out of it and loved every second of it. but my parents and his mother thought we needed to wait, we needed to have time, we needed to do everything else. we would hear nothing of it. >> reporter: she was just as determined when her parents opposed her teenage decision to join the mormon faith. she turned to mitt's father, george romney, for guidance. >> it was a positive influence but it really was my own decision and my own initiative that took me to joining the church. >> but your parents did not necessarily approve? >> no. they were not happy about it. >> why not? >> i think maybe their concern was that i was doing this for mitt or for some other reason.
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i think as soon as they understood that wasn't the case, they were really okay with it. >> reporter: for a child of the '60s, she was something of a rebel in reverse. she chose to be a stay-at-home mom and raise her five sons while her peers in massachusetts were pursuing careers. >> did you ever feel dispagered? >> i did. many times i was in cambridge and knowing that i was very capable and actually quite bright and quite able to do almost any job in the world. it was a little grating on me. i can respect those -- their choices. they needed to respect mine. >> reporter: her resolve would be tested during her first turn in the political spotlight, when mitt romney ran unsuccessfully for the u.s. senate against ted kennedy in 1994. >> there was an article in the "boston globe," a profile from that time. it painted you as something of a stepford wife, sort of having this very privileged life, being naive. how much did you resent that profile?
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>> well, that was the first time i realized that the press doesn't necessarily represent who you really are and that they might represent a point of view or a way to put a wedge or do something to someone that is not fair. and it was -- >> painful? >> yeah, very. very painful. not fair, not nice, not good. >> reporter: more serious pain was still to come. in 1998 at the age of 49, she began to feel numbness in her right leg, and eventually went to a neurologist. >> in the waiting room there was a pamphlet. in the pamphlet it had two things they talked about, als, which is more commonly known as lou gehrig's disease and multiple sclerosis. i looked at mitt and i said, well, i've got one or the other. i don't know which one. let's go find out. and walked into the doctor's office and he did the testing, which is, you know, don't look, can you tell where i'm moving your toe.
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i'm like, no, i don't know. can you feel this? no, can't feel that. stand up. and then close your eyes and turn. and i couldn't. i was too -- would lose my balance. and that's when i started to cry. and it's like wait a minute, i'm failing every test he's giving me. and mitt is sitting there and you can see his eyes cloud over. and it was -- at that point it was like this isn't good, you know. this isn't good. >> reporter: the diagnosis, multiple sclerosis. she was given aggressive treatments of intravenous steroids for a year and her ms went into remission, but there is no cure. today the symptoms come and go. >> of course one of the triggers for ms and for flare-ups is constant stress in your life, so nothing like a good ole campaign to add to the stress. have you had any flare-ups? >> i have. just a little bitty one, but enough to give me a real scare. and it happened in march. it was right at the primary time.
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it was such a crazy time and i didn't want to have anyone worrying about me, especially mitt. i didn't tell anyone. >> what were you feeling? >> i started feeling tingling and a little numbness coming back and i started to get dizzy. you know, the dizzy head, you get the ms head, real foggy brain. it was just a reminder that i can't keep that pace up. >> the next president of the united states, my husband, mitt romney. >> reporter: in fact, campaigns have always been hard on her. in 2008 when mitt romney ran for president for the first time, she was angered by the attacks on her husband. >> the negative, oh, it's so hard as a wife to sit there and listen to that and take that. so that's what i said. never again. >> so why go through it again? >> well, that's a good question and i was the first one to say this time you have to do this again. yes, it was going to be painful. yes, it was going to be hard.
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yes, we might fail. but we had to go forward. >> reporter: this time she stepped out as his fiercest defender. especially when it comes to questions about the family's estimated quarter billion dollar fortune and their tax returns. >> a lot of people still are asking why not be transparent and release more than the 2010 and the estimates for 2011. >> have you seen how we're attacked? have you seen what's happened? it's been in the press quite a bit. >> are you angry it's been in the press? should you not be questioned about your finances? >> we have been very transparent to what's legally required of us. but, the more we release, the more we get attacked. the more we get questioned, the more we get pushed. and so we have done what's legally required and there's going to be no more -- there's going to be no more tax releases given. and there's a reason for that. and that's because of what
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happens whenever we release anything. mitt's financial disclosures when he was governor are huge. people can look and see any question they have. the other thing they have to understand is mitt is honest, his integrity is just golden. we pay our taxes. we are absolutely -- beyond paying our taxes, we also give 10% of our income to charity. so, you know, we have no issues that way. the only reason we don't disclose any more is we'd just become a bigger target. >> so it's because you'll just continue to face more questions? >> well, it will just give them more ammunition. >> to the american people, though, when they hear about perhaps accounts with your name on it overseas and tax shelters, they feel like you may be hiding something. >> there's nothing we're hiding. you know, we've had a blind trust for how many years. we don't even know what's in there. it's been maged by a blind trust since before mitt was governor, you know, 2002. forward.
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i'll be curious to see what's in there too. >> in that conversation with natalie morales, you heard ann romney there talk about her conversion to mormonism, and we wanted to let you know next week, we will devote the entire hour of this broadcast to the mormon faith, what it means to be a mormon in america. that's next thursday night here on "rock center." up next tonight, after the games, how olympians can have very different experiences when they arrive home from london. and later, the narconon treatment program tries to help addicts get sober using the teachings of scientology. but as harry smith reports, there are some tough questions being asked about their flagship center. three people have died there in nine months. when you hear something like that, do alarms go off? >> absolutely. you're supposed to go there to recover, not to die.
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welcome back. this is the crowd that turned out in massachusetts today to that would be postgames. a few of them are sifting through some big offers. many others, sadly, are figuring out how to make a living. willie geist, part of our team just home from london, reports tonight on what happens after the gold rush. >> reporter: the games may be over, but the race to cash in on olympic gold has just begun. already flush with endorsements, michael phelps has new deals with louis vuitton and the golf channel. ryan lochte is diving right in himself. >> i'm definitely looking towards "dancing with the stars" and "the bachelor." >> reporter: as he considers offers from popular reality
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shows, lochte already has shot a cameo on 90210. with another gold in hand, soccer goalie hope solo just released a memoir. >> i have anxiety about people knowing my life story -- >> not anymore. it's out now. >> i know. no going back now. >> reporter: as coaches are replaced by agents, the stars and stripes exchanged for corporate logos, it's time to turn gold into green. >> people worried that she'd have nerve had here. nerves of steel. >> reporter: hundreds of offers are flying in for 16-year-old gabby douglas. within hours of winning in the all-around competition, douglas' face was on a box of kellogg's corn flakes. her agent expects douglas to take in between $1 million and $3 million in endorsements just in the next year. >> i don't want to think about the money. that's why my agent is there, that's why my mom is there.
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i just want to kind of be a blessing and to give back to those who gave to me. >> reporter: sally jenkins is a sports columnist for the "washington post" who says not everyone will be as lucky as gabby douglas. >> there's a huge disparity between an athlete like gabby douglas, who probably has multimillion dollar contracts waiting for her, endorsements and so on, and, say, a weightlifter like sara who's still trying to find gas money to get to the gym. it really depends on the sport. it depends on how marketable you are as an athlete. >> gabby douglas and her million dollar smile. the all-around gold medalist. >> reporter: the financial windfall for gabby douglas comes in the same year her mother filed for bankruptcy, a reminder of the sacrifices and the investment parents make to keep their kids in the game. >> absolutely phenomenal start. >> reporter: just like douglas' mother, john orozco's parents scraped together almost
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everything they had to help him stay in the sport, even earning his gym time by working there. before the games, orozco starred in a music video for the band gym class heroes, further raising the stakes and the pressure of his marketing potential. >> i had never been so nervous in my life, you know. i picked a great time to be nrvs. -- nervous. >> oh, my goodness gracious. >> reporter: the 19-year-old hoped a medal in london would help his struggling family move out of the bronx. instead the young gymnast was knocked off balance when the bright lights were turned on. >> his olympics is over now, right? >> it's over. >> i knew the different price ranges that i would be into if i had gotten gold or silver or bronze. so i guess knowing that for me wasn't a good thing. >> so they actually came to you with figures? >> yeah. >> here's what a gold medal
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would mean to you? >> yeah. >> can you share what the gold medal figure was? >> i don't think i should. i'm not sure if i can or not. >> fair to say it was life-changing. >> yeah, it was definitely -- it would have been life-changing. >> that's a lot of pressure to put on yourself. it's enough pressure to have to compete at the highest level against the best in the world. then to have in the back of your mind the future of my family is riding on this routine. it seems to me that's not a great thing to have in your head when you're out there in front of the world. >> it's not. it's definitely not. >> reporter: orozco arrived home without a medal and that multimillion dollar deal, but he believes he'll have another shot four years from now to make his family's work pay off. >> sometimes the greatest disappointments in one olympics becomes a gold medal in another olympics. you can learn a lot from losing. most people don't like to admit that, it's an uncomfortable thing to focus on. but sometimes heartbreak creates a championship later.
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>> that's the future of usa swimming right there. you're looking at it. >> reporter: and then there's 17-year-old missy franklin. after winning five olympic medals, four of them gold, she has an important decision to make. >> do you become a business as a swimmer? do you become essentially a professional swimmer? or do you go to college? >> reporter: going pro means franklin could cash in on her gold medals. >> there's definitely been a lot of talk about sponsors and becoming a professional athlete. it's gotten really hard, because as much as i love them, there have been so many different opinions coming from so many different people. >> is her first individual medal going to be gold? yes! >> reporter: with performance in the pool and the kind of wide smile marketers dream about, franklin is already being compared to michael phelps as the next swimming superstar. phelps went pro at age 16, before he even won an olympic medal. today 22 medals later, his estimated net worth is $40
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million. >> it's hard. i mean turning down that money is like absolutely unheard of. and it's so hard for me. it's the hardest thing i've ever had to do without a doubt. >> reporter: franklin, who hammed it up in the swim team's "call me maybe" video is determined to return to the life of a normal teenager back in colorado. today was her first day as a senior in high school. for now, she says she wants to remain an amateur so she can compete on a college team. >> we talked about it. i mean we want missy to make an educated decision. we want her to have the information so she knows what she's giving up. >> reporter: her mother and father say they support their daughter's decision to turn down the chance at a big payday. >> they want me to be happy. i think that's their one and only first most goal in their life is for me to be happy. and that is not always the case, and i'm so lucky to have that. >> willie geist here with us. first of all, two points.
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number one, i came to love, as i guess everybody did, all of these athletes during those games. and i came no closer to them than the tv screen. but second, for missy franklin, is there a gray area? is there a middle ground? can she still be a college swimmer and be compensated for the travel costs? >> let's start with what she does get. before she decides to turn pro or not turn pro, she's already getting about a quarter of a million dollars, $100,000 for each individual gold medal. that comes from the usoc and usa swimming. also she'll split a pot of money for those relay teams. so whatever she decides, for a 17-year-old that's a good chunk of change. but she represents the dilemma. do you cash in in your moment or do you wait and risk, maybe there isn't another moment. it's a question we used to ask of high school basketball players. do you leave now and take the money or go to college and risk it. that's what she's deciding right now. >> willie, thank you. great piece of work. willie geist here with us.
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up next, the path os, the pain, the suffering, the mosquito bites, the cold water in the lake. what those kids say in those letters home from summer camp. the kind of brutal honesty you can't find anywhere else. [ music playing ] [ music playing ] yeah go hide. one, two...
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you're watching "rock center." we're live here at studio 3-b in new york. stay tuned for our investigation of a network of drug rehab centers with strong links to the church of scientology. [ bell tolls ] agents, say hello to the biggest hailstone in u.s. history.
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welcome back. so here we are august 16th, by any definition the dog days of august. and when summertime comes around, those of us who didn't get to go to summer camp always envied those who did. they made it sound fantastic. pancakes every morning, swimming in the afternoons, campfires at night. but the truth about summer camp can be found in letters from summer camp. yes, there are still letters. and so tonight, thanks to the author diane falanga, we read some of those letters home as part of our summer road trip. >> whoo! ♪ hello mudder, hello fadder ♪ here i am at camp grenada ♪ camp is very entertaining ♪ and they say we'll have some fun if it stops raining ♪ >> dear mom, i'm enjoying camp but i have a question.
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can you search how to prevent eye crust? love eli. >> i know that this is a coed camp but all the boys are ugly, do dorky. >> my name is diane and i've written a book called "p.s. i hate it here" kids letters from camp. i just wrote a sequel. i collected all of these letters from a crazy mass e-mail chain around the country to friends and family. >> dear family, i tried two new foods. i tried exploding hamster and cheese omlette. love zoey. >> i love that going to camp is the time when you cannot take any of your electronic gadgetry with you. and what a gift that is. it may be the only time they have an opportunity to write a letter is when they go to camp. >> dear family, guess what happened today. i sliced my shin open and i
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could see the bone but i'm okay. i am also having a good time. harry. dear mom and dad, our cabin is so dirty and unclear that this bacterial disease called empitiga. i have it all over my face. >> kids are going to tell it like it is and give you the straight dope. they're not thinking about the emotional impact of their words on their poor mothers at home. >> dear mom and dad, this is not a camp from my dreams. it's the 100th level of hell. i hate this stupid camp. i'll getting out of here. write me, i need more stamps. save me! i'm out of stamps. love zack. >> dear mom and dad, please do me a favor, end my pain, call the camp and withdraw me. please, i beg you. if i come home, i promise i'll read and you can take the computer away. please pick me up. i cannot handle this. >> parents tend to be quaking a little bit when they read these words.
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the kids have moved on because they have been able to get it out on paper. your kids survive. >> hey, mom, i'm having so much fun. i miss you but this is so much better than you yelling at me, joey and dad. no offense, love googie. >> i just had lunch and we have hamburgers. i have the best cabin. we fake farted all night. >> i can't believe in two days we love and get to see you. i've got to go plunge a toilet. bye. >> p.s., the teacher from last year got fired for inhaling crack at camp. he also went to jail. >> it takes all kinds. with our thanks to all those kids and of course the author. up next here tonight, harry smith will be with us with an investigation into a drug treatment program linked to scientology and some troubling questions about the deaths of several patients there. this is the plan for back to school.
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over 20 million americans struggle with drug and alcohol addiction, and over the last 40 years, many thousands of them have turned to a rehab program called narconon. it offers a path to recovery based on the teachings of l. ron hubbard, the founder of scientology. the church received a lot of attention earlier this summer when tom cruise and katie holmes announced their divorce. after what you're about to see, narconon is likely to be in the spotlight itself because of a recent string of patient deaths. harry smith has been investigating trouble in treatment. >> reporter: stacy dawn murphy was the apple of her father's eye. the beautiful 20-year-old former cheerleader dreamed of becoming a veterinary assistant. but stacy died this summer. a life cut short under mysterious circumstances. >> this is the smile, the cheerful, bubbly appearance that you would see her whole life. >> reporter: stacy's father, robert, and stepmother, susan,
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say stacy had struggled with an addiction to oxycontin, but stacy wanted to be drug-free. >> narconon, the most effective drug -- >> reporter: so she checked into a drug rehabilitation center she found online. it's called narconon arrowhead and it's located in a remote area of oklahoma. >> they are authorities on getting people drug-free and authorities on the mind. >> reporter: famous scientologists like tom cruise and kirstie ally have touted their value. a crew from "extra" captured john travolta hosting a fund-raiser for the narconon facility in 2007. they claim 62 treatment centers around the world, including 19 in the u.s. >> compared to other rehabs, we're the best. >> reporter: oklahoma's narconon arrowhead is the worldwide flagship facility for narconon. the murphys say they didn't know about the link between narconon and scientology. >> i got online and wanted to know what is narconon.
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and it looked like, wow, this is a professional place. this looks good. >> you were thinking this might be the sglaranswer. >> oh, yeah, because they tout such high success rates. >> reporter: a remarkable success rate of 75%. narconon's method of rehabilitation is unorthodox. patients are called students, and they study a series of eight books based on the writings of scientology founder, l. ron hubbard. >> she said this guy is doing the weirdest stuff, daddy. we have to sit in front of another student and yell at them and curse at them and say awful things about them and they're not allowed to react in any aspect whatsoever. i says, honey, all i can say is they're professionals here. >> how much did it cost to put stacy in there. >> over $30,000. >> 30,000? >> yes. >> i can't believe it, it works. >> reporter: narconon advertises itself as a nonmedical rehabilitation program.
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its unconventional methods include five hours a day in a sauna for 30 straight days, and mega doses of the vitamin niacin. hubbard claimed the program will rid a body of the toxic residue of drugs. he believed any drug is essentially a poison, and even medicines create a barrier to spiritual well-being. the detox is part of a larger system of life skills training that many narconon graduates told us have helped them lead drug-free lives. six weeks into stacy murphy's stay, she went home for a one-day visit. according to narconon clients interviewed by the local sheriff's department, upon her return, stacy used drugs she had smuggled back into the facility. the sheriff's report says she was put in a withdrawal unit, where she was left unsupervised for several hours. by the time a staff member looked in on her, she was dead. murphy said he frantically called the narconon arrowhead ceo, gary smith, for an explanation.
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>> i said did the physician look at her? and he says, no, he was not here at the time. did the nurse look at her and observe her and stay with her? and again he says, well, we're looking into that. we're investigating this. >> reporter: but stacy murphy isn't the first person to die at narconon's arrowhead facility here in oklahoma. in fact she's the third person to die here in less than a year. family members of the deceased are mystified that law enforcement and regulatory agencies haven't done more to investigate. hillary holton was just 21 years old when she died in her narconon room in april. cause of death is undetermined. gabriel graves was the father of two girls. the 32-year-old was found dead in his bed at narconon last october. >> it seems like it was just yesterday. >> reporter: gabe's mother and stepfather say they want answers from narconon too.
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>> i felt like they were leading me to believe he overdosed. and i was devastated. >> reporter: but the autopsy report showed only trace amounts of morphine in gabe's system, an the cause of death remains a mystery. >> it needs some type of monitoring. what the heck is going on? >> reporter: the gillams say gabe spoke to them about a drug rehabilitation center that was anything but drug-free. a place gabe said drugs were used by some as barter for sex. >> he said that it was one of the easiest places he's ever been to get drugs if you want them. he said there were drugs offered for exchange of physical favors. >> so the people at narconon offered drugs to the patients in exchange for sex? >> female patients is what he told me. >> reporter: a former client and a former employee both told us
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similar stories, but narconon arrowhead denies the allegations. we learned the only doctor affiliated with the facility does not work there full time. a nurse was found guilty of medicaid fraud. other staff members have criminal records as well. >> did you feel like they were completely forthcoming with you on the phone in terms of who they were -- >> no. >> -- what their procedures were? >> no. i, number one, said i do not want my son indock natd into scientology here and we do not do that. >> they said -- >> they said we do not do that at all. when i talked to gabe about it, he said, oh, that's their whole thing, trying to get us to be scientologists. >> really? >> that's what gabe said to me. >> the church of scientology has supported narconon since its inception, but officials from narconon insist it is a nonreligious program, and, they say, they don't use it to recruit new members for
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scientology. narconon arrowhead is not the only facility with troubles. narconon's largest rehab center in north america, three rivers in quebec, canada, was shut down in april because it failed to meet new health and safety standards. the health minister said there was no medical supervision, and the center posed a risk for the patients. >> the scam -- >> reporter: david love has a history of health and drug problems. he completed narconon's drug program at three rivers in 2009. at the time he seemed sold. >> these books really saved my life. >> reporter: love says he quickly went from student to staff member. >> oh, they offered me a job before i even finished the program. they start grooming patients before they even finish. >> what did the training entail? >> i had to listen to 12 one-hour tapes of l. ron hubbard. >> so nothing about drugs. >> oh, no, no, nothing. you never talk about that, ever. >> nothing about how to respond to -- >> no.
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>> -- medical emergency? >> never. >> a drug overdose? >> no, never. >> was there anybody above you who had medical training? >> no, the people above me were members of the church of scientology from montreal. >> addiction is a disease requiring medical attention. >> susan foster of columbia university's national center on addiction and substance abuse says a nonmedical approach to drug rehabilitation can be dangerous. >> what would be the baseline for minimal treatment? >> someone trained in addiction medicine or addiction psychiatry managing the care. >> but narconon supporters like dr. david root who has a workplace health practice says narconon's holistic approach can and does work. >> in my experience the narconon hubbard detoxification program is the most effective program for getting students, drug abusers, off of their drugs and it works. >> still, the number of recent deaths at the narconon arrowhead
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facility in oklahoma is alarming. >> three people have died there in nine months. when you hear something like that, do alarm goes off? >> absolutely. you're supposed to go there to recover, not to die. >> reporter: love says he left narconon because he concluded the 75% success rate that narconon advertises is bogus. >> as a graduate officer, i was the person to determine what the success rate was. i contacted all 720 patients. and i got results back in about three days and i said, oh, my god. it's only 40 something percent. when i see all the staff members that have relapsed, we're down at about 20%. and i said i'm not going to participate in this conspiracy to defraud the public, it's illegal, we can't do this. >> reporter: narconon international declined our request for an on-camera interview but sent us a statement saying three out of four narconon graduates are able to lead stable, drug-free lives.
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narconon arrowhead ceo gary smith says his facility has a 90-day intensive training program for staff and employs licensed nurses and certified drug counselors. the church of scientology says david love demanded money from the church in exchange for stopping what they call his, quote, anti-scientology and anti-narconon campaign, a charge he denies. as for the deaths at narconon arrowhead, smith says he would like to comment, but can't, due to federal privacy laws. he says our deepest sympathies go out to those families and our prayers are with them. >> i think they are taking advantage of the downtrodden. >> who do they answer to? they need to answer to somebody. >> reporter: for the families of gabriel graves and stacy murphy, emotions are still raw, as they struggle to come to terms with the sudden loss of their children. >> do you blame narconon for your daughter's death?
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>> absolutely. >> reporter: they say they want narconon facilities shut down so no one has to go through what they have endured. >> stacy wasn't the only one. and the way they're running now, she won't be the last one. god help them. >> harry smith here with us. harry, while airing this may have its own effect, what is the status of the investigation as we sit here tonight? >> well, we've contacted the governor's office in oklahoma to find out just what is going on. it seems like things are ramping up quite a bit. just yesterday we heard from her. oklahoma state bureau of investigation, oklahoma department of mental health and substance abuse services, the district attorney, local sheriff's office, all have opened investigations and now the state medical examiner's office is also investigating the deaths. >> now, you and i have spent a fair amount of time, each of us, in oklahoma. this is a tough place to get to. it's not near a lot. how does one come to narconon as a client? >> it's very interesting. a lot of places in the country, if you just google drug
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rehabilitation, what's going to come up is a lot of sites. the sites with 1-800 numbers. you call that 1-800 number, chances are what you'll end up connected to is a recent narconon graduate, who is then going to talk to you about the virtues of narconon. if that person succeeds in getting you into the program, they'll get a commission. >> harry smith, thank you for your reporting. always good to see you. thanks for being with us. up next here tonight, who remembers this man? his television career didn't pan out, but luckily he did something else for a living all his life. ♪ gonna try to make you love me too ♪ ♪ so get ready ♪ so get ready ♪ 'cause here i come ♪ get ready 'cause here i come ♪ i'm on my way
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welcome back. we, of course, have been off the air for two weeks, something about the olympics and london. so it's great to be back in our thursday night home. we've got a lot of stories to catch up on in just a few minutes we have left here
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tonight. first, a word about flight attendants. it's a tough job serving grumpy customers packed into a crowded aluminum tube doing that safety demo like street mimes, knowing no one is watching, dealing with drunks, salary cuts, short turn-arounds and airlines that merge while they're in the air. all the while juggling their own lives and families back on the ground. so it was nice this week when jimmy roberts of nbc sports, who was flying home from london, alerted us to the nice story of tom and ula feeley, married and flying for 40 years. we sent a camera crew to record their last flight on united, d.c. to london, two days ago. think of the many service items they have collected over the years. think of the number of times they have used the phrase "or wherever your final destination may be." they started flying for pan am in the '70s. they lost friends at locker be and decided to fly separate routes for the sake of their children. they started flying together
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again when they were empty-nesters and now they're retiring to become professional grandparents in about a month. so thank you, tom and ula, and all those like you. we know you know our blackberries and iphones are still on. and while you're doing doors to manual and cross-check, we're secretly unbuckling before we reach the gate. because we just can't get enough olympics, there is some post olympics news. this shot putter from belarus tested positive for roids. she was strimd of her gold medal after the games or over. in nicer news, a bronze medalist wind surfer from poland is auctioning off her medal for charity to raise money for a neighbor's daughter who is seriously ill with cystic fibrosis. it was her goal going into the games to win a medal not for herself but for that 5-year-old girl. we met the new veep candidate, paul ryan. about that word "veep," we looked deep into our archives
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and look what we found. a show on nbc in 1953 called "meet the veep" with harry truman's vice president, alben barkley, the man who first used the word "veep." as he explains it, it was the idea of his 9-year-old grandson. >> he says that vp stands for vice president, why not put a couple of little es in there and make it veep. a few days later some newspapermen were asking me about that and i told them about it and it's been veep ever sglins nbc executives say this kind of show would just never fly these days because tv shows have simply become so much more sophisticated. further proof this week that america may indeed be the greatest country on earth, the folks at cinnabon are expanding into pizza. it's an experimental new menu offering for now but let's hope this one goes nationwide, as many of us believe the only problem with cinnabon is its
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lack of pizza. the bill and melinda gates foundation, which has given away billions for good works around the world is moving along to another problem, best expressed by the title of a modern classic children's book. that book right there. they hosted a reinvent the toilet fair this week and it's actually a serious issue, because four out of every ten people on the planet have no access to a place to go. finding a cheap and easy repository would help alleviate poor sanitation and disease and could prevent child deaths and improve life for millions. there's scandal in the scrabble world. a kid was found cheating at the national scrabble tournament. a competitor at a nearby table noticed the player dropping two blank tiles onto the floor and concealing them. that's illegal and unethical. the young man has been ejected, thrown out of the tournament. a great story this week on
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the web of a heroic dog, however redundant that might be. this mommy dog in chile rescued her puppies from a fire methodically placing them on the deck of a fire truck one by one. she was able to retrieve all but one. the survivors all too young to know how lucky they are. the other big video on the web this week was the dog stealing cabbage off the kitchen table. less heroic perhaps, but it has its moments and so it's on our website tonight for all to see. >> you just don't see that kind of thing that often. on the whole it's good to be back on the air. that is "rock center" on a thursday night. one more thing, miracle of the video age. savannah guthrie has a preview of what's on tap tomorrow morning on "today." brian, thanks. coming up tomorrow morning on "today," spf 80, 90, 100, are those ultra high sunscreen numbers just a marketing ploy costing you money for nothing? plus nick lachey and 98 degrees reunite for a live concert on the plaza when we see
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you tomorrow on "today." brian. >> thanks. a reminder, next week we devote this entire hour to the mormon church in america. from harry smith's tour of the church's remarkable system for taking care of its own to mormon's beliefs and history and practices, to a portrait of the modern mormon family in this country. we hope you can join us for our hour of reporting. we are calling it "mormon in america." it's next week right here on "rock center." so for all the good folks that put this broadcast on the air tonight, good night for all of us from new york. your late local news begins now. [ male announcer ] you paid in to medicare for years. every paycheck. now, when you need it obama has cut $716 billion dollars from medicare. why? to pay for obamacare. so now the money you paid for your guaranteed healthcare is going to a massive new government program that's not for you.


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