THE PRINCE - Meet the billionaire from whom New York Mayor Rudolph Giuliani refused to accept a $10 million gift. Bob Simon visits the prince in Saudi Arabia.
THE WAR AT HOME - In a disturbing report about America's military, 60 MINUTES reveals that the military domestic violence rate is many times greater than that found among civilians. Ed Bradley reports.
YOUNG, AMERICAN AND MUSLIM – Muslim schools aren’t only found in places like Pakistan or Afghanistan – they’re right here in America – and their students are U.S. citizens. Morley Safer reports.
Notes: Narrations in bold
Ed Bradley reporting (EB) Interviewees: Kathy Spence (KS) Peter McDonald (PM) Sherry Arnold (SA) Annette LaFrancis (AL)
...a war being fought inside the homes of U.S. servicemen, where the military is suffering major casualties caused by military men who batter their wives. Nowhere is that more evident than at Fort Bragg, in North Carolina, where, over the past two months, four soldiers have been accused of killing their wives.
In the past five years, some 58,000 spouses in the military have been victims of domestic violence; it's estimated that the rate of domestic abuse in the military is up to three times higher than in the civilian population. Nonetheless, the Pentagon will tell you it has the best system anywhere for dealing with domestic violence. But, what we found out, when we first aired this story three years ago, was a system that routinely fails to punish even the most violent and abusive servicemen; that often leaves an abused spouse alone without protection to fight the War at Home.
(shot of troops)
This is Fort Campbell in Kentucky, home of the Army's Elite Air Assault Division. In just the past two years, three soldiers stationed here have been charged with killing their wives or girlfriends.
One of the victims was Ronnie Spence, murdered by her ex-fiancée Sergeant Bill Coffin, in front of their baby daughter, in their trailer home near the Army post. Kathy Spence is Ronnie's mother.
(KS) Bill shot twice through the trailer, and went in, and shot her in the face, and shot her through the heart...and then while she was lying dead on the floor, he emptied the gun into her.
For several weeks before the shooting, court records show Sergeant Coffin had repeatedly threatened to kill Ronnie Spence, and his superior officers at Fort Campbell knew about those threats.
(KS) My child did not deserve to die. At the hands of one of their soldiers, when they KNEW that it was going to happen.
(EB) Do you in any way hold the Army responsible for what happened?
(KS) Yes, sir, I do. You can't go and tell, as many people as he told, not only THAT you going to kill someone, but HOW you are going to kill her, and then nobody do anything.
(EB) What should they have done?
(KS) I think they should have confined him to that army base. They should have gotten him some help. They should have stopped him, they should have intervened. They did nothing.
Four weeks after Ronnie Spence was murdered, another soldier at Fort Campbell, Sergeant Dane Zafari was arrested for severely beating his wife, Inja. Zafari was ordered not to leave the military post unless he was accompanied by a senior officer. But officials at Fort Campbell did not enforce those orders. Prosecutors say Zafari drove out the gate, went to his wife's house, and stabbed her to death.
And then there's the case of Sergeant Tracy Leonard, who killed his ex-wife Sherill Lynn. Records show Sergeant Leonard had earlier threatened to kill her, but Fort Campbell authorities did nothing to restrict his movement.
(PM) They have no conception of what's going on in domestic violence.
Peter McDonald is a chief district judge in Kentucky with jurisdiction over Fort Campbell.
(shot of court in session)
(PM) (to defendant) You heard what I said about any violations, didn't you?
(PM) Do you have any questions?
Domestic violence cases involving Fort Campbell soldiers routinely show up in Judge McDonald's courtroom. And he says that Army commanders routinely ignore his court orders that are supposed to protect abused spouses.
In the case of Ronnie Spence, the judge had issued this emergency protective order requiring Sergeant Coffin to stay at least a mile away from Spence at all times. But Coffin violated that order the day he drove off the army post, and killed her.
(EB) Do you know whether William Coffin's superiors at Fort Campbell were aware of that protective order you had issued?
(PM) Very aware.
(EB) And what did they do to back up your order of protection?
(PM) From what I can gather, nothing.
(EB) And what does that mean to you?
(PM) That they're not taking this seriously. And if they can't take my orders seriously, how can they take the issue of domestic violence seriously?
Officials at Fort Campbell and the Pentagon declined our repeated requests for an interview. They said 60 Minutes could not be trusted to do a fair and accurate job on this story. However, Fort Campbell's Commanding General Robert Clark sent us his written statement which says the Army has "...taken active measures to prevent, identify, and intervene at the earliest known occurrence of domestic violence." As for the murder of Ronnie Spence, General Clark says the Army did everything it could to protect her.
Yet if you look at the army's domestic violence guide for commanders, it lists a number of things that could have been done, but were not. They include restricting the abuser to the barracks, or assigning him to the quarters of a superior.
(EB) General Clark says, even looking back on it, he wouldn't have done anything differently.
(KS) Then you need to ask General Clark, how many people have to lose their children, before he does it differently. And what would it take, would it take him losing one of his children?
The military does have a program to treat and prevent domestic violence. It spends a 115 million dollars a year on Family Advocacy, a program that provides counseling and other support to servicemembers and their spouses at every military installation in the country. In most states, if a woman reports that she's been battered, it's usually dealt with by the military's family advocacy program, and not civilian authorities.
In the Army, Family Advocacy was overseen by this man (shot of file photo), Michael Workman, until he pleaded guilty to beating his wife. Workman was reassigned to another supervisory job with no reduction in pay.
The problems in the family advocacy program are not unique to the Army. Sherry Arnold, a licensed clinical social worker, helped run the program for the Marines in Camp Pendleton in California.
(SA) People in command, who made the decisions, had a preconceived idea about domestic violence.
(EB) What was their idea?
(SA) That it's, um, "just a little spat", kind of thing, "it's a family problem, so we don't really want to get involved"...um, "well, gosh, if she said that to me, I'd probably hit her too"...you know, I mean, it was, some of that, "she deserved it" attitude.
(EB) They say they've got a great program, I mean, they say they're way out in front of this thing. Your experience?
(SA) Well they've left the big things behind. Women are getting battered, they are continually being battered, and crimes aren't being punished as crimes.
Sherry Arnold's job was to investigate cases of spouse abuse and make recommendations to base commanders. Often that involved requesting a military protective order to keep a serviceman away from an abused spouse.
(EB) You would go to them and say, this is my considered opinion as a professional,
(EB) This woman is in danger.
(EB) She needs a protective order.
(EB) Keep her husband away.
(EB) And what would their response be?
(SA) "No. I know what's best. This is MY marine, and I will take care of them."
(EB) So they basically ignore you if they want to?
(SA) Yes, mm-hmm. And very easily, too.
(EB) Was this the exception to the rule?
(SA) No. It's not the exception at all. Not at all.
(AL) I begged them for help, and no help came.
Annette LaFrancis, another battered military wife, accused the Navy of not doing enough to protect her. While stationed at the U.S. submarine base in Groten, Connecticut, her husband, Navy Chief Petty Officer Lance LaFrancis, assaulted her on five separate occasions.
(AL) I hold the Navy responsible for it. They knew what he was like, they knew how I felt because I did let them know, many many occasions.
On one of those occasions she says LaFrancis punched her in the face, injuring her jaw and knocking out one of her teeth. She reported the incident but he was not punished at the time, in any way. LaFrancis continued to abuse and threaten his wife, culminating in one night when he attacked her in their bedroom.
(AL) He grabbed my legs, and, literally, pulled my legs up and where my back dropped on the floor. And, I started crying, 'cause I knew something had happened, and I said, "You really hurt me this time", and I was crying, tried to get up. I couldn't. He tried raping me, while my daughters watched from across the room. It just kept going on and on and on, it was just...he just didn't seem to want to stop.
When LaFrancis finally did stop, she was left with ruptured disks in her back, which has caused permanent damage.
(EB) The Navy didn't charge him with any crime.
(AL) (shaking head) No.
(EB) Why do you think that is?
(AL) They, they needed to cover up what was going on. They did not want this to be public, they did not want people to know that a chief petty officer could do something like this.
It wasn't until seven months later, after two more assaults, that the Navy finally court-martialed Lance LaFrancis. He pleaded guilty to five counts of domestic assault, and to violating numerous military protective orders, no contact orders, that required him to stay away from his wife. He was sentenced to 70 days in the brig, but served only 28 days.
(EB) The Pentagon tells us that when it comes to domestic violence, the military has an outstanding system.
(AL) They say that, but it's not true. It's not. They talk to the public, and tell them it's the best system in the world. But when you're going through it, they find every excuse to justify what he has done, to protect him. Not protect the abused one.
If Chief Petty officer Lance LaFrancis had been a civilian, instead of just 28 days in the brig, he almost certainly would still be in jail. According to the Connecticut state prosecutor's office, what Lance LaFrancis did to his wife would have landed him in prison for five years. But the fact that he was court-martialed at all, makes him a rare exception in the military.
(EB) In the cases that you've seen, what, hundreds of cases?
(SA) I probably saw, a couple hundred.
(EB) Were there cases where there was...serious abuse, where, where things like, knives and guns, were used?
(SA) Mm-hmm, yes.
(EB) How many of those, in which where there was, you could prove, evidence that there was domestic violence, a crime was committed, how many of those led to a court martial?
(SA) None. Not one.
(EB) So there's no penalty?
(SA) The "penalty" was counseling, for 16 weeks.
Under civilian law in California, where Camp Pendleton is located, counseling for men who beat their wives is mandatory for 52 weeks. That's three times longer than the military requires. What's more, according to Judge Peter McDonald, even when he orders soldiers to go to counseling, they often don't show up, claiming it conflicts with their military duties.
(PM) They'll say they have a range exercise scheduled at 4pm, and if there's a counseling session at the family advocacy program at the same time, what do you think is gonna happen? What's gonna happen is the commander's gonna tell the soldiers to go to the range, and not go to the counseling program. I guess it, uh, goes to the mission of the army. That, uh, the readiness of the troops is more important than the protection of the spouse who's been battered by their soldier.
What did then-Defense Secretary William Cohen, say about all this? He wouldn't talk to us about it. But when he was a U.S. Senator, he talked about it. He was on record in 1994, demanding the Pentagon investigate what he called "the staggering increase in the number of reported cases of domestic violence within military families."
(EB) When you look back on what happened to your daughter, and the chain of events leading up to her murder, what would you say to the argument that what the Army does, is train people to be warriors, to fight, and at the end of the day, it's hard to put that aside when you come home, and that, in part explains, this domestic violence.
(KS) If a man can't figure out the difference, between going to Vietnam, and pulling a gun, on another man that has a gun, if that's not very different, than taking somebody half your size, that has no weapon, that has no defense, and blowing them away, then we've got a problem.
Since this story first aired, the Pentagon was ordered by Congress to investigate domestic violence in the armed forces and recommend its stronger protections for battered spouses, and stiffer penalties for the servicemen who abuse them.