Michigan teacher's union scandal latest

Michigan Attorney General reacts to union fighting for child molesters' severance


This is a RUSH transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," January 16, 2014. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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O'REILLY: Thanks for staying with us. I'm Bill O'Reilly. In the "FACTOR Follow-up" segment tonight, on Monday, Jesse Watters tried to interview the head of the Michigan teachers' union called the Education Association.

Watters confronted union chief, Steven Cook, because he is trying to get, as we mentioned, $10,000 for a convicted child rapist. Neal Erickson was a teacher, molested a 12-year-old boy for three years, has been up to 30 years in prison. Nevertheless, Cook does not cook does not seem very concerned.


JESSE WATTERS, FOX NEWS CORRESPONDENT: You had a teacher who repeatedly raped one of his own students and you're trying to get him $10,000. Can you please explain that.


WATTERS: You know, you're hurting the student and his family even more. Don't you care.

COOK: No comment.


O'REILLY: And he doesn't care. Joining us now from Lansing, Michigan, Bill Schuette, the attorney general of that state.

So, you did the right thing. Your office and the local district attorney, prosecuted this man, got a very stiff sentence, up to 30 years, OK.

Then the union steps in and wants to get him 10 grand in severance pay, or something like that. Are you guys going to do anything, Mr. Attorney General.

BILL SCHUETTE, ATTORNEY GENERAL, MICHIGAN (R): You bet. And, Bill, it's great to be with you.

And this is an outrageous case. And let me say that the local prosecutor and local judge did a great job, and so did the school board.

And this is a case where a young man was raped, molested. And, now, this rapist and molester wants to collect a reward of $10,000.


And I'm slamming the door on that. That's not going to happen. And, today, I spoke with the young man, you know. Again, he was raped when he was 12 years old. It went on for a period of time.


He endured a horrible experience and I assured him that, again, I'm going to slam the door on this. And this guy is not going to put a dime in his back pocket.

O'REILLY: Now, how can you do that legally. What mechanism will you use to shut the union down.

SCHUETTE: Well, I'm going to fight this very hard, Bill. Number one, we filed a complaint today that, in essence, will freeze any assets that this guy, again, this rapist has, and would capture any severance pay that might be awarded.

And then, secondly, if an arbitration decision is made that wrongly would award this guy $10,000, we'll intervene and appeal sooner than you can say "Bill O'Reilly". So, we're all over this case.

O'REILLY: Now, who is in charge of regulating the union. I mean, you saw the union chief, Steven Cook. He doesn't care. And, believe me, Mr. Attorney General, --


-- I think you know this, we tried for weeks to convince this guy to either come on the program and explain himself, or to drop it, --


-- which any union would have done. As Heather just said, there's a clause in the contract that says if the teacher is suspended for conduct unbecoming or whatever, all the things that he's entitled to go up in smoke.

But who -- what agency in Michigan oversees these unions. Is there anything.

SCHUETTE: Well, this is a local union contract. And this whole thing is just disgusting. As a parent, as a father, as a taxpayer -- I mean, it just rips your heart out and it makes your stomach turn.

And we're working with the local authorities to make sure that, you know, anything they need, we're going to help them. And, as I say, if the arbitrator makes a wrong decision, we're going to fight. And this is about misplaced priorities, you know.


SCHUETTE: Quite frankly, you know, this is morally-incorrect when someone rapes a young kid and then wants to collect more money.

O'REILLY: I know.

SCHUETTE: Now, I've got a whole unit that works to get assets from convicted criminals. And so, we're going to make sure that we take care of restitution and help the victims first.

O'REILLY: But it's even worse than that. The money that he would be getting is from the dues of the teachers, the good teachers, all right.

So, paying for this child rapist -- imagine if you were a teacher and you were appalled and outraged by one of your own raping a student, and then you're forced to pay --


-- the 10 grand because it's your dues money that goes in. Now, when you say there's arbitration, --


-- if the union, teachers' union, would back out of the arbitration and say, "Look, we're not going to do it." Then the arbiter wouldn't have to decide. It's the union that's pushing this thing still, after all this.

SCHUETTE: Well, you're right. And it's a great example. They are just dead wrong. And so, that's why we're going to fight this every way.

I used to represent this west branch community when I served in Congress. And there are a lot of good people there, a lot of good teachers, and a lot of good community leaders. And I think we'll be able to, I think, make this right.

And then, the other just disgraceful issue about this, Bill, is the mom in this case is going through stage two cancer. And so, she's going through a whole bunch of heartache.

Their son has endured a brutal experience and this rapist wants to get $10,000. No way. That's just not going to happen.

O'REILLY: All right. Well, we're glad to hear that, Mr. Attorney General. Keep us posted. Let us know what happens.

We believe you will prevail but we want to do it quick. Let's give the family some relief quick, stop this nonsense. The State of Michigan shouldn't be embarrassed like this. You did the right thing.

SCHUETTE: We're going to do this. We're going to make it right. I'm slamming the door.

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