When Will Vermont Get Tough on Sexual Predators?

This is a rush transcript from "The O'Reilly Factor," July 8, 2008. This copy may not be in its final form and may be updated.

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BILL O'REILLY, HOST: In the "Factor Follow-up" segment tonight: As we've been reporting, the Vermont justice system is chaos, especially when it comes to sexual predators. The legislature there voted down Jessica's Law, and all across the state violent sex offenders are serving light sentences.

One of those offenders, 42-year-old Michael Jacques, served just four years in prison for raping an 18-year-old woman back in 1993. Well, last week Jacques was arrested, along with another man, on suspicion of raping and murdering 12-year-old Brooke Bennett. Jacques has been charged with kidnapping the young girl, and murder charges are expected.

Now, "The Factor" has pounded Vermont officials for their laxity in protecting the kids. Producer Jesse Watters confronted Vermont House Judiciary Chairman Bill Lippert last year.


JESSE WATTERS, "FACTOR" PRODUCER: Why aren't you protecting the children against child rapists? Instead, you're passing bills that protect transsexual rights.

BILL LIPPERT, D-VERMONT STATE REPRESENTATIVE: You people don't even begin to know what the truth is. Yesterday we passed a strong bill against sexual predators. If you'd start with getting your facts straight for once, it would be a refreshing change.

WATTERS: What about a 25-year mandatory minimum for child rape?

LIPPERT: We have the strongest laws in the country against sexual predators.


O'REILLY: That is a lie, and Lippert should resign immediately or Vermonters should recall him.

With us now to analyze, attorney and FOX News analyst, Lis Wiehl, and attorney and FOX News anchor, Megyn Kelly.

It just disturbs me in a profound way that this state is so corrupt, and there's no other word for it. Vermont is corrupt. It has a corrupt governor, and that Lippert, that Lippert is a villain. And this girl who got raped and murdered, it's on Lippert, because he's the guy that led the charge against Jessica's Law. What have you found out, Megyn?

MEGYN KELLY, "AMERICA'S NEWSROOM CO-HOST": Well, first of all, as you know, as a note, Vermont doesn't have Jessica's Law, and this guy opposed it. It also doesn't have civil confinement. This guy opposed it.

But would Jessica's Law have resulted in this guy, Michael Jacques, being in prison instead of out there available to kidnap and perhaps rape and murder Brooke Bennett? No, because he was convicted of raping an adult. Yes. Jessica's Law would not have kept him in prison.

O'REILLY: No, but it's across the board. The guy served four years for raping an 18 year old.

KELLY: Exactly. The national average when he was sentenced for rape was above 13 years. It was 13 to 16 years.

O'REILLY: Right. That's my point.

KELLY: He got sentenced to six. He only served four.

O'REILLY: Because the judge let him out. Judge Amy Davenport. But there's another corrupt judge. It goes on and on. There she is.

KELLY: Not only did she let him out. He was supposed to be on probation for 13 years. She let him off probation seven years early, saying he was cured, that the treatment program in Vermont had worked, had been a success with this guy. When she made that ruling, when she ruled that, he was, at that time, raping another prepubescent girl.

O'REILLY: Nine-year-old girl.


O'REILLY: A 9-year-old girl. This is alleged. You can't be convicted with that. We believe, Wiehl, it will come to that.

So you have been — in this state, you have politicians who are far-left loons. You have judges who are corrupt. As Megyn said, this judge let him out, all right. Not only let him out but cut his parole entirely. And at the same time he did that — she did that — he was raping, allegedly, a 9 year old.

LIS WIEHL, FOX NEWS LEGAL ANALYST: Exactly. It's the whole environment up there. The prosecutors, their hands are tied, because they can't ask for the maximum sentence.

O'REILLY: It's not cops' fault.

WIEHL: No, it's not law enforcement. Prosecutors, cops, they're trying to do they're job. They're saying longer sentences. And as we know, people are being let out in 60 days, 90 days, something like that.

O'REILLY: Well, just last week, right, another one was let out? Let me get this one. Just last week 24-year-old Brandon Bowers was arrested, charged, that he assaulted a 12- — 11-year-old boy, sexually assaulted. And he's out in the custody of his parents. His parents.

WIEHL: Here's the thing. The people of Vermont can do something here.

O'REILLY: Of course they can.

WIEHL: The people elect these judges. The people keep these judges in office, and they can stand up and say no more of this.

O'REILLY: Do you know why they aren't? After we pounded this state last year, do you know why the Vermonters aren't? I think it's ideology. I think it's about ideology.

KELLY: It is about ideology.

WIEHL: Ideology? How could you have an ideology of not wanting to protect the children?

KELLY: Because it...

O'REILLY: Because they feel it's a disease.

KELLY: Yes, you're right. That's what it is. They don't believe in civil confinement. They don't believe in harsh sentences because they think, A...

O'REILLY: It's a disease.

KELLY: Because they think their treatment program works. That guy Lippert who you just showed was on this panel that took a hard look at, and almost every serious crackdown they said no, that's not going to work. That's going to cost too much money. Treatment is better. Vermont needs to focus on treating these people. And they don't do it. If this case doesn't prove...

O'REILLY: Proves it beyond a reasonable doubt.

KELLY: That treatment doesn't work to Vermont, I don't know what will.

WIEHL: I have prosecuted murderers. I've prosecuted child rapists. And I will tell you you can rehabilitate a murder. I know that sounds crazy. You can in some cases. Once a pedophile, always a pedophile. I don't mean to sound harsh, but it's true.

O'REILLY: So we're going to continue our reporting on Vermont. This is a national disgrace. And we will hold these people accountable.

This Lippert is a villain. He doesn't deserve to serve in any state legislature. We all know now that a 12-year-old girl has been murdered.

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