ELIZABETH VARGAS REPORTS ON SEXUAL ABUSE INSIDE THE AMISH COMMUNITY,
ON ABC'S "20/20," FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10
John Stossel Talks to Top-Selling Author Michael Crichton;
Brian Ross Updates a "20/20" Investigation that Federal Officials
Say Helped Expose a Huge Tax Scam;
"20/20 Inquirer - Is Tipping Out of Control?" Bill Ritter Reports
In a report by Elizabeth Vargas, ABC News' "20/20" has an exclusive sit-down interview with Mary Byler, the woman who broke the Amish code by reporting sexual abuse to authorities outside of her Amish community. Byler became the center of a scandal that rocked her tight-knit Amish home in Wisconsin earlier this year when she told the Sheriff's office that she was raped hundred of times - by eight or nine men, including her own brothers, who confessed to the crime.
According to sociologist Donald Kraybill, confessing in the Amish Church for wrongdoings is the key step to forgiveness, and the standard punishment for any infraction is banishment from church activities for six weeks. Byler, on the other hand, felt the punishment was not enough. "You're being grounded for six weeks," she says. "It's just really ridiculous punishment. The funny thing is that they view drinking alcohol until you puke as bad a sin as raping somebody." She tells "20/20" what brought her to her final decision to go to the authorities, knowing that she would be labeled an outcast for her actions. Byler also talks about life after leaving the Amish community and her non-existent relationship with her family today. The report airs on "20/20," FRIDAY, DECEMBER 10 (10:00-11:00 p.m., ET) on the ABC Television Network.
And: Top-selling author Michael Crichton talks candidly to John Stossel about his new book, State of Fear, and how he expects it to be attacked by critics and environmentalists for concluding that global warming is just another media-hyped scare. He hopes the book will get people thinking. "We seem to be very ready to think it's all coming to an end... at least take in the possibility that actually everything might be going to be okay," he says.
Crichton, who is much more comfortable talking about global warming than his personal life, answers Stossel's question about being married four times with a laugh: "I don't know-you just keep doing it till you try and get it right. You know? Want a serious answer to that question? Where I come from in Hollywood, four wives is sort of like the average. You know? It's - it's - maybe - it's maybe a little more than the average-three would be-right there in the middle but-it's not so remarkable... Well, I'm half way to Mickey Rooney."
Also: Jerome Schneider and his lawyer, Eric Wittmeyer, built a huge business advising wealthy Americans how to move large sums of money out of the United States to offshore accounts where money could be safely hidden. A Brian Ross "20/20" undercover investigation helped to expose Schneider as one of the country's leading tax scammers, and helped lead to his prosecution and conviction for tax fraud. Schneider and Wittmeyer pleaded guilty and agreed to cooperate with the government. The judge told Schneider he might get a reduced prison sentence if he went back on
"20/20" and told the truth. In his new interview seven years after ABC's exclusive investigation, Schneider admits that his offshore banking advice was a scam and says that he is prepared to testify against former clients, including, he claims, actress Sandra Bullock. Lawyers for Bullock admit that their client's advisor had contact with Schneider, but say they never invested any money with his offshore banks nor did anything illegal.
Plus: Tips for waiters and waitresses, the parking attendant, the car wash attendant, the bathroom attendant, the piano man, the doorman, the bellhop, the shampooer, the coffee pourer... the "20/20 Inquirer" asks: is tipping out of control? ABC News Correspondent Bill Ritter reviews proper tipping etiquette during this holiday season.
"20/20" is anchored by Elizabeth Vargas and John Stossel. David Sloan is the executive producer.