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CNN Larry King Live Interview With Judy Sheindlin

Aired September 5, 2002 - 21:00 ET
Excerpt from the rush transcript

LARRY KING, HOST: Tonight: exclusive tough questions and straight answers with the no-nonsense mother of all TV judges. Tonight: her outspoken opinions on all sorts of current events, and on the ups and downs and secrets of her own success, on being judged herself. Judge Judy breaks her silence on some things, next on LARRY KING LIVE.

KING: Judge Judy Sheindlin is our guest tonight. She presides over the top rated Emmy-nominated court show that bears her name, simply "Judge Judy." You don't even need to express a lot of words. She is who she is. She begins her seventh season on Monday night.

KING: Differentiating between what's sick and what's evil. Andrew Vachss, the author and attorney, wrote that, "Sickness is a condition, evil is a behavior. And when we excuse pedophiles on grounds that they are sick, we allow them to prey on kids more." You would agree with that.

SHEINDLIN: I would agree with it and I would applaud it. Andrew is a real child advocate. And Andrew would not disagree with me if I said you take them into parachutes, you know, by the ankles and send them off to the Grand Canyon.

KING: Then what is sick?

SHEINDLIN: I don't think it's a sickness that causes somebody to engage in aberrant behavior. Whether you have a serotonin rush in your brain or you need a certain kind of adrenaline flow in order to be happy, you make choices. If you know that your illness causes you not just to sit in your apartment and vegetate, but to go out there and prey on children—prey on anyone, prey on old people; why are we just concentrating on children? Prey on 85-year-old ladies, prey on 30-year-old pregnant women who—we just had one that was brutalized getting her pocketbook stolen on the east side, you know, just brutalized—with a big belly—and going after her pocketbook—that person isn't sick. The person is evil. The behavior is evil, the person is evil. They are taking what they want and putting it above what society says, "You can't do this. This is wrong. This is evil behavior. This is not only criminal."

We're not talking about tax evasion, we're talking about pain, we're talking about murder, we're talking about defiling somebody. That kind of evil behavior we have sanctioned in this country, in our justice system, because we've said, "The people are sick." And to that I have always said, "Who gives a rat's ass if they're sick?"

If they hurt my children, my grandchildren, your children, your mother, your grandmother, they don't deserve to breathe the same air that I do. They have to be removed from society.

And if a pedophile—if the lawyer for a pedophile—as one said before my husband, "You cannot blame him; he's been convicted of pedophilia on five different occasions and he's been incarcerated." Five different occasions! What is he still out for? Why is he still in a position to hurt other children? To me, it's mind boggling that as a civilized society we permit that to happen.

KING: What do you make of priests?

SHEINDLIN: What do I make of them? I'm sure most priests are wonderful.

KING: I mean the priests who continue to do [hurt kids]?

SHEINDLIN: Andrew Vachss, in the [Parade] piece, offered an opinion with regard to the priest-penitent privilege and said he believes that there should not be a privilege when it [comes] to pedophilia. I think he's absolutely right.

[F]irst of all, a priest telling another priest what they did, as far as I'm concerned, is not protected. The only [thing] they're protecting is the church ... People give a lot of money to the church. They weren't going to give a lot of money to, you know, guys who were dipping their winky where they shouldn't. But these guys have destroyed hundreds and hundreds of children, and they've done so with the church winking an eye, because they said, "We have a certain institution to protect, and we will protect that institution at all costs. We don't mind paying off, but we will not acknowledge it."

Even that I can understand, Larry, but I cannot understand the church saying that we're going to leave these people in a situation where they can still prey upon children. Which they did.

KING: Judy, you're extraordinary. It's always good.


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