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Victory For Pedophiles... Network Cancels Show?

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posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 08:13 AM
Dateline : To Catch A Predator:

Show Description :

To Catch a Predator" is a series of hidden camera investigations by the television newsmagazine Dateline NBC devoted to the subject of identifying and detaining potential child sexual abusers who contact minors (or individuals whom they believe to be minors)over the Internet for sexual liaisons.

The Method :

The method used to catch would-be predators is derived from that normally used by Perverted-Justice. Perverted-Justice volunteers build profiles of clearly underage individuals on social networking websites, and enter chatrooms as decoys. They wait for an adult to message or email the decoy and begin a dialogue. If the conversation turns sexual in nature, the decoy will not discourage this. This also can help the Perverted-Justice team in collecting incriminating evidence against the alleged offender. Such evidence could include engaging in sexual conversations, sending the decoy pornography or child pornography, and committing other acts.

The visitors are led to believe that the supposed minor is home alone, and, upon coming inside the house, are soon confronted by Hansen.

Hansen attempts to interview each one at length about their intentions. Some exit the home immediately upon seeing Hansen, because they recognize that he is clearly not a teenager, or they have seen him in previous Dateline investigations. Hansen, without initially identifying himself, interviews the predators about their intentions, and also reads aloud some of the graphic portions of the chat. Those who have not seen Hansen's Dateline investigations before often assume that he is either the child's father or a member of a law enforcement agency. After a few minutes of questioning, Hansen identifies himself as a Dateline NBC correspondent and informs the visitor that the entire interview has been recorded on hidden camera as part of the Dateline NBC story. Then, Dateline crew members with large cameras and microphones reveal themselves, and the predator is offered a chance to make a final statement before being asked to leave.


What Happened?

The family of Louis W. Conradt Jr. filed a $105 million lawsuit last year against NBC, which ran the “Predator” episode as part of its “Dateline NBC” newsmagazine series. The network refused to disclose the amount it paid to the family.

NBC has settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who killed himself when confronted with cameras for the documentary series “To Catch a Predator.”

NBC would not comment on the details of the settlement, and would not say whether an apology to Mr. Conradt’s family would be issued. The Los Angeles Times, which first reported the resolution on Tuesday, said that the “Dateline” Web site had removed references to the Texas sting. The network would not comment on whether it had been removed as part of the settlement.

NBC has broadcast only two new “Predator” investigations in the last 12 months, and it appears the televised sex predator stings will not be repeated anytime soon. “Right now we are working on other investigative stories,” Ms. Tartikoff said in an e-mail message.


Entrapment claims

Montopoli also suggests that To Catch a Predator may not be as immune from the defense of entrapment as the show claims. Although Perverted-Justice volunteers wait for the suspect to initiate contact, former Dateline anchor Stone Phillips concedes that "... in many cases, the decoy is the first to bring up the subject of sex."

(Phillips defends this, saying that "... once the hook is baited, the fish jump and run with it like you wouldn't believe.") Montopoli contends that this alone may render Predator-related cases vulnerable to the defense of entrapment. This situation, however, may fail the "reasonable person" test of entrapment, as there is no persuasion or coercion involved, but simply an opportunity is offered. The March 2007 issue of Law Enforcement magazine, a publication of, addressed the entrapment issue from a law enforcement perspective.

"Though defendants raised the entrapment issue in Riverside, a judge's ruling later threw it out. The judge ruled it differs from a police officer presenting a handful of drugs to a subject and asking if he wants to buy some. In this scenario, the person's being invited to make a snap decision. In contrast, driving to a meeting location afforded these Internet offenders plenty of time to change their minds."


On the radio yesterday I heard that some cities and counties are dropping charges against the men who were caught in these "stings". I'm looking for more info on that.

Dateline shouldn't cancel this show. This type of show in my opinion. They were doing a good thing. I don't feel it was entrapment at all. These men would have contacted another child and moved on with their plans, I'm glad Dateline was there in these cases.

I think NBC and Dateline should be recognized and honored for their efforts in this matter.

Here is Dateline's Official Site

There is some really good information there about the subject and more.

I'm usually the first one to say, it all starts at home. Please, Please watch your children, know where they're at, who they're with and what they're doing. Monitor their online activities, be there all the time.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:17 AM
Alright, I found some information on charges being dropped.

DA refuses to prosecute ‘Catch a Predator’ cases

MURPHY, Texas - A sting in which police teamed up with “Dateline NBC” to catch online pedophiles was supposed to send a flinty-eyed, Texas-style warning about this Dallas suburb: Don’t mess with Murphy.

Instead, it has turned into a fiasco.

One of the 25 men caught in the sting — a prosecutor from a neighboring county — committed suicide when police came to arrest him.

The Murphy city manager who approved the operation lost his job in the ensuing furor.

And the district attorney is refusing to prosecute any of the men, saying many of the cases were tainted by the involvement of amateurs.

“Certainly these people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but the fact that this was all done for television cameras raises some questions,” said Mayor Bret Baldwin.

Wow... sorry, these men who went to those homes knew what they were doing, they shouldn't go free.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:18 AM
While I accept that the show might have done some good, there is a very negative side to it, as it is basically entrapment and they probably do lead on some very on the fence and sick people.

Plus how do they know where to hunt for these pedophiles? There is something about that show that dosen't sit right with me.

I am happy to see it gone, while pedophilia is a huge problem, network television is not the place to deal with it. Think of this scenario... what if there was a missunderstanding and the guy caught in the trap didn't realise he was talking to a (supposed) minor? What if for ratings they decided to just go with it? A show like that could easily ruin someone's life.

At the end of the day I guess I just don't trust the dumbasses at TV networks to deal with issues that should belong to the justice system.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:20 AM

Originally posted by Zepherian
Think of this scenario... what if there was a missunderstanding and the guy caught in the trap didn't realise he was talking to a (supposed) minor?

Yeah, they all try to use that excuse. They know what they're doing.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:32 AM
Fair enough about network television not being the place for this.

What if they still conducted these stings, cameras and all still present, but it's not shown on national television?

The videos would be used in court as evidence only?

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:44 AM
These kinds of stings were going on well before Catch a Predator and will certainly go on now that the show is over. I agree with Zepherian, television is not qualified to do this kind of work. This is law enforcement and should stay with law enforcement.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:44 AM
This is so frustrating! That family doesn't have the right to sue, imo, because it was their family member who did something wrong, not the show. Don't want your face on TV while being accused of being a pedophile? Then.... gosh, I don't know... don't touch, fondle, rape, or try to date children. Duh.

Everyone, it seems, always wants to cry and label themselves the victim, especially when it looks like they are about to get into trouble. Not one of those people who showed up to the house for a date with a minor is a victim. Not the guy who killed himself, not the other hundreds of others who showed up.

And from the episodes that I've seen, the show and the group that aids the show are pretty thorough and always have the cooperation of the police. If what they were doing was entrapment, I'm sure one of the law enforcement agencies would have told them that before Texas, because nobody wants a bunch a child molesters to go free.

Well....almost nobody.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:49 AM
I would suggest that the term "Perverted Justice" actually describes what the program is, not what it does.

First, let us be very clear that child abuse is rampant and, as a society, we have failed in our obligations to raise healthy, well adjusted young adults. We should make a core principle of our society that "It shouldn't hurt to be a child." Instead we have produced an over medicated, angry and neurotic generation. But it seems that to look in the mirror is too painful for us so we focus on the sensational rather than the important. Instead we placate our conscience by creating the bogey-man of the predatory child molester that lurks around every corner of the internet. Hey, it's easy to grab a couple of these guys and then pat ourselves on our backs and say "see what a great job we are doing keeping our kids safe!"

Let's be realistic; television is not about altruism, the objective of the show is to make money, and the way you make money is to get people to watch, and (and I don't get this) what people seem to love to see is other people just like them being humiliated and embarrassed publicly. Perhaps it's so we can feel good about ourselves by comparing how much better we are than the "perp" or what a great job we re doing keeping kids safe.

There are real and dangerous predators out there, but the ones that do the damage are not the morons that yield to the momentary impulse to fall for the come-ons of a decoy in a chat room. Consider the Amstetten father who imprisoned his daughter for 24 years. While technically the show is not entrapment, it certainly is enticement. The real predators don't fall for that. I really wonder how many of these guys "caught" on the show would ever really commit these acts if they had not been handed the opportunity and encouragement to do so. Real predators choose their victim, usually someone they know, and then exploit and destroy them according to their timetable and plan.

I was professionally associated for a time with a woman who had been a victim of such a predator while she was growing up -- her father. The abuse was violent and sexual; it started when she was six and continued until her mid teens. Her father was a senior police officer and deacon of her church and had a reputation for "busting pervs ". She complained to her mother, her minister, her teachers and social workers, but it always came back to her father who managed to convince everyone that she was "acting out" . She finally was hospitalized after a nearly successful suicide attempt and then managed to run away after she recuperated.

Her father, a crusader against perverts and porn, was stabbed to death as he slept by his wife shortly after. His daughter, my friend, is currently committed for an indefinite period of time in a mental health facility. She is now 35 years old. No one helped her even though they saw the bruises and wounds because her father "could not possibly be an abuser."

There is a serious problem of child abuse that needs to be addressed, and shows like this one are what my grandmother used to call "re-arranging the deck chairs on the Titanic" in other words it looks good but doesn't deal with the real problem. Children are still at risk but all of the sex offender registries, and massive crackdowns on porn do not get to the real root of the problem, they're just cosmetic things that make us feel good about the problem. In all honesty, I don't think those that claim to protect our children really have any idea how to actually go about it, so they just do stuff that sounds good on the news.

I'm sure many will not agree with this, but I passionately believe that we are letting the real problems of sexual and child abuse fester and run rampant while we fritter away our resources on activities that do little to address the problem. We can do better than this people. We have to.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:51 AM
reply to post by jtma508

The method used to catch would-be predators is derived from that normally used by Perverted-Justice. Perverted-Justice volunteers build profiles of clearly underage individuals on social networking websites, and enter chatrooms as decoys.

See thats just it, it wasn't the television show actually doing the sting. They were teamed up with Perverted Justice Foundation, Inc.

Perverted Justice Foundation, Inc.,[1][2] more commonly known as Perverted-Justice (also known as PeeJ), is a California-based non-profit organization that investigates, identifies, and publicizes male adults who solicit online sexual conversations with adults posing as children.

Perverted-Justice consists of volunteers who carry out sting operations by posing as 10-15 year old minors on chat sites and waiting for adults to approach them. After obtaining identifying information from these men, who may offer their telephone numbers and other details so that meetings can be arranged, the organization passes the information on to law-enforcement.[9] Perverted-Justice has attracted media attention, both laudatory and critical, as a result of their collaboration with Dateline NBC on a series of televised sting operations called "To Catch a Predator".

I don't have a problem with it, and now that I think about it more, maybe it was good to have it televised, I wonder how many people watched this show and changed their mind about attempting to contact a child online?

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:52 AM
In my country that sort of proactive police operation is ilegal, for now at least. We have an accusation based justice system that only allows police action if someone files a complaint. In that scenario what they have to do to catch the criminal, well, they have to do it.

Metamagic: excelent post which I agree with entirely. The true problem of pedophilia is far more insidious and hard to deal with than the tv shows makes it out to be. Some of these guys aren't just predators, they are canibals

[edit on 27-6-2008 by Zepherian]

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 10:05 AM
My response won't be popular but...

There are just certain topics which are taboo for a reason. Pedophilia is one of them. Now I am not saying parents shouldn't educate and inform their children - society should take all possible steps to do so.

But this show is essentially a form of voyeurism which has the subconscious effect of habituating or normalizing this deviant behavior within our society.

I would venture to say that there are hundreds if not thousands of pervs who had no idea how easy it was to meet a child on line but now they do because of this show. Additionally, the more a topic is discussed, the more it is accepted in society at large. Our brain is a meaty computer, inputs result in outputs, especially in the mentally defective.

[edit on 27/6/2008 by kosmicjack]

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 11:29 AM
This isn't a shameless plug, but merely a heads up for anyone who may want to read some previous thoughts and opinions from our members on this show.

To Catch a Predator

I've always been a big fan of the show and have always been frustrated that they could not be punished to the fullest extent of the law. They were caught "attempting", not actually doing. So the charges that could be laid were much less than what was possible. But the stigma of being labeled a pedophile on a national network, knowing all of your friends and family were going to see this soon enough.. that's a bit of a penalty. Yet the series ran into the same guy more than once.

The fact that so many people being caught were aware of the show was eye opening. The power that this desire must have over them has to be excruciating. To drive hundreds of miles with full knowledge that people are being nabbed on NBC for this exact behaviour, and still go ahead with it.

It's scary.

I'm genuinely disappointed to hear that the show has been canceled.

If I read correctly, a pedophile who was confronted on the show ended up committing suicide? A man who attempted to have sexual intercourse with a minor whom he did not know, then got busted, then decided it was easier to take his own life than face the consequences, has his family sue the network in his memory and bring down the show?

That is some irony.

Don't get me wrong, my heart bleeds for his family just as much as any victim of these atrocious behaviours. I view them as victims as well, because they probably had no idea what he was capable of. But a lawsuit in the name of such an individual is not something that should carry any weight.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 12:47 PM
Some of you won't agree with the methods, but there are several members of Anonymous that pose as young girls in chat rooms and wait for pedos start sexual conversations. Once the anon is sure of the alleged pedos intentions, and once they get enough personal info from the pedo, they copy-paste a fake message from the F.B.I. saying the conversation has been recorded and will be scrutinized.

The members of anonymous then go on to ruin the pedos life, they hack into his myspace, facebook, email, personal info, etc, and contact every single person in the pedos life and alert them to who the person they know really is. They send the conversation transcripts, and most of the time also graphic pictures the pedo sent the anon member. In most cases they also contact the authorities to get them arrested.

The most well known case was a Canadian called Chris Forcrand. Probably the most detailed account is from one of Anonymous's websites.

A lot of you will disagree with the pedos life being ruined, but I say the punishment can never be too great for someone who preys on kids.

EDITED: for clarity

[edit on 27-6-2008 by ben420]

Removed offensive link

MODERATOR-NOTE: Link removed due to T&C Violation.

1b.) Profanity: You will not use profanity in our forums, and will neither post with language or content that is obscene, sexually oriented, or sexually suggestive nor link to sites that contain such content.

[edit on 27-6-2008 by dbates]

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 01:02 PM
They did another show how bad this is in asian countries with foreigners visiting. They risked their lives and those of these childen they tried to help. I couldn't help but feel when they took on the access of the internet and pornography to court that they were wasting their time, even though it should have been done.

The access these people have whether it's on the internet or child prostitution rings is a major problem and loophole that has to be closed. What about the stories of children being smuggled out to other countries also? Is this being done through the southern border or out on cargo planes?

They did need to scare parents into being more protective of their kids and it was a subtle reality compared to worse case scenarios. I'm sure it was worth 109 million to someone if it saved some kids by having this show. They still show reruns and I wonder if they'll stop showing those as well. In the end, was just the ratings and die off like other programs?

It's time to be much more progressive and agressive with this fight to save more kids. Many are runaways who still end up using drugs and being involved in child prostitution. We need to be more aggresive saving runaways and foster children who also end up running away and abused.

I would like to see something in the next election ballot about closing these internet loopholes. But, wasn't this already defeated? Isn't this a threat to childrens futures and national security also?

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 01:28 PM
This isn't a victory for pedophiles. It's a victory for justice.

These kinds of stings can still be operated.

The activities in question are still against the law.

The only thing that changes is that these stings will not be used as entertainment for profit.

I would guess that at least 95% of Americans despise those who exploit children and heartily support law enforcement initiatives against their crimes. There is, however, the matter of due process and other legal matters that the television show jeopardizes.

The cancellation of this program shouldn't have any effect whatsoever on law enforcement.

It would seem to me that everyone over the age of eighteen should know by now that every chat room is filled with overweight middle-aged women claiming to be 14 year-old cheerleaders who're hot to trot with complete strangers.

It's hard for me to tell which group is the sickest.

[edit on 2008/6/27 by GradyPhilpott]

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 01:35 PM
reply to post by GradyPhilpott

Good points, absolutely good points.

These stings still will and should take place. I like the idea of them being televised so that maybe someone thinking of doing this to a kid might think twice.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 02:44 PM
Grady, we've had this very exchange in the past and I'd be in tough to even attempt to refute your points. Very well put. But I can't get past this naive assertion that the show may have prevented a few young girls from chatting online to potential predators, or even prevented a would-be predator from engaging in such activities. Scared straight.. maybe?

Naive, yes.

Shall we potentially jeopardize the legal process in order to install some scare tactics through the mass media? To each their own.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:07 PM
We did have this conversation and I made the point that there never seems to be a lack of idiots to take the bait, so whatever deterrence the show might have, it's not absolute and not worth perverting justice over.

If they want to televise something, let them televise the trials.

Had the Supreme Court not ruled as it had, I would support televising executions on pay-for-view and use the proceeds to fund counseling and compensation for the victims.

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 09:35 PM
I have watched a few of those episode and often it was rather sad as the offenders seemed to be borderline retarded, or otherwise just not all there.

Yes what they did was wrong, but at the same time it can fall into entrapment, lonely people that suddenly have a girl talking to them and encouraging them (sometimes for days or even weeks). Plus when converesations go on for many many hours I tend to wonder what all was said.

I recall one case where their lure went into a gay sex chat room. The person they nailed said he honestly did not think the guy was really a kid (and i can see where he may have had a point, especially considering where the lure was, the target could have thought it was roleplay).

posted on Jun, 27 2008 @ 10:18 PM
My problem with this show is this:

Imagine being a family member of one of these sicko's. Through no fault of thier own, they will unwittingly be guilty by association. Unfortunate children and other family members also share the stigma of the sex offender. When these sting operations take place by police there is at least an umbrella of privacy for the unfortunate families involved, where as the Dateline show puts it all out there for everyone to see.

Dateline is less interested in the good of would be victims than they are with the bottom-line; ratings.

That's my two cents.

So in short I am sad the show is canceled, because it was entertaining.
But all in all, considering the damage it can do to an innocent family, it's best it is off the air.

[edit on 27-6-2008 by Farzai]

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