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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 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.
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.
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 Officer.com, 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."
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.
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?
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.
Perverted Justice Foundation, Inc., 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. 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".
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