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  1. #1

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    "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    We were talking about this not too long ago, about the show etc. This is an interesting issue because in Texas, the prosecutor has dropped charges against all suspects. The DA provides some interesting reasons for his decision, but this is the only state in two years that has had a beef.







    NBC 'Catch a Predator' sting shakes up Texas town; DA won't prosecute any cases

    Associated Press
    Jun. 28, 2007 11:08 AM
    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.

    It is the first time in nine Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator stings across the country in the past year and a half that prosecutors did not pursue charges.

    Dateline has made prime-time entertainment out of contacting would-be child molesters over the Internet, luring them to a meeting place, and videotaping their humiliating confrontations with reporter Chris Hansen.

    Dateline works with an activist group called Perverted Justice, which supplies adults who troll Internet chat rooms, posing as underage boys and girls, and try to collect incriminating sex talk.

    City manager Craig Sherwood approved such an operation in this well-to-do community of 11,000 after being approached by Dateline and Perverted Justice, but he never informed the mayor or the City Council. He said secrecy was necessary for the sting to be effective.

    Over four days in November, 24 men were arrested at a two-story home in one of Murphy's newer neighborhoods after allegedly arranging to meet boys or girls there.

    Some other suspects contacted Perverted Justice decoys online but never showed up at the house. Among them was Louis Conradt Jr., an assistant prosecutor from neighboring Kauffman County, who allegedly engaged in a sexually explicit online chat with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy.

    As police knocked at his door and a Dateline camera crew waited in the street, Conradt shot himself.

    His sister, Patricia Conradt, told the City Council that police acted as "a judge, jury and executioner that was encouraged by an out-of-control reality show."

    Then, last month, Collin County District Attorney John Roach dropped all charges. He said that in 16 of the cases, he had no jurisdiction, since neither the suspects nor the decoys were in the county during the online chats.

    As for the rest of the cases, he said neither police nor NBC could guarantee the chat logs were authentic and complete.

    "The fact that somebody besides police officers were involved is what makes this case bad," said Roach, who was informed of the sting in advance but did not participate. "If professionals had been running the show, they would have done a much better job rather than being at the beck and call of outsiders."

    As details of the suicide emerged, Murphy's mayor, City Council and most of its residents learned for the first time that potential molesters were being luring to their city. Many were furious.

    "They can chase predators all they want, but they shouldn't do it in a populated area with children, two blocks from an elementary school," said Lisa Watson, 33, who lives down the road from the sting house and has three children and another on the way.

    Bryan Whorton, who lives with his wife and baby across the street from the house, said his neighborhood was put in danger. Cars sped up and down the street and police sprinted from hiding spots, guns drawn, to arrest suspects, he said. One suspect dropped a bag of crack, Whorton said.

    "This is a family community. It didn't look kosher at all," he said.

    Two weeks ago, the City Council voted to buy out the city manager's contract for $255,000.

    NBC's Hansen said Murphy is the only place the show has encountered such resistance.

    "I don't want to get involved in the DA's business or the police business," he said. "I can tell you in the other locations, these issues did not come up."

    Eric Nichols, a Texas deputy attorney general, said that when law enforcement authorities pull an Internet sex sting, officers posing as decoys follow strict rules. Detailed chat logs are kept to ensure that "sex talk" is initiated by the potential predator. That way, a defendant cannot claim entrapment.

    Eric Chase, a defense attorney specializing in sex crimes, said stings are the job of police, not TV crews. "Police should not be abdicating a very important function to either private organizations or entertainment organizations," he said
    Last edited by Max Fischer; 06-28-2007 at 12:28 PM.




  2. #2

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Just another case of people committing crimes and nothing happening.

    It's sad when they have proof that these predators are "trolling" for young girls and all that the neighbors can say is it made them uncomfortable to have the sting in their neighborhood. I bet if it was their daughter that the predator was talking to they wouldn't mind so much!
    Foolish Mortal


  3. #3

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    The quote from the sister of the suicide-committing prosecutor amazed me. Police knocking on the door of a wicked man makes them "judge, jury and executioner" when he kills himself to avoid the pain of being caught?
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  4. #4

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatpete View Post
    The quote from the sister of the suicide-committing prosecutor amazed me. Police knocking on the door of a wicked man makes them "judge, jury and executioner" when he kills himself to avoid the pain of being caught?

    Good point man!! That guy was trying to have sex WITH A MINOR. He is a perverted ****. (rhymes with duck ((no, not luck)) )

    Last time I checked, not too many innocent people eat their guns when PD is knocking on their doors.... She should have been embarressed that her honorable brother was trying to sexually violate a kid.

    It is amazing when people spin things like that. Really what she is saying is: "Nothing can help bring my brother back to life, or help our family heal, but 75 million dollars would be a good start..."




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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    I hate dateline and their ways of making news happen.

    I watched that predator show once and that it was ridiculous it was so obvious they are doing it just for the ratings. watching dateline is like reading tabloids...IMO.

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatpete View Post
    The quote from the sister of the suicide-committing prosecutor amazed me. Police knocking on the door of a wicked man makes them "judge, jury and executioner" when he kills himself to avoid the pain of being caught?
    Yes, and he himself acted as the executioner...
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    Quote Originally Posted by sleepyjeff View Post
    Before we totally disregard extremism; lets remember the lesson of the 3 little pigs.

    The moderate pig lost his house to the wolf too
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  7. #7

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by SCUBAbe View Post
    I hate dateline and there ways of making news happen.

    I hear what you're saying SB, but these sick bastards are out there regardless, whether NBC is exploiting them or not. I also think it is safe to say that it is a deterrent for many, although not entirely, since we have seen some repeat customers.




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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    I'm all for it. So the show is using it to get ratings. If a cheap TV stunt is the price we pay to get these guys out from under their rocks, it's a cheap price.
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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by steamboatpete View Post
    I'm all for it. So the show is using it to get ratings. If a cheap TV stunt is the price we pay to get these guys out from under their rocks, it's a cheap price.
    I don't think it does that. the show shows the arrest, but out of how many arrested are convicted? I have researched it lately, but the last time I looked it up it was a very small amount.

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by SCUBAbe View Post
    I don't think it does that. the show shows the arrest, but out of how many arrested are convicted? I have researched it lately, but the last time I looked it up it was a very small amount.


    This is from the perverted justice site. (granted they have a vested interest in this, but you can't fudge conviction stats)

    Join us as we celebrate our 200th conviction!

    It's a great day here in Convictiontown! We've logged our 200th conviction and we're asking everyone to join in on the celebration! Nothing shows results like well... results and now we have another milestone behind us. 200 convictions and no acquittals is a mighty fine track record to have. We launched this domain in June 2004 and it's fitting that three years later, it's June again that sees another noteworthy event.

    The most striking thing about the 200th conviction is that it seems like yesterday that we were celebrating our 100th conviction. Well, if it seems like yesterday... there's good reason! It took us two years and five months to get to 100 convictions... we hit the milestone on November 17th, 2006. Less than seven months later, we have logged another 100 convictions, doubling our previous total.

    That's right... 100 convictions in only seven months.

    For those who love statistics, that means we've on average posted a new conviction almost every other day for the last seven months. You can imagine how tired we are from typing! Despite the foolishness of some people out there that doubt the ability of private citizens to be trained and do this sort of work, the results speak for themselves. Our program works, it's effective and we're still just hitting our stride. They say in basketball that the "ball don't lie." We say at PeeJ that "convictions don't lie."

    Thanks to everyone over the year... err, last seven months that have helped us hit this new milestone. You can of course be a part of the next 100 convictions by reading our "how to help" page and joining our always-active volunteer center on our forums.




  11. #11

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    It may be a little sensational, but it still boils down to grown men contacting who they believe are children and then making sex dates. Personally, I couldn't care less who set it up or by what means; if you're sick, disgusting and stupid enough to log on to the net, enter a chatroom and make play dates with minors then you deserve to be caught, made an example of and then flogged with salty noodles for a thousand years. Screw 'em.

  12. #12

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    As far as I'm concerned, this is entrapment through misrepresentation, but of a different kind than the female police officers posing as hookers on the street corner.

    The main problem I have with internet sting operations is the hidden identity of these adults from Perverted Justice. They pose as minors in chat rooms, and do their best to convince these perpetrators that they are indeed minors. And therein lies the problem.

    If a minor is sexually active and wants to engage in sexual activity for any reason, with anyone of their choosing, minor or adult, then that minor will do so. If the minor chooses to make initial contact with these individuals over the net, then they will do so. And the percentage of minors who are sexually active increases every year. This is an issue that "abstinence only" sex ed will never diminish.

    We're supposedly trying to protect kids from predatory behavior with these sorts of entrapment schemes. But, in order to prove predatory behavior beyond reasonable doubt, you have to amass lots of evidence. So, adults posing as minors engage in online chat room behavior that minors would not engage in to the length and detail needed for conviction if the minors were offended or turned off by said sexually explicit conversation. The minors who are turned off by this behavior will leave. And that's the correct response. But the adults posing as minors have to lie to the perpetrators about their interest in order to keep them chatting for evidence collection to get their conviction.

    My problem is, if the minors who are engaging in sexual behavior do not have a problem with the behavior, then what exactly are we supposedly protecting them from? If teens want to have sex, then that's their choice. They won't care that it's illegal for them to do this. They will have sex. Teens have had sex for centuries, and nothing is going to stop them if that's what they want to do. The hormones are flowing, they're physically capable of procreating... it's a strong compulsion and drive and not at all simple to short circuit, no matter how hard adults try.

    This situation is not the same as adults approaching minors in a park or shopping mall. That encompasses potentially real dangers, because of the close physical proximity. But on the net? Everything is separated by distance and anonymity. There is no immediate threat of danger. That only comes when meetings are arranged. And if the minor is arranging for a meeting, then they were not shocked by the sexually explicit nature of the chat.

    Most importantly, if no sexually explicit language or imaging was disclosed, then no crime was committed. That is an important point regarding the law that Mark Foley ironically sponsored as a Representative. There must be sexually explicit language and/or images for the adult to be committing a crime. Otherwise, it's perfectly legal for adults to chat online with minors and even arrange meetings. Like meets at DL and WDW.


    This net entrapment stuff is a Catch-22 situation that I've been disgusted with from the beginning. And I do not applaud that prosecutor's suicide. Prior to his suicide, he did the right thing by not showing up for the prearranged meeting. But that wasn't good enough for the people he disappointed, who decided to visit him at his home, cornering him into an even more embarrassing situation. He was pushed into overwhelming guilt and shame that he could not psychologically tolerate, which prompted his kneejerk suicide. These professionals should have known better.

    And as far as I'm concerned, anyone who applauds his suicide is indirectly advocating execution for sexual predators. While many do, I do not. I do not advocate capital punishment for psychological dysfunctions. That is the very definition of cruel and unusual punishment.

    And if any individual is going to advocate capital punishment for this kind of sexual addiction/compulsion, which is what it is, then I wish they would stay consistent and advocate capital punishment for alcohol and drug addiction, gambling addiction, legal forms of consensual sex addiction with adults, or any other addiction/compulsion that exists.

    This is psychological problem that needs less hysteria wrapped around it. Making sport of people's failings and deeply-rooted shame is schadenfreude of the worst kind.
    "Dope smoking insects and reckless driving always work." -- Cousin Orville

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    The guys arrested on Dateline in Texas may not have been convicted, but I think the show still ruined their reputation. I take that back, they ruined their own reputation by appearing on the show and going after kids. So it's not like the people are going away unpunished so to speak.

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    Quote Originally Posted by BlueSkyDriveBy View Post
    This situation is not the same as adults approaching minors in a park or shopping mall. That encompasses potentially real dangers, because of the close physical proximity. But on the net? Everything is separated by distance and anonymity. There is no immediate threat of danger. That only comes when meetings are arranged. And if the minor is arranging for a meeting, then they were not shocked by the sexually explicit nature of the chat.
    A teen will give info over the net, in a chat room or via IMs that they don't even realize is unsafe. They'll give the name of the town they live in, their school, their schedule... The predator doesn't have to do a lot of work to find the kid without arranging a meeting. They could grab them, or they could do a "hey, funny meeting you here" kind of thing. And if the first kid in chat doesn't give details about their life, well, there'll be another kid logging into the chat room any minute.

    And a predator isn't necessarily going to start out with sex talk. I mean, yeah, that's their goal, but they'll warm up their victim first, say things like, "You are so sweet, I'd like to kiss you, you don't think that's weird, do you?" and a teen, wanting to appear cool to this older person who likes them, is going to say, "no, that's not weird, it's just a kiss..."

    Thing is, yes, some minors will have sex. That doesn't mean it's okay, or right, or that they're capable of handling the consequences of it, especially with a much older partner. There is a difference between a minor choosing to have consensual sex, and one who has been preyed upon, one who has been manipulated into letting down their guard. Here's a link to a quick read about internet predators and how they work-- http://safety.com/articles/how-do-they-do-it.html
    xo, Deanna

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    Re: "Catch a Predator' Texas, DA Drops all Charges

    This is not entrapment, and there is no such thing as "entrapment through misrepresentation." If you are predisposed to commit the crime, it isn't entrapment. Entrapment means that law enforcement ensnares an innocent person and convinces them to commit a crime.

    Thus, for example, if police sent spam to a bunch of random people, containing explicit pictures of girls who claimed to be underage and ready to have sex with the recipient, that would be entrapment. But wandering into a chatroom and responding to whomever is there is not entrapment, even if they lie in every comment.

    It's a myth that police must be truthful to people they are interrogating. For example, if a prostitute asks an undercover cop if he's a cop, and he says "never have been, never will be", she's not off the hook. Telling a custody that his cohort just ratted him out is perfectly legal, as long as he's been given his Miranda rights.

    Furthermore, entrapment by private citizens is not entrapment.

    That "teens have had sex for centuries, and nothing is going to stop them if that's what they want to do" is not a justification for letting 40 year old men provide 7th graders the sex they crave. I have no problem with anything perverted justice is doing. If 90% of the creeps attempted child molesters walk, so be it. At least now their name is out there, and their neighbors, friends and families might know what kind of person they are.

    Whether or not the creeps attempted child molesters exchange images or show up for the meeting doesn't matter to me. If a man attempts to molest a child by arranging a meeting, he has attempted a crime. We prosecute people all the time for mere attempts. Failure at one's attempt to commit a crime does not equate to innocence.

    I don't applaud that prosecutor's suicide, either. I think it's a shame that he wasn't caught and punished. I don't think anyone should have "known better." I do not advocate capital punishment for psychological dysfunctions, per se, but I do advocate capital punishment for some of the crimes that evil, psychologically dysfunctional people sometimes commit. The vast majority of people executed in this country are sociopaths. Should we say that sociopaths can't be executed simply because they lack human compassion and empathy? Should Ted Bundy be forgiven and treated with kindness and love because it was not his fault that he enjoyed murdering and raping young women?

    I find it neither cruel nor unusual to severely punish such people.

    To compare an "addiction" to statutory rape with addictions to drugs, alcohol and gambling is absurd. An alcoholic can get drunk without ruining another person's life. A drug addict can shoot heroin without necessarily ruining anyone else's life. A gambler can place bets all night without necessarily ruining someone else's life (although me stellar poker skills have ruined another man's month once or twice). However, you cannot feed your child sex addicition without causing the ruin of at least part of another person's life. So yes, we can and will advocate severe punishment for behaviors that result from child sex compulsions, even if we are lenient on drunks, drug users and compulsive gamblers.
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