Sunday, January 04, 2009

Sickening Internet Sex Stings May Be A Thing Of The Past.

If there was ever an investigative reporting series I hated it was the one run by NBC's Dateline in conjunction with local police agencies. Reporter Chris Hansen fronted a series called To Catch A Predator. The problem was ratings starved Dateline and their willing cohorts were the real Predators.

They used a company to troll the internet trying to entice pedophiles with creative, but fictitious sexy teen bait. When they found a sucker they’d entrap him with a promise of a teen sexual encounter. What would follow was primetime embarrassment and humiliation for the hapless prey. The show and its content were surreal. Was Dateline simply creating crime for the sake of ratings?

I’m in no way protecting pedophiles or the damage they do to children. It’s the really lowbrow investigative methods I have a problem with. Slowly the Internet sex sting cases are being reviewed in appellate courts and convictions are being reversed. The reason is that there was never an intended victim. No teens waiting for seduction as the trolls had promised, just TV cameras and handcuffs.

These cases don’t belong in our courts. Pedophiles that stalk and molest real children need a spin through the criminal justice system and a prison cell.

As for parents there is no excuse for not monitoring and protecting their children. Far too many children who become molestation victims were set up for the crime by their own parents.


Anonymous said...

I'm not so sure that NBC didn't do a valuable service for the community. These freaks were in contact with children (fictitious in reality but they thought they were real) and they all started bringing up sexual topics and eventually talked their way to a rendezvous with their victim to commit the crime. Yes, it may be entrapment, but these offenders would have definitely done the crime if they found themselves alone with a child instead of Chris Hansen and crew. If nothing else, they have been exposed for all to see what they are: pedophiles.

Anonymous said...

Thought crime.Who do you list as the complaintant when you dont have a victim and no guilty act?

Anonymous said...

The good thing about the show was these pedophiles really thought they were meeting underage girls & boys. There intention was to have sex with underage kids .Thank God Chris hansen popped out instead of a child

Crimefile said...

Arresting people for thoughts rather than deeds is un-American. If we all could have been arrested for thoughts, who would be left to guard the prisoners?

We have all had thoughts of hate, murder, theft and sexual fantasy. Acting on those thoughts requires a real person. Until then these are all just evil thoughts.

Entrapment is still a valid defense to any crime. This sex-sting crap is solid entrapment or in a blurry place on the border at best.

Had the alleged pedophile initiated and made contact with a real teen that would be another matter. The cases of men in their early 20’s trying to hook up with teenage girls just don’t deserve this kind of attention.

Tender age children are the most disturbing victims and since they are too young to troll the Internet these stings just don’t work to expose that kind of activity.

Do we really want to police thoughts? Imagine if technology could produce a thought reading machine. Imagine the haul police could make at a high school football game where the old goats are watching the cheerleaders go through their moves.

Anonymous said...

Intent and conspiracy to commit certain crimes are criminal acts in and of themselves.

If the men in these cases wanted the protection of the law, they should have remained at home, masturbating in front of their computer screens.

Cpdcoppurr said...

Importuning is the correct name of this crime........ I believe it is a crime, and yes i do believe that these people caught on tape are pedophiles..........This is a touchy subject for me Paul........And here is why.... I have a lovely daughter, who is now 20. My second husband who is not her father, was a bit of a perv on the internet, going through his internet files while using the "family" computer i found sites he had saved that were "questionable". I confronted him on them. He said it was just a sexual fantasy to see the barely legal sites.

I knew he was lying. I went through a bitter divorce with him, with him using the CPD G.O.'s against me with LIES....... After i was safe from his physical, emotional and verbal abuse, my daughter came to me with what he did to her for a year, while i was out protecting the good citizens of Chicago. I will never forgive myself for what happened to her, although the only thing i knew was that he was surfing those websites. No hint of anything else. I even spoke to my daughter about him and asked her flat out many times if he had ever said anything inappropriate to her or done anything to her. She DENIED it. This is a cops daughter in a cops house, who was married to a Doctor/Attorney. Picture perfect right???? Nope, totally WRONG............

Sociopath's have no limits, boundaries or respect for anything or anyone other then themselves. If this program saved ONE child of the horror my child went through then it was worth it.

If these men went out of their way to show up with roses, panties, booze, condoms etc.......... They were planning on doing something. Chat is chat, and we can't control thoughts............ But when those men CHOSE to take the next step well that is a different story all together........

Sure it ruined most of their lives and their families lives. But how many lives have been ruined by the act of sexual molestation....... How many children were saved?

When i retired and moved to KY... As i was selling my first home here in KY, a flier came in my mailbox, it stated the man that bought the house down the block from us was a pedophile, caught up in an importuning sting by police in Ohio........ mugshot and all....I was floored..... I walked my dogs every day, several times a day... He and his wife and "kids" live in a beautiful log home, nice cars, and he always waved at me as i passed with my two Rott's. All i could think of was, he was caught with the importuning, but how many did he actually molest? That is the real question. No one will know. They say pedophiles cannot be treated....... Their's is one of the few mental disorder's that has no cure. They will continue to prey on children the rest of their lives.

I am just giving you a point of view that i am very familiar with unfortunately. And all the research and therapy that my daughter and myself received. She is healing and so am I. But please don't think for one minute that any of these "grown men" are innocent. They know the laws, they know anything under the age of 18 is a no no..... That is all they have to know, but yet they chose to show up at that house. The show is a "shame on you show". And frankly, i do not like it either. But i have to look at how many potential victims they have saved from not only the men that were arrested but also the other pedophiles watching who now know there are stings like this all over the country.

And you're right and ounce of prevention goes along way. Parents should monitor computer time...........And one of the best ways to do that is a computer program called EBLASTER........ It costs about $100 and you can install it in under 5 minutes. It is a complete monitor on EVERYTHING that is done on a puter. Safety for your children, and in my case it would have been safety knowing what my exhusband might have been up too. I wish i knew about that program earlier.

Just a view from the other side of the coin, one who has been there.

Hugss and Peace to you Paul and a very Happy New Year.

Crimefile said...

Conspiracy requires more than one real person with the same goals. Intent is only an element of a crime. Still you have no crime.

Do these dopes have good judgment? Obviously not! Are they criminals? Not for making an effort to meet a non-existent teen for a possible sexual encounter.

Anonymous said...

There was a case several years ago in Texas. A very well regarded states attorney shot and killed himself when the police and news media showed up at his home attempting to arrest him. His crime? He pretended to be a 20 something year old man chatting with another adult male pretending to be an underage boy. I believe phone numbers were exchanged online.

Here you have an adult male, 50 something years old, pretending to be 20, chatting with another adult male pretending to be underage!! Two adults pretending to be something they were not online. It was all setup by "perverted justice", along with a hillbilly police dept. and the news media trying to make a story.

Anonymous said...


I understand that Intent is only an element of a crime. But coupled with circumstantial evidence and the print outs of the actual instant messages. You now have Motive, Intent and coupled with condoms and promised gifts?????

I think that the "to catch a predator" series was a wake up call for all the liberals. I could care less about ratings. If that show saved just one girl or boy from being harmed, all the money was well spent.

I'm sure the liberal "hug a thug" media would disagree. But, hey its my opinion and nothing more.

Crimefile said...

You still don't have a real victim. That's the problem and why the courts are throwing out those cases.

To make the stings pass legal muster we would have to change our Bill of Rights.

We can't and should not bend or break the law or rights just because we don't like people's thoughts.

Anonymous said...

I agree with Pauls position completely.Nobody wants these dirtbags on the street but nobody wants our legal system messed up any further than it is.

This approach is clear entrapment and there is NO victim.Police should monitor these guys like you should be watching gang bangers.

There is also more to this story.Some of these scumbags have served complete sentences and fullfilled all legal obligations;only to be denied release from prison due to them being labeled "sex predators".

If your square with the house,then your square with the house.

Private Detective said...

You dont have to have the final act to have a crime or at times even a victim. You only need an attempt. Its tantmount to an attempt murder or attempt bank robbery. You can stop it before it occurs, but still have the attempted crime.

One thing for sure is, law enforcement should not be using private persons/companies to operate any type of sting op.

Think of these DNA Check points (below or above link

Christian Defender said...

I agree with Anonymous re sex offender web site, And them "paying your dues"
Some (some) really do change.

I have one client that did. he nows falls under the umbrella of the highest law. "Therefore he who is in Christ is a new creation. Behold old things have become the past. And the next things are new." 2nd Corinthians 5:17.

Of coarse that only applies to the real deal and not the impostors.

SabraUltra said...

Dateline was buying the Sheriffs' lunches and dinners for days, waiting for the guys to show up.

Anonymous said...

Let's say a TV show hires someone to paint fake handicap parking spaces at a store and you park in one. Guy comes out and talks to you who you think is a cop, then finally says "you're free to go." You start to drive away and a REAL cop then pulls you over and gives you a ticket for parking in a handicap parking space, even though it wasn't a real one.

Or, TV station arranges with the city to hang a fake traffic light at an intersection and you run it. You get home, only to find an army of cameras in your yard, waiting. Chris Hansen comes up to you and says, "You could have killed a whole carload of children when you ran that red light--you are a grave danger to this community--but you are free to go." You walk around all the cameras to your door, where a cop is waiting to give you a ticket for running a red light. Then the TV crew takes down the fake traffic light so they can set it up somewhere else in town.

Do any of you think that is right? Do any of you think that's the way our justice system should work? Is it any different than what's going on with these predator shows? The shows are even worse because of the thousands of dollars that Perverted Justice is getting from NBC and the MILLIONS of dollars that NBC is making from the show.

Ketchum said...

The series, and Chris Hansen's behavior, are sleazy.

But the fact remains, whether this is entrapment or there weren't "real" victims, the people arrested (apparently many are found not guilty) were obviously going to meet what they thought were underaged girls, clearly for sexual purposes.

They all have the same story; "I've never done this before," etc. etc.

There's a real problem out there. How many of these men had met "real" young girls in other circumstances? What if one of them was meeting your daughter?

The writers who dismiss this as a non-threat should sit home fondling their gun barrels and get real!

And Chris Hansen should join Maury, Jerry, and Joey Greco in the TV Sleaze Slimeball Hall of Fame.

Anonymous said...

Indeed, how many of them HAVE met girls in real circumstances? I'm not aware of any--I'm sure NBC would trump up the fact that they caught a predator who had actually done this before. Maybe they have, I don't know. But how serious of a problem is this, really?

Don't you think the media is trying to scare people into believing this is an extreme threat to your children when it really isn't? I mean, my local news will try to scare the hell out of me with teases like, "The blinds in your living room could kill your children--we'll tell you how at eleven!"

How 'bout we try a reverse sting:

Cop poses as a 45-year old man and tries to pick up a 14-year old girl on an Internet chat room. If the girl goes through with it and meets the guy at a hotel, the girl's parents are notified and the girl is charged with some sort of crime for trying to engage in sex with an adult man. The charges can then be dropped, because the point is to show teens it's wrong and they shouldn't be fooling around with men on the Internet, and to show parents that their kids are out of line.

Do you think you'd get as many teen victims this way as you do adult men? Statistically, you should, if it is a real problem. But I bet it would be much more difficult, because these scenarios just don't happen that much in real life. These men ARE apparently trolling for girls, but it's mostly (not exclusively) the fake girls created by cops and the media that are saying all the right things to actually get men into these situations.

Anonymous said...

This is a very difficult subject. There are a couple of things that anyone who talks about it has to know. There is a lot of assumptions about these cases that people make, that make them seem in some cases worse than they are. These assumptions and falsehoods have been perpetuated by the media, for sensationalizing the story, and politicians "D.A's and the like" for an image and votes.

"Pedophilia": Is aimed at prepubecint children, These stings use for the most part 14 year old teens. Still bad, i agree, but not the same. Unless they were to find chats/pics/emails of children on the computer they take is this person really a pedophile? I think the word is being tossed around more than it should, thus it is losing its meaning to an extent. These are very heinus crimes and we need to have this word have its meaning intact, not cheapen it.

"Preditors": This is another term thrown about without really thinking. All these cases are lumped together and because of "dateline: to catch a preditor" people think they are all the same. It conveys someone out hunting for young teens to have sex with them. This is far from the case. If you have watched the shows you will hear several times from many people (cops, mr hanson, etc..) a phrase like "it stopped being a fantasy when you drove out here". As yourself at what point reading the next several lines would you start to think "maybe this person is not a preditor". These are true facts of the many cases I have looked at.
1: Not all of these cases have the person showing up for a meeting.
2: In many cases the officer initiates all "chats" after the first "chat".
3: I have seen cases where the officer is speaking much more graphically that the person is. Where the officer uses curse words and the person does not.
4: I have seen where the officer offers to send pictures, and askes what kind of pictures are wanted, but the person does not request "graphic" pictures.
5: I have seen offices offer to meet without being asked, but were ultimately turned down.
6: Most of these case have no proof of any other contact with a minor over the internet (chats/pics/emails) when the computer are scanned.
7: Most are not found to have any child porn of the computers.
8: Many cases there is no contact info exchanged "phone/addr/..".

So are all of these cases "pedophiles", are they all "preditors". In many states you dont have to meet, you dont have to set up a meet, you do not have to exchange contact info, you dont have to say in the fantasy talk of the chat "I want you to do this to me or I want to do this to you".

Anonymous said...

I wrote the above post and have something to add to it. There is a very big item I left off the last post. The sex offender registry. The cases I cited above, for most states anyway, these people are ending up on the "list". This can be from 10 to 25 years!

Take an example from above, and yes there IS cases like this. FACTS: (did not meet, did not set up a meet, turned down the opportunity to meet, did not ask the "teen" to do anything sexual to him or let him do anything sexual to the "teen", did not ask for any incriminating pic's even after offered, all chats were initiated by officer outside of first contact, nothing incriminating was found on persons computer, no evidence of previous actions like this.

Does this case rise to the level of having to be on the "list" for 10 to 25 years depending on the state? Do we want people like this to be on a list that we are to look at so we know who to "watch out for"? Does having people like this on the list hinder us in our ability to watch out for the real preditors?

Anonymous said...

These stings are insanity. Everyone involved in these types of operations are wrong. Do we need to protect children? Yes, but that is the responsibility of their parents. What parent would let their child go on places like Craigslist and place an ad for sex, what kind of child or teenager would do this? The answer to that is absolutely none. If these people are on sites where children are then yes they have a problem, but for law enforcement to search people out on adult websites is wrong. What the police do is reel the person in and then say, "oh, by the way, I am 15." and then when the person stops communicating they pursue them. That is wrong. In Canada they have done some research on "random virtue testing" and deemed that it is wrong. The United States is the worst when it comes to manufacturing crime and creating criminals. I am disgusted to live in a country where these types of operations take place.