Perverted Justice
Dateline Criticims
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To Catch a Predator Episode Guide

 

(1)  New York City (Hillsborough, NJ):  Aired in November 2004, this was the inaugural episode and was part of a series entitled “Dangerous Web.”  With the help of Perverted Justice, Dateline NBC set up hidden cameras in a house near Hillsborough, New Jersey.  Over the span of 2.5 days, 18 men showed up to the house including a television producer and a New York City firefighter.  These predators were the first to introduce viewers to some of the most common excuses such as “she said told me she was 19” and “I’ve never done this before.”

SOURCE:

Hansen, Chris.  “Dangers Children Face Online” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(2) Washington, D.C.:  Filmed in an up-scale neighborhood outside Washington, D.C., this hour-long episode aired in November 2005 and was the first follow-up to the original episode.  This show proved that sexual predators can be found in any profession and are often people you would least expect. 

The predators on this episode included an army sergeant, a high school teacher, and a well-respected rabbi who sent the decoy pictures of his genitals.  In addition, the first repeat offender was caught on this episode.  He was caught the first day when he showed up to the house naked and then was caught again the very next day when he attempted to meet a Perverted Justice decoy at a local McDonald’s.  In total, 19 men were caught over the span of 3 days.

SOURCES:

Hansen, Chris.  “Catching Potential Internet Sex Predators” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(3) Riverside, California:  Jackpot!  In a total of 3 days, Dateline caught 50 online predators in a home in Riverside, California.  This show aired in February 2006 and was the first two hour “To Catch a Predator.”  In addition, this was the first episode filmed in conjunction with the local police, resulting in the arrest of all 50 men.  Those arrested included a federal agent working for the Department of Homeland Security, an actor, and a teacher.  In a “To Catch a Predator” first, two of the predators admitting to having watched the show before being caught on it.

SOURCES:

Hansen, Chris.  “‘To Catch a Predator’ III” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(4) Greenville, Ohio:  This two-part episode aired in April and May of 2006 and took place in Greenville, Ohio.  Over the span of 3 days, 18 predators were arrested including a student at a local evangelical college, a mechanical engineer, and a sixth grade teacher at a Catholic school.

SOURCES:

“Meet the Men Featured in the Ohio Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(5) Fort Myers, Florida:  Filmed in Fort Myers, Florida, this two-part episode was the fifth in the series and aired in May of 2006.  Some notables from this episode included a 40 year old man who brought his son with him to the house and a man who showed up with whip cream looking to have sex with not only a 14 year old girl but also the family cat.  Over the span of 3 days, 24 men were caught and arrested.

SOURCES:

“Meet the Men Featured in the Ft. Myers, Fla. Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(6) Fortson, Georgia:  Airing in September 2006, this two-part episode was filmed in Fortson, Georgia.  Those caught included a church minister, a pizza delivery man, and a first lieutenant with the National Guard who served in Iraq.  In total, 21 men were caught and arrested over the span of 4.5 days.  Shortly following the airing of the show, the state of Georgia tripled the number of agents assigned to investigating online sex predators.

SOURCES:

“Meet Some of the Men Featured in the Fortson, Ga. Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(7) Petaluma, California:  Even before Dateline arrived, Petaluma, California was no stranger to child predators.  This city was the hometown of Polly Klaas who gained national attention after being kidnapped and murdered at the age of 12.  Also, the town was once home to John Mark Karr who gained notoriety after making a false confession to the abduction and murder of JonBenet Ramsey. 

More so than any other episode, this one featured many well-educated and wealthy individuals, most likely due to the show’s proximity to Silicon Valley.  This episode featured a prominent medical doctor, a software engineer, a Marine Corps sniper, and a computer engineer with a PhD.  Over the span of 3 days, 29 men were caught and arrested. 

In addition, this episode featured a segment on the Mark Foley scandal, which occurred just prior to the show’s airing.  Foley was a Florida Congressmen alleged to have solicited his former congressional pages for sex.  Ironically, Foley had previously appeared in the news supporting Dateline NBC’s efforts to catch online child predators, stating that hopefully the show would act as a deterrent to those considering online solicitation of a child.

SOURCES:

“Meet Some of the Men Featured in the Petaluma, Calif. Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(8) Long Beach, California:  Dateline NBC’s return to California in September 2006 resulted in the arrest of 38 men during a 3 day span.  This episode featured a software engineer employed by the Department of Defense, a college student, and a man who Dateline caught a year earlier in its Riverside, California investigation.  Also notable in this episode was the predators’ numerous sexually explicit and disturbing screen names, such as “ricks_talented_tongue,” “curvedforyourpleasure,” and “can_i_rape_you_anally.”  These screen names illustrate the disturbing personalities of online predators.

SOURCES:

“Meet Some of the Men Featured in the Long Beach, Calif. Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

 

(9) Murphy, Texas:  When filming finished in Murphy, Texas, 25 men had been arrested and 1 man was dead.  The most controversial investigation to date, Dateline’s sting operation uncovered illegal online activity by local assistant district attorney, Louis W. Conradt Jr. 

Conradt solicited a Perverted Justice decoy (pretending to be a 13 year old boy) for sex, even sending the decoy pornographic pictures.  Instead of waiting for Conradt to arrive at the house like the other predators, the police decided to go to Conradt’s home to arrest him and serve him with a search warrant.  Police arrived at his home and knocked on the door, but Conradt never answered.  Police then broke in through the back door, but before an arrest was made Conradt put a gun to his head and pulled the trigger.  At the time, Dateline cameras were outside the house filming the attempted arrest.

Other predators included a middle school math teacher, a hospital employee, and a former police officer.  In total, 25 men were arrested over the span of 4 days.  Also notable with this investigation was the wide-spread protest by the residents of Murphy, Texas who accused Dateline of attracting sexual predators to its town.

SOURCES:

Meet Some of the Men Featured in the Murphy, Texas Investigation” at MSNBC.com. 

Hansen, Chris.  “Events around the Texas Investigation Took a Startling and Deadly Turn” at MSNBC.com. 

Council, John and Jeffreys, Brenda Sapino.  “‘Dateline NBC’ Sting Raises Questions About Online-Solicitation-of-a-Minor Law” at Law.com. 

 

 

(10) Flagler Beach, Florida:  The latest in the “To Catch a Predator” series, this two-part episode was filmed in Flagler Beach, Florida and aired in February and March of 2007.  This was the first episode in which Dateline set up a sting operation outside of a house, choosing to meet and arrest some suspects on the pier of a nearby beach. 

The predators included a Taekwondo instructor, a chemistry teacher, and an Alabama sheriff’s deputy whose car was filled with numerous firearms and other weapons.  Also, in a “To Catch a Predator” first, a man attempted to prove his innocence by telling Dateline and law enforcement officials that he was impotent and therefore could not have sex with a minor.  The man was arrested anyway.  During the investigation, 21 men were arrested over 4 days.

SOURCES:

Hansen, Chris. “Online and On the Beach” at MSNBC.com. 

“To Catch a Predator” at MSNBC.com. 

“To Catch a Predator” at Gainesville.com.