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Arment Dietrich

To Catch a Peacock

By: Arment Dietrich | February 29, 2008 | 
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Blog written by Josh Culver

Most people I know are familiar with NBC’s Dateline miniseries To Catch a Predator. For the show, NBC has a small crew consisting of someone searching the internet under the guise of a 12 to 14-year old, a young woman in her mid-to early 20’s who acts as ‘the bait’, camera men that know to get all of the angles on the house, producers, etc, and host Chris Hanson.

The way the show works is the person surfing the internet goes into chat rooms and sites and begins chatting with possible suspects in a very sexual manner, to entice them into making sexual advances past legal limits so they have officially broken the law, without even stepping foot in the staked out house. Once they find a few violators they invite each individual over to a house with many cameras outside and inside, as well as cops staked outside waiting to catch the sexual predator when he leaves cooperatively or tries to flee the scene. The individual is invited in by the bait, and she usually tells them to come in, sit down and make themselves comfortable, while she tells them she ‘has to change into something else’. NBC is sure to have the right camera angle on the face of the predator when Chris Hanson pops out and begins drilling them with questions about the online chat they had with what the men were thinking was a 12 to 14-year old that is TV gold. The men end up getting arrested whether they are will or not and it makes for some great entertainment and makes every parent feel a little safer, so everyone leaves happy.

NBC ran into one little problem, Louis Conradt. Conradt was a former Kaufman (TX) County District Attorney. Conradt was attempting to solicit sex from one of the decoy’s poising online as a 13-year old boy. He never attempted to go to meet with the decoy, but had still broken the law and authorities ended up surrounding his house in an attempt to arrest him. After busting down the door, police opened to find that the former DA had taken his own life as opposed to facing prosecution.

The Conradt family has taken up a case against NBC, suing for $105 million. A federal judge recently ruled that the family can continue with their lawsuit against NBC sighting the Conradt’s civil rights were violated and the network willfully inflicted emotional distress.

So while the courts decide the lawsuit’s fate, the court of public opinion seems to be on the side of the Conradt family, with a city councilman saying that the To Catch a Predator was ‘a noble cause, but our police department is hired to serve and protect our citizens, and not to expose them to outside threats.”

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