NBC Dateline 'Predator' Suicide Prompts $105M Lawsuit

Discussion in 'Politics, Religion, Social Issues' started by MacNut, Jul 24, 2007.

  1. MacNut macrumors Core

    MacNut

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    #1
    'Predator' Suicide Prompts $105M Lawsuit

    NEW YORK (July 24) - The sister of a former U.S. state prosecutor who killed himself after he was targeted by a television show as a suspected pedophile is suing NBC Universal for $105 million.

    Louis William Conradt, 56, shot himself in November 2006 after he was confronted at his Terrell, Texas, home by police, whom the lawsuit said were carrying television cameras for a "To Catch a Predator" segment of NBC's Dateline program.

    "To Catch a Predator" involves Dateline and Internet watchdog Perverted Justice luring suspected pedophiles to a "sting house" by using online decoys. NBC has said Conradt had contacted a decoy posing as a 13-year-old boy.

    But Conradt did not visit the "sting house" the show set up in Murphy, Texas, 35 miles from Terrell. The lawsuit said 24 men were lured to the Murphy home and arrested, but no charges were brought as a result of the operation.

    The lawsuit, filed in U.S. District Court in Manhattan by Patricia Conradt on behalf of Conrad's estate, accuses NBC's Dateline of "steam-rolling" police to arrest Conradt, a retired district attorney for Kaufman County.

    The lawsuit said police and members of the Dateline crew traveled to Conradt's house "with neither a search warrant nor an arrest warrant" that met legal standards.

    "Both police officers and other members of the party were wearing cameras ... very large cameras, on the cutting edge of technology, that normally are worn only by television reporters," the lawsuit said.

    "They were met by (Conradt). He told them 'I'm not gonna hurt anyone' and shot himself. Then a police officer said to a Dateline producer, 'That'll make good TV.' Death was an hour later," it said.

    "The stigma of suicide irrevocably has spread its dark shadow over his good name and reputation," the lawsuit said.

    NBC Universal, a unit of General Electric Co., said it had not yet received the lawsuit.

    "But we plan to defend ourselves vigorously as we believe the claims in the suit to be completely without merit," it said in a statement.

    This is the second lawsuit filed against NBC in the last three months over the "Dateline" predator series. In May, the show's former producer, Marsha Bartel, sued the network in Illinois federal court, alleging she was fired after she raised ethical concerns about the show's methods.
     
  2. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    #2
    How many innocent people shoot themselves when confronted by police? I think the fact that he was a pedophile will put a much larger "dark shadow" on his name and reputation.

    If the man was truly innocent then this is definitely a very sad story, and NBC should pay through the nose. But if he did indeed make contact with a Perverted Justice staffer posing as a young boy, then I have no pity for him or his family.

    A lot of people say that the "To Catch A Predator" show is wrong, and shouldn't be permitted because it's entrapment, etc... I say these people gave up their rights as free citizens when they attempted to have a sexual relationship with a young child. :mad:
     
  3. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #3
    I'm one of those that says this show is sick. This is not about justice or protecting the children, it's about shock journalism and ratings. Luring these sick people out in order to bust them and and then crowing over them is perverse. If they sent them to treatment afterwards so they could get help it would still be wrong but at least trying to help. This show turns our system of law on its head.
     
  4. janey macrumors 603

    janey

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    #4
    pray tell why you need to do this on TV?

    I don't necessarily agree with the way peej likes to do things, and I don't know why this needs to be aired on TV. Lock them up all you want, but keep it off the air. I repeat, WHY IS THIS ON TV? None of us are arguing that this is abhorrent. What some of us are saying is that this is trash TV that shouldn't be aired.

    And well, not everyone peej catches is necessarily abhorrent. Do I find a 20 year old guy wanting to hit up a 15-16 year old the equivalent of a 50 year old actually raping a 10 year old? Hell ****ing no.

    Also, there are treatments of sorts, not necessarily involving pills, but contraceptives like depo work extremely well.
     
  5. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #5
    I don't think the goal of the show ever was to help reform predators. I think it was designed to accompllish a few other things - 1) ratings, 2) attention, 3) involvement.

    Every show on TV is designed to gain ratings. The more people that watch, the better. Everybody wants a return on their investment. There ratings here drive up the attention that is paid to issues like predators. Before I had a kid, I knew where the local predators lived, but that was the extent of my concern. Yet, even knowing and knowing how to find out is something that many don't think about. This show treis to correct that. Now that my kid is here, I am thinking about how I can get more involved. I want to help work to get people that might harm my child off the streets and away from her. Sure, I can do all I can to protect her, but at the end of the day, I can't stand next to her 24/7. I have to work and I can't afford a bodyguard. So, I try and eliminate dangers - no different than gating the stair, locking the medicine cabinet or plugging an outlet. Put the danger away so that she doesn't run into the harm.

    As for this case, I am torn - I really am not a fan of revealing the identity of predators until they are convicted. The current method makes it too easy to destroy someone out of spite rather than suffering. But, when someone is caught in the act - my concern for protection is removed. Here, I'm not sure what direct evidence they had that this was the guy - how did they know that someone else in the house or his network didn't make the contact? I'm on the fence.
     
  6. Thanatoast macrumors 6502a

    Thanatoast

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    #6
    Better check your stats. According to this link from the DOJ the recidivism rate of sex criminals was 5.3%.

    If the police did what this show is doing it would be illegal. Once we toss our laws out the window in order to satisfy our sense of righteous anger society itself falls apart. This applies to all crimes, be they terrorism, drug crimes, sex crimes, or petty theft.

    This show is railroading, not justice. It's theater, not treatment or help. It's just as perverse as the criminals it seeks out for ratings.
     
  7. Lord Blackadder macrumors G5

    Lord Blackadder

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    #7
    This show isn't about catching pedophiles or keeping people safe - it's about ratings, and it makes a travesty of justice.

    I am not a fan of huge civil lawsuits, but in this case it may be the lesser of two evils.
     
  8. yg17 macrumors G5

    yg17

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    #8
    I guess I'm the only one here who loves that show and thinks it's one of the funniest things on TV? Not that child predators are funny, because they aren't, they're disgusting and need to be locked up, but it's always funny to see what sort of excuses they have and how they pretend it wasn't them
     
  9. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #9
    I'll substitute the word "mind-blowing" for "funny", but I can appreciate your point.
     
  10. echeck macrumors 68000

    echeck

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    #10
    Heh. Everything on a commercial television station is about ratings. It's a business, and they're going to do what brings in the most money.

    But being sued because your brother was a pedophile? Ridiculous. Yes, I'm assuming he's guilty because, as I said before, how many innocent men shoot themselves when faced with law enforcement?

    I'm sure this wasn't the first time this man has had a sexually explicit conversation with a young child, otherwise he wouldn't have had such a guilty conscience.

    I said in my other comment that I have no pity for this man or his family. I was wrong, I do have pity for his family, just not him. It's painful to lose a loved one in any situation, especially when they take their own life. He made his decisions, unfortunately his family has to live with them.
     
  11. devilot Moderator emeritus

    devilot

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    #11
    How many people when proven innocent of sex crimes can ever rebuild their lives?

    None.

    It's an accusation that no one can ever move past. Ever.

    I could see why a high-profile person (who might have been prone to depression or anxiety) would move immediately to such a drastic action given their position and the high-profile status of the show.
     
  12. SMM macrumors 65816

    SMM

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    #12
    What I know about this case, I read here...in other words, nothing. So, I will refrain acting like a case expert. I am against criminal justice having become a media circus. I find it repulsive on its own merit, and irresponsible journalism. Those who find this entertaining are beyond my comprehension. :(
     
  13. pseudobrit macrumors 68040

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    #13
    I dislike the idea of these pedophile setups.

    They entrap people with a fantasy and manufacture a crime. I think the police should be focusing their resources on crimes that are already happening or have happened, which are usually not in short supply.

    But since these cases bring such a high conviction rate and positive media attention, they're adding personnel and spreading the net wider.
     
  14. solvs macrumors 603

    solvs

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    #14
    No they haven't. Everyone gets rights. Everyone. That being said though, they didn't have to attempt to initiate sex with what they thought was a minor, so you won't get a lot of sympathy from me if they're caught. There are treatments available, and pedophile does not automatically equal child molester, as we see from the repeat offender stats. Plus, from what the host has said elsewhere, many of those caught are actually kind of relieved they can finally stop hiding what they are and get help. The fact that they're caught before they commit the crime is a plus too, as long as they initiated and it isn't entrapment.

    Of course it is, but it's still journalism (ish).
     
  15. aquajet macrumors 68020

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    #15
    I agree To Catch a Predator is a pretty twisted show. In fact, it might even be more appalling than a rabbi talking about having sex with a boy.

    From Chris Hansen's lame "Whatcha doin here?" line, moving on to details about blowjobs, and then the camera people move in for dramatic effect, and finally ***hole-ish cops run run out and tackle these non-violent offenders. The whole display is disgusting. Chris Hansen and his crew, perverted justice and the law enforcement personnel are all disgusting pigs for making a spectacle out of this.
     
  16. Royale w/cheese macrumors 6502a

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    #16
    I swear I am not trying to troll or anything, I pretty much agree with you. But didn't Kobe Bryant kind of do it? I know it is not exactly the same, but it was a sex crime in my opinion. He seem to come out of it alright, not perfect, but alright.

    It may not really be relevant, but its just my opinion. :)
     
  17. Ugg macrumors 68000

    Ugg

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    #17
    The only thing that's important here is that:

    We are all innocent until proven guilty in a court of law.

    NBC is little better than the Ku Klux Klan and deserves to get sued for every penny they have.
     
  18. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #18
    I don't mind sting operations per se, but I do object to them being used for entertainment.

    As an aside, those of you that think that this type of sting is morally correct, would you draw the line here or would it be just as acceptable to run stings where people are lured to purchase drugs or perhaps lured to steal an unlocked car or cash? I'm just curious where the line should be drawn.
     
  19. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #19
    Aren't stings used in a variety situations to catch criminals? Everything from guns to drugs to prostitution to bike thieves. As long as the police don't break the law (i.e. entrapment) I don't have any problems w/it.


    Lethal
     
  20. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #20
    There are a lot of crimes where you want to wait until jsut before success before catching the perp, but with a lot of these child crimes, it's tough to catch them in the act. Additionally, the crime of solicitation has already occured, so all you are doing here is making sure that you catch the person that was solicciting rather than whoever happens to be at the computer when the warrant is served...

    I don't think anybody is being incarcerated because they appear on the show. They don't lose any rights until they are convicted (well, they lose some of their mobility, but that is like anyone who is arrested for any crime). Society is free to make a moral or ethical judgment before guilt is determined. Is it fair? Very much not. But, it isn't unconstitutional. Catching someone in the act of committing a crime and telling people about it is not illegal. Televising an arrest is not illegal. If I caught you stealing from me, I'd tie you down until the police arrived. In the meanwhile, I'd tell every passerby what I'd caught - and the law doesn't care.

    As long as Hanson isn't a prosecutor building his case to the public and prejudicing the community, they're cool.

    Entrapment is a toughy - ou have to show that if not for the police operation, you wouldn't have committed the crime. That's a tough standard to meet.
     
  21. Swarmlord macrumors 6502a

    Swarmlord

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    #21
    We had this debate in my Constitutional Law class. Is it wrong to leave an unlocked Porsche with keys in the ignition in the parking lot of a Wal-Mart and arrest anyone that opens the door, starts it and attempts to drive it away?
     
  22. nbs2 macrumors 68030

    nbs2

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    #22
    Of course it's okay to do that. The Porche doesn't belong to the thief. Theft is theft is theft. Unless you can clearly show that there was an intent to abandon the car, no one else has the right to it. If the undercover cop put the keys in the car, claimed it was his, said he that he would sign the title over, and announced that he was giving the car away to whoever took it while he was gone, that'd be entrapment if the person was arrested. Your example ain't.

    Now, if you ask the folks at the Maryland School of Law, we should be working with the thief to understand what happened in his past, and whe he tells us he understands it was wrong and he won't do it again, we should let him on his way.:rolleyes:
     
  23. dswoodley macrumors 6502a

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    #23
    Yes, a constitutional guarantee. So is the right of the public to be outraged that someone would even place themselves in such a situation. Sometimes constitutional guarantees don't play nice with each other.
     
  24. LethalWolfe macrumors G3

    LethalWolfe

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    #24
    I don't see what's wrong w/that. Now if, as nbs2 suggested, the police actively encouraged/talked/coerced someone into doing something they'd wouldn't have done otherwise then that's a problem.


    Lethal
     
  25. killr_b macrumors 6502a

    killr_b

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    #25
    This is awesome Ugg. :D

    The numbers say it all, not one of the people on "To Catch a Predator" have been convicted of pedophilia in a court of law.
     

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