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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: garyn ()
Date: June 09, 2006 08:03PM

In their Dateline series, "To Catch a Predator," NBC teamed up with an online organization called Perverted Justice, paying them over $100000. Many people have raised questions about the ethical and legal implications of such a partnership. However, a closer look at the Perverted Justice group itself may be even more disturbing.

According to their site (www.perverted-justice.com), "Concerned citizens from all walks of life who saw this problem got together and formed civilian watchdog group 'Perverted Justice', a website dedicated to finding and exposing those users in regional chatrooms with predatory tendencies towards children."

Sounds great, right? But they don't always stop there. Sometimes they also post information about the accused's innocent family members, claiming that they're trying to raise awareness. For example, one Perverted Justice member using the screen name "Doodler" posted this about the family of a man recently convicted of soliciting a minor online.

"Soooo, the past few weeks his daughter has been 'sharing' in class (I'm friends with her teacher and my daughter is in the same class so I hear EVERYTHING-ha, we've been keeping our ears open). His daughter was talking about family in town, a big yard sale last weekend, and her dance recital that was coming up. She listed all the people that would be at her dance recital and didn't even mention her dad. Another student asked why her Dad wouldn't be there and she said, 'I'm not allowed to talk about it.' Hmmmmmm, she knows something but I'm not sure how much she knows. OK, so then I ran into his wife today at a birthday party. We talked for about 20 minutes. She was talking about her hubby like he was at home mowing the lawn... I asked if they had travel plans this summer and she said they were 'just hanging out at home, just the usual trips to Dallas.' She doesn't know that I know about her perverted husband, but we do and we are spreading the word. I think people should know about this man since he does have a daughter and she has friends. I don't want him to ever be able to touch any of them!!!"

Group members also run a related site at www.corrupted-justice.net dedicated to attacking people who criticize Perverted Justice. The posts on the Corrupted-justice.net site make "Doodler" seem almost classy. Members post personal information about critics, and occasionally make crude attempts at Google bombing by posting the person's name repeatedly, along with words like "pedophile."

Although I was unable to locate NBC's code of ethics, the Society of Professional Journalistcs (SPJ) has their code online at www.spj.org/ethics_code.asp . Here are a few of the guidelines:

* Show compassion for those who may be affected adversely by news coverage. Use special sensitivity when dealing with children and inexperienced sources or subjects.
* Recognize that private people have a greater right to control information about themselves than do public officials and others who seek power, influence or attention. Only an overriding public need can justify intrusion into anyone’s privacy.
* Show good taste. Avoid pandering to lurid curiosity.
* Avoid conflicts of interest, real or perceived.
* Remain free of associations and activities that may compromise integrity or damage credibility.
* Be wary of sources offering information for favors or money; avoid bidding for news.
* Encourage the public to voice grievances against the news media.
* Expose unethical practices of journalists and the news media.

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: fulajay ()
Date: January 03, 2007 01:01AM

in all honesty & all due respect,

but when you have willfully sought out young people, to do lude sexual acts with you give up your rights to privacy. true you have rights to a lawyer and other human rights.

but the mean that they are trying to make known that there are predators out there is the right thing to do.

im not the kind of person that agrees with destoying peoples lives, example, the familys of the accused. but, yes if the daughter does have friends that were in contact with the father, the families of those children should be notified and then the parents of those children should seek to find out if they were victims. reguardless of the accused's family's feelings on the subject.

coming from experience, until you have had the experiences that i and other people have had, having someone older then them forcing themselves on you, you do not have an opinion on the subject, unless you or your family has been affected by such acts you have no place to offer an opinion.

just a thought,

peace,

fula

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: highrise ()
Date: May 15, 2007 02:58PM

I love the exposure....let's roast the perverts!

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: tyciol ()
Date: July 04, 2007 08:40PM

Unfortunately innocent guys are getting roasted alongside the perverts.

Like people who aren't trying to meet minors for sex...
Or meet them at all...
Or talk to them about sex...
Or talk to them at all.

Essentially, if you talk to people who talk to each other about wanting sex if it were legal, they'll target you for assassination.

It's a huge cult.

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: highrise ()
Date: August 24, 2007 06:24AM

Puleaze.

With what I've seen so far, I'm in full agreement of the work this group does with law enforcement.

These guys get due process.

If we can't keep our children safe and innocent, that is bad.

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: Reality 2 by 4 ()
Date: August 24, 2007 09:51AM

Just wanted to mention that the original post here has been spammed to numerous websites and is probably propaganda work from pedophile activists.

If anybody has any doubts about the work of Perverted Justice, I suggest they go to PJ website and read through the chat logs from some of these men. Dateline does not even begin to touch on how disgusting, sick and scary they really are.

Every one of the 'busts' done by Dateline and Perverted Justice is one child spared from being molested by these creeps.

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: August 24, 2007 08:57PM

Quote
"Reality 2 by 4"
Just wanted to mention that the original post here has been spammed to numerous websites and is probably propaganda work from pedophile activists.

If anybody has any doubts about the work of Perverted Justice, I suggest they go to PJ website and read through the chat logs from some of these men. Dateline does not even begin to touch on how disgusting, sick and scary they really are.

Every one of the 'busts' done by Dateline and Perverted Justice is one child spared from being molested by these creeps.

While I despise child molesters and support POLICE trolling chat rooms for them, I think this is heading down a slippery slope. If we need more funding for officers for this, fine, let's lobby government for more law enforcement for Internet crimes.

Here is an excellent article on PJ and where this might be headed, a society based on entrapment by media corporations even for relatively small crimes.

Either way, don't try to paint people who don't support PJ or the creepy Chris Hansen as "a child molester lobby". It isn't that simple. I'll say it again: I HATE CHILD MOLESTERS AND WANT POLICE TO SET THEM UP. But I also find the prospect of media conglomerates setting people up to be a terrible precedent and way too "1984" for me...

"While NBC doesn't comment on future "To Catch a Predator" episodes, the network plainly feels it has established a vital franchise. Spin-offs include "To Catch a Car Thief," "To Catch an ID Thief," "To Catch a Con Man" and the ludicrous "To Catch an i-Jacker." The latter involves leaving iPods around in public and tracking the people who pick them up. "So what's the lesson here?" Hansen asked a teenager who was caught and hauled before the cameras on a recent "Dateline." "Don't steal," he dutifully replied."

[sfgate.com]

'Predator' gets caught in its own trappings

Steven Winn

Wednesday, August 8, 2007

It's a familiar stop on a night of channel surfing. The ballgame's over, the kids are tucked in bed, the dishwasher's whirring - everything's primed for a spell of vicarious "watchdog" justice. It's time "To Catch a Predator."

That's the title of a queasily transfixing series about uncovering and punishing pedophiles that's been airing on the TV newsmagazine "Dateline NBC" since 2004. The network's sister channel, MSNBC, faithfully reruns episodes, just as religious channels recycle the best sermons of their ace televangelists. MSNBC is where many nocturnal channel browsers find these real-life mini morality plays.

Why are we so eager to watch these televised takedowns? Are we witnessing an activist form of TV journalism that bracingly takes grave matters into its own hands? Or are those hands behaving in ways that bear much closer scrutiny, doubt and reflection? A pending lawsuit and an unsettling new piece in Esquire magazine are fuel for thought.

The show's concept is simple: Adults from a group called Perverted Justice pose as children online to attract men trolling for sex. A meeting is arranged by telephone. The purported predator arrives at the meeting place, a house that has been rigged with multiple hidden cameras. With the videotape rolling, the show's clean-cut, youthful-looking star, Chris Hansen, enters and begins his solemn litany of revelation.

Depending on the visitor's response - some make excuses or invent other reasons for their presence, some walk out the door, some confess - Hansen might read from a printed log of the salacious online chat that's preceded the visit. Back in the studio, more evidence is piled on. Sometimes, we learn, the man has sent pictures or videos of his penis to the child he thinks he's going to meet. We might be told about a prior record of sexual solicitations.

Finally, the man is invited to leave, if he hasn't done so already. As soon as he's outside the house, local law enforcement teams rush him, wrestle him to the ground and make the arrest. Off he goes to be booked, arraigned and often, as a postscript indicates, convicted and jailed. One "Predator" show was shot locally, in Petaluma.

There are a number of ways to view the hold that "To Catch a Predator" exerts on the viewer. There is, of course, the power of its apparent authenticity, in high contrast to the numbingly synthetic "reality" that reality TV sells in all its iterations. NBC's "Predator" is like some deadly serious episode of "Candid Camera." Instead of laughing along with the folly of human nature, we're caught up short and cleave instinctively to Hansen's stoic righteousness.

And righteous is what we feel we are right to be. Adults seeking out children and young teenagers for sex carries the unmitigated onus of evil, the stench of the powerful preying on the powerless. Unlike many other crimes - robbery, assault, maybe even murder, which can emerge from a tangled web of human interaction, history and passion-fueled circumstances - sexual predation seems chillingly unambiguous.

For similar reasons, the specific allegations in the dogfighting case against football star Michael Vick and his associates carry a blackly poisonous stain. (Dogs were reportedly bludgeoned, hanged or electrocuted if they failed to perform well in fights.) Animals, like children, are innocent and defenseless, we feel. They require our vigilant unconditional protection.

Watching the parade of alleged pedophiles on a recent rerun of "To Catch a Predator," I felt a stony indifference to the nabbed men's deer-in-the-headlights looks and wheedling prevarications. "People play roles," one said of chat-room life. "People just talk." Another insisted he doesn't need 14-year-old girls. "I can get all kinda girls." A third said he was deeply sorry and would never do it again. In an hour, the show perp-walked 11 men, ages 21 to 49, past the cameras. By the end of it, I felt dragged out and worn down, as if I'd been on some marathon stakeout myself.

In May, in a wrongful dismissal lawsuit filed by a former "Dateline" employee, Marsha Bartel outlined a series of ethical misgivings about "To Catch a Predator" that some media critics have raised themselves. Among other things, Bartel argues that paying Perverted Justice for its services gives the group "a financial incentive to lie to and trick targets of its sting." She's not the only ex-employee, incidentally, to discuss the show's underlying methods. Former "Dateline" anchor Stone Phillips has said that in many of the contrived Internet chats, "the decoy is the first to bring up the subject of sex."

Bartel's assertions about the relationship between NBC and law enforcement are more disturbing. Contrary to the network's claim of "parallel investigations" with police, she says, "Dateline" pays or otherwise reimburses law enforcement officials, trades its video services for information and for dramatically staged arrests, and illegally provides video feeds to prosecutors.

A piece in the forthcoming September Esquire turns the spotlight on the problem in graphic and grim detail. (Esquire, like The Chronicle, is a Hearst publication.) In telling the story of a Dateline "Predator" operation that ended in a man's suicide by gunshot when the police stormed his house with NBC's cameras poised outside, writer Luke Dittrich portrays a network hungry for real-life drama at any cost and a Murphy, Texas, police department only too avid to play along. When the man, a former district attorney named Bill Conradt Jr., failed to show up at the trysting house as arranged, Esquire shows, NBC pressed police to obtain a warrant for his arrest and force a confrontation at his own home. The last footage shot was of the SWAT team loading Conradt's body into the ambulance.

In a mordant footnote to the tragedy, Dittrich reports that because of various problems, including crime venue problems and the lack of proper warrants, the county's district attorney was unable to prosecute any of the 23 men arrested in Murphy during the Texas "Dateline" encampment.

While NBC doesn't comment on future "To Catch a Predator" episodes, the network plainly feels it has established a vital franchise. Spin-offs include "To Catch a Car Thief," "To Catch an ID Thief," "To Catch a Con Man" and the ludicrous "To Catch an i-Jacker." The latter involves leaving iPods around in public and tracking the people who pick them up. "So what's the lesson here?" Hansen asked a teenager who was caught and hauled before the cameras on a recent "Dateline." "Don't steal," he dutifully replied.

Like the multiple versions of "Law & Order," the "To Catch" series may satisfy a simple desire to see the cleansing social order working properly. But in blurring the lines between law enforcement and entertainment, police procedure and sleazy curiosity, "Dateline" is engaging in a much more vexing business, one that's closer to the car-chase videos of "Cops" than it is to some new form of TV justice.

The series capitalizes on America's fantasy of being on the inside track, embedded, empowered by the media's intoxicating blend of intimacy and might. In the end, as Bartel puts it in her lawsuit, NBC may just be feeding "American culture's interest in public humiliation." It may be irresistible to watch, but maybe the old model is worth rethinking. Let law enforcement do law enforcement, and let the media pay very close attention to how it's doing it.

E-mail Steven Winn at swinn@sfchronicle.com.

This article appeared on page E - 1 of the San Francisco Chronicle

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: Reality 2 by 4 ()
Date: September 03, 2007 11:46AM

If anyone has doubts about whether this is entrapment, I suggest going to [pervertedjustice.com] and read through some of the chat logs from the convictions.

And FYI, Perverted Justice does a lot more work with law enforcement than just the few stings they've shown on Catch a Predator.

The evidence they provide has been challenged all the way to the CA Supreme Court now and it held up.

Being that I am the parent of a teenager, I am grateful for PJ and I have nothing but praise for their work.

Bottom line - If you don't want to deal with Chris Hansen and a guest starring role on Dateline, don't show up at a house intending to have sex with a minor. Simple as that.

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: September 04, 2007 08:28PM

Quote
Reality 2 by 4

The evidence they provide has been challenged all the way to the CA Supreme Court now and it held up.

Being that I am the parent of a teenager, I am grateful for PJ and I have nothing but praise for their work.

Bottom line - If you don't want to deal with Chris Hansen and a guest starring role on Dateline, don't show up at a house intending to have sex with a minor. Simple as that.

Nice way to dodge all the points I brought up.

1. Your being the parent of a teenager does not add credibility to your argument, I am also the parent of a teenager who despises pedophiles. You are just repeating emotional arguments and trying to show your "superiority" to those who do not have teenage kids.

2. You try to lump anyone who doesn't like Chris Hansen in with the actual child molesters. Nice straw man argument.

3. You do not address the notion that this is work that should be done by law enforcement authorities, not by television shows. You may be right about the constitutionality of this in the courts, however do you think it is right for PJ to profit from this? Are they giving their proceeds to help victims of child molestation?

4. You ignore the slippery slope concept I mentioned in regards to the expansion of the Perverted Justice product line. Where do you draw the line? Do you want to see young kids busted for picking up a ipod on the playground?

"While NBC doesn't comment on future "To Catch a Predator" episodes, the network plainly feels it has established a vital franchise. Spin-offs include "To Catch a Car Thief," "To Catch an ID Thief," "To Catch a Con Man" and the ludicrous "To Catch an i-Jacker." The latter involves leaving iPods around in public and tracking the people who pick them up. "So what's the lesson here?" Hansen asked a teenager who was caught and hauled before the cameras on a recent "Dateline." "Don't steal," he dutifully replied."

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NBC's Scary Partner: Perverted Justice
Posted by: shakti ()
Date: September 29, 2007 04:34AM

Predator' sex sting raises questions of fairness, success

RIVERSIDE COUNTY: A joint effort caught on tape that resulted in 51 arrests faces scrutiny.


[www.pe.com]
D_dateline28.2d9ad3e.html


10:00 PM PDT on Thursday, September 27, 2007

By SANDRA STOKLEY
The Press-Enterprise

When "Dateline NBC" aired its first "To Catch a Predator" segment in 2004, it made for sensational television.

Program host Chris Hansen on camera confronted grown men who had been lured to a house by the prospect of sex with children.

The first two segments in New York and the northern Virginia/Washington, D.C., area nabbed a firefighter, a rabbi and a teacher.

For the third installment, Perverted-Justice.com, the Internet watchdog group that collaborated with "Dateline" on the "Predator" stings, asked that law enforcement be added to the mix and suggested the Riverside County Sheriff's Department, which had worked with the group previously.

The addition of law enforcement added a powerful element to an already dramatic scenario: Men who arrived for what they believed was a rendezvous with a minor were arrested by deputies and charged with crimes including attempted child molestation.

Over three days in January 2006, 51 men, ranging in age from 66 to 19 and from throughout Southern California, were arrested at a Mira Loma home. They included a high school teacher and a Department of Homeland Security agent.

But cases that initially seemed like slam-dunk convictions -- the men were seen on camera crying, pleading or even confessing -- have yielded uneven results both in Riverside County and other Predator sting locations.

And the show, which has broadcast 11 Predator segments, has come under fire in the form of a multimillion-dollar lawsuit filed by the sister of a Texas assistant district attorney who shot himself as police officers stormed his home during the now-notorious sting in Murphy, Texas, in November 2006.

'Unholy Alliance'

Law-enforcement experts say the partnership among Dateline, police agencies and Perverted-Justice.com, a civilian group whose volunteers pose as young boys and girls in online chat rooms and wait to be contacted by adult men, raises serious questions about investigative techniques, evidence gathering and police autonomy.

"It's an unholy alliance," said Tom Nolan, a Boston University associate professor and former Boston police officer who uses the Predator segments as the basis of discussions in his criminal justice classes.

"I have an issue with private citizens engaging in these kinds of investigatory practices," Nolan said, referring to Perverted Justice.

Attorney Michael Molfetta, whose client Christopher Urban was convicted in August, said he had no problem with law enforcement casting a wide net to reel in people who use the Internet to prey on children.

"I'm a father. I like law enforcement being aggressive," Molfetta said. "But there are right and smart ways of doing things that were violated when you brought in Perverted Justice and Dateline."

Riverside County sheriff's Chief Deputy Randy Throne said he could not respond to criticisms of the department's participation in the January 2006 operation because the issue might be raised in cases headed to trial.

But in the days following the sting, then-Sheriff Bob Doyle said the department agreed to participate because the national exposure would send a "strong message to these dirtbags to stop preying on kids."

Linda Dunn, a chief deputy district attorney in Riverside County, said the outcomes so far -- 19 men have entered guilty pleas and a 20th has been convicted -- prove the strength of the Riverside cases.

"We have more cases set for trial and we certainly intend to move forward on them and we expect convictions," Dunn said.

Case Ends in Deadlock

In the first Riverside Predator case to go to trial in mid-August, a Riverside County Superior Court judge threw out the case against U.S. Marine William Lawrence Havey after a jury deadlocked 10-2 in favor of acquittal.

Judge Dallas Holmes was harsh in assessing the merits of the case against Havey, saying, "I don't like the smell of this case."

He was equally blunt in sizing up the Perverted Justice witnesses who testified, calling them "odd," "weird" and "repulsive."

Havey, a 24-year-old Iraq war veteran, had been charged with a single count of attempted lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14. He declined to comment through his attorney Court Will.

Will said his client never believed the "girl" he was chatting with online -- in actuality a Perverted Justice volunteer -- was 13 years old because he was in a chat room for people 18 years old and older.

When Havey arrived at the Mira Loma house, he was arrested before he even made it inside.

Will said that based on his investigation, the attitude at the scene seemed to be that anyone who showed up at the decoy house was already guilty.

"No further inquiry was needed," Will said. "I don't think that's fair. I don't think it's justice."

Questions

In Texas, Collin County District Attorney John Roach has declined to file charges against any of the men arrested in the Murphy sting, citing concerns about venue, the lack of arrest warrants and questions about the accuracy of evidence, including the Internet chat logs.

"We're not confident that the transcripts of the Internet chats between the defendant and the Perverted Justice decoy are accurate or complete," Roach said in a telephone interview.

Roach said the location of the Perverted Justice volunteers and the men who made contact with them also is in question. In order to file charges, at least one party had to be in Collin County when the online solicitation, the crime being alleged, occurred, Roach said.

"The civilians were running this operation in Texas and that is fundamentally wrong," Roach said. "They don't have the same interest that law enforcement has."

Similar questions about the Perverted Justice's methods and chat log accuracy are being raised in a preliminary hearing under way in Riverside County Superior Court in Indio involving a Perverted Justice sting for the Fox television show "Cops."

Former Palm Springs news anchor Jim Philbrick, 44, is accused of attempting to commit lewd acts with a child under 14, based on his online conversations with a Perverted Justice volunteer in a gay chat room.

In an e-mail response to questions, Perverted Justice said chats are recorded in three file formats, one of them encrypted so that they cannot be tampered with.

Attorney Michael Garner, who is representing a man arrested in a July 2006 sting in Harris County, Ga., challenged video of Hansen interviewing Reymundo Anguiano, arguing that Hansen was acting as an agent of law enforcement and should have advised Anguiano of his rights before the interview.

"The judge ruled against us. He said my client was not in custody," Garner said in a telephone interview. "We'll appeal it."

Outcomes

Defense attorneys in the Riverside cases headed to trial have raised other concerns.

At a Sept. 21 pretrial hearing in Riverside County Superior Court, attorney Ronald Richards sought to have the attempted child molestation charge against his client Spencer Cho dismissed because he was arrested while sitting in his car and had not made a move to enter the decoy house.

"The sting was never set up to get people in their cars," Richards said.

Judge Jean P. Leonard denied Richards' motion to dismiss, saying there was probable cause for his arrest.

Dunn, the chief deputy district attorney, said her office was "somewhat taken aback" at Holmes' comments in the Havey case.

"We thought the case was strong; that's why we went to trial on it," she said.

She noted that a second Predator trial, also in August and also using testimony from Perverted Justice witnesses, resulted in the conviction of Rancho Cucamonga resident Christopher Urban. He faces a maximum of four years in state prison when he is sentenced in October.

In that case, jurors voted to convict Urban of one count of attempted lewd and lascivious act with a child under the age of 14 and deadlocked on a second count.

Dunn said she thought the outcome of the Havey trial had more to do with jurors' unwillingness to convict a Marine than with negative perceptions of the Perverted Justice witnesses.

Nolan, the Boston University professor, said serious issues are raised when police agencies partner with nonprofessionals on operations, not the least of which is that law enforcement has specific guidelines, rules and policies they must abide by in investigations.

"Perverted Justice, even though they are in fact acting as agents of law enforcement, are not abiding by the policies," Nolan said. "This is vigilantism. It's sensational vigilantism."

Reach Sandra Stokley at 951-368-9647 or sstokley@PE.com

Riverside Justice

Of the 51 men arrested during the three-day "Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator" sting in January 2006 in Riverside County, 19 men have pleaded guilty and have received sentences of varying lengths.

Robert Lyons, 50: Pleaded guilty to three felonies, including attempted sodomy with a child under 14 years old, received five years in state prison.

Miguel Sosa, 36: Pleaded guilty to an attempted lewd act with a child under 14 years old; received 180 days in county jail.

Mitchell Rhodes Heylek, 25: Pleaded guilty to an attempted lewd act with a child under 14 years old, received 240 days in county jail, to be served on weekends.

William Havey, 24: Case dismissed after a jury deadlocked 10-2 for acquittal on a single count of an attempted lewd act with a child under 14 years old.

Christopher Urban, 28: Convicted of a single count of an attempted lewd act with a child under 14 years old; awaiting sentencing.

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