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Old 02-27-2008, 01:11 PM   #1
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$105M Lawsuit Against To Catch A Predator Can Go To Trial

(AP)A $105 million lawsuit brought by a woman who claims a sex sting by Dateline NBC: To Catch A Predator drove her brother to kill himself can go to trial, a federal judge ruled Tuesday.

In a scathing ruling, U.S. District Judge Denny Chin said a jury might conclude the network "crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement."

Louis William Conradt Jr., a suburban Dallas prosecutor, fatally shot himself after he was accused of engaging in a sexually explicit online chat with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy, according to a lawsuit filed by his sister.

In the lawsuit, Patricia Conradt said NBC "steamrolled" police to arrest her brother after telling police he failed to show up at a sting operation 35 miles away.

NBC was working with the activist group Perverted Justice on the sting, in which officers impersonating underage girls establish online chats with men and try to lure them to a house, where they are met by TV cameras and police.

Chin said the lawsuit contained sufficient facts to make it plausible that the suicide was foreseeable, that police had a duty to protect Conradt from killing himself, and that the officers and NBC acted with deliberate indifference.

Amanda Leith, a lawyer for NBC Universal, had no comment on the ruling. The company previously called the lawsuit "completely without merit." A spokeswoman for the company did not immediately return a telephone message.

Bruce Baron, a lawyer for Patricia Conradt, said: "This decision shows no one is above the law, no matter how powerful."

Chin tossed out many of Patricia Conradt's claims but said her principal claims could proceed to trial.

In his ruling, Chin said the network "placed itself squarely in the middle of a police operation, pushing the police to engage in tactics that were unnecessary and unwise, solely to generate more dramatic footage for a television show."

Chin wrote that a reasonable jury could find there was no legitimate law enforcement need for a heavily armed SWAT team to extract a 56-year-old prosecutor from his home when he was not accused of any actual violence and was not believed to have a gun.

He said a jury might conclude it was done solely to sensationalize and enhance the entertainment value of the arrest.

"A reasonable jury could find that by doing so, NBC created a substantial risk of suicide or other harm, and that it engaged in conduct so outrageous and extreme that no civilized society should tolerate it," Chin said.

Before issuing his ruling, Chin said he reviewed a copy of the Feb. 20, 2007 episode. In her lawsuit, Patricia Conradt claims a police officer at the scene of the shooting told a Dateline producer: "That'll make good TV."
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Old 02-27-2008, 02:47 PM   #2
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i of course think pedophiles commit horrible acts and they deserve to be punished for their crimes (as in go to jail and serve their time), but i've never been a fan of that show. i think that show is a horrible example of, basically, entrapment.

there is absolutely no excuse for these people to come to these houses under the premise they'll have sex with a minor, but for the host to be like "haha you got caught!" and to show it all on television and keep prodding the person about their intentions and such is just awful. there's no need for the show to be the judge and jury.
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Old 02-28-2008, 08:50 AM   #3
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Obviously the show & NBC are no angels but this lawsuit is kind of a joke. Reminds me a little of when the Jenny Jones show got a guy shot and got sued for it (I believe by the shooter/shooter's family). I think it was a civil suit and the show settled.
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Old 02-29-2008, 12:32 PM   #4
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Quote:
Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes
i of course think pedophiles commit horrible acts and they deserve to be punished for their crimes (as in go to jail and serve their time), but i've never been a fan of that show. i think that show is a horrible example of, basically, entrapment.

there is absolutely no excuse for these people to come to these houses under the premise they'll have sex with a minor, but for the host to be like "haha you got caught!" and to show it all on television and keep prodding the person about their intentions and such is just awful. there's no need for the show to be the judge and jury.
i agree entirely. everything about that show bothers me.
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:33 AM   #5
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I think NBC are childabusers also,..using kids to make sensation television. If it sells it is good
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Old 03-01-2008, 02:36 AM   #6
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I can't watch 30 seconds of that show without feeling the need to take a shower. It's so disgusting.
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Old 03-01-2008, 06:02 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally posted by KhanadaRhodes
i of course think pedophiles commit horrible acts and they deserve to be punished for their crimes (as in go to jail and serve their time), but i've never been a fan of that show. i think that show is a horrible example of, basically, entrapment.

there is absolutely no excuse for these people to come to these houses under the premise they'll have sex with a minor, but for the host to be like "haha you got caught!" and to show it all on television and keep prodding the person about their intentions and such is just awful. there's no need for the show to be the judge and jury.
Yeah I agree with this too.

Another thing that totally creeps me out is this bit:

Quote:
In the lawsuit, Patricia Conradt said NBC "steamrolled" police to arrest her brother after telling police he failed to show up at a sting operation 35 miles away.
The guy talked online to the "kid" but never actually followed up on meeting him. If laws against computer generated "child" pornography have been stuck down because they don't actually include any children I think the law used against these people should be suspect too. I did a quick check of this guy in Wikipedia (yes, I'm lazy, but this isn't a freaking term paper) and apparently he'd stopped responding to instant messages and phone calls from the supposed kid (who wasn't a child). But Dateline wanted to get a high profile arrest on tape and they pushed hard to get it. I don't believe it had anything to do with "protecting the children" and everything to do with boosting their ratings.

That's sleazy and I hope Dateline gets it's ass kicked (and loses this lawsuit big time).
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Old 03-01-2008, 08:15 AM   #8
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This show sets a bad precedent and I've always hated it.

Another thing that has concerned me is what procedural rules they are breaking and what technicalities may come up in the person's defence as a result of that. As it stands, the police themselves are responsible for a lot of prosecutory clusterfucks, so I can't imagine that this doesn't play a role here as well, particularly in the eligibility of evidence.
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Old 03-01-2008, 07:34 PM   #9
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I'm split on how I feel about that show. Yes, the criminals can be caught without the T.V. cameras, but it has opend a lot of peoples eyes to just how wide spread the problem is. The thing that shocked me was the types of people that were getting arrested. ER Dr.'s, Lawyer, police officers, on , and on.
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