NBC 'Catch a Predator' sting shakes up Texas town
DA won't prosecute any of the cases
By Grant Slater, ASSOCIATED PRESS
MURPHY, Texas – A sting in which police teamed up with “Dateline NBC” to catch online pedophiles was supposed to send a flinty-eyed, Texas-style warning about this Dallas suburb: Don't mess with Murphy.
Instead, it has turned into a fiasco.
One of the 25 men caught in the sting – a prosecutor from a neighboring county – committed suicide when police came to arrest him. The Murphy city manager who approved the operation lost his job in the ensuing furor.
And the district attorney is refusing to prosecute any of the men, saying many of the cases were tainted by the involvement of amateurs.
“Certainly these people should be prosecuted to the full extent of the law, but the fact that this was all done for television cameras raises some questions,” said Mayor Bret Baldwin.
It is the first time in nine “Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator” stings across the country in the past year and a half that prosecutors did not pursue charges.
“Dateline” has made prime-time entertainment out of contacting would-be child molesters over the Internet, luring them to a meeting place, and videotaping their humiliating confrontations with reporter Chris Hansen.
I hope this is the end of shows like this. Dateline NBC is peddling in fear-mongering, turning serious police business into entertainment, and turning the purient interests of the viewing audience into a profit point. Pimping fear, nice job, Dateline.