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Is 'To Catch a Predator' Unethical?

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When a suspected sex offender killed himself after being busted by the television network, his family went to court.


As moms, we're glad shows like Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator exist. If the show even takes one sexual predator off the street and makes our kids safer, we're in favor of it.

But not everybody agrees...namely, the predators.

NBC Universal has settled a $105 million lawsuit brought by the sister of a man who took his life after being busted by the sex sting series Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator. Patricia Conradt says her brother, Louis William Conradt Jr., 56, a Dallas prosecutor, shot himself after being exposed having sexually provocative online chats with a decoy posing as a 13-year-old boy in 2006.

Patricia Conradt's lawyer Bruce Baron said: "NBC was responsible for his death. They conducted their sting operation and intentionally and with negligence sensationalized the situation," Baron said. "It brought it to the point that he died of a self-inflicted gun shot wound."

In February, a federal judge said a jury might decide the network "crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement."

"The matter has been amicably resolved to the satisfaction of both parties," said a statement released by both sides. Terms of the agreement were not disclosed.

Do you think it's fair to publicly humiliate sex offenders, or do they get what they deserve?

next: What's Your Deal Breaker?
25 comments so far | Post a comment now
muddin mom of 2 June 30, 2008, 1:56 PM

OF COURSE THEY DESERVE TO BE HUMILIATED!!! they get pleasure from our childrens pain….i think a little tv broadcast is just a small price to pay!!
WHO in their right mind can question that????

Rudy June 30, 2008, 2:21 PM

The judge should’ve questioned the reason behind Conradt’s suicide. Was he filled with guilt that he had to off himself? Or was he simply afraid and lost hope that he would never gain his self-respect after the revelation?

Obviously the guy felt a really strong guilt to kill himself, but sometimes we have to be careful not to act as vigilantes. Especially the media. If only the cops move a little faster to resolve this.

Elisa June 30, 2008, 2:38 PM


fitmom June 30, 2008, 2:49 PM

It’s too bad he took the easy way out!sex offenders never get what they truly deserve.

Miranda June 30, 2008, 3:11 PM

It’s too bad for this family, but he wouldn’t have been on the program if he wasn’t a pedifile. As the mother of 2 young childern, I think that it is a great show, and I’m glad someone is out there trying to protect our kids!

Shauna June 30, 2008, 3:20 PM

I think that NBC has every right to broadcast this stuff. These men (and some women) should be ashamed of themselves. Are these predators mad because they do these gross things anyways? Or because they were CAUGHT doing it?

Kristen Fortuna June 30, 2008, 3:41 PM

I think it’s funny in these cases that they say things like both parties are satisfied after whatever terms they agreed on. Meaning - my brother is worth X amount of dollars. Nothing will bring him back and better it to have been a sting operation, otherwise he would have actually talked to a real 13 year old boy and met up with him to rape and molest him, and who knows what else could have happened. So, yes, I completely agree with what this show is doing. Maybe it will make these sex offenders think twice (maybe not even do it at all) b/c of the chance it just may be a sting operation. The only people that have problems with it are the guilty ones in my opinion. I honestly don’t see the problem with one less of them in the world either.

Lily June 30, 2008, 11:20 PM

In point of fact Patricia Conradt got what she wanted: the cancellation of the show. The executives at NBC loved the ratings and the accolades but they hate giving depositions. If anything went wrong with one of these stings in the future, say some innocent bystander gets injured while police are chasing one of these marks, NBC would be looking at another nine figure lawsuit. And this would they would lose big time. In reality the only thing NBC cared about was ratings and money, now that they have a potential liability they could care less about the children.

lana July 1, 2008, 9:31 AM

broadcast all those stuff to make the preditors kill themselves.

sarah July 3, 2008, 11:36 AM

Why does she deserve the money? Her brother committed a crime and was caught, took the chicken way out, and she gets money. Pressure needs to be put on her to donate all the money to a child advocacy center. They deserve the money to help more children that have had to deal with people like her brother.

r1337 July 6, 2008, 1:30 AM


kathy July 8, 2008, 7:46 PM

Yes, NBC was doing a fine job getting some of these perverts off the street. You reap what you sow! What is the difference between this show and the 6:00 news exposing the same thing?????

Laci July 9, 2008, 1:19 AM

If the Dallas PD had busted him in a non-televised sting, it still would’ve been all over the news. I’m sure he would’ve still felt the situation so hopeless that suicide is the only way out. The families of all the little boys he got to before the decoy came along should sue to get their chunk of that $105 million!

Raven July 9, 2008, 10:44 AM

he got what he deserved and i think that show should be back on. Id love to do that uncover sting thing myself cause i have seen many pervs in chat rooms so its hard to tell how many are out there.

snake 772 August 13, 2008, 1:08 AM

im a retired nypd officer the predators should get everything possible done against them .to give the family money because he killed himself is crazy he was an animal glad he killed himself saved the taxpeople alot of money but to give the family money what are these people thinking what about the kids he is preying on he should rot in HELL and the city should appeal the decision

Melissa September 15, 2008, 11:20 AM

Something like this happened in our family…a neighbor up the street raped our cousin who is mentally disabled and she became pregnant…when asked who did it to her, she pointed him out…the next morning they found him hanging from the car port…rather than take his punishment he took the “easy way” out…his family is still disgraced…how many others had he done that to? The creep who killed himself in this particular story is just the same and to think his family was awarded money for his “insanity,” UNBELIEVABLE~that city needs to rethink voting for that judge to be allowed another term!

Wanda September 17, 2008, 10:47 AM

I think they need more of these type stings in EVERY state! This behavior has gotten worse and worse every day.These sicko’s live for the rush of hurting our children and they are NOT curable.I think the US government should take one of the empty barron islands in the middle of the ocean,cut off their privates and drop them all off,give them no food and let them fend for themselves!! Any judge ,lawyer,etc that lets these guys off “easy” should be put there with them cuz as far as I am concerned they are just as sick as them if they don’t get the same treatment as a murderer would as this kills our childrens souls litteraly!

Judith September 19, 2008, 8:47 AM

I agree with Laci, and Melissa, with their comments. The family of the guy who killed himself, should not have received one cent. Why didn’t they try to get him some help ? He knew what he was doing was wrong; yet, he chose to do it anyway. And, yes, if it wasn’t Dateline, it would have been on the local news anyway. Why should the family of that sicko, profit ? I am the grandmother of ten; and, the great grandmother of one; and I for one was glad there was a show like that, on the air, to expose what is going on in the real world.

marsha September 20, 2008, 1:11 PM

NO! Allowing child predators to exist outside of prison in this society is unethical.

Ash J November 5, 2008, 6:38 PM

Hell Yes they get what they deserve!!! That judge needs to be publicly humiliated for not throwing that case out! That guy only shot himself because he knew that he would never be able to face his family nor himself after what he had done. Men and women should be ashamed at being so stupid! NBC was not responsible for his death HE WAS! HIS FAMILY IS JUST TRYING TO MAKE UP FOR THEM BEING HUMILIATED AS WELL! Such idiots! How dare he shatter a childs innocence with ignorance! I hope he burns in hell for that!

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