To Catch a Predator Settles and Finishes

Though refusing to disclose the amount, NBC has settled a lawsuit filed by the family of a man who committed suicide when confronted with cameras for “To Catch a Predator.” Mr. Conradt, an ADA from Texas, had allegedly engaged in sexually explicit online chats with someone he believed was underage, but actually was and adult volunteer for Perverted Justice, a group dedicated to entrapping potential child sexual predators. The group was a paid consultant for NBC in the “Predator” series.

According to the New York Times, the volunteer masquerading as a child arranged to meet with Conradt as part of “Predator” sting facilitated by a local police department. Quoting the times, “Conradt did not show up at the bait house, so the local police, encouraged by NBC (according to the lawsuit), decided to arrest him at his home. As the police and camera crews entered the home, Mr. Conradt shot himself in the head.”

According to the sister, Patricia Conradt, a police officer at the scene of the shooting said “That’ll make good TV.” The LA Times reports that the Texas DA’s office “declined to pursue the more than 20 cases related to the “Predator” sting operation related to this case, citing problems with the evidence gathered.”

There is no talk of continuing the series at this point.


Right and Wrong Ways to "Catch a Predator"

According to Reuters, the US Federal Courts will continue to hear the case dealing with the $100 million lawsuit against NBC. NBC’s series, “To Catch a Predator” is being blamed for the suicide of a former Texas prosecutor who was caught up in its popular sting strategy.

Assistant district attorney Louis Conradt shot himself in November 2006 after police officers came to his home in Terrell, Texas, accompanied by an NBC news crew planning to film his arrest for the television show. Conradt was allegedly expecting to meet up with a 13-year-old boy he believed he was communicating with online.

The tension is over the issue of entrapment. Critics of To Catch a Predator say the show does not report news, but rather makes news by luring people into illegal activities they normally would not do. Supporters say this show has done a great service keeping potential child molestors away from our children. The results of the hearing seemed to side with the critics “a reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement.”