Mugshots: 50 men were arrested after the latest installment of the "Dateline" report.
By Chris Hansen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 1/25/2011 5:42:35 PM ET 2011-01-25T22:42:35

This report aired Dateline Friday, Feb. 3, 9 p.m. We want to warn you some of what you'll read is explicit. But parents need to know what their kids can confront when they sit down at the computer.

A month ago, Dateline launched its third investigation into a growing national epidemic—grown men trolling the Internet, many looking for sex with children. This time, to expose them, we set up multiple hidden cameras in a house in Southern California.

A decoy coaxes the men in, but instead of finding a 12- or 13-year-old home alone, the men looking for sex will meet me.

Here’s an example of the kind of confrontation we’re in for: A 37-year-old, Kurt Lemke, a truck driver, calls himself “haloballfan” online. He thinks he’s here to meet a 13-year-old boy named Dave, but we really send him a decoy photo. During his chat, he makes plans to give the boy oral sex.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (hidden camera footage): What are you doing here?

Kurt Lemke: Just hanging out.

Hansen: Hanging out?

Lemke: Who are you?

Hansen: Who are you here to meet?

Lemke: I don’t know.

Hansen: Well why did you come here?

Lemke: I think I was, ah, misled.

Hansen: Misled ? Misled into what?

Lemke: Not sure who you are.

Hansen: I have the log of your conversation with somebody who identified themselves as a 13-year-old boy named Dave.

Lemke: Okay.

Hansen: Does that sound familiar?

Lemke: Possibly.

And that’s about all he’ll say, so I tell him who I am: 

Hansen: We’re doing a story...

And he runs out and doesn’t want to hear anymore.

Lemke: Hell no.

But unlike our previous hidden camera operations, where after leaving the house some men were able to make a run for it, this time things will be different. This time law enforcement will be waiting.

It was almost two years ago when Dateline conducted its first investigation into online predators. A year later, we did it again. In two different investigations, in two different states, dozens of men showed up at our undercover houses after chatting about sex online and then making a date with a minor.

One man who sent obscene video of himself to someone posing as a 13-year-old was a New York City firefighter whom we then confronted. Another man was a rabbi. He was not happy when he found out he would be exposed on national television.

Both of our investigations were watched by millions of people. It was the talk of radio and cable television shows for weeks. So have sexual predators learned any lesson at all? 

Apparently not, as you’ll witness firsthand in our latest investigation.

As we have in the past, we enlisted the help of volunteers from Perverted-Justice, a watchdog group that regularly catches online predators by posing as kids online. But this time Perverted-Justice volunteers wanted to get law enforcement involved, so before our investigation began, they contacted the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

Sgt. Chad Bianco, Riverside County Sheriff’s Department: We were approached by Perverted-Justice to do this large sting and they told us that “Dateline” would be following along. We jumped at the chance.

Sgt. Chad Bianco and a Perverted-Justice volunteer screenname “Frag” devised a plan.

Sgt. Bianco: We were in telephone contact and two-way radio contact with Perverted-Justice and they would let us know when someone was getting close.      

The sergeant and his men, staked out in a mobile home parked in the driveway next door, are ready and waiting for suspects to show up at the house in an attempt to molest a child.

The detectives will watch as men enter our house and then wait for Frag’s signal. The cuffs will go on potential predators because Perverted-Justice has already turned over important evidence to detectives—chat logs filled with sexually graphic material, men planning sex acts with a 12 or 13-year-old.

Sending those messages alone may only be a misdemeanor in California. But if the men show up at the house, there’s no mistaking their intent to have sex with someone under the age of 14— and that’s a felony says Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise.

Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise: Not just the fantasy, because that’s what’s happening on the Internet.  They’re having their fantasies.  They’re satisfying their urges for foreplay or whatever.  They actually have to get them to follow through and show that there is an intent and make some proactive effort to meet that child.

Since almost 20 men showed up each time during our first two investigations, we’re prepared for a big turn out, but it’s hard to predict.

How many men will take the giant step and go from the chat room to our living room? We’re set up in a house in southern California ready and waiting for the knock on the door.

For the next three days we’ll be greeting guests who have no business being here.

Volunteers from Perverted-Justice, experts at pretending to be kids online, are in all types of chat rooms—from local area chats to rooms setup for sexual preferences. And they’ve set up profiles of 12- and 13-year-olds, which include photos and other personal information. Some are on Web sites like MySpace.com and Teenspot, social networking Web sites.  

They’re waiting to be hit on by adults looking for sex. The Perverted-Justice decoys tell the adults they are home alone and sometimes they say they are interested in sex, a few pretend they are eager to meet.

In a matter of seconds, men start chatting with the undercover decoys. Typically, a chat will begin with each person typing in their age, sex, and location. One decoy, screenamed “bubblebeth2005” has a picture in her profile of a “Dateline” staffer taken when she was 12. There was no mistaking this is a child. 

A man who has seen her picture and her age wastes no time before talking dirty. He’s  “kinky_man_in_corona.” He says he’s 40 and shows “bubblebeth” a picture of a penis on his profile. And as you’ll read below, on an excerpt of the chat log, he’s making plans for sex with the girl whose profile says she’s 12.

kinky-man-in corona (chat log transcript): yes I do want to come over--- would love to get you naked.

bubblebeth2005: 4 realz, I’ve never done that b4

kinky-man-in-corona: well would do more than that

bubblebeth2004: like wut? 

kinky-man-in-corona: well i would get naked to and we would have sex.

His chat, along with all of the other chats sent to our decoys, gets too graphic and disgusting to show. Usually, the men like to get very specific about what they want to do sexually.

And he comes walking up to the driveway of the house. “Kinky-man-in-corona” arrives, looking to meet “bubblebeth.”

We did background research on him and learned he’s really 43-year-old Walter Edward Babst—a married man with children.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (hidden camera footage): Hey, how are you?

Babst: Good— am I under arrest?

Hansen: Have a seat.

He had no idea he’s being recorded by our hidden cameras.

Hansen: What are you doing here?

Babst: Getting my ass kicked.

Hansen: Getting your ass kicked.

Babst: Yeah, I knew it, I knew it was a set up.

Hansen: I need you to sit down.

Babst: I need you to arrest me and take me to jail and execute me.

Hansen: I need to talk with you first.

Babst: Because you know what, I didn’t bring anything, I didn’t want to do anything.

Hansen: But why did you come here? Help me to understand.

Babst: Because I am a sick son of a bitch. I have never did it before I talk about it online all the time. I have never done anything with anybody except my wife. Ever.

Hansen: What are you doing here on a Saturday morning, coming into a house where you believe a 12- or 13-year-old kid is home alone, with no parents here?

Hansen: Do you have kids?

Babst: Yeah I do.

Hansen: Well how would you feel if some guy walked into your house trying to hook up with your kids?

Babst: I’d feel pissed.

And you’ll never guess what this man does for a living.

Babst: I’m in education.

Hansen: You’re in education?

Babst: Yeah.

Hansen: You’re a teacher?

Babst: Umm hmm.

Hansen: What grade do you teach?

Babst: High school.

Hansen: High school?

Babst: Yes.

It’s a high school not too far from our undercover house.

More men underway
The men were asked to walk down the side of the house in California and come in through the sliding glass door in the back.

Several men made it into the kitchen, and as soon as they saw me, made a run for it. But they didn’t get very far: They ran right into the arms of the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department.

One man, “uncommonsense2,” says he’s 34 years old and thinks he’s talking to a 13-year-old girl. He brags that his genitals are pierced three times. And then he tells our decoy “getting you out of your clothes is the best.”

Before “uncommonsense2” or any other man comes to the house, a volunteer from Perverted-Justice will usually speak with him on the phone.  Thirteen-year-old “Del,” her screename, is able to pose as a girl or a boy.

He’s 39-year-old Scott Smith who’s in the moving business. Unbelievably, he was caught by a Perverted-Justice member talking to a young teen online a month earlier and was given a warning and told to stop. But it doesn’t appear he’s learned his lesson.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): Hey, how are you?

Scott Smith: Alright.

Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat.

Smith’s brought along alcohol—a six-pack of Smirnoff Ice.

Hansen: So a month ago, you got caught by Perverted-Justice.

Smith: Well, I didn’t say “I got caught,” she just said that.

Hansen: Talking to somebody who said they were underage?

Smith: Yeah.

Hansen: And did you learn your lesson from that?

Smith: I guess not. Not really.

He also admits to chatting with young girls on the Web site MySpace.com

Hansen: You check out the myspace sites of young women?

Smith: I just whatever is in the chatroom and I go to see their picture and I click on it and it goes to myspace or something like that.

Smith, like so many other men who walked through our door, says he wasn’t planning on doing anything.

Smith: I just wanted to talk to her and that was it. Just to see what makes her tick.

Hansen: Did you send her any pictures?

Smith: I didn’t send her anything other than what was on my little window.

Hansen: What kind of pictures.

Smith: My face.

His face and something else.

Smith: Pictures of my penis.

Hansen: Pictures of your penis?

Smith: Well, not necessarily of my penis, but pictures, yeah.

And as for the alcohol he brought, he says that wasn’t for the 13-year old—it was for her mother.

Smith: She asked me to bring some of that for her mom cause she said she was drinking her mom’s coolers or something.

Hansen: For her mom? You know I have the transcripts.

Smith: Yes, she did. She said that she wanted me to bring some of those because she...

Hansen: For her, because she liked them.

For three days, there is anothernon-stop parade of potential predators. Many of the men like “uncommonsense2” brought gifts like alcohol and condoms. One man, “mr-b-jones2” has a bag full of goodies.

Jerry Griffith, 45, arrived at the house to meet a 13-year-old girl. Online, our decoy asked him if he’d bring a present. He says “You got any ideas?” She types back “I like pie.” 

So what do you suppose is in the bag when he arrives?

Del (hidden camera footage): What’d you bring me?

Jerry Griffith: I brought you an apple pie, some whipped cream.

Hansen: (surprises him) So we have quite the shopping bag full of stuff there, huh? Why don’t you have a seat on that stool?

Griffith: How’s it going?

Griffith says he thought the girl he’s here to meet is 22 years old, and at first can’t remember her name.

Griffith: She said her name was 22-- I mean she said she was 22.

Hansen: She said her name was 22?

Griffith: No, she said she was 22.

But I remind him that there’s a transcript of everything that was said.

Hansen: You had a long conversation about the fact that she was 13. You asked her if it’s going to be a problem. And furthermore, you talk about how she should make sure that there are no friends around.

Griffith: I don’t know what to tell you.

I refresh his memory by reading some of his chat log.

Hansen: “Hey do you want me to spend the night? Sure maybe you can bring some beer. Yeah, that would be rocking cool but you can’t have any friends over that would be too risky.” She talks about bringing a pie and here’s a pie. What else did you bring?

Griffith: I brought some Tums. And I brought some whipped cream. And I brought some other stuff.

Hansen: Like what?

Griffith: Contraceptives.

Hansen: Contraceptives.

Griffith: Yes.

When a suspect brings gifts like these to a possible liaison, it actually helps law enforcement says the deputy district attorney.

Michelle Paradise, Deputy District Attorney: It helps show intent. What was the purpose of them going there? They brought the items that they talked about in the same conversations that they talked about having sex. 

So far you’ve met three men who showed up at our hidden camera house... they are just the beginning of what will become the largest turnout we’ve ever gotten.  

And as you’ll see these potential predators come from all walks of life and all age groups. When it comes to occupations, the high school teacher is far from the only one whose profession will shock you.

Our latest investigation of Internet predators reveals the most ethnically diverse group of men we have seen so far. And a wide range in age from 19 years old to 65.

Michelle Paradise, Deputy District Attorney: It doesn’t surprise me at all that they would be from all walks of life.

And Riverside County Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise says it’s also a problem in every socio-economic group as well.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: It’s a pervasive problem?

Paradise: Across the board.

Men are pulling up to our hidden camera house in all types of vehicles, from junkers to expensive luxury cars. And their occupations run the gamut. This man, screenname “cbeachdude,” who drives up to our house in his Mercedes Convertible is an actor. He thinks he’s about to meet a 13-year-old boy.

Online, “cbeachdude” describes in detail his plans for sex with the boy in the shower. He walked into our kitchen, and “Del,” posing as the 13-year-old, invites him in.

Del (hidden camera footage): Just hang out at the counter for a second okay?

Chris Moore: Okay.

Del: So, I know I showered once do you still want to shower again?

Moore:(laughs) Well, I’m kinda stinky.

He gets quite the surprise when the decoy doesn’t walk out.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): What’s up?

Moore: Hi. How are you?

Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat right there.

Instead, he meets me. Remember, none of the men know they’ve been recorded on hidden cameras.

He’s 34-year-old Chris Moore, and like so many of the men I confront, he tries to lie about how old he thinks the boy is.

Moore: I thought he was 18. He told me.

Hansen: You want to try again?

Moore: If he’s younger, I apologize, I didn’t know.

Moore: I made a mistake.

And that isn’t his only mistake. Like many of the other men who show up at our house, while online, he makes it clear he thinks he’s coming for sex with a 13-year-old and he sends a picture of his genitals.

Hansen: You thought it was okay to send this kind of material to a 13-year-old boy, why?

Moore: You’re right. It wasn’t right.

Hansen: Well that’s against the law, right there. What do you have to say for yourself?

Moore: I’m ashamed. I wasn’t thinking right and I feel terrible and this was seriously the first time. And I knew I was taking a huge risk.

Hansen: So you knew what you were doing was wrong?

Moore: (mumbles) yes.

It becomes a tearful performance for an actor who says he’s played many roles.

Moore: I work in background movies.

Hansen: In movies?

Moore: And television.

Hansen: And what do you do in movies and television.

Moore: Background, stand-in work.

Hansen: Like an actor.

Moore: Yeah.

Hansen: What would I have seen you in?

Chris: "Godzilla", "Pearl Harbor," "Never Been Kissed"...

If that’s true, how did he get from being a stand-in for blockbuster movies to standing in our kitchen?

Hansen: Why did you do it then? Tell me what was going on in your mind.

Moore: I don’t know.

Hansen: You know how people will react when they see this? I mean, this does not look good.

Moore: I know.

And it doesn’t look good for the next guy either. Stephen Coates, 56, goes by the screenname “m4pixeleen.” He works in the biotech industry and is a songwriter on the side. He even has a Web site where he sells his work.

He thinks he’s chatting online with a 13-year-old, but it’s actually a Perverted-Justice decoy who set up a  profile on the social networking Web site called MySpace.com. He lies and tells her he’s 42 years old, and as you’ll hear when we read you some of his chat log, it appears he’s trying to gain the girl’s trust.

m4pixeleen (chat transcript): do you talk about sex and things like that?

m4pixeleen: you can tell me anything, it’s ok.

greendaychickk: I have

m4pixeleen: it is fun

m4pixeleen:  you seem like a very sweet girl

He goes on to explain to the girl he thinks is a 13-year-old virgin that they should have oral sex because intercourse is a big step and he adds... “sometimes people just do anal sex first... then you’re still a virgin.”

And then he starts asking about her body. How tall is she? How big are her breasts? And one of the most frequently asked questions, if she has hair in private places. When the decoy says, “not really,” the 56-year-old says “that’s terribly sexy.”

He later sends a picture of his genitals and continues to talk about sex with our decoy posing as a 13-year-old. He tells her he’s trying to be discreet so his wife and son don’t find out. 

Del (hidden camera footage): Hang out at the kitchen counter for a second, I gotta finish brushing my teeth.

Stephen Coates: Okay.

Del: What’s in the bag?

Coates: Oh, nothing really.

It appears the songwriter has brought along some of his own work. But he quickly realizes he won’t be playing it for a child, and soon he’ll be singing a different tune.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): I want to see what’s in your pocket?

Coates: Oh, it’s just a CD.

Hansen: Of what, may I see it?

Coates: It’s just of songs I have.

Hansen: Wnd what are you doing here, Steven?

Coates: Um, I was doing something that I shouldn’t be.

Hansen: And what is that? Why don’t you tell me.

Coates: Sir, I just want to go. Ok, please.

Hansen: What are you doing trying to meet a girl who told you she was 13 years old, Steven?

Coates: I’ve never done such a thing, and I didn’t want to do it.

Hansen: Why’d you do it then?

Coates: Because I’m stupid. I’m absolutely utterly completely stupid.

But apparently not so stupid as this next guy: 40-year-old Daniel Pulido works for a local trucking repair company. He’s hoping to meet a 13-year-old girl home alone.

He’s another one who sent pictures over the Internet of his genitals. Then, he asks the decoy is she’d give him oral sex.

He’s in for a big surprise when I walk in.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): How you doing tonight?

Daniel Pulido: Hello.

Hansen:  Why don’t you have a seat right there please. Do me a favor and keep your hands out of your pockets. What are you up to tonight?

Pulido: Nothing.

Hansen: Nothing or nothing good?

Pulido: Nothing good (laughs).

But he quickly comes up with a story: He tells me he was really here to teach the girl a lesson about the dangers of talking to strangers online.

Hansen: You posed naked on your Web cam so a 13-year-old girl could see it, to teach her a lesson?

Pulido: You could say that.

Hansen: Is this a like a tough love thing?

Pulido: No, no.

Hansen: Did you bring condoms?

Pulido: Yes I did.

Hansen: And what part of the lesson would that be?

Pulido: I wasn’t gonna use it.

Hansen: You were going to give her condoms.

Daniel Pulido may really be the one who needs to learn a lesson. You won’t believe what he admits to me.

Hansen: Do you ever watch Dateline NBC?

Pulido: Yes.

Hansen: Have you ever seen our stories on computer predators?

Pulido: Yes.

Hansen: This is one of them.

And he wasn’t the only one who saw Dateline’s earlier investigations on Internet predators and still showed up. “Southbayguy310” did too, and you won’t believe what we found out about him.

A year ago he was caught talking to a Perverted-Justice volunteer who was posing as a 12-year-old. His name and other personal information were posted once before on Perverted-Justice’s Web site which usually means his employer, family and neighbors were contacted by Perverted-Justice members and directed to his sexually charged chat log. 

But it seems he didn’t get the message. He’s back online with the same screename “southbayguy310.”

This time, he thinks he’s talking to a girl—the picture we sent him is of a “Dateline” staffer when she was 13 years old. Three minutes into the chat, he asks the girl if she’s a virgin and then he wants to know if she’s ever had “sex with a guy from online before?”

The girl says “ya” and so he asks “Do you want to meet and see what’s up?”

That all happens in less than eight minutes from the start of the chat. And as you’ll hear it gets more disgusting:

southbayguy310 (chat transcript): can I videotape us?

girL: r u like gonna sell it?

southbayguy310: lol no

girl: i don’t gotta cam though

southbayguy310: i want to watch it and masturbate to it.

The decoy asks him to bring Mike’s Hard Lemonade and “southbayguy310” says he’ll bring a camera, hoping she’ll let him take naked pictures of her. 

As he’s driving to our house, he calls the decoy to get directions. He finds the house but just as he’s pulling up, another man being arrested outside. He calls the decoy to find out what’s going on Del quickly makes up a story saying her neighbor was arrested for dealing drugs.

Amazingly, the police activity isn’t enough stop him. He comes through the door—32-year-old Keith Williams. He’s got the alcohol and the camera. He doesn’t seem all that surprised to see me.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): Why don’t you come here and have a seat?

Keith Williams: I knew it.

Hansen: You knew what?

Williams: I know, okay.

Hansen: Please sit down and relax.

Williams: Actually I’m not relaxed, I’m not going to give an interview.

Hansen: You’re not going to give an interview.

Hansen: What are you doing here?

Williams: I’m stupid. I knew better when I drove by I just knew better.

Hansen: Then why did you do it anyway?

Williams: I was bored. Look at my eyes you know.

Hansen: So you were bored and you were going to come over to have sex with a 13-year-old girl?

Williams: No, no, I don’t know what I was going to do.

But in his chat he makes “what he was going to do” pretty clear.

Hansen: You want to take pictures of her. Take naked pictures of her?

Williams: I don’t know. I’m not denying anything. It’s all right there.

Hansen: Have you ever heard of a group called Perverted-Justice?

Williams: Yes I have, I know about that. But I’m not saying how old they are.

Hansen: You were posted after talking to a girl who said she was 12. I have the chat log Keith.

Williams: I understand.

Hansen: what would have happened if I wasn’t here, Keith. You show up with booze, what else you got there?

Williams: That’s all it is, just booze.

Hansen: You were going to booze up a 13-year-old girl.

Williams: I’m wrong. Bottom line. I’m wrong. Listen to me, I’m wrong.

Hansen: It’s not your first time down this road.  Do you ever watch Dateline NBC?

Williams: I saw that episode, actually, and that’s why I don’t prefer to be on camera.

But when our cameras come out of hiding, he keeps talking.    

Our first two stings averaged 18 men over three days. Amazingly, in southern California, on the first day alone, 14 men arrive for what they think will be a possible meeting for sex with a 12 or 13-year-old.

On the second day, it gets so busy we actually have three men show up within minutes of each other.

Three men arrive at the same time
Unlike our previous investigations, this time detectives from the Riverside County Sheriff’s department are waiting outside. A Perverted-Justice volunteer alerts the detectives about the pile up. They’re staked out in a mobile home next door.

One man pulled up, parks across the street and waits. While he’s sitting in his car, another walks up and starts pacing in front of our house. We soon discovered yet another potential predator parked on a side street.

Finally, the man standing in front of the house, who calls himself “jazzeman04,” decides to come up the driveway and into the house.

He’s 19-year-old Erik Pallesen, there to meet a girl he thinks is 12 years old. Instead, he meets me.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (hidden camera footage): May I help you?

Erik Pallesen: Who is?

Hansen: Why don’t you come and have a seat over here please.

Meanwhile, outside, both of the other men continue to sit in their cars.

Inside, “jazzeman04,” decides to cut our conversation short. He makes a run for it.

The detectives spring in to action arresting the man sitting in his car across the street, then “jazzman04,” and then the man parked on the side street. This all happens less than six minutes from the time the first car pulls up.

As for that man who sat in his car while another man walked in the house? He’s a criminal investigator, a federal agent working for the department of Homeland Security.

At one point, the crowd of potential predators gets so large, Sgt. Chad Bianco, who has a total of 15 people working for him, runs out of manpower.

Sgt. Chad Bianco, Riverside County Sheriff's department: I had no one available. We had all of my investigators were dealing with people that we had arrested and there was… you still had people coming to the house.

The sergeant is forced to put suspects in the mobile home until back-up arrives, that way he can go out and arrest more. The handcuffed men are told to keep quiet.

Sgt. Bianco: They were very cooperative. They knew there were other suspects that were arriving. They knew we were going out to arrest them and we told them that they better not run. 

The next suspects to arrive were actually a couple, two men who were hoping to have sex with a boy. After sitting in their car for awhile, they decide to come in, but then appear to get cold feet. That’s when the investigators move in.

There’s yet another twosome: 20-year-old Sebastian Rodriguez arrives after chatting online about sex with a decoy posing as a 12-year-old girl. He’s even brought along a friend.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): So what are you guys up to?

Sebastian Rodriguez: Nothing.

Hansen: Nothing?

Rodriguez: We just came to hang out.

Sebastian also brought condoms and Mike’s Hard Lemonade, just what the decoy asked for.

Hansen: What did your buddy Sebastian here tell you about what was going to happen here tonight?

David, Sebastian’s friend: Really nothing. I just came along. I’m just a tag along so...

Hansen: You’re just a tag along.

Rodriguez: I really wasn’t planning on doing anything, sir.

Hansen: You got Mike’s Hard Lemonade. You got condoms. Sounds like you were planning to have sex with the girl.

Rodriguez: I’m not sir.

Hansen: But why would you bring this stuff? How does that look?

Rodriguez: I know sir, I’m so sorry. I don’t know what to say. I don’t want to go to jail.

When Sebastian and his friend leave, it appears they think they’re off the hook. But not for long. They are arrested as well.

On day two, 22 men show up at our house, and 21 men are arrested. Sebastian’s friend was taken in for questioning and later released. Our two day total comes to 35 and with one more day to go, they just keep coming.

Day three
26-year-old Christopher Urban calls himself “six-pack-so-cali.”

Del (hidden camera footage): Did you remember to bring condoms?

Christopher Urban: Yup.

Urban: I gotta wash my hands all right?

Del: what?

Urban: I gotta wash my hands cool?

Del: Okay.

Chris Hansen: Paper towels are right over here (Comes in unexpectedly and hands him towel)

He’s at the house after making plans for sex with a 13-year-old girl named Kelly. He’s brought along Bacardi Rum.

Hansen: You came to see Kelly. How old is Kelly?

Urban: Kelly’s way too young for me.

Hansen: Way too young for you, then why did you come here?

Urban: I came here to tell her that actually.

Hansen: To tell her that she’s too young?

Urban: Actually, I did yeah.

That’s what he says now. But when he was online, “six-pack-so-cali” not only had a sexually disgusting chat, he also turned on his Web cam and sent photos of himself naked close ups we can’t show you.

Hansen: Did you transmit this photo right here?

Urban: Oh my!! I sent I didn’t know I sent that one.

Hansen: You didn’t know.

Urban: Well, actually, yeah I did, but wow.

Hansen: To a 13-year-old girl?

Urban: I’m sorry, you’re right, you’re right. I know I wasn’t thinking that’s what — even coming down here. I mean look at me. I didn’t even take a shower. If I was coming to do something like that, I would have taken a shower. I mean that’s the first thing you do. I mean look at me, I’m so dirty.

Hansen: I’ll tell you what’s dirty, is this conversation you had. (Chris points to the chat log.)

It was the first time we’d heard the “I didn’t take a shower” defense. He can try telling that to the cops.

More common excuses, defenses
“Producerpaul2001” is Paul Constantineseu, a guitar salesman claims he’s at the wrong address.

Paul Constantineseu (hidden camera footage): I’m not really sure it’s the right address I’ve never really been out here.

Hansen: This is the address that you were given

Hansen: So you have wine, you have condoms and you have a camera.

Constantineseu: Yeah.

And his next excuse? He got her age wrong.

Constantineseu: Well, I thought she was 24, that’s why I came over. You know, my computer kind of flipped out and I thought she said she was 24 ‘cause I was talking to a couple of different people at the same time.

Perhaps his computer flipped out when he typed in his own age. He said he was 24 years old, he’s really 40. And as for the decoy, the chat log shows she told him she was 13.

Hansen: “I’ll teach you everyhing k baby.” (reading chat log to him)

Constantineseu: You know, I’m sorry sir I’m in wrong place.

Hansen: “all positions and techniques.”

“Producerpaul2001” leaves and you know what happens next.

A man with the screenname “guy-from-mars83,” seems to thinks it’s perfectly legal for an adult to talk online to a 13-year-old about meeting for sex and then show up at her house. He’s 23-year-old Inderjeet Singh.

Inderjeet Singh: Well, you can talk, you can converse, but it doesn’t mean that I’m going to do it, unless you catch me at one point doing it.

Hansen: So you say I would have to catch you having sex with a 13-year old girl before you could get in trouble.

Singh: Before you can put me against the law, yeah.

Hansen: So are you a lawyer?

Singh: No, I’m not a lawyer.

Hansen: Well, you sound pretty familiar with the law.

Singh: Well I’m pretty much into academics.

Hansen: You’re into academics, well let me correct you a little bit on how the law works.

But it turns out, I don’t have to. The sheriff’s detectives are only too happy to give “guy-from-mars83” a crash course in how the law works.

This next man who arrived told us he’s was trying sell a house. 65-year-old Charles Harding was screenamed “hardchuck1.” He was at the house to meet a 13-year-old boy. Harding jumped right away when he saw me. I was about the last person he's expecting to see.

Hansen: What are you up to today?

Chuck Harding: Nothing. Call talked with a gentleman. I have a place that I have for sale so..

Hansen: Oh, you’re selling a house.

Harding : Yes and he was interested.

Hansen: Well, here’s what doesn’t make sense about that, how is a 13-year-old going to afford to buy your home?

Harding: Why, I didn’t know how old he was I didn’t ask, I didn’t stop to ask his age.

Hansen: Well, Chuck the only problem with that story is that I have the transcripts of your conversation with Luke.

(chat transcript) what are you looking for I could be our grandpa into young boys your age love to cuddle them, carress their body work my—and it goes on from there

Finally, he decides to tell the truth. And he actually even admits that he might have had sex with the boy.

Hansen: But if he would have consented to having sex, what would have happened?

Harding: I’d be very hesitant at first. If he continued, then possibly we would have had had it.

Hansen: Possibly, you would have had sex with a 13-year-old boy.

Harding: If you know I felt uncomfortable and I felt that he was you know, not fit or anything I wouldn't.

Hansen: Not fit? How can a 13-year-old boy be fit to have sex with a 65-year-old man? Don’t you see an issue there?

Harding: Well, I see nothing wrong with cuddling and caressing.

Then he talks about a book he reads that fills him with fantasies.

Harding: It deals with younger-older. You know, father-son.

Hansen: You’re talking about fathers having sex with their sons, and grandfathers having sex with their grandsons?

Harding: Doctors with their patients, with the young patients employees with their young patients.

Hansen: You talk about this like it’s some sort of hobby— like building train sets. That’s not what we’re talking about here.

Harding: It’s a book that I read and I fantasize.

There’s much more to this man’s story, as police will find out.

During each of our Dateline stings, we tell these men their stories are going to be exposed on national television. 

The teacher who wanted to get naked and have sex with a 12-year-old turned to leave, and puts a shirt over his head.

As for the actor who made plans online for sex in the shower with someone he thought was 13, I told him he's about to get another role.

And remember those two men who admitted they’d watched Dateline?

Hansen (hidden camera footage): Have you ever seen our stories on computer predators?

Daniel Pulido: Yes.

Hansen: This is one of them. Now if there is anything else you would like to say for yourself...

Pulido: No that’s it.

Hansen: Then obviously you’re free to go.

Pulido: Thank you.

One of them, “southbayguy310” not only saw Dateline’s earlier investigation, he was also caught online before by Perverted-Justice and unbelievably, he drove by our house while detectives where still arresting another man. He came in anyway.

Hansen: Do you ever watch Dateline NBC?

Keith Williams: Ah, I’ve seen that episode actually and that’s why I don’t prefer to be on camera.

Hansen: Well, I’m Chris Hansen.  You saw the earlier episode. 

Williams: Yes, I did.

Hansen: So let me get this straight.  You saw our earlier story.

Williams: Right.

Hansen: You drove by this house and saw police out front.

Williams:   Yeah.

Hansen: Yet you walked in here anyway.

Williams: I’m bored.  Like I told you.

Hansen:  Bored? Well whatever you’d like to say, we’d like to hear it. But obviously you’re free to go.

Willilams: Well, what I’m gonna tell you is, is I’m never gonna do this again.  I’m everything I love in life.  I’m gonna go home.  I’m gonna get rid of my computer.

Hansen: But you came here, Keith.You walked through the door; you talked to the girl.

Williams: I understand that.

Hansen: You gotta want something to risk coming in here after seeing police out front.

Williams: Oh, I just thought she might have been true about something next door, I don’t know. Honestly, I don’t know. Now when I walk out of here am I going to be arrested?

Hansen: That’s not up to me.

Perverted-Justice has been sending its information directly to the sheriff’s detectives who have been camped outside the sting house for the past three days. They’ve been arresting men in record numbers, and charging them with attempting to molest a child—a felony.  The number of men is so high it surprises everyone, even the lead investigator and the deputy district attorney Michelle Paradise.

Sgt. Chad Bianco: I did not expect this many suspects arriving at the house.

Michelle Paradise, deputy district attorney: I was surprised at how many actually came in just that period of time.  It was alarming. What is happening down the street?  What is happening around the corner?  What is happening within our county?

In three days, 51 men chatted online with a decoy posing as a 12 or 13-year-old, spoke on the phone, got in some type of vehicle and drove to our house.  And out of the 51, all but one were arrested.

Some went easily, others at first made a dash for it. One way or the other, they all ended up at a temporary booking station set up at a parking lot.

If you think what the potential predators had to say to us was surprising, wait until you hear what they admit to detectives. This man had a secret life he hid from his family.

Police officer: But you have had sex with men before?

Roberto Forte: It happens.

Police officer: It happens. Does your wife know this?

Forte: No she doesn’t.

After the men have been arrested, they are driven away in an unmarked car and brought to a makeshift booking station.

“Kinky-man-in-corona,” or Walter Babst, the high school teacher, declines to comment. But the man who came ready with apple pie, whipped, and contraceptive cream  does talk.

Police officer: Are you on probation or parole?

Jerry Griffith: I’ve never even had a ticket, I’ve never done anything. I mean this is like the one time in my life I ever fucked up and I shouldn’t have come over here. I have a wife at home you know, I should be at home trying to fix things between me and her.

Detectives question the married songwriter who showed up looking for sex with a 13-year-old.

Police officer: You brought Viagra, you brought lubricants?

Stephen Coates: That’s all there in the car in case I would have run into someone else, not necessarily this girl.

And the federal agent can’t seem to stop talking to the cops.

Michael Burks:  My father was a police officer. I was a police officer. I work for the Department of Homeland security.  I understand you guys have a job to do and I’m not trying to tell anything else other than that.  I swear to God, as God as my witness, I’m wearing a St. Michael’s medal right now, okay?  I was not going to do anything with her. 

But the detective doesn’t seem to be buying his story.

Police officer: I am telling you I don’t believe that you didn’t intend to have sex at some point with the girl.

Burks: Sir, I swear to God.

Police officer: It would have happened, I guarantee you, it would have happened.

And he has one more thing to say to the disgraced federal agent.

Police officer: In your position, you should have known better. You know the law. That’s even worse. You know what, that puts a bad mark on my job, on everybody.  Every cop in this country you put a bad mark on.

Burks: I know, sir.

And as for the 65-year-old who told us he’d be willing to have sex with a 13-year-old, believe it or not, all he wants to do is call his mom.

Chuck Harding: I should call my mother and let her know that I got home safely.

Police officer: Well, that’s gonna be arranged through the jail.

Harding: She’ll be worried that I didn’t get home because I was supposed to meet at her place.

Because this is the first time law enforcement has stepped in and arrested the men right after they left the sting house, this is the first time we get to see all of the men’s personal belongings which leaves little doubt as to their intent.

We saw cameras, CDs that contain some pornography, a tube of lube, a sex toy in a gym bag, Viagra, among other things.

The cops work from morning until night booking the suspects, towing their cars, and shippingthem off to jail.

In all, 50 men were booked on a variety of charges involving crimes against children, ranging from felony charges of attempted lewd acts with a child younger than 14 —  to sending child pornography.

If watching the men in our report so far has disturbed you, wait until you meet these men. As the detectives start digging into their backgrounds, it becomes clear some of them have frightening criminal histories.

More arrests lead us to some dangerous pasts. It turns out some of the potential sexual predators have lengthy rap sheets and a trail of very real victims.

When I confronted Walter Babst, the high school teacher, he said, “I need you to arrest me and take me to jail and execute me.”

He was chatting online about getting naked and having sex with a girl who said she was 12.

Chris Hansen: But why did you come here help me to understand

Walter Babst: Because I am a sick son of a bitch.

Well, he was arrested and did go to jail.  But guess what he did once he was bailed out.

He went back to the classroom. The school hadn’t yet heard about the teacher’s arrest, so two days after he came looking for sex with a minor, Walter Edward Babst was back teaching at his high school.

It was six days after the teacher’s arrest— once the cops and Babst’s lawyer contacted the school— that Babst was suspended without pay.

Some students were surprised at the news of his arrest.

Kenny, student: Everyone’s reaction was just kind of shocked.

Alexa, student: In a way I’m kind of relieved that he’s gone, I’m really happy that they actually caught him.

But others hinted that the teacher had a history.

Christina, student: He has looked at my butt or looked down our shirts.

We heard that from other students as well, although “Dateline” checked with the school and it had no complaints against the teacher.

Some had criminal histories
As shocking as it is for someone in a position of trust to be charged with attempting to molest a child, other men caught in our sting frightened us even more. That’s because they have criminal histories— some involving violence or threats against women. 

Daniel Allen took the friendly approach.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): What’s going on?

Allen: I’m just meeting a friend that I met on the Internet.

Hansen: Really?

48-year-old Allen, screename “trying-2b-normal,” promised to teach a girl who said she was 13 different sexual positions and show her what a man really likes.

But when I confront him, he says it was curiosity that brought him here—not sex.    

Allen: I don’t know how old, that’s why I’m here I’m just curious.

Hansen: You’re just curious?

Allen: Yeah, I mean I didn’t bring any booze with me, I didn’t. Absolutely curiosity that got me.

Curiousity, maybe, but his chat log suggests something else.

Hansen: “I will come to you and we will get a place for passionate love.”

Allen: Yeah. Well, what does that sound like to you?  That’s it, that’s all.

Hansen: She says, “Oh, my god.  How cool.” Hansen: You say, “Wow, 13, am I too old?”  “Nah.”  “Am I too young.”  “I hate to say this but you’re not.”

“Why do you hate to see that?” “’Cause it’s like I’m some  old pervert—but girls your age are so much more –”

Allen: But let me say this.

Hansen: Go ahead.

Allen: Okay.  I have conversations like this with people who turn out to be guys, most half—more than half the time, you know. 

Hansen: But if somebody tells you they’re a 13-year-old girl and you show up at the house and meet them, Don’t you see something  inappropriate about that?

Allen:  Well, I mean maybe so. But I had big doubts that she was 13.

Then, he admits this isn’t his first time.

Hansen: You’ve visited people who you met online who said they were 13 before.

Allen: Well, yeah.  13 or 15.

Hansen:   So it’s not the first time you’ve done it.

Allen: Well, no.  It’s—well wait a minute (laughs). I’ve never met a 13-year-old girl from offline.

Hansen: Did you ever go meet somebody who said they were 13 online?

Allen: No, not 13. Sixteen and in my area, and it was a guy who had a big laugh on me.                       

Hansen: You’ve see how it looks.

Allen: I see how it looks. You’re absolutely right. Then I tell him who I am.

Hansen: I am Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and we’re doing a story on computer predators.

Allen: Ah.  Well, you better, I’ll shove that camera downs his throat.

Hansen: I don’t think you’re gonna want to do that.

Allen:    And why is that?

Hansen: I don’t think you’ll want to do it.  Now we can’t keep you here.  If you want to say anything else to us we’d love to hear it.  But we believe obviously you want to go.

Allen:   Okay.  But can I talk to you outside?

Hansen: I can’t have the cameras turned off at this point.

Allen:   Well, then I’d like to say that pretty much every—you had it all wrong.  But your point’s well taken. 

But this isn’t the first time he’s been caught by law enforcement. Several years ago, Daniel Allen was convicted of willfully, maliciously and repeatedly stalking a woman causing her to fear for her safety and the safety of her family. He was sentenced to a year in jail and five years probation.

And here’s another man with a criminal history: Joseph Federico, who thought he’d be meeting a 12-year-old girl home alone.  He has a violent past.

Sgt. Bianco: He did have a conviction for manslaughter and he did do prison time for that.

It appears he saw an earlier Dateline investigation.

Joseph Federico: I saw something on TV a few weeks ago. Just things that the person said made it sound like a set up.

Police officer: Okay— so why would you come out?

Federico: Just peaked my curiosity— God’s honest truth.

Our investigation in Southern California netted a record number of potential predators— 50 of the men were arrested and all but one were charged with felonies— including attempted child molestation.

While that number is alarming you haven’t heard the most shocking part— unbelievably some men who show up at our house thinking they might be having sex with a 12 or 13-year-olds are registered sex offenders. 

They’re supposed to be known to law enforcement. But despite their history they’re free to come and go, and one of them walked into into our house.

Our hidden cameras are rolling as 68 year old Robert Emmet Lyons stands in our kitchen. Online he calls himself “pavlov1234.”  He’s here to meet a 13-year-old boy. Lyons claims he’s only 28.

Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat right there please? And what’s your name sir?

Robert Lyons: Robert.

Hansen: Robert what?

Lyons: Lyons.

Hansen: Robert Lyons. What was your plan here today Robert.

Lyons: no plan

Hansen: I’ve got the transcripts of your conversation here.  It’s a pretty sexually charged conversation Robert, to have with a 13-year-old boy.

Hansen: He says “do we need rubbers do they hurt um I don’t know I don’t blank guys but if you want to you can do me.”  What conclusions do I draw?

Lyons: Just rhetoric.

Hansen: Rhetoric?

Lyons: Just conversation that probably was offhanded or.

Hansen: Offhanded. What it sounds like, Robert, is that you wanted to come here to have a sexual liaison with a 13-year-old boy.

Lyons: No, that was not my intention.

Hansen: What was your intention?

Lyons: Just to talk or whatever.

Hansen: The problem is, is that your history would contradict that given the fact that you are a registered sex offender. Isn’t that correct.

Lyons: Correct.

Hansen: In fact that’s your picture right there. (pointing to his sex offender registry photo)

In fact, Lyons was arrested only five months ago for a lewd sex act with a person 15 or younger.

Hansen: So you had intercourse with an under aged boy.

Lyons: Uh-uh. I didn’t even know he was 15. He told me he was 18.

Hansen: How long were you in prison for that offense?

Lyons: I wasn’t in prison.

Hansen: You weren’t in prison? You got probation?

Lyons: Correct.

Hansen: How long were you on probation?

Lyons: I’m still on probation.

Hansen: You’re still on probation now? So you’re on probation for having sex with a boy how old?

Lyons: 15.

Hansen: And now you’re here to have sex with a 13-year-old boy.

The terms of his probation require he see a counselor and he says he did that just two weeks ago.

Hansen: And what did you talk about with your counselor?

Lyons: Various things.

Hansen: Do you talk about your sexually charged conversations on the internet with a 13-year-old boy?

Lyons: No, no I did not.

Hansen: Do you see why it looks like you didn’t learn your lesson?

Lyons: It appears that way yes.

Now, it was time to tell him he was going to be exposed on national television.

Hansen:  Well, Robert I’ve got to tell you something. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline Nbc and we’re doing a story on computer predators.

Lyons: Is this going to be on Dateline?

Once Lyons leaves he’s arrested. And as soon as police are involved, he decides he’s said enough. 

Lyons: At this point I want to talk to an attorney.

This next man also has a criminal record—an extensive one.

Sgt. Chad Bianco: He was on active parole. He was a registered sex offender and he knocked on someone’s door, thankfully it was ours.

Sgt Chad Bianco from the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department dug up the criminal past of another arrival— he’s 48-year-old Jean Pierre Michael Wehry.

Sgt. Bianco: He has a conviction for assault with a deadly weapon that went back to I believe 1981. He was convicted and sentenced to three years for rape. in 2000 he was also sent to prison for failure to register as a sex offender.

Despite being a convicted rapist, here he is tonight at our undercover house after making plans for sex with a decoy posing as a 13-year-old boy.

Online, he told the decoy that he was a promotional photographer, promoting such films as “Kindergarten Cop” and some gay porn films. Then he tells the decoy he can help launch the boy’s modeling career. 

But there’s a catch: He writes, “How can I promote someone I never had lots of hot sex with?” The decoy agrees to sex in exchange for the career help.

So eager was this registered sex offender, that he boarded a bus and then walked more than two miles to get to the sting house.

And he wastes no time trying to get to our decoy.

Hansen (hidden camera footage): Hey sir, can you come back over here please. And have a seat, you seem to be in a hurry there. Please sit down. why were you in such a hurry to get in the other side of that fence?

Michael Wehry: Nothing I thought I was looking for someone that’s all.

This registered sex offender says he’s here looking for work. But what type of work could he expect to find at 11 p.m. on a Friday night?

Hansen: So you were just walking down the road and you thought that this fellow with the construction company lived in this house.

Wehry: Well, somebody told me that he lived…

Hansen: Who is the somebody?

Wehry: A young man on the phone.

But what about all that sex chat with someone who told him he was 13?

Hansen: “By the way, why wouldn’t I want to see you and taste your beautiful body? make love to you. You are a gorgeous thirteen year old boy.”

Wehry: That’s not my style. I’ve never had affiliations with a 13-year-old.

Hansen: Are you a photographer?

Wehry: I think a long time ago?

Hansen: Did you ever do any promotions for “Kindergarden Cop?”

Wehry: I saw the movie.

He insists that someone must have used his screenname and set him up.

Wehry: If somebody has used an email account I used a long time ago. I’m sorry about that.

Hansen: So you received a call from someone who you didn’t know, who said go to a house you’ve never been, to see a man you never met, to come to a job interview at this home at 11:20 at night?

Wehry: I was going to leave a note.

But that’s not what it says in his chat log.

Hansen: (quoting chat log) “i’ll be there as close to 11 as possible. I’ll need your number so I can call you when I’m near the bus stop. I will look for you. And we will discretely go to your room and talk. And we’ll talk about whatever pops up and stimulates you.”

Wehry: You are reading me something the somebody wrote. I’m sorry to hear that.

He seems even more sorry to hear that he’s apart of a “Dateline” investigation.

Hansen: You’re obviously free to leave.

Wehry: I’m not doing anything.

But the police disagree. And this guy knows his rights.

Wehry: I may have to speak to you but I don’t have to speak to the media.  And I don’t have to speak to you without a lawyer.  Do you want to chase the media’s microphone away?

During our latest investigation, it didn’t take long for Sgt. Chad Bianco to uncover the fact that some of the men who came in our door had violent criminal pasts.

Sgt. Bianco: They’re nice men or nice boys that appear on the Internet, but when they actually show up at your front door or in your living room, then you find out who really was on the other end of that internet connection.

The thought of one man meeting up with a real child is scary: He’s a registered sex offender and he’s making a bee-line for the decoy who says she’s a 13-year -old girl.

His name is Greg Karnos. Back in 1999, seven years before he walked into our house, he was convicted of attempting lewd acts with not one but seven children, 15 years old and younger.  Real children... not decoys. Officer Joe Meister investigated the case in a neighborhood near Losa Angeles

Officer Joe Meister: I contacted the victim, she told me she was walking to school, saw a man standing next to his car masturbating.

Meister discovered Karnos hanging out near the school where these sex crimes were reported and approached him. When questioned, Karnos admitted everything. And many of his victims were able to identify him.

Officer Meister: He said “Yes, it was me.” And I was shocked that he told me that. I asked him if he was around junior high schools—we had a 10-year-old victim. And he said no, “I don’t do it around 10-year-olds, I just do it around high school girls.”

Karnos was sentenced to a year and a half in prison and five years probation, apparently not enough to deter him from coming here.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: How old are you?

Greg Karnos: 49 years old.

Hansen: You said you were 38. Here is this chat. What do you do for a living, Greg?

Karnos: I’m a manager.

Hansen: A manager of what?

Karnos: Telecommunications.

Hansen: Really...

Karnos: Can i see some ID please?

Hansen: You would like to see some of my ID?

Karnos: Yes, if you don’t mind.

Hansen: Really? So you’d like to know who I am?

Karnos: I can guess who you are, but yeah I would like to see...

Hansen: You came here to meet a 13-year-old girl?

Karnos: No.

Hansen: In your chat log...

Karnos: You know that’s all make believe, I don’t believe that for a second it was a 13-year-old.

Hansen: 13, female, Riverside. Do you like older guys?

Karnos: No.

Hansen: No, I’m reading from the chat log...

And off he goes, into the hands of the riverside county sheriff’s department.

And when it comes to his Miranda rights, he seems to know the drill.

Karnos (while being arrested): I would rather remain silent Cop: You would rather remain silent?  Very well sir, I understand. 

He may be silent now, but many prosecutors around the country including Riverside County’s Michelle Paradise are not afraid to say out loud that they don’t believe most sex predators—especially those addicted to the Internet can ever be reformed.

Hansen: Based upon your experience, if one of these guys serves three or four years and gets out, would it surprise you if he got right back on the Internet and started this activity again?

Michelle Paradise, Riverside County district attorney: It wouldn’t surprise me if he got right back on the Internet an hour after he got out.

Hansen: An hour...

Paradise: Yes. 

In fact, as we found out, see she may not be far off. But some experts think that doesn’t have to be that way.

Dr. Fred Berlin, founder of the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic: What society’s really been unable to do is come to any kind of a clearer understanding of whether these men are bad. Or whether they are ill.

Dr. Berlin: I think some are bad and some are ill. And some may be a combination of both.

He’s been treating patients with sexual compulsionsfor the past 25 years. He says some of what we saw in our investigation is a result of 24 hour a day/7 day a week access to the Internet.

Dr. Berlin: There is a distortion of reality and fantasy to some extent. that people feel as though they’re playing a game and then ultimately and sadly sometimes cross a line that they might not otherwise have crossed.

That doesn’t mean Dr. Berlin believes these men shouldn’t be punished, but he says it must be combined with intense treatment and monitoring that in some cases might last a lifetime.

And he says there’s hope for many of the men arrested during our investigation. Doctor Berlin recently conducted a five-year study in which 600 sex offenders, many of whom targeted children, received intensive treatment. Less than 10 percent were arrested again for a sex crime.

Hansen: The natural reaction after seeing a story like this is to say “Lock these guys up. Throw away the key.”

Dr. Berlin: There’s nothing about prison alone that will erase those cravings or enhance their capacity to successfully resist acting upon them, so unless we have both a strong criminal justice component and a strong public health component in my judgment were doing society tremendous disservice.

Everyone can agree that the current system is not working. Sexual offenders are able to prey on kids again and again. Just ask this next woman you’re about to meet. When she was 9 years old, she was repeatedly molested in her bedroom.

And the man who was convicted of that crime is about to come knocking on our door.

It's been a disturbing scene, watching grown men show up hoping to have sex with a 12- or 13-year-old child, in our investigation the child has been a decoy. 

Del (hidden camera footage): Tell me did you want to be the cop or the robber?

Bodnar: Well, I don't care.

But for some of these men, there are real victims.

Dazarie Holcomb: I can't believe that he's still out there doing this.

Dazarie Holcomb was stunned when Dateline tracked her down and told her about this man from her past.

Holcomb: I'm just floored. It's just sickening.

He's 42-year-old Thomas Bodnar. We found him online with a decoy posing as a 13-year-old boy. Bodnar said he loved him and asked if he could be his first.

Hansen: So how's it going.

Bodnar runs out the door as soon as he sees me and gets tackled by investigators. And with his head bleeding from the tackle, Bodnar speaks to the detective at the booking station.

Sheldon:  What'd you do your time for? What were you charged with?

Bodner: Uh, I'd rather not say on camera.

Sheldon: Oh, I'll find out.

Bodner: I know.

Sheldon: I know you were charged. I knew you were arrested up in Oregon. 

Bodner: Yeah.

Sheldon: That's why you 29-directed. For molesting a child up there.

Bodner: Yeah.

And the child he molested in that case 20 years ago was Dazarie Holcomb. She was only a third grader when she first met Bodnar.   

Holcomb: He was great, he was wonderful. You would trust him. I mean, anybody would.

He was a volunteer at a boys club "special friend program." Dazarie's mom went to Bodnar for male companionship for her three children because their father wasn't around.

Holcomb: He used to just like I mean go above and beyond the call of duty as far as a big brother figure, I mean he was just supposedly this great guy.

But not long after he befriended Dazarie and her family, Bodnar began to molest the three children one by one.

Holcomb: He got my brother Ed the worst. He's mentally challenged so I think that he got the worst of the sexual abuse and I was in the middle and then my brother my youngest brother was...got the least of the sexual abuse.

Dazarie describes how he would come to her room in the middle of the night. She was nine years old.

Holcomb: I would wake up out of a dead sleep to him French kissing me and touching my privates.

Dazarie finally told her mother about the abuse. She went straight to the police.

Jerry Moore: I met them at the front counter where I interviewed all four of them

It was 1985 when Sgt. Jerry Moore of the Salem Police Department in Oregon wrote this police report detailing the repeated incidents of child molestation.

Moore: I certainly had enough to know that there was some criminal behavior going on here and that these children were in danger.

A detective questioned Bodnar who admitted to almost everything. He was convicted of sodomy and sentenced to 10 years in prison.

Holcomb: It was a devastation to all of us. We still suffer from what he's done to us.

And his trail of victims doesn't end there. It also led to Palm Springs, California. In 1999 he was convicted of oral copulation with a person under the age of 16.

Hearing of Bodnar's latest arrest brought back haunting memories for Dazarie -- of a shattered childhood. 

Holcomb: You ask yourself how can this happen. How many more innocent children? They're losing their innocence because of him.

As for what he was doing at our house, he's not admitting to anything.

Sheldon: How old did he say he was?

Bodner: He never really did.

Sheldon: Sure he did. You know why I know? Because I have a log. It's called a chat log. I even got the pictures you sent him. The naked pictures. Remember sending those?

Bodner: No.

Sheldon: Remember sending that?

Bodner: No. That's me.

Sheldon: Yeah.

Sheldon: And why you sending him pictures of someone's penis?

Bodner: That I don't remember sending. 

Sheldon: It came from your computer. During the chat, where did the conversation get?

Bodner: I don't remember saying that. I don't remember when in the conversation it was said.

So what will happen to him now? Riverside County California Deputy District Attorney Michelle Paradise is counting on sending him back to prison. In fact if she has her way, all the men arrested in our sting will spend time behind bars.

Paradise: We will look at all the cases individually, but rest assured they'll all get jail time if not prison time.

Several of the men have pled not guilty. Others have not yet gone before a judge. But as we know some of these men will get out. And the chances are good they'll be back on their computers. So what can you do to protect your kids?

Teri Schroeder, I-Safe: If you could actually look through cybr glasses and see who's peering in your window, who's in your daughter's room, who's reading your daughter's blog, who's cyber-stalking your son-- it's reality and the fact is we've become very ignorant of those types of things because we can't see it.

And it is what parents often don't see that can have tragic consequences for kids online, according to Teri Schroeder who is president of I-SAFE -- an organization devoted to online safety.

Hansen: Do you get the sense that parents are starting to understand how important this is?

Schroeder: You know, we're seeing more numbers. I think parents have known this has been around. It's just their attitude is "It doesn't happen in my house. It's not going to happen to my son or daughter."

I-SAFE travels the country warning parents and teens how not to become a victim of computer predators. What hits home, Schroeder says, is when teens learn just how often their peers are solicited for sex online by an adult.

Schroeder: There may be 300 kids sitting in that assembly and we'll say, "Every fifth one should stand up. Look there you go. You've seen it. You are the ones that are going to be approached by a predator."

And she says, they begin to see just how vulnerable some of them have made themselves.

Schroeder: You can hear a pin drop when they start seeing the stories of others being hurt. And they start relating to it and they go, "Oh my gosh, I have done that. It could have been me."

Kids who have their own blogs on social networking sites like myspace.com can be irresistible targets for predators. Teens need to know that more than just their friends are reading what they post. Just ask this guy:

Hansen: Hey, how are you?

Scott: Alright.

Hansen: Why don't you have a seat over there.

He's "uncommonsens2" you met him earlier in our investigation. He's here after making a date for sex with a 13 year old girl. And he's brought along alcohol -- a six pack of Smirnoff Ice.

Hansen: You check out the MySpace sites of young women?

Scott: I just, whatever is in the chat room and I go to see their picture and I click on it and it goes to MySpace or something like that.

There are of course numerous software programs available that alert parents when inappropriate information is shared on their computer. Some software will even alert the parent via e-mail on a Blackberry or at work. But at the end of the day it really comes down to reminding kids that there are a lot of creeps in cyberspace.

But if you're having trouble talking to your kids about all this, I-SAFE offers a step-by-step program to help. To access it, just go to I-SAFE.org.

Schroeder: It informs them, gives them tips that they could actually be thinking about themselves, and then actually helps them in terms of how  they would apply this in terms of their own real life or even within their own house.

© 2013 NBCNews.com  Reprints


Discussion comments


Most active discussions

  1. votes comments
  2. votes comments
  3. votes comments
  4. votes comments