Video: 'To Catch A Predator' in Florida

By Chris Hansen Correspondent
NBC News
updated 5/31/2006 7:54:16 PM ET 2006-05-31T23:54:16
TRANSCRIPT

This report aired May 10, Wednesday, 9 p.m. An encore presentation airs May 31, 9 p.m.: It's the latest in Dateline's month-long series of undercover investigations— children at risk from grown men online. This time, we take our hidden cameras to Florida.  We thought we'd seen and heard just about everything, but what we found there surprised even our own Chris Hansen. A warning: some of what you're about to read is explicit.

A 49-year-old man talks to a teenager he's never met before. He probably believes she’s the 15-year-old he’s been chatting online with for the last week and a half.

Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): Hey, I just have to change my shirt real quick, but just come in and watch some TV. I’ll be right there.

Michael Wilusz: Okay.

What Michael Wilusz doesn’t know is she’s really a 19-year-old actress we hired to be a decoy. He walked into a Dateline hidden camera investigation.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walking in): Come on in over here. Have a seat there.

Wilusz: Oh wow. (laughs, eating cookies).

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: Hungry? How does it taste?

Wilusz: Great. Wow, these are home-baked?

Hansen: Do you want time to finish your cookie?

Wilusz: Not really.

Hansen: So you’re good if I ask you a couple of questions?

Wilusz: Yeah.

It’s the latest in our continuing series of investigations into online sex predators. For the first time we’re in the south: Fort Myers, Florida. Hilton Daniels is Fort Myers chief of police. 

Hilton Daniels, Ft. Myers Florida police chier: I had a lot of parents call me and say, “Hey, I’ve caught my kids talking to someone over the Internet. I’ve had my kids slip out of the house and go meet someone, what do I do?”

While searching for a way to help parents and children in his community, Chief Daniels says he saw one of our previous broadcasts and had an idea.

Chief Daniels: We decided “Well, let’s get a hold of Perverted-Justice” and have them teach us how to do this operation.

Perverted-Justice is an online watchdog group Dateline has been working with during each of its computer predator investigations. Its members are experts at pretending to be kids online and on the phone.

Dateline hired Perverted-Justice members to do what they’ve been doing for the last four years: chat online with looking for minors hoping to meet the teens for sex. The members go into chat rooms and on social networking sites like MySpace and Teenspot using profiles of young teens. Sometimes the decoys act eager about having sex.

Since Perverted-Justice members want to see these predators arrested, they are more than willing to help out the Fort Myers police department. 

Chief Daniels: Perverted-Justice says, “Hey, not only will we teach you, we’ll come down and do it for you.”  So, the next thing I know, we’re setting up a sting operation.

Frag (his screen name) from Perverted-Justice worked out a plan with Chief Daniels’s officers. Once a potential predator makes a date online for sex with a minor, the chat logs will be sent to detectives and prosecutors who are staked out in the guest house behind our house.

Chief Daniels:  The state attorney’s office were reviewing the chat logs to make sure that this person had already violated state statute.

Under Florida law, it’s a crime for an adult to solicit sex with a minor online. 

Chief Daniels: Coming to the house was kind of like the icing on the cake.

For our latest investigation, we’ve come to a lovely home in an upscale neighborhood. There are five cameras outside, including one hidden in a palm tree. It covers the street from both sides, able to spot a potential predator’s car a block before he arrives.

As for the cameras inside the house, there are eight. From the moment a man walks in the door, his every move is caught on tape— although the man doesn’t know it yet.

Hansen (hidden camera footage):  What are you doing here today?

Wilusz: Is this some kind of set up or something?

Hansen: what do you mean?

Wilusz: I’m just on my way to the beach.

The man who liked the cookies
Michael Wilusz's screenname is “genericwhitemale.” He’s almost 50 years old and he’s been chatting online with a girl who calls herself Jolanda and who says she’s 15.  He lies to her about his age typing “I’m 30 you probably don’t want me around you... I’m cute though.  Built good.” 

Genericwhitemale (chat log): we’d have to keep us a secret because of the age diff

genericwhitemale: younger girls like you dont come along often...i’d want you again and again.

Then he sends an online picture of his penis to the girl who told him she was 15.

Hansen: And how did you meet her?

Wilusz: Online of course.

Hansen You act like I should know this.

Wilusz: Well yeah. I mean, it’s a common thing now.

Hansen: To meet young girls online?

Wilusz: Well, meet any women online.

Then I remind “genericwhitemale” that Jolanda told him she was 15.

Wilusz: What? No way?

Hansen: I have the transcript of your conversation with Jolanda.

Wilusz: You know what. I don’t want this cookie. I just want to get to the beach.

But “genericwhitemale” won’t be going to the beach today. As he heads out the back, he stumbles off the porch right into the arms of the Fort Myers police department.

The police quickly take him down to the ground. In Florida, where it’s relatively easy to get a permit to carry a concealed weapon, the officers aren’t taking any chances.

Chief Daniels: The best thing to do as quickly as possibly was to get this person on the ground with their hands behind them in handcuffs, where we could make sure that if they had a weapon of any kind, no one was going to be hurt in the area.

He’s taken away in an unmarked police vehicle and brought to a transfer station.  His car is searched, where there were some condoms found.

Wilusz was put into a marked police car and taken to jail. The next morning, he is brought before a judge, charged with attempted lewd or lascivious on a victim 12 years of age or up to 15 years of age in soliciting a child by computer.

After previous investigations in four different states, we’ve seen and heard some strange things.  But even we were surprised at what we found here in Florida.

The man whose sister was waiting outside in a car (with her two kids)
21-year-old David Schumacher, screenname “freebird_72000,” has been chatting online with a decoy posing as a young teen named Bea.

Our 19-year-old actress playing Bea the decoy invites him in.

Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): You can try some of my cookies, they’re good.

David Schumacher: Did you make them?

Decoy: Yeah I made them myself.

Schumacher: Alright I’ll eat one. I like chocolate chip.

Online he invites the girl, who told him she was 14 and a virgin, to a birthday party. And from his online chat it appears that he has his sights on a party for two.

freebird_7200 (chat log): i want be your first baby

diamondinthe.rough: ok

freebird_7200:u gonna put my (blank) in ur mouth

freebird_72000: cus i like that

diamondinthe.rough: i guess i can try it

freebird_72000: just let me drive baby

freebird_7200: ill show u heaven

He goes on to talk about having different kinds of sex with the virgin and then gets almost poetic.

freebird_7200: do u wanna make love or f*** for ur first time?  

dianmondin the.rough: what’s the difference?

freebird_7200: f***ing is just raw passion and makin love is a connection of bodies iguess

Schumacher (hidden camera footage): You didn’t tell me your parents was rich. What do they do for a living?

Chris Hansen (walks in): Why don’t you have a seat right over there?

Schumacher: How you doing?

Hansen: Good. How are you? What’s happening?

Schumacher: It’s good.

Like so many of the men who walk into this house the man sits and answers questions—he can’t figure out if I’m the girl’s father or a police officer. And remember he has no idea he’s being videotaped.

Schumacher: What’s going on?

Hansen: You tell me what’s going on.

Schumacher: You her dad or something?

Hansen: What are you doing here?

Schumacher: Chillin. Birthday party, you know.

Hansen: So the girl here was gonna go with you to the birthday party?

Schumacher: Who are you?

Hansen: I’ll get to that in a minute. What’s your date’s name for the party?

Schumacher: Bea.

Hansen: Bea. And how old is Bea?

Schumacher: I don’t know, she didn’t really tell me.

But she did tell him. Online she typed her age, typing “14, female, South Florida.” And he said “What would your parents say about you talking to someone as old as me?”

Then “freebird” seems to worry I’m a cop.

Schumacher: You seem like law enforcement. I happen to know law enforcement when I see it.

Hansen: You do. So you’re an expert in this area?

Schumacher: No, no. I’m just saying you come off as law enforcement.

Hansen: Really, you know how you come off?

Schumacher: How’s that?

Hansen: As somebody who’s very nervous.

Schumacher: I—

Hansen: Somebody who came over here to have sex with a 14- year-old girl.

Schumacher: 14-year-old?

Then I read to him some of what he said online.

Hansen: (reading chat log) “Are you sexy naked? Have you ever played with yourself?  You gonna put my * in your mouth?”

Schumacher: And?  I like to talk dirty?

Hansen: “’Cause I like that, I’ll teach you.”

Schumacher:     And you’re trying to say?

Hansen:    I’m trying to say it makes it look like—

Schumacher:     Yeah. I didn’t come here... I came to pick her up.

Hansen: You came here to have sex with an under-aged girl.

Schumacher: We were in a role playing chat room, dude.

Hansen:    And what role were you playing exactly here?

Schumacher:    It’s people play roles man.  Role playing. People just talk. My God dude.  Is this some kind of hold up man?  You got a warrant.  ‘Cause, I mean, if the girl don’t want to come, and if you got a problem—

Hansen:    A warrant? What are you a defense lawyer now?

Schumacher: I’m saying man. You don’t got no cause to hold me.  I got—ain’t no problem sitting here to talk to you.

He sticks to the story that he’s here to take the girl to a party, but it turns out he didn’t come here alone. Waiting outside in the car was his sister, and her two young children. He says his sister was going to drive them to the party. 

Hansen: Your poor sister’s waiting outside with two babies in the car?

Schumacher: Yeah.  So—

Hansen: Because you had to come over here and have sex with a 14-year-old girl.

Schumacher: I didn’t come over here to have sex.  I come over here to get the girl and go to the party dude.

We learn his sister apparently didn’t know he was trying to meet an underage girl.  (We'll hear more from David later.)

The man who drove four hours on a motorcycle
There are more potential predators to confront.  The palm tree cam picked up another man headed our way— but this time he’s riding a motorcyle.

Frag: He’s parking right by the door. He’s nervous, he’s sitting on his bike.

Instead of coming in right away, he stays outside and smokes a cigarette. Our actress tries to get him to come inside.

He’s 45-year-old Dennis Ramsey, a truck driver, screenname “blugrsruls.” He drove four hours to meet a girl who told him online she was 14, home alone and willing to have sex with him. Online “blugrsruls” brings up the idea of having sex with her in a roundabout way.

Blugrsruls (chat log): i said we cant have sex but thats up to you

briana_jade14: it might be ok

blugrsruls: if we do u have to assure me noone will ever find out

Dennis Ramsey (hidden camera footage):  Where are you?

Actress, decoy: Oh, hey. I’m just picking out a jacket to wear on the bike, just take a seat.

Ramsey:  This is quite a place.

Hansen (walks in): Glad you like it.

Ramsey:  (turns around)  jeez.

Hansen: What are you up to?

Ramsey: Well, I knew this was gonna happen.

He tells me has kids of his own and drove four hours simply to warn our teenager about the dangers of talking to strangers on the Internet.

Ramsey: I came here to let her know that when you do that, it could be anybody.

Hansen: So you came here to help her out of the goodness of your heart?

Ramsey: Well I know that sounds stupid. But maybe you could say that.

And what about his chat log?

Hansen: You ask her what size her boobs are. She say 32B. You say “yummy.” And you get somewhat suspicious, you say, “You’re not trying to set me up are you? Are you a cop? If anyone knew about this I would go to jail.”

Ramsey: I’m so ashamed of myself right now.

The man who demanded for I.D. or a library card from the decoy
During our undercover operations, it’s not uncommon for potential predators to appear hesitant about walking in the door.

But we’d never seen anyone like Thomas Moffitt. He pulls in around back and starts asking the decoy— our actress playing a young teen— to come outside.

Actress, decoy:  No, you come here.

It’s almost 4 a.m. when 44-year-old Thomas Moffitt, screenname “moff_1960” pulls up to our house. He’s a maintenance engineer for the Boca Raton resort, a married man with three children. He drove more than two hours to meet a girl named Toni who said she was 15. Really, it’s a decoy from Perverted-Justice.

moff_1960 (chat log): ...im trying to hit on you and your laughing at me...lol

toni_bo_boni: no im not!!!

moff_1960: ok good...am i freaking you out?

toni_bo_boni: y would you freak me out?

moff_1960: cuz i am 44 and im hitting on you

moff_1960: so would you ever fool around wit han old guy like me?

Once they set up an actual date to meet at her house, “moff_1960” makes his plans very clear.

moff_1960: ok how bout after i come in ill strip :-P

toni_bo_boni: LOL for reals?

moff_1960: sure if you want me too

toni_bo_boni: ur kidding me

moff_1960: nope

toni_bo_boni: u can take ur clothes off in the landry room if u want to :)

He finally gets out of his car, but won’t come any closer than the back step.

Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage):  You said you were going to do something for me in the laundry room, were you lying to me?

Thomas Moffitt:  (shakes head no)

Actress:  Are you gonna back out on me?  Because that’s what I feel like you’re gonna do now.

Moffitt:  I’m just being cautious.

“Moff_1960” senses something different about the girl in the house.

Moffitt: Can you come here please?

Actress:  I’m right here.

Moffitt:  Please? 

In fact, something is different. Our actress is not actually the decoy who sent “moff_1960” a photograph of herself, and spoke to him on the phone.  That was a member of Perverted-Justice.

Moffitt: You haven’t acted this way when we talked before.

Actress:  Oh really?  Well talking in person’s a little different than talking online.

Moffitt:  You don’t sound the same in person as you did on the phone. Your picture looks different too.

This odd conversation goes on for a half an hour. At one point he tells her to show him proof that she is who she says she is.

Moffitt:  Get your library card.

He paces outside, peeking in the window. When the decoy comes back without her library card he tries to convince her to get in his car and go to Walgreens. 

Actress:  I’m just gonna end up going to bed. This is ridiculous, I’m going to bed.

Moffitt:  Okay. (slams door and walks to car)

As we told you earlier, Fort Myers police officers are staked out in the guest house so as the man tries to get in his car, he’s arrested.

So we never get to tell him he’s going to be on “Dateline.” And he wasn’t the only one.

24-year-old Ellahzar Henson, screenname “importuner81” is here after making a date online with a girl posing as a 13-year-old. He told her he’d bring marijuana.

Actress: Did you bring the pot?

He begins to look around and appears to spot our crew upstairs.

Ellahazar Henson:  Pot? (looking up at something on the wall)

Actress:  Yeah, did you bring the pot?

Henson:  No.

And he takes off.

The deaf potential predator
Another man also doesn’t stick around long. He’s 43-year-old Fredi Fernandez, screenname “latinhawk63.”  He’s been having an X-rated online chat with a decoy posing as a 15-year-old.  Like several men in our investigations, he even sent her a picture of his penis.

As soon as he hears me, he’s out the door. And there’s another man who doesn’t realize he’s walked into our investigation— the case of a man who calls himself Pepe, is a first for us.

41-year-old Jose Falcon’s screenname is “florida_in_miami.” He’s been chatting online with a girl who said she was 12 and a virgin. He lies about his age saying he’s 27. And he says he has plans to teach the 12-year-old how to have sex. 

He describes in X-rated detail what he wants to do to her. The picture sent to him is of our actress.  Now she’s trying to get him in the house.

The decoy calls him from inside the house. It takes our decoy awhile to get him inside and when she does I come out.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: No, I need you to come over here, please.

He indicates to me he’s deaf...

Hansen: Oh, it’s okay. Can I show you something?  Can you read something?

And then he heads for the door. The police make an arrest.

The man who blamed his computer
31-year-old Thomas Coffen, whose scrennname is also “thomascoffen,” is a self-employed handyman. He’s here after making a date online for sex with a girl pretending to be 14. He tells her “I am into young girls. I like them better than the older girls” and he goes further—admitting he’s done this before. 

When the decoy types “How young have you dated,” he says “14.”

Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): Hey come on in! Come on in! I’m in here.

Thomas Coffen: Trying to find this place was hard.

Actress: Come into the living room and take a seat.

Online, he tells the girl several times that he loves her.  He also makes it clear he’s coming to the house to have sex with the girl who said she was 14. He even sends her a picture of himself naked.

But when I show up, he explains it’s all a big misunderstanding.

Coffen: I’m looking for work and stuff.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walks out): And what kind of work were you looking for here exactly?

Coffen: I do black top sealing.

Hansen:And did the owner of the house call you for black top work or—

Coffen: No, I was put ads out and stuff.

Hansen: Really.  And did you bring all your black top stuff with you?

Coffen:   I just came down just to look at it.

Hansen:  Oh, just to look at it. Now do you want to start the story again?

Coffen:  What do you mean?

Hansen: Tell the truth.

Coffen:  I talk to a lot of people.

Hansen: So, you weren’t really here to give an estimate for a black top job.

Coffen: No.

Hansen: That was a lie.

Coffen:  Sorry about that.

He also seems sorry he sent that picture.

Hansen: That’s appropriate to send to a 14-year-old old girl?

Coffen: No.

He doesn’t deny he sent the picture... but does he know it’s a possible crime?

Hansen: Do you know that this is illegal to send something like this to someone you think is underage?

Coffen: Yeah, oh and it won’t happen again. I can tell you that much.

Then he tries to explain it all away as one big computer glitch.

Coffen: I shut down my computer and stuff and my computer messed up.

Hansen: Your computer—so it just, what magically typed itself like a player piano?

Coffen: No, it’s messed up, I’m saying  I have a virus in it and stuff.

Hansen: Well, what’s messed up in this conversation. What was your intent today? Just to babysit until…

Coffen: No just come over to say "hi." That was it.

But how will he explain that online the decoy asked him to bring condoms and he just happens to have them in his shirt pocket.

Coffen: I always carry them on me.

Hansen: You always carry them right there in your pocket?

Coffen: Well, yeah if I sit on them they end up getting crushed.

Hansen: Do you see how this looks Thomas?

Thomas: Yeah… it looks bad.

And it looks bad for all the men you’ve seen walking in Dateline's door. Like most of the men who find out they’ve been caught in a Dateline undercover investigation, the 45-year-old truck driver who made plans online to  meet a girl who told him she was 14 has nothing more to say.

Hansen: You’re obviously free to walk out that door that you came in.

Dennis Ramsey: I will do that. Thank you.

But he won’t get very far. Fort Myers police are ready to make the arrest. He’s taken away in an unmarked police car and brought to a transfer station where he’s searched put in another car and transported to jail.

Meanwhile, back at our house, another man thinks he has his own solution to being exposed on national television.

Remember the 21-year-old who duped his sister into driving him to meet a girl who said she 14?

Hansen: We’re doing a story on adults who try to meet kids on the Internet.

David Schumacher: You do look kind of familiar—

Schumacher: Alright.  Hey man, I don’t want to be on—on the news, you feeling me?

Hansen:    We are filming.

Schumacher: I don’t want to be on the news, dawg.

Hansen:    Well, it’s a little late for that, dawg.  Now if there’s anything else you want to tell me—

    

He quickly comes up with a disguise. And as far as interviews go, this may be a television first. He talks to me through his T-shirt, covering  his face.

Schumacher: Shall I got to say is there ain’t nothing going on here dude.  Nothing funny going on here.

Hansen:    Nothing funny going on?

Schumacher: No.  The girl if the girl’s really 14, then I go—

Hansen:    But she told you she was 14.

Schumacher: See, but we were in a role playing chat room dude. Do you ya’ll want an interview?  How ya’ll doing NBC?

Hansen:    NBC.

Schumacher: NBC.  And you’re Chris—

Hansen:    Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.

Schumacher: Let me explain something to NBC for a second here.  I don’t know what kind of rap ya’ll got on people, but maybe ya’ll should get the whole story ‘cause this girl is in a role playing chat room. Who’s house is this?  Can I smoke a cigarette in here?

Hansen:    No, you can’t smoke in this room.

Schumacher: I didn’t think so.

Hansen:    You can smoke outside if you like.

Schumacher: Alright dude.

He decides to go out the front door, but that doesn’t stop detectives from catching him and placing him under arrest.

And when he shows up at the transfer station, police search him. And he keeps talking...

Schumacher: Naw.. there’s nothing on me dawg. Y’all thought you were going to get some green and sh*t, huh?   Hey NBC... two words: role-playing chatroom. Dudes cause the girl was role playing, man.

We checked with Perverted-Justice and were told he met the decoy in a Florida Romance room— not a role playing chat room.

Transcripts of his online chats and phone calls were enough for police to charge him with a felony.

Schumacher: Cause I’m not guilty. I’m going to f’ing sue somebody.

Even after he’s placed in the police car, he goes on talking...

Schumacher: I’m not guilty, man. Do I look like I need 14-year-old girls?  I don’t need 14-year-old girls, dude. I got all kinds of girls.

And has even more to say when he’s brought to the jail.

Schumacher:  NBC again.  How y’all doin NBC?

It turns out there was at least one thing he said earlier that turned out to be true: He has quite a long rap sheet. In 2002, he led police on a high speed chase in a stolen car. He was also convicted of grand theft and trying to sell the stolen goods. And twice he was convicted of battery, the most recent case in January.

Back at the transfer station police are searching suspect’s vehicles.

This car belongs to the 31-year-old man who was planning on meeting a girl who said she was 14.

Police officer:  He had some condoms that were in there, the address of the location was on there on a piece of paper, so we took all of that as evidence...

And one car belongs to the 45-year-old who was too afraid to come into the house and meet a girl who told him she was 12.

Police found a bottle of VasoRect.

Police officer:  What’s VasoRect?

Other police officer:  Like an over-the-counter Viagra type thing.

What kind of effort did it take for the police to handle an operation this big?  Chief Hilton Daniels is the man in charge.

Chief Hilton Daniels: We had 50-something police officers.  We had officers from the Florida Department of Law Enforcement and we had attorneys from the State Attorneys office directing the take down.

And it was the police interrogations, according to Chief Daniels, that proved to be their best evidence.

Chief Hilton Daniels: They confessed to exactly what was read to them off the chat logs.

Remember Michael Wilusz, the 49-year-old who came to meet a girl who said she’s 15? While he could walk away from Dateline’s interview, he couldn’t walk away from Detective Jennifer Ladelfa.

Det. Jennifer Ladelfa: He confessed to everything— that he had solicited her over the Internet, stated that he knew that she was underage, and that he’d come down here to make his fantasy come to fruition.

While for some men, it might take getting arrested and then being interrogate before confessing, back at the house you’re about to meet two men who admit doing things you won’t believe.

The man who gave other potential predators advice
27-year-old Eric Thornton’s is screenname "balin79."  He drove four hours thinking he was going to meet a girl who told him online she was 14.  At one point during the chat he gets on his Webcam and masturbates and types “Did you see it?”

The decoy says “not really, too dark” and he types back “shoot” and then brags about what he had just done.

Now he’s in our house.

Online, he said he’d bring alcohol and condoms so the actress asks him about it.

Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): What kind of alcohol did you bring?

Eric Thornton: I brought Absolute Citron.  I brought mandarin orange.  I brought a shot of Jagermeister.  I got Busch.  The—

Actress: Wow—

Thornton:   And I don’t know, I can get some more if I need to.

Actress: Did you bring condoms?

Thornton:   Uh-huh (Affirms).

Actress: Great.

Emily:  Sure did.

Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walks in): Well, with all that it sounds like you’ve got a pretty big night planned huh?

Thornton:   Yep.

Hansen: Two different kinds of vodka?

Thornton:   Uh-huh (Affirms).

Hansen:    Bought some beer.  And what else?

Thornton:   That’s it.

Hansen:    That’s it.  Condoms.  So what was your plan here tonight?

Thornton:   My plan?  Just to hang out.

Hansen:    To hang out?

Thornton:   Uh-huh (Affirms).

Hansen: And you thought it was okay as a 27-year-old, to come here to meet a 14-year-old with alcohol and condoms?

Thornton: No, not at all.

Hansen: Then why did you do it?

Thornton: Because I just thought it was like a good idea.

A good idea? It turns out, he says, this isn’t the first time he’s gone after underage teens.

Hansen: How often do you meet underage girls online and set up a visit?

Thornton: Not that much.

Hansen: Ballpark it for me.

Thornton: Probably 10, 15.

Hansen: Have you met them in person?

Thornton: uh-huh.

Hansen: And what did you when you meet them in person?

Thornton: Just well actually I didn’t really meet them.

He keeps changing his story. Finally he admits he has a problem when it comes to chatting with underage girls online.

Thornton: I’ve went to counseling many many times.

Hansen: So based upon the fact that you’re here to meet a 14-year-old, that counseling isn’t working out too well is it?

Thornton: Not at all.

It’s possible that the counseling isn’t working because he says he stopped going about five months ago.

Hansen: Did you plan on spending the night?

Thornton: Yes I had. I wanted to spend the night, but I didn’t want to do anything graphic until I actually met the person

Hansen: Well, what do you think should happen to you here?

Thornton: Just go home and learn from this.

But he’s not going to get off that easy. It’s time to tell him who I am.

Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen from Dateline NBC...

He doesn’t run when he sees the cameras—instead he decides to give any potential predator this advice...

Thornton: Just whatever you do, do not get into underaged people at all. And I feel regretful. I feel horrible that I did this.

But that heartfelt speech, those words of wisdom, won’t help him this time around.

Like all the other men you’ve seen, he’s patted down,  photographed, and his car is searched and off he goes to jail.

The man who thanked me
Most of the men who came to our undercover house were chatting online with decoys for a week or more, but not this potential predator:  He’s 48-year-old Donald Morrison, screenname donni1957_male.  He started the online chat with a girl posing as a 15-year-old at 8 p.m. and wasting no time, he proposes to meet on the same night. He types “I want to meet you and fool around.  Are you up to meeting tonight hun.?” 

Then he makes a plan to come to her house around 11 p.m.  At 11:30 p.m., Morrison walks up our driveway.

Actress: Hey come on in.

Donald Morrison:  Hello.

Actress: Hey I just made some cookies. Just take a seat.  I’ll be right there.

Morrison:  You got a big house.

Actress:  Yeah, it’s great.  Try one of my cookies.  They’re so good.

Morrison:  Chocolate chips, my favorite.

Actress: Mine, too.

Morrison: Well, I make ‘em for Christmas.  I make about ten dozen of ‘em.

Actress: Whoa.  Why so many?

Morrison: Cause I usually have family in from up north.  We had like 14 of us here this year.

Actress: Holy cow.

Hansen: Can I get you a glass of milk to go along with those cookies?

Morrison: Sure.

Hansen (walks in): What’s going on?

Morrison: I don’t know.  I just was talking to ‘er, and she said come down and visit ‘er.

Just like our other visitor, he admits he has a problem when it comes to underage girls.

Morrison: I have a compulsion just to be with the younger women. Just meeting them I had met about a dozen of ‘em online.

Hansen: And so this is something you do frequently?

Morrison: Now, I haven’t done it in—let’s see, I haven’t done it since I moved here to Florida.

Hansen: And where did you live before?

Morrison:  Texas.

Hansen:    Texas.   And so you did this a lot in Texas.

Morrison: Uh-huh (affirm).

Hansen: Did you ever get in trouble for it?

Morrison:     Yeah.

Hansen: Yeah?

Morrison: Well, I got in trouble cause I met a girl in Michigan.

Hansen:    You met a girl in Michigan.

Morrison: Uh-huh (affirm).

Hansen:    And how old was that girl?

Morrison:  17.

Hansen: 17?

Morrison:  17.

Hansen: Yeah.  And what trouble did you get in there?

Morrison: Well, her grandfather tried to... something. They couldn’t do anything.  So they arrested me for trying to for possession child pornography ‘cause I had nude pictures of her on my computer.  They ended up dropping the charges.

Hansen:    So you were charged but then they dropped the charges.

Morrison: Yes, sir.

Hansen: I see.  And how did you get the naked pictures of the teenage girl?

Morrison: I met her in Michigan.  And I took them.

Hansen: You took the pictures of the girl.

Morrison:  Uh-huh (Affirm).

Hansen:    And then you put ‘em on my computer.

Morrison:  On my computer.  Yeah, they were digital pictures.

After the 48-year-old asks the decoy on line if she is looking for sex.  He brings up the possibility that she might be a cop.

Hansen:  What made you think that this might be a police operation?

Morrison:  Oh, just after seeing all these things on Dateline.  You know I know, like I say, this is the first time I’ve done this since I’ve been here.

Hansen:    So you’ve seen all the Dateline stories.

Morrison:  Uh-huh .

Hansen:    And what do you think of those stories?

Morrison:  I thought some of them were pretty bad. I mean I saw the one where they were coming over for sex with boys and stuff like that.  You know.  And I’m not really into you pedophilia or this might be—this is probably considered that. And I know this is probably gonna be on Dateline too, so go ahead and put it on.

Hansen:    Well, you know who I am.

Morrison:  Yeah.   

Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.

Morrison:  Right.  And I understand, I know… I recognize from the voice.

Hansen:    And everything you’ve just said and done has all been recorded.

Morrison:  Okay.

Hansen:    And if you have anything else you’d like to tell us, we’d like to hear it.

Morrison:  Just saying that you know I shouldn’t have done it.  I mean this is something I normally don’t go out and do.

Hansen: I want you to be honest with me; if I wasn’t here tonight, and a young girl was, who was alone and willing to have sex, what do you think would have happened?

Morrison:  Probably it would have happened.

Hansen:    Probably would have had sex.  You would have done ahead and done it.

Morrison:  Probably, yes.  I mean I could say honestly yes, it probably would have if she would—if she would have said “Hey, let’s go for it.”

Hansen:    And you don’t see anything wrong with that.

Morrison:  Yes, I do see things wrong with it, but I had lack of judgment.

And here’s a first.  Before he leaves he actually thanks me.

Morrison:  Thanks for kicking me in the pants and setting me straight, Chris. Am I going to get arrested?

Hansen: That’s not up to me.

Morrison: Ok.

He leaves through the back door and the police are waiting.

He’s taken to the transfer station. When he gets to the jail, he goes into diabetic shock and is taken in handcuffs to the hospital where he is treated and then brought back to jail. The next day he appears before a judge.

After conducting four Internet predator investigations in four different states, you’d think we’d be prepared for anything.

But somethinghappens here in Florida that shocks us all.

The man who arrived with his 5-year-old son
A 40-year-old married man, Clifford Wallach’s screenname "fotophix." He arrived to meet a boy who told him online he was 14.

Del from Perverted-Justice posing as the boy spoke with “fotophix” on the phone.

Del, decoy: He said “I like oral, all aspects.” I said “giving or receiving?” He said “both.” I said “cool.” He said “you up for that?” I said “sure.”

Holding his son’s hand, the 40-year-old walks into the house.

Clifford Wallach (hidden camera footage): Where’d you go?

Because we don’t want to scare the little boy.  We immediately tell the man what’s going on.

Chris Hansen, Dateline Correspondent: I gotta tell you something.  And I’m gonna tell you this straight up right now.

Wallach:   What?

Hansen:  I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC.

Wallach: Ok.

Hansen: We’re doing a story on adults getting children—and since you have your child here, I’m not going to pursue this.

Wallach:   Ok.

Hansen: But, I think you know what you were doing here, don’t you?

Wallach:No.  I was going to take someone out to lunch.

Hansen: My point is, because your child is here, I think it would be best if you went ahead and left.

Wallach: Yeah, I agree.  I’m never gonna do this again.

Since the police know the man has his son with him, a female officer quickly takes the little boy and whisks him away so he doesn’t have to further witness his father’s arrest.

The man is taken away in hand cuffs and brought to the transfer station...

Wallach:  Please I want to stay with my son.

Police officer:  That’s not an option for now sir.

Wallach: I didn’t do nothing wrong, I was going to take someone to lunch, I can’t feel my hands, please!

The police contact the boys mother at work, tell her what’s going on, and she comes and gets him. Meanwhile, the dad is taken to jail, photographed and put behind bars.

While his story is upsetting, the story of a man you’ll meet next week is downright bizarre.

Naked and chasing after a cat
One potential predator comes in the house whips off his clothes and proceeds to search for a young teen.

Hansen: You want to explain yourself? You’re naked. There’s a 14-year-old girl. You’re chasing a cat around. You’ve got Coolwhip.

You'll see his story on Dateline's next "To Catch a Predator," one week from tonight, Wednesday, at 8 p.m./ 9 Central.

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