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Sept. 22, 2006 | Live blog

8:50 p.m.

By the time we finish broadcasting this latest series of “To Catch A Predator” investigations, 184 men will have been charged with crimes relating to soliciting a minor online for sex. What is starting to amaze me, though, is how many men continue to show up at our hidden camera houses who have seen our past investigations.

9:05 p.m.
One of the first guys you’ll meet tonight is just such a character. 24-year-old Raymundo Anguiano who shows up to meet a 14-year-old girl after an explicit online chat. He tells me he’s seen not one, but three of our past investigations. Anguiano, who goes by the screen name “Truesweetguy69” can almost predict what’s going to happen to him next. He said he had “second thoughts” about coming over but then admits “whatever was gonna happen was gonna happen.” As I interview him, I keep wondering to myself if it’s really possible that someone could have seen three of our shows and walk in our house anyway. As you’re about to see, Anguiana will eliminate any doubt. He knew the routine so well that he is almost able to do my job. He knows exactly when the cameramen are supposed to emerge from the next room and most likely that the moment he walks out of the house, he’ll be arrested by authorities, which is exactly what happens.

9:15 p.m.
You’ll likely notice tonight that we use two different female decoys during the Georgia investigation. Here’s why: As you may recall, on day two of the investigation Yahoo chat rooms all over the country go dead because of a power outage in northern California. The result is that for nearly nine hours we had difficulty talking to and keeping track of potential predators who may visit. We end up extending the shoot to compensate. The problem for us is that our decoy needed to back to college and could not continue to pose as our young teen home alone. Producer Lynn Keller called her sister who happens to live in Atlanta and has a 20-year-old son. He called a youngish-looking college girl he knows in his neighborhood and the next thing we know we have another decoy.

9:30 p.m.

It seems that in each one of our investigations we experience a “To Catch A Predator” first. Harris County, Ga. is no different. 33-year-old Army Staff Sgt. Rolando Restocruz shows up at our house after chatting online with a decoy posing as a 14-year-old girl. Restocruz talks about showering with the girl and then taking her virginity. He promises to bring lubricant, condoms, beer and lingerie. This is our sixth investigation and I like to think that I am prepared for just about any scenario. What happens next, I could not predict. Watch tonight as I confront Restocruz and you see him actually drop to his knees and assume what appeared to be the prisoner of war position. He claims he would never have actually gone through with what he talked about online, but now you’re about to see him change his story and try to bargain with us. He will offer to get counseling. The man whose screen name is “Marriedandlookingforfun31313” doesn’t seem to be having much fun now. And wait until you see what sheriff’s deputies find in his car.

9:40 p.m.

Here in Georgia, we find what we’ve found all over the country. The men who come to visit a minor for sex come from all walks of life. Some have advanced degrees and big jobs. 34-year-old Abhilash Bhaskaran is a director of development of a computer software company. He also has an MBA. But as you’re about to see, the man who calls himself “Raj21us21” has decided to take a day off and visit a girl he believes to be 13 and home alone. From his office computer Bhaskaran has been chatting with the decoy about how she’ll “learn as they go along” about oral sex. 

Bhaskaran tells the decoy he wants to be cautious because “u know sex with a minor is called rape.” If you saw this man standing in line with you at the grocery, you would never imagine he would allegedly be involved in this sort of activity and that continues a common theme with most of the men we see.

It’s a theme that continues next week when our investigation takes us to Northern California.

Sept. 22, 2006 | 9:00 a.m.

Potential predators stop at a nearby gas station for candy, drinks, and condoms (Chris Hansen, Dateline Correspondent)

It’s not the first time a military man has shown up at one of our hidden camera houses, but when Army Staff Sgt. Rolando Restocruz arrived to meet a 14-year-old girl at our home in Fortson, Ga., he did something that was a “To Catch A Predator” first.

Restocruz, who did a tour of duty in Iraq and who calls himself “marriedlooking forfun31313” when he’s chatting online, seemed calm and confident when he walked into our kitchen and poured himself a glass of iced tea. Restocruz had spent three weeks chatting with a decoy from the online watchdog group Perverted Justice. The chat log was more than 50 pages long and included a detailed script as to how the Army Sgt. wanted the liaison to go. He talks about undressing the girl and her undressing him. There’s talk of a shower and how he’ll take the girl’s virginity. But after I walk in to confront the man his romantic mood seems spoiled. It appears that at first he thinks I might be the girl’s father. He’s apologetic and on the brink of tears.

That’s when he does something we’ve never seen before. He actually gets down on his knees and assumes what looks like the prisoner of war position. He sounds like he’s trying to strike a bargain, promising he’ll go to counseling. He continues to plead his case as he is arrested by Harris County Sheriff’s deputies.

Those same deputies later search Restocruz’s car and find condoms, lubricant, beer and lingerie.

Video: Dateline catches another sexual predator There’s another first for us in this investigation as well. As you may have seen before, some of these guys admit to me they have heard of or seen portions of our programs. But in this investigation you are going to meet a man who actually admits to me that he has seen not one, but three of our shows before. And you won’t believe what else he admits to me.

There’s one more behind-the-scenes story I’d like the share with you: Because we were working in a fairly rural area, there were not a lot of stores nearby. The closest establishment was a gas station. And that is where some of the 20 men who came to our hidden camera house stopped to buy beer, condoms, candy and soft drinks. Watch closely in this investigation and you’ll actually see that we were able to obtain video from the gas station’s security camera and use it in this story.

Part two of the Georgia report airs Dateline Friday, Sept. 22, 9 p.m.

Sept. 13, 2006 | Live blog

This was Chris Hansen's live blog on that broadcast evening.

8:05 p.m. ET
Live blog (Chris Hansen, Dateline NBC)

It always amazes me how some of the men who come knocking on the door of our hidden camera houses act like they’ve developed real relationships with our decoys during their online chats. They talk like they’ve known the boy or girl for a long time and often they appear comfortable, even confident as they as they walk in the door.

Such is the case with the first man you’ll meet tonight. Online, he calls himself "Scoobydooat101" and he’s been chatting for a week with a decoy from the computer watchdog group Perverted Justice posing as a 15-year-old girl. When Scoobydooat101 walks into the house he chides our decoy, a 19-year-old actress who looks much younger, for giving him bad directions to the house. The decoy says she has to finish some laundry and ducks out of the room.

Moments later, I walk in and Scoobydooat101 doesn’t seem so comfortable anymore. It turns out the man who talked about teaching a 15 year-old girl all kinds of creative ways to have sex had even seen some of our previous “To Catch A Predator” investigations and shows up anyway.

It’s something that is happening more and more in our investigations and has prompted one of the questions I am most frequently asked: Why do these guys still show up after so many high profile programs on predators? I think there are a couple of reasons. My sense is that many of these guys think their odds of getting caught are pretty slim. Dateline, Perverted Justice and Law enforcement can’t be everywhere. Other men seem no longer able to control their compulsions. Porn sites and explicit chat are no longer enough to satisfy them. Actually meeting a young teen for sex is apparently the only way to fulfill their fantasy.

8:20 p.m.
Each one of “To Catch A Predator investigations has its’ own unique rhythm. Sometimes guys will start showing up all at once on a Friday afternoon and then there’ll be hours of no activity. Sometimes it’s a steady parade. Sometimes things happen that are beyond out control. Here in Fortson, Ga, about a 90-minute drive south from Atlanta, we experience behind-the-scenes drama we’ve not seen before. On the second day of our investigation, a heat wave in California causes a power outage that in turn makes Yahoo chat rooms crash across the country for nearly nine hours. No chat rooms means no chat. We lose contact with several of the men talking with Perverted Justice decoys, potential predators obviously couldn’t use the chat rooms and it was hard to keep track of the guys who had said they were going to visit.

When the Yahoo chat rooms come back, it’s almost like starting over. By the time we start operating under normal conditions it’s Sunday July 23, the night before the funeral for two dear friends of mine, Pat and Peggy Higdon, who had recently died in a tragic accident while vacationing. I leave Georgia for the funeral Sunday night. It’s Wednesday by the time I make it back to our house in Fortson. The whole team’s pretty weary at this point, but with the chat rooms working, there was again a steady stream of men heading in the door.

8:33 p.m.
This may surprise you, but here in Georgia, a number of men who showed up apparently intending to have sex with a minor after explicit online chats had close ties to organized religion.  After meeting and chatting with someone who told him she was a 15 year-old virgin, Zavior01 asks his new friend if she’s ever had an orgasm? The decoy says “I don’t think so” and Zavior01 says: “good.”

Zavior01 turns out to be a 32-year-old media director at his church-- a position working with young teens. Then there’s an all American clean-cut looking man who has a Myspace page that says: “Jesus Rocks” and that his number one hero is God. But he had better hope that God wasn’t looking when he was chatting online with a decoy from Perverted Justice. Much of the chat is too graphic to include here. As you’ll soon see he’ll be detailing his “conflicts” to me and then later to police.

8:50 p.m.
Then there’s 35-year-old Marvin Smith. For the better part of a week he chatted with a decoy posing as a 15 year-old girl. It was absolutely one of the most graphic chats I’ve seen in all of the investigations so far. He details what he wants to do to the girl. He introduces the decoy to a woman he says is his girlfriend and suggests three way sex. He even brags that he has had sex with another 15 year-old girl. Smith who online goes by the screen name Swgamaleyess has been saying all week that he’s going to show up at our house. Time after time he stands us up. We started to think that he was getting satisfaction from the chat and wouldn’t really come over. Finally, on the last day of our investigation he pulls into our driveway and walks into our kitchen with hidden cameras rolling. He asks our decoy for a hug and when he starts to follow her into the next room he sees one of our cameramen and bolts. Smith doesn’t get very far. What happens next is a first for us. When Smith tries to run from the deputies, he’s shot by a Taser and knocked to the ground. It’s not until he’s questioned by detectives that we learn Smith also has a religious side saying he used to be a Baptist minister.

And that’s just half of what we saw in Georgia. On Friday, September 22 we’ll show you the rest.

9:00 p.m.
And as always, we hope investigations such as these prompt conversations within families about using the Internet safely. 

Here, we have some Web clips of experts answering your frequently asked questions. We also have, on video, a Virginia family who shares what they do to keep themselves safe online.

Video: A family effort

What about your family? We set up a message board here for folks to trade tips on how to keep underage teens from online sexual solitications.


Sept. 13, 2006 | 1:11 p.m. ET

Our new investigations (Chris Hansen, Dateline NBC)

Last night, I returned from Long Beach, Calif., the location of the latest “To Catch A Predator” investigation we’ll be telling you about in our next series of programs.

If you think all the attention our reports have received would deter men from trying to meet young teens online for sex, you thought wrong. In fact, in each of the three locations we’ll take you to in the series that begins tonight, we see over and over again that men are showing up even though they have heard about our investigations. In many cases, they have actually watched them on TV.

We start tonight in Fortson, Georgia, about 90 minutes south of Atlanta. It’s rural, but growing quickly. Harris County Sheriff Mike Jolley sensed an increase in young teens apparently being solicited by men in chat rooms for sex in his area. The sheriff contacted the online watch dog group Perverted-Justice and in late July, Dateline headed south and started wiring a house with hidden cameras for our next operation. When I arrived at the house on a Thursday afternoon, there was already a long list of potential predators scheduled to visit. Over the next few days, 20 men showed up looking for sex with a 13 to 15-year old boy or girl. As in past investigations, they were initially met by a decoy who invited them in and then were confronted by me.

Video: Advance webisode: Cody Green In Georgia, we met a man who was a media director at his church -- a volunteer position working with children. We saw a former minister who wanted to bring an adult girlfriend along to participate in group sex with our decoy; a soldier; and a man who told me that sex with a 13-year-old virgin would be “probably the cleanest, best pleasure.”  All these men showed up in spite of some challenges Dateline has never faced in previous investigations. On the second day of our hidden camera effort, Yahoo chat rooms went down for almost nine hours. Not only did decoys have trouble contacting men, it was difficult keeping track of when they would arrive. Our visitors drove as many as four hours to come see us and more than a few said they suspected they might be walking into a Dateline investigation. It goes to show that some of these guys continue to be ruled by an addiction or compulsion they apparently cannot control.

The latest investigations air Dateline Wednesday, Sept. 13. Check back here for Chris' live blog during the show.

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