The blog entries, below, were posted to coincide with what was on television.
Start here, and read all the way down.
• February 3, 2006 |
Behind-the-scenes of 'To Catch a Predator' III (Chris Hansen)
While we were well-prepared for the taping of “To Catch a Predator” III ; there was still a fair bit of anxiety in the air.
How do I prepare?
Before the men come to our door, I start reading the transcripts of the online conversations between the potential predators and the decoys posing as 12 and 13-year-old kids home alone.
Ron Knight, our security consultant and I review protocol. While the transcripts give me a pretty good insight into the men heading our way, there’s no way of knowing how aggressive they might get when they see me instead of a young teenager, and when they realize they will be exposed on Dateline NBC.
By now, all the knives have been removed from the kitchen, where the confrontations take place. Ron always reminds me to watch the man’s hands as I walk in to talk to them. “If they are in their pockets, calmly tell them to take them out,” he says. “Keep the kitchen island between you and him,” he says.
Experience tells us both that the men are unlikely to be violent, but one can never be sure. Most are caught off-guard, some are relieved to be caught, but the rest are always question marks. Read more on the safety precautions we took, from our security consultant, Ron Knight, .
In a moment, you’ll see a truck driver come into our hidden camera house looking to meet a young boy. He leaves quickly, but another guy stays a while. He’s a teacher and was an early indication of the diversity of our visitors.
I am asked all the time if the problem of adults soliciting kids on the Internet is really all that pervasive -- or if we just happen to choose locations where there is an unusually large amount of activity. I really think we could do this story anywhere in the country and have dozens of men show up.
Walter Edward Babst is a high school math teacher. In the dark hours, however, we find him trolling the Internet talking to a decoy who is pretending to be a 12-year-old girl. When he walks into our house, he’s about as clean cut as a guy can be. But when I confront him, he ‘fesses up fast. He says he should be “executed.” He arrested instead.
Babst taught school for another week before he was suspended without pay.
I should point out that that aside from chat sites like Yahoo and AOL, Perverted-Justice also posted profiles on MySpace.com and Teenspot, among other sites. After last week’s report by (and other social networking sites), about teens’ tendencies to post too much information, we received some criticism. Some teens wrote us and said that while their profiles could be found on social networking sites, they weren’t likely to be preyed upon.
But as you’ll see in the upcoming segment, it does happen.
You can read more about Dateline's MySpace report last week and .
No matter how many times I do this kind of a story, the first confrontation is preceded by a racing heart, shortness of breath, and the hope that the guy coming in the door is the guy who we think he is. In this case, he is. Chris Moore is looking to hook up with a 13-year-old boy. He’s calm as he talks to the decoy in the first seconds he’s in our house. Moore tells me he’s an actor, making his living in Hollywood picking up bit parts and background roles in big movies and popular TV shows. As anxious as I am confronting Moore, it quickly becomes clear that he knows what he did was wrong. He’s on the verge of tears.
It would be easy to start to feel sorry for some of these guys, but it’s almost as if there’s not enough time. There’s always another guy on the way.
In this investigation in Southern California, we try to space it out so the men won't be running into each other. But no matter what we do, it starts to happen.
As I looked over the chat logs for the man I think is coming in next, the guys upstairs tell me that there are actually three men outside getting ready to come in. Two are still parked in their cars, and one is pacing in front of our house. The fellow on foot decides to come in, but I am not sure which guy he is. So I gather up 3 different chat logs, and go to the kitchen to confront him. But which one of the three guys is he? And what are we going to do with the other two guys still waiting outside? What if they decide to also come in?
Several hairy scenarios go through my mind. But first things first: After I ask the guy a few questions, I surmise he’s a 19-year-old whose screen name is “Jazzman04.” He’s here to meet a 12-year-old girl. He doesn’t hang around long. He makes a run for it, and the Riverside County Sheriffs have no choice but to spring into action.
In a matter of seconds, have the cuffs on “Jazzman04” as well as the two other men waiting in their cars. The investigators seem, at times, overwhelmed, putting several of the men in the sheriff’s motor home, telling them to be quiet until things calm down, and the men can be taken away to be booked.
We have more guys run off on us in this investigation compared to the previous two. Still, the majority stay and talk. I think this happens for a couple of reasons: Many are just stunned. Some think I am with law enforcement and others want to explain themselves, either to justify what they’ve done or to pour out their hearts about an addiction to the Internet or a sexual compulsion.
I am always genuinely curious as to what makes these guys tick. Maybe they sense this and that’s why so many stay and talk. In any case, there comes a time when I tell them who I am and what I am doing, and that they could end up on national television. This is when you never know what to expect. Will the man turn violent? Will he run, will he apologize and skulk away? Fortunately in the investigation, we have more runners and skulkers than tough guys. A few threaten but don’t follow through.
When it comes to excuses, I have heard them all. Many of the men say it’s their first time doing something like this. Some say they are just here to teach the girl a lesson about online safety. “Wrong address,” “mistaken identity,” “I was just here to apply for a job” or “to see a man about selling a house,” are also reasons men have given me for being in our home.
The one guy who surprises even me, though, is “Southbayguy310.” When he shows up at our house, another man is being arrested outside. I’m thinking, “This guy will never come back.” I am wrong.
He phones the decoy. She makes up an excuse about the police activity, and within minutes he’s walking in our back door. And if you are wondering how determined some of these men are to meet a 12 or 13-year-old, consider this: It turns out “Southbayguy310” was not only caught by Perverted-Justice once before for doing the same thing, he actually saw our last Dateline investigation! He’s now gone from a viewer to a character in our latest story.
One of the things we always try to do in these investigations is to know as much about the men as we can before they walk into our house. In reality though, that can be difficult. Potential predators show up in quick succession; some lie to the decoy to protect their identity in case they get caught.
In Southern California, we know that at least two of the men heading our way are registered sex offenders. One of them, who used the screen name “Pavlov1234” looked to be substantially older than the age of 28 he gave the decoy online. I watch him on the monitor in the next room as he enters the house. He strikes me as the kind of guy who may make a run for it. The decoy speaks to him and he freezes. Suddenly he seems more comfortable and decides to hang around.
It turns out he’s really 68. And just 5 months ago, he was arrested for a lewd sex act with a person 15 or younger. Now he’s here after chatting online with someone who told him he was 13. As I am speaking to him, he’s on probation for his previous crime.
We will ultimately learn that he isn't the only one. At least three others have been down this road before.
We’re already starting to get e-mails from many of you— over 50 a minute, and we're receiving them faster than we can read them. I’ll answer some of them later, of course.
42-year-old Thomas Bodnar had a history of molesting children long before he walked into our house to meet a 13-year-old boy. If there’s any question in your mind as to the harm Bodnar is capable of inflicting, all you need to do is talk to one of his past victims. That’s exactly what we did.
Dazarie Holcomb was in third grade when her mother befriended Bodnar. Bodnar went on to molest Dazarie until their mother found out and reported him to police. Bodnar was sentenced to 10 years in prison for those crimes. Dazarie wonders how it could be that this man was free to walk into our kitchen. She told us that she is still living with the pain this man caused them. It makes you wonder if prison is enough of deterrent, if these guys are just evil or sick, if there are enough treatment options for these men.
I don’t pretend to have all the answers, but I can tell you this: whatever combination of forces compels these men, they must be pretty strong. During three investigations now I’ve seen these guys drawn into a home where they have no business being and virtually ruin their lives.
Many in law enforcement will tell you some of these guys will never change. Psychiatrists who’ve spent decades treating men like this say some can be controlled and live normal lives. In the end, the most accurate statement I’ve heard comes from Dr. Fred Berlin who founded the Johns Hopkins Sexual Disorders Clinic who says dealing with predators is going to take “a significant effort from both the Attorney General and the Surgeon General.”
Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go on a blog break to chat on-air with Stone.
11:15 p.m. ET, after the show
There’s no question that in order to do these stories we need to talk about some “R” rated material. Trust me, some of it is “X” rated before we edit it for TV. We try not to be too explicit. We don’t want to offend you. But, at the same time you are not going to understand the dangers posed by online predators unless we expose what these men are capable of: the often obscene and criminal nature of what they say and what they want to do to children. It is a fine line. I would not put anything on national television that I wouldn’t allow my two sons to see and hear. Granted this means sitting down with them and putting some of this material into context. (MSNBC.com has , provided by online security expert Bob Sullivan and child and family therapist Susan Shankle.)
But, I would rather have an uncomfortable moment explaining something to my children than a panicked moment finding out they had been targeted by an online predator because they were unaware of the dangers. Towards the end of our show tonight we gave some advice on all of this to parents. The best thing I can tell you is to “talk to your kids.” Tell them there are people on the Internet capable of some very bad things and let your kids know that they can tell you if they have an inappropriate experience on line.
I’ll never forget one powerful moment in our first investigation. I was sitting with a group of kids and I asked them to give me a show of hands of those who’d been approached by someone on the Internet who creeped them out. Almost all of them raise their hands.
Then I asked, “How many told their parents?” Not one kid raised their hand. Why? They were afraid their parents would take away their computer privileges. That’s something I will never forget. Nor should you.
I'm reading your e-mails and will try to answer some shortly.
• February 3, 2006 |
Answering some viewer questions
From Tonie Montgomery, Douglasville, Ga.:
I talked to an acquaintance about the show (he's a lawyer), and he said that this was entrapment. We really got into a heated discussion over this issue. The way I see it— if someone tells you that they are a minor and you choose to meet them anyway, you deserve to be thrown under the jail!
Chris Hansen: The defendants may raise this issue, and the courts would have to decide it on a case-by-case basis. But in general, a decoy program that offers an opportunity to a suspect to commit a crime is not entrapment under California law.
Take a look at the -- he addresses that very important issue. It's a legitimate question, but it's generally not considered entrapment because the potential predator is the one who makes the first contact with the decoy posing as a child. In most states, it doesn't matter whether there's a real child or a decoy, the act of soliciting a minor for sex on the Internet and then attempting to meet someone you think is a minor is illegal.
From Lori Howe, Pinehurst, N.C.:
What can we do to help find these sick people? Watching our children is one thing, but how can you be on the offense instead of just defense? -- Lori Howe, Pinehurst NC
Chris Hansen: You're right, watching your children is one thing. Experts tell us that as a parent you also need to have an open dialogue with you kids. Tell them that there are people online who might try to approach them for inappropriate reasons. It is estimated that one in five children on line is solicited for sex by an adult. Your children need to know that is this happens they should tell you and you should know that these incidents need to be reported to the police and to the Internet service provider. Too often kids don't tell their parents about this sort of thing because they're afraid of losing their computer privileges.
From Anonymous, Batesburg, S.C.:
What can be done to stop these creeps for good? Is there a treatment facility to treat a creep like this? If so, does it work? I doubt it. In my personal opinion, anyone that is convicted of a sexual crime against a child should be sentenced to life without parole or death.
Wendy from Rochester has the same sort of question:
As a mom of two young boys, these kinds of stories grab my interest and anguish me. What can be learned from these predators about "the making of a predator"? What is the common denominator? Have they been victims of sex crimes themselves or witness to them? Perhaps you can address in your story what makes for an at-risk individual and what interventions might curb this disturbing development. Those that are caught and locked up seem eager to repeat their offenses once freed. What can be done with them?
Chris Hansen: This is a critically important question which we try to address in our story. Many in law enforcement believe some of these men cannot be rehabilitated and that the only solution is to lock them up for good. But, there have also been some promising treatment results shown at places like the Johns Hopkins Clinic for Sexual Disorders. A recent study there showed that out of 600 men in an intensive treatment program, only 10 percent were re-arrested over a five year period. Trouble is, even experts who believe there is hope for these men say there are not nearly enough of these treatment programs available. As for the making of a predator...I don't think there is one single thing. Some people are just wired differently. Some people suffer trauma as a child, victims themselves of molestation.
Doris Rivera of Garfield, New Jersey asks me a question I get asked fairly often:
How do you keep from hurting these sick bastards?? he sadness that takes over my heart, for these children looking for attention, turns to rage when you put a face on a disgusting predator!!!
Chris Hansen: It's only human to feel this sort of emotion, but we're journalists, not vigilantes. Our job is to investigate topics like computer predators, delve as deeply as we can into the topic so that viewers can see first hand what's happening. But, as for punishment, we leave that to the police and prosecutors.
Nate from Boston Mass. makes an interesting point:
While catching predators is a good and noble goal, by broadcasting it you are propagating a myth, that strangers are the greatest threat to kids. The vast majority of kids who are abused are done by family members. Why don't you do an episode on that? By making parents think that they can protect their children by monitoring online activity they may ignore the real threats. Think about that.
Chris Hansen: That is an excellent point. We have done programs on that over the years, and will initiate a discussion about that very story here in our meetings.
From Landon: Why do you always profile men looking for teenage girls? Why not profile women predators?
Chris Hansen: We've actually talked a great deal about that. In our experience, it is a male dominated crime. In our investigation, we don’t seek to profile any sort of person – what we report is those people who initiate these conversations with the decoys, take it to another level, and show up at the house. If you have information or evidence to the contrary, please share it with us.
From Patricia, in Florida:
While I appreciate the fact that your program exposes and removes these vile beings from society, clearly saving potential child victims from these predators, I have yet to see any program on this subject recognize "the other victims" of this horrific crime... the unsuspecting spouses, children, family and friends of these sick individuals. My ex husband is now serving time in a Federal Prison for having been busted through a different Internet sting operation in which he chatted with an undercover FBI agent who posed as a single mother with a seven year old daughter. He spoke with this woman on the phone, gave graphic details of the sex acts he wanted to perform on her child... and tried to convince the woman to meet him. Yes, he has ruined his own life. The FBI? They removed a man from society who very well could have gone through with his perversions... scarring some innocent child for life... I am happy this did not happen... so grateful. But what of the lives of this man's grown children, who have to deal with the fact that their father is a sexual predator? Their pain is very real too. I have seen it first hand and it kills me to know their faith in those they are supposed to be able to look up to and trust has been ruined. To make matters worse, they have to suffer the embarrassment of having people find out... they now go through their lives wondering... who knows? Does he know... does she know?... who is going to find out next about what my dad did? What about the way THEIR lives have been affected? What about his elderly father?... His sister?... SO many victims of this crime. I myself am an outcast in my own neighborhood... I am the one the neighbors avoid, the one they point to and whisper about when I walk by. It’s guilt by association... WE are victims as well. We carry an unearned... undeserved stigma, which merely adds to the already painful and humiliating aftermath... for something WE DID NOT DO. We too are punished, serving a sentence... Make sense to you? Just a thought.
Chris Hansen: It makes tremendous sense to me. Thank you for sharing what is surely a painful story. Please write us back, we would appreciate to hear more from you.
From David, Austin, TX: In your last investigation, you showed some predators on your special and leave some out? You should have clearly shown all the men and their information so that they all received the same treatment! After looking at the Perverted-Justice Web site, there were clearly some people you left off.
Chris Hansen: To be honest with you, there is only so much time in our show and we have to decide which cases best exemplify the computer predator epidemic. We have also had men show up whose chat logs were perhaps inappropriate but not necessarily illegal. Those men are usually not shown. In this latest investigation however, we devoted two hours to the subject and we were able to show more of the men who came to our house. Also, in this case the Riverside County Sheriff's Department has posted pictures and names of all the men arrested on .
From Sarah Juarez, Bullhead City, Ariz.: How far have these men traveled to meet these "children"?
Chris Hansen: In some cases the men have traveled several hours on a bus, then actually walked 2 miles to reach out undercover house.
From Jana, Salt Lake City, Utah: Are watching this report and they keep saying 50 out of the 51 men were arrested and charged with a felony? What happened to the one that wasn't charged. Why wasn't he charged?
Chris Hansen: He was charged with a misdemeanor. That was a decision made by the district attorney's office.
From Hollie, Denver, Colo.: One thing that came to mind as you are doing the story on the predators, what about the potential victims. Is there any information or have you done any research on the children that are responding to these predator, what are their circumstance, thier issues? Is this something that should be focused on as well from a societal perspective, looking to discover what can help them, the victims?
Chris Hansen: Yes we are planning to focus on exactly this issue in future stories. I can tell you this: in most cases the decoy says he or she lives in a single parent home and is home alone frequently without supervision. This seems to empower potential predators.
From Loretta, Pittsburg, Pa.: Thank you for what you are doing. I found your words encouraging. It's great that there are good people like you who will help get this sick men exposed. I was a child who was sexually abused so on beha'f of all children who you help spare the life long hell of having been abused, thank you so very much.
Chris Hansen: It is the very least we can do.
From Jennifer, Boise, Idaho: You mention in this segment that the men that you caught are being charged with felonies, what kind of jail time are they looking at? Or are they even looking at jail time? Way to go, by the way.
Chris Hansen: Realistically, if convicted in California of attempting to molest a child... they could face four years in prison. Some men are charged with sending a child pornography. That could add more time to their sentence.
From Nancy, Davenport, Iowa: How is that you are allowed to show the faces of the predators without their permission? I thought releases had to be signed. By the way, what you are doing is wonderful.
Chris Hansen: It would be more customary to obtain release, but Dateline is a news program not an entertainment program. It really depends on the circumstances. In some sensitive situations involving minors, for example, we have the parents sign release forms.
From Jake from Nevada: This program completely destroys the lives of the predators. Deservedly? Maybe so. But I hope the producers are taking a really close look at each case individually, analysing every chat transcript to make sure the people are not being unfairly entrapped. I'd like to know in every case who made the first contact. This may be doing the public a service... but can't help but think: What's next? Setting traps to catch married people having affairs?
Chris Hansen: I think Internet predators trying to have sex with minors, and married people having affairs— are two very different things. In every case, the men made the first contact. Senior Broadcast producer Lisa Green blogged yesterday about , if you'd like to learn more.
From Ricky, of Indianapolis, Ind.: When does this re-air? I missed the first half.
Chris Hansen: You can catch a repeat of 'To Catch a Predator' on our sister cable network, MSNBC tomorrow, February 4, at 7 p.m. ET; and Feb. 5, Sunday, 12 a.m., 8 p.m. and 11 p.m. ET. Dateline will be doing follow-ups, so stay tuned.
And so many "thank-you"s. We appreciate the feedback. Here are a few:
Nary, Corona, Calif.
I think this show is great in exposing these predators. The show tonight was shot in my area, about a mile away. I don't have any kids, but it's really scary to think that this is happening in my area. These men are sick and shows like this is great, but I wish that there are more we can do to keep them behind bars.
Diana Botsis, Vancouver, BC, Canada
This is a great thing your doing. I hope you plan to continue... think of all the children your helping.
MLH, Birmingham, Ala.
I applaud you and the Perverted-Justice crew for getting potential child molesters profiled on television so everyone can see who is living amongst us. I believe that child molesters cannot be rehabilitated and should be locked up for life without parole because when they took a child's innocence that child was sentenced to a lifetime of hurt and pain without parole. Keep up the great job. You are taking a stand that every American who is sick of our children being violated should take.
Stephanie, Las Vegas, Nev.
I am sick to my stomach watching these men target our youth. Please continue your efforts keep these predators face to face with the public and the law. A special thanks to Perverted- Justice. You are all angels!
Jonathan Thompson, Portland, Ore.
I want to thank you for this series. I caught this the first night with my wife when it originally aired. We have been married for a little over a year and hope that we can buy it some day to show our kids the danger.
Vicki and Harvey, St. Helens, Ore.
We really appreciate the work you and Perverted-Justice do in regard to Internet Predators! We think you should turn it into a regular series, and make a regular practice of catching those perverts. Thank you, and keep up the good work.
Chris Hansen: I am very appreciative of the overwhelming response we have received tonight. As a parent and a journalist, I promise we will stay focused on this critical issue. Trust me, this has been as eye-opening to me as it has been to you.
It's late here on the east coast. My kids are asleep, but I am thinking about how I can apply the advice we gave tonight to my kids. It really is a matter of telling them about the dangers of online strangers and being open about hearing their concerns, encouraging them to tell you if they are approached in an inappropriate way online. It's not perfect. It's not infallable, but it's a good start. It's been exactly one month since we started shooting this latest investigation. It has been exhausting for the entire team. We will continue to follow up on this and give you the very latest information and advice as we get it. Thanks for watching and please do not be shy about sharing you concerns.
This is the end of our live blog. Thank you for watching, reading, and participating. Feel free to explore the Web site for additional footage and interviews.
For more viewer responses to the show, click and .
• January 30, 2006 |
Below is an excerpt of Chris Hansen's journal while taping 'To Catch a Predator' III in Southern California.
January 5, 2006: Arriving in Southern California (Chris Hansen, Dateline Correspondent)
It’s less than a month since the update on our last Computer Predator investigation aired, and here we are in another upper middle class home, in another state… starting yet another investigation. I’ve just landed in Southern California and driven to the home where we’ll be working for the next three days. In less than 24 hours, a parade of men will be arriving here to meet a 12 or 13-year old-boy or girl after having a sexually charged conversation online. The scene is chaotic.
Mitch Wagenberg and his team are still hooking up the more than a dozen hidden cameras we’ll need for the shoot. There are enough cables and wires running through the house to power a 737 jetliner.
A virtual TV control room is taking shape in the master bedroom.
Volunteers from the computer watchdog group Perverted Justice are in another bedroom posing as kids online. The PJ folks like the room to be dark. The computer screens glow and the keys click rapid-fire. They are chatting with dozens of men who are already eager to pay us a visit.
This time there’s been a new element added: The Riverside County, California Sheriff’s Department has agreed to work with Perverted-Justice and arrest potential predators as they leave the house. Lt. Chad Bianco and his team are setting up their operation in a motor home next door.
(Chris' note: At first, I was a little concerned that police activity outside our house might scare away some of the men. As you’ll see when you watch the story Friday— that was not the case. | added Jan. 30)
After our last investigation aired, a lot of you asked me about the possible criminal charges the men could face. As I write this, at least four men are being prosecuted by Fairfax County, Virginia authorities or the U.S. military. I also heard a lot of folks criticize the police for not acting quicker after our last investigation. Truth is, they weren’t aware of what we were doing until after we did it.
It’s a different story this time because after the potential predators leave our house, even if they try to make a run for it, they will be handcuffed and taken away to another location to be booked.
January 6, 2006: First taping day
8 a.m. PST
It’s a lot going on, but producer Lynn Keller, associate producer Donna Johnson, Perverted- Justice, the investigators, and I are all in place… and not a moment too soon.
You might think that having done these kinds of stories in the past, I would be less anxious as that first guy walks into the house. Not so. Even the third time around, I am about as wired up as the house we’re working in.
2 p.m. PST
It’s early afternoon on an unseasonably warm Friday in January and here he comes… our first visitor. We see him drive up in his shiny Mercedes convertible. He’s 34-year-old Chris Moore, an actor who does stand in and background work on TV shows and films. Online, he goes by the screen name “Cbeachdude” and he’s here to meet a 13 year-old-boy after a sexually explicit online chat— a chat that included details of what the 34-year-old wanted to do with the boy in the shower.
“Cbeachdude” walks in and our decoy tells him to hang out in the kitchen. That’s when I walk in. Startled, the actor doesn’t put on much of a show. He admits that what he’s doing in wrong and says he’s ashamed. Then he tells me what shows and movies he claims to have appeared in, which include “Jag,” “Pearl Harbor” and “Godzilla.”
When I tell him he just earned a role on “Dateline,” he leaves. He doesn’t get far. He’s arrested by the detectives waiting on the street outside our house.
Jan. 8, 2006: A late night after taping, but early reflections
“Cbeachdude” was the first of 50 men who came to our house after hooking up online. There was a federal agent with the Department of Homeland Security, a lawyer, a teacher, and business. The men represent all races and all walks of life.
Some, like the teacher, just wanted to be arrested to get it over with. He was a 43-year-old who went here to meet a girl he thought was 12 years old. In the chat rooms he’s known as “kinky_man_in_corona” but Mondays through Fridays, he’s a high school teacher named Walter Edward Babst. His school is about 20 minutes from our house. In his chat with a decoy, Babst detailed what he wanted the girl to wear and how he’ll take her virginity. He wasn’t so bold when I confronted him, saying almost immediately that he wanted to be arrested, that he is a “sick son of a bitch” who deserves to be “executed.”
Amazingly, some of the men didn’t think they were doing anything out of the ordinary. Take the case of 65-year-old Charles Carlton Harding or “Hardchuck1” (as he is known on the Internet). Harding came over to meet a boy he thought was 13 years old after a graphic online conversation in which he detailed all the sex acts the two could share. Harding even told the decoy that if anyone asks about the two being seen together, the boy could say Harding was his grandfather.
When I confronted him, “Hardchuck1” says he probably would have gone ahead and had sex with the boy— had a 13-year-old been in the house instead of “Dateline.” He even told me he had a book at home that detailed just those sorts of relationships.
(Chris' note: It turns out that the “book” was not all he had at home. After he was arrested, the Riverside County Sheriff’s Department raided Harding’s address and says it found some 500 images of child pornography. | added Jan. 30 )
There was something else we found in this investigation that we hadn’t seen before: several repeat offenders and registered sex offenders.
As you’ll see on when this show airs (Friday, Feb.3, 9 p.m. ET), many of these men have dark pasts, leaving behind a list of some very real victims. And if you're wondering just how far these guys will go to meet a child, consider this: one the potential predators showed up earlier than expected and saw sheriff’s detectives arresting another man in front of our house. He calls our decoy to see what’s up. She quickly makes up a story about a drug bust next door. He comes back.
We later learned that he had actually been caught by Perverted-Justice in the past. Unbelievable. And he also actually admitted that he saw Dateline’s last show on computer predators. All this, and he still walked in to our house trying to meet a young girl!
His defense? He said he was going to teach the girl a lesson about the dangers of meeting men online.
The question is... will he learn a lesson now that he is facing criminal charges?
Dateline airs this Friday, 9 p.m. Chris will be live blogging alongside the airing of the show.