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The clarity in the 'predator' report

NBC colleague Dan Abrams about watching these men get caught red-handed, and how they're now going to be held accountable.

May 3, 2006 |

There aren't always two equal sides to a story (Dan Abrams, host, MSNBC's 'The Abrams Report')

I admire Chris Hansen. Not only because of all the important work the Dateline team has been doing to expose child sex predators, but also because Chris has the poise and courage to confront each of these shady characters when they arrive at the house. Then, in that calm, yet firm Hansen voice, he somehow coaxes them to stay and answer incriminating questions. Who knew that “Wanna have a seat” or “Why don’t you sit down” could be so persuasive?  I keep fearing one of the men will try to slug him. But then again, Chris is a pretty big guy. 

As Chris addresses in his blog, it is astounding that so many men show up at a strange house in hopes of engaging in sex with a minor they’ve met over the Internet— particularly those who are supposed to be pillars of the community, like the teacher, rabbi, soldier, or firefighter.

But what I really appreciate about these reports is the accountability. On the “Abrams Report” we have debates about a range of topics. It often feels like there is another side to every story. But there aren’t always two equal sides. There is something refreshing about seeing a prospective child molester being caught red-handed. No arguments here about whether the accused was lied to, about the minor’s age, or whether the minor is lying.  In these reports, Chris has all of the facts and documentation right there. And the excuses are all so similar.  “I’ve never done anything like this before” or "I just came to teach the kid a lesson.” Yeah, that is tough love alright.  It is one thing to hear about a man soliciting a minor over the Internet, it is another thing entirely to actually witness it. It makes this all too important issue hit home that much more.

And finally, for me, the most recent installment of the series is the most important, because this time, law enforcement is in the picture. In previous installments, jurisdictional snags and other legal technicalities often prevented authorities from prosecuting these guys. This time, in this third installment in southern California, Perverted-Justice has involved the police from the beginning, ensuring that these men face the police once they walk out of the home. In the video, you see the police approach them after they walk outside. I am consistently amazed at what some of these online predators are able to get away with before they are finally nabbed by police.  Some are back out doing it again the next day. This time, the bad guys aren’t only humiliated, but are arrested as well.   

'The Abrams Report' will follow up Chris and Dateline’s work with segments on what happened to some of these men once they were arrested. 'The Abrams Report' airs on MSNBC weeknights, 6 p.m. ET.