We’ve always been aware that the men coming into our undercover houses could be dangerous, but as we set up our “To Catch A Predator” operation in Long Beach, California, thevery first man who arrives has us especially worried.
29 year-old Michael Warrecker, an unemployed computer technician uses the frightening screen name “can_i_rape_you_anally.”
He thinks he’s coming to meet a girl who said she was 13.
What Warrecker apparently doesn’t know, is he’s really been chatting with an adult decoy from Perverted-Justice. That’s an online watchdog group Dateline uses as a consultant to do what it normally does, go into chat rooms, mostly at Yahoo and AOL, set up computer profiles, and—in this case —pretend to be children—under the age of 14 who are interested in sex.
In his online chat, Warrecker tells the decoy,
“Maybe we should hook up...” and says he would like to have anal sex with her.
The decoy says: “Ouch. I think that would hurt a lot.”
Warrecker responds, “Ya, but its a good pain you know.”
Now, Warrecker is at the door, being met by a youngish looking 18-year-old decoy, playing the girl who’s supposed to be home alone.
And it’s time for me to have a chat with him— though my arrival doesn’t seem to faze him one bit.
Hidden camera footageChris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walks out): We have a lot to talk about. Why don’t you have a seat.Warrecker: This is punch, right?Hansen: Yeah. What are you doing here?Warrecker: Hangin’ out.Hansen: Hanging out?Warrecker: Yes. And I knew that this was a set up because this was too convenient for this.Hansen: What was too convenient? Warrecker: A chat room and just ah talkin’ about everything that—she did. Hansen: And how old was this so called person you were talking to?Warrecker: She said she was 13. But—Hansen: She said she was 13. And how old are you?Warrecker: I’m 29.Hansen: 29. And you thought it was okay to come over here and meet a 13-year-old girl at the age of 29.Warrecker: And hang out, yeah. Hansen: That’s all you were gonna do was hang out.Warrecker: That’s what I told her, yes.
But remember, we have his chat log, where he writes to someone who says she’s a 13-year-old female:
(Chat log) Warrecker: “I like rape”She responds: “creepy.”
Warrecker explains that he doesn’t really want to rape her.
“...just rough sex.. I’d want you to resist and pretend you didn’t want it and stuff.”Hansen (talking to Warrecker): What kind of a guy has a screen name “Can I Rape You Anally”? Warrecker: Um, it gets responses.Hansen: Do you think rape is funny? Warrecker: No. Hansen: Then why would you do this?Warrecker: It’s just something that I like to put myself into that role and talk about, you know?Warrecker also asks online if he could tie the girl down while they are having sex.
And it gets scarier, when he goes on to add: “I might want to cut you a little… suck on your blood. Lol.”
Warrecker: A trait that I look for is, they enjoy a little bit of pain here and there you know. Hansen: You have girlfriends who enjoy a little bit of pain? Warrecker: Yeah. So?Hansen: Well, how many times have you had a conversation like this and actually met somebody to fulfill this rape fantasy?Warrecker: Never.
Warrecker: No. I just thought it’d be cool, you know, to hang out because I— ansen: I thought it would be cool to come over here after having a chat that went somewhat like this: “So, if I wanted to bend you over and just shove it in your ass and it hurt pretty bad, you wouldn’t do anything, would you?” (reading chat) “Yeah, I would scream and try to hit you.” Well, you act like this is some big joke here.Warrecker: Well, sir—I—and I know—Hansen: I mean, these are your words, not mine. I’m not making this up. Right? This is the stuff you said.Warrecker: Yeah, that’s correct.Hansen: To somebody who said she was a 13-year-old girl.Warrecker: Yes.Hansen: What do you do for a living?Warrecker: Actually, right now, I’m unemployed.Hansen: Unemployed.Warrecker: I got a small inheritance a year ago and sort of took a break. But I’m almost outta money now. Hansen: Time to get back to work.Warrecker: -- yeah, it’s back to work.
Warrecker tells me he’s brought along a scary movie to watch with the girl, a video camera, and lubricant.
Hansen: Is this any way for a 29-year-old man to behave?Warrecker: No.Hansen: You ever watch Dateline NBC?Warrecker: Sometimes.Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC, and we’re doing a story on adults who try to pickup young boys and girls online for sex. If there’s anything else you wanna tell us about why you’re here and what you’ve been doing, we’d like to hear it. If not, you’re clearly free to walk out the door you came in.
And just outside, the Long Beach police are getting into position.
Police to Warrecker: All right, hands up in the air. Hands up in the air. Turn around. Put your hands up in the air. Go down to your knees.
He is charged with an attempted lewd act upon a child. Under California law, attempting to have sex with someone under the age of 14 is a felony punishable by up to four years in prison. Warrecker pleaded no contest.
He’s the first in a long line of men who will be arrested by the Long Beach police department over the next three days.
This is the third time we’ve set up an undercover house in California. For the Long Beach Police, it’s a big operation. Sergeant Lee DeBrabander is in charge.
Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: Just planning this, alone, was a huge event. We had surveillance all over the place in undercover vehicles. We had the arrest team in place. We had in excess of 25 officers on this at any given time.
And it’s challenging for us as well, as more potential predators become aware of our investigations. Look at a posting on the “Craigslist” Web site, presumably warning Internet predators that Dateline is in Long Beach.
On our first day, some show up, but never come in the door. One man doesn’t like what he sees, and pulls a U-turn even as the decoy waves him in.
Decoy: Do you want to sit down and get a drink? I’m just going to get something quickly, I’ll be right back. Luciano Dimas: Yeah.Decoy: Did you bring everything with you? Dimas: Yeah.Decoy: Awesome. Alright, I’ll be right back.
This man might have gotten a look at our camera crew behind the curtain.
Decoy: Do me a favor though, really, really quick, can you pour me a drink and I’ll be right back?Dimas: No. (running out)Decoy: Like two seconds, I promise, wait, wait, wait, stop. Come on, don’t you want to hang out in the hot tub? Dimas: No .
Or, it could be that they’ve seen our investigations and become suspicious. But in the case of one man, we think we know exactly why he doesn’t come in the house.
41-year-old Matthew Bland, screenname, “blandmathw,” chatted online with someone who says he’s 13 years old.
Bland asks a boy, really an adult decoy, if he has ever had sex before, and explains the other sexual acts he says he will perform on the teen. He also sends along a picture of his genitals.
But when Bland approaches our house, hoping to meet a boy—we mistakenly send our female decoy to meet him.
Decoy: Hi how are you?Bland: Hi, is Timothy here?Decoy: Timothy?Bland: Yeah.Decoy: Umm, I don’t think so.Bland: Oh, maybe I got the wrong address. This is 5278 correct? Decoy: Yes.Bland: Huh. my apologies, I must have gotten the wrong address. Thank you.
He has the right address, but remember according to his chat, he was expecting a young boy. Bland tries to leave, but the Long Beach police have another plan. Even though Bland didn’t enter the house, his explicit online chat, and his showing up at the house are enough for him to be charged with one count of an attempted lewd act upon a child.
He later pleaded no contest.
At our undercover house, other men keep arriving. Matthew Nash, a 36-year-old musician’s screen name is “sugardavis.” He drove about an hour to get to the house.
Female decoy: How you doing?Matty Nash: Not bad.Decoy: Good.susiethatsme14: hehehesusiethatsme14: ok we gonna get in hot tub nekid then wat we dosugardavis: kiss, touch, talk dirty, massage, smoke weedsugardavis: after we tub, l want to lay out a sheet on the floor, and put oil over all of our bodies
Nash was told he was chatting online with a thirteen year old girl. He talks about getting naked in a hot tub with her, smoking marijuana and putting oil all over each other’s bodies. That’s apparently why he’s decided to come inside.
Decoy: C’mon in. Are you excited?Nash: Yeah. I’m excited. Yeah, It was definitely a long drive—you know, coming down here and stuff.Decoy: Did you bring any weed?Nash: Mm-mm (negative).Decoy: No?Nash: No.Decoy: Why?Chris Hansen (walks out): You didn’t bring your drums or—Nash: No.Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat right over there?Nash: Noooo!Hansen: I need to talk to you for a minute, sir.Nash: Mm-mm (negative).
Outside, the Long Beach police are waiting. At the processing center, investigators find condoms, baby oil, and a vibrator in that bag Nash was carrying.
And he tells the police he’s married.
Officer: How long have you been married?Nash: 13 years.Officer: Ever been caught doing this before?Nash: No.Officer: Is she aware of this type of behavior?Nash: Yes. I have, we’ve seen a counselor together for sexual stuff that I have done, meeting people from the internet and...
He also tells the police he and his wife have been to counseling because he’s met others online for sex.
Sgt. DeBrabander says the consequences of arrests like this one impact suspects’ families.
Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: Those are the people I really feel sorry for. They had no idea. It was totally out of their control. And now because of the actions of this one person—they’re affecting all these other people who they’re supposed to love and care for.
Nash pleaded not guilty to one count of an attempted lewd act on a child.
In the meantime, it’s getting busy at the house. And the men who show up are a little more willing to stay a while— like 24-year-old Selvin Galeano, driving up in his customized Nissan Altima.
Female decoy: Hey! Come on in. Sorry. I still have to do my hair. Selvin Galeano: I don’t have service. I don’t know if you tried calling me.Decoy: Sorry about that. It’s just been crazy trying to get my hair and everything. Just have a seat. Can you get me a drink?
Galeano works installing custom stereo systems.
samantha_gurl01: yeanismo05007: r u still a virginsamantha_gurl01: nonismo05007: when was the last time u got laidsamantha_gurl01: like 4 months agonismo05007: i c nismo05007: did u like itsamantha_gurl01: totalynismo05007: nicesamantha_gurl01: do u like itnismo05007: u like oralnismo05007: i love it
He chatted online (using the screen name “nismo05007”) with a girl who said she was 13. He asks if she’s a virgin, if she’s tried oral sex. And he says he’ll lick her all over her body.
Decoy: Alright I’ll be right back okay? Galeano: Alright Hansen (walks out): That’s quite a car you’ve got out there.Galeano: Thanks.Hansen: Why don’t you have a seat.Galeano: What is this for?Hansen: You have a seat. What have you got going on today?Galeano: Nothing. Just hanging out.Hansen: Hanging out? And you were gonna come here to hang out today? Galeano: Well yeah. I got to go to my friend’s house after. So she just told me she lived down here too.Hansen: Who is she?Galeano: Oh I met her a couple days ago.Hansen: Yeah. And where did you meet her?Galeano: Online.Hansen: Online?Galeano: Yeah.Hansen: And how old is she?Galeano: She told me she was 16, 17.Hansen: She told you—that she was 16 or 17?Galeano: Uh-huh (affirms).Hansen: And you know that’s not true.Galeano: How old is she?Hansen: She told you.Galeano: First she told me 13, and I was like—are you sure you want to talk? She’s like, yeah, sure.Hansen: So that 16, 17 thing was a lie you just told? Galeano: Well at first I thought, no, I think you’re 16 or 17. You look 16, 17. Send me a picture.Hansen: You know, I read the chat log.Galeano: Oh, you did?Hansen: Yeah.Galeano: Okay.Hansen: So I’m you might as well go ahead and start telling the truth now.Galeano: Okay. Yeah. She told me she was—Hansen: Thirteen?Galeano: Right.
Then we hear the same story we’ve heard many times before.
Galeano: ‘cause I never chatted with anybody like that.Hansen: So this is the first time? Galeano: First time.Hansen: Did you bring condoms?Galeano: I don’t carry ‘em—well—they’re in my car.Hansen: You have condoms in your car?Galeano: Yeah.Hansen: What does that say about your intent here?Galeano: No, well, if I was gonna bring condoms here, I would have just brought them.Hansen: Right. Or you could see how things go, and go out to the car and get them.Galeano: Yeah. But—Hansen: In case somebody caught you here. And you had them in your pocket.Galeano: Right.Hansen: Well, what do you think should happen to you?Galeano: I know I really regret this.Hansen: You regret it?Galeano: Right.Hansen: You ever watch television?Galeano: Most of the time I’m working.Hansen: Well there’s something you gotta know. And that is, I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. And we’re doing a story on adults who try to meet—Galeano: Oh!Hansen: -- kids on the Internet for sex.
He leaves us with an apology.
Galeano: It’s not right to just go in and talk to any young girl or person.
Just like the other men, Galeano will be charged with one count of an attempted lewd act upon a child. He later pleaded not guilty.
Dateline’s security team asks Galeano to go out the back door. That’s because right out front, is the next man you’re going to meet.
It’s busy at our undercover house in Long Beach, California. We asked our previous suspect to go out the back way, so he wouldn’t scare off our next visitor.
Female decoy: Hi! How are you doing? Come on in. (laughs) What do you do?
Paul Clemente is a 22-year-old college student from San Diego. Clemente spoke online with someone he thought was a 13-year-old girl.
red_poet13: yapol_clemente: dnt tell me ur already doing the.....u know?
At first, Clemente says she’s too young, but soon asks her if she’s had sex, and what positions she’s used.
Finally, he gets down to business…
Pol_clemente pol_clemente: r u good doing it on a hot tub?red_poet13: doing wut?pol_clemente: the sexpol_clemente: was it inside the house?red_poet13: o yapol_clemente: hmmmmmpol_clemente: ur making me hornyred_poet13: really?
Clemente asks if she’s had sex in a hot tub. When the decoy answers yes, he writes back:
“You’re making me horny.”
For good measure, he sends along this picture of his penis. Then he tells her something that really surprises us...
pol_clelmente: “ur gonna be my first.”
That’s right, he may think she’s 13, but he’s the one who says he’s a virgin. Now, the he’s in the house.
Female decoy: Alright, can you pour me a drink really fast ‘cause—thanks. Paul Clemente: Oh sure. Decoy: Thanks. I’m just gonna go get my hair ready. I’ll be right back.Clemente: Take your time.Decoy: I’m excited by the way.Clemente: Me too.Chris Hansen (walks out): So you’re excited too. How ya doin’?Clemente: I’m sorry. Hansen: What’s wrong.Clemente: I’m sorry. Hansen: Please have a seat. Clemente: I’m sorry. I’m sorry.Hansen: What were you doing here?Clemente: She said so excited to see me.Hansen: She said she was excited to see you.Clemente: Yeah.
As we’re having our conversation inside, outside the Long Beach police decide this is a good time to sneak into the backyard and arrest our earlier visitor.
Clemente: I didn’t say anything bad, sir.Hansen: You didn’t say anything bad.
If he says he didn’t say anything bad. But what about what he showed her? Like the picture of his genitals?
Hansen: I wanna show you something.Clemente: Sir, please.Hansen: --you sent her that photograph.Clemente: Sir, please.Hansen: Is that? Did you send that to her?Clemente: Yes, sir.Hansen: To somebody who said she was a 13-year-old girl.Clemente: My God.Hansen: Why did you think that—Clemente: Sir, please.Hansen: --that was an okay thing to do?Clemente: Sir, she said it’s okay.Hansen: She said it’s okay. So because a 13-year-old girl says it okay, you do it. Clemente: Sir, please. I’m not really bad person. Sir, please.
As for that claim that he didn’t say anything bad online? What about telling her he will perform oral sex on her? Or asking her if she’s ever had anal sex?
Hansen: Have you ever had conversations like this with teenage girls on the Internet before? Clemente: No, this is my first time.Hansen: Your first time.Clemente: Yes, please.Hansen: You know, I hear that a lot. Can you imagine why I’m a little skeptical on that?Clemente: Sir, please.Hansen: Well, virtually everybody who walks in this house says the same thing.Clemente: I’m sorry.Hansen: And I’m guessing that not everybody’s telling the truth.Clemente: Sir—sir, I’m sorry, sir.
And, as we suspected when Clemente first covered his face, he knows there are cameras in the house.
Hansen: Do you ever watch television?Clemente: Yes, I know, sir.Hansen: You know what?Clemente: The show, Sir.Hansen: The show. Have you seen the show on television?Clemente: Yes, a couple of times.Hansen: A couple of times. And you know what the show is called?Clemente: Dateline.Hansen: Dateline. Dateline what? "To catch a predator."Clemente: Sir, I’m not a real predator, sir. But I’m just—Hansen: You’re not a real predator.Clemente: No, sir. I’m just—Hansen: Just a pretend predator.Clemente: No, I’m just curious.Hansen: A curious predator.Clemente: I’m not really a predator, sir.Hansen: So you saw those other shows we did.Clemente: Yes, sir.Hansen: Then you probably know that I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC and you know the story we’re doing.Clemente: Yes, sir.Hansen: So, if there’s anything else you’d like to tell us, we’d like to hear it. If not, you can walk out the door you came in.Clemente: Yeah, please. I’m just... I’m sorry.
And since he knows about our investigations, he probably knows what to expect when he steps outside. Clemente is arrested and charged with an attempted lewd act upon a child. He later pleaded not guilty.
Both he, and our earlier suspect who was in the backyard, are led away to be processed.
Back at the undercover house, a copy machine technician and father of three is coming to the door. He thinks he’s going to meet a 13-year-old for sex and lunch.
Female Decoy: Hi. Have a seat. Will you pour me a drink please? Awesome.Robert Salinas: Oh, yeah, sure.Decoy: Awesome. I’m just gonna go get my bikini on for the hot tub here, all right?
Meet 44-year-old Robert Salinas, screen name “bob10282001”. The decoy online told him she was 13 years. In his chat, Salinas seems to know what he is planning to do is wrong.
(chat log) bob10282001: I could get in trouble 4 making love to a minor
So it’s all the more disturbing when he asks if he can perform oral sex on her, and inquires,
bob10282001: do u masturbate?
He tells the decoy he will come by before he picks up his child at karate, and that he’ll bring sandwiches… and dessert.
bob10282001: Maybe bring ice cream i but on u and eat off your body.
Sure enough, here arrives, and he’s apparently a man of his word.
Decoy: Did you bring the sandwiches?Salinas: Sure.Decoy: Awesome. I’ll be right back.Salinas: Okay. Hansen (steps out): Did you get something to drink right there? Oh please have a seat.Salinas: Yeah.Hansen: What kind of sandwiches did you bring?Salinas: Chicken.Hansen: Chicken. And so you were just gonna come over and have a little picnic today. Was that the plan?Salinas: Yeah and then go back to work.Hansen: Then go back to work. Where do you work?Salinas: I work at a copy service. We service copy machines.Hansen: Copy machines. And how long have you worked there?Salinas: 20 years.Hansen: 20 years. And so you left the office today to come over here to—Salinas: I was out doing a service call. I was—Hansen: Oh, so you had some spare time while you’re out doing a service call.Salinas: Yeah.Hansen: And you thought you’d drop by and see your 13-year-old girlfriend you met online?Salinas: Yeah, well.Hansen: Yeah. For a sandwich.Salinas: Yes. I knew it was wrong, you know.Hansen: You knew it was wrong.Salinas: Yeah, yeah. And I almost didn’t come.
Salinas says he drove by twice before coming in, and admits he’s chatted online before with people who said they are underage.
Hansen: Do you have children?Salinas: Yes I do.Hansen: And how old are your kids?Salinas: I have a 16 boy, and 11 girl, and 12, boy.Hansen: Okay, so 11, 12, and 16.Salinas: Yes.Hansen: And this girl said she was 13.Salinas: Thirteen.Hansen: Right. And so if one of your kids was home alone, and you’re out working… and a guy came over to visit with your kids, would you be comfortable with that?Salinas: No, no, that...Hansen: So why is it okay for you to do it? Salinas: It’s not okay. No, you know, it’s not okay. You know, I deserve what you do to me. But, you know, I beg for your forgiveness or give me a chance or something.Hansen: Well, what do you think should happen to you? Salinas: I think you should look after me. And I won’t do it, you know, watch me very closely. I won’t do it. I could report to you guys or, you know, maybe I need this as a wake-up call to myself and—Hansen: A wake-up call. Let me tell you what’s going on here.Salinas: Tell me.Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC. We’re doing a story on adults who try to meet children online for sex. If there’s anything else you’d like to tell us about your situation, we’d like to hear it. If not, you are obviously—Salinas: No, not right now.Hansen: --able to walk out the front door you came in.
Salinas takes his lunch to go, and is greeted rather cordially by the Long Beach police. Salinas is charged with an attempted lewd act upon a child. Later, he pleaded not guilty.
Female decoy: C’mon in. How was the drive?James Cisneros: Good.
We hired an 18-year-old actress as a decoy, pretending to be a 12-year-old alone in our undercover house.
The man coming to visit her is 29-year-old James Cisneros. His screen name is too graphic to say on television. Almost right off the bat, Cisneros asks an apparent 12-year-old online.
i_is_a_ninja: lol, who doesn'twhittierlacumandbig: me toowhittierlacumandbig: you want to hang out tonight if you're not busy
She tells Cisneros that he can’t come over now, because her mother is home.
Whittierlacumandbig: oh can you sneak off late tonight? And we can get a hotel and i'll drop you and sneak back in i_is_a_ninja: what forwhittierlacumandbig: sex
You heard that right. He wants to take someone he thinks is a 12-year-old to a hotel for sex.
whittierlacumandbig: you walk to school?i_is_a_ninja: no i get a ride whywhittierlacumandbig: just wondering you get a ride back too?i_is_a_ninja: yah whywhittierlacumandbig: just wondering if you ever needed a ride. yeah it will be fun when we have sex.
But the decoy won’t budge, so Cisneros gives in and shows up at the house.
Female decoy: So, I made a drink. I don’t know if you wanna try it or not—it’s Kool-Aid.James Cisneros: It’s just regular Kool-Aid?Decoy: Yeah. (Laughs)
.... And he comes prepared.
Decoy: So, what are you doin? Did you bring condoms?Cisneros: Yeah. Got some right here.Decoy: Sweet.Cisneros: Where do you wanna—is there a place—where you wanna—anywhere?Decoy: Doesn’t matter.Hansen (walks out): Why don’t you take a taste of the drink there.Cisneros: Why?Hansen: Just have a seat.Cisneros: Why?Hansen: Have a seat.Cisneros: No.Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen.Cisneros: Yeah.Hansen: And I wanna ask you some questions. Please have a seat.Cisneros: No.Hansen: What are you doing up here?Cisneros: Chillin'.Hansen: And who were you here to meet?Cisneros: Her-- Hansen: And how old is she?Cisneros: I don’t know—she never told me.Hansen: She never told you.Cisneros: She never told me.
But as I refresh his memory with his own online chat, Cisneros decides our interview is over.
Hansen: Let me point something out to you.Cisneros: Well, I—I gotta—Hansen: I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC, and we’re doing a story on adults who meet kids on the Internet.
Police: Get on the ground. Get on the ground. Cisneros: I didn’t do anything.
The Long Beach police take Cisneros to their processing center.
Cisneros (to police) It’s just sex, that’s it. It wasn’t, you don’t think about the age. You just think about doing it.Sgt. Lee DeBrander of Long Beach police: He knows what he did was wrong, but he has this overriding problem in his mind. And he needed to fulfill that need.
Later Cisneros pleaded not guilty to an attempted lewd act upon a child.
As in our previous investigations, some of the men who arrive aren’t coming to meet girls. We’ve prepared for that...
Male decoy: Hey, c’mon in.Rob Culbertson: How you doin’ today?
Our decoy is a 21-year-old actor pretending to be a 13-year-old boy.
Decoy: What’s going on?Culbertson: Not much. What’s going on with you?Decoy: Nothing much. Listen, I made us some drinks. So, why don’t you pour me some.
Meet 49-year-old Rob Culbertson, a computer web designer with the screen name “Webdev2”.
He’s been chatting online with someone who says he’s 13.
Culbertson lies about his age, and says he’s 40. And just the man we previous showed you, Culbertson tries to get the boy out of his house.
tommy_gold_1993: maybe if ur cool webdev2: i am laid back no pressure
But when the decoy instead suggests Culbertson come over to the undercover house, the man makes it clear what’s on his mind.
WebDev2: lets meeet tommy_gold_1993: and? WebDev2: mess around tommy_gold_1993: lol. wuts that mean WebDev2: have sex
Whatever he has in mind, we’re about to find out. He lives close by and, and rode his bike to our undercover house.
Culbertson: So, what’s you up to?Decoy: Oh, nothing I was thinking of actually getting in the hot tub. Do you think you wanna join me?Culbertson: That sounds cool.Decoy: Well—I’m a little nervous, so—do you wanna go first—take your—clothes off?Culbertson: I’m kind of nervous myself too.
Culbertson seems to have second thoughts.
Culbertson: Actually I think I should be probably going. Decoy: Why? Culbertson: Because I’m rather uncomfortable with this.Decoy: Why not?Culbertson: Because your age. Hansen (walks out): How was the walk over? Culbertson: The walk was all right.Hansen: Good. Have a seat.Culbertson: Okay.Hansen: What’s—Culbertson: I—Hansen: --your—plan tonight?Culbertson: Just out cruising around.Hansen: How old are you? Culbertson: 35, 40. Hansen: 35-40? You don’t know the exact date?Culbertson: No, I’m—I’m 40.
We already know that’s a lie. His 50th birthday is in two weeks.
Hansen: And how old is the—boy you wanted to meet tonight?Culbertson: 18. Hansen: How old did he say he was on the chat?Culbertson: 18.Hansen: Eighteen.Culbertson: Yes. Hansen: Now I can give you the chat, and I want you to tell me where it says that he’s 18. Culbertson: I just went by what his profile said.Hansen: Profile said he was 13.Culbertson: Yeah. No, his profile says he’s 18.Hansen: No. He tells you right here that he’s 13. Culbertson: I apologize for all this. Hansen: “Okay, I’m 13.” “Damn, you’re cute.” He says, “But let’s go a little slower, dude.”
Like the other man, once I show him a copy of his online chat, Culbertson decides it’s time to go.
Culbertson: I’m gonna be on my way. I’m sorry about all this.Hansen: Well, before you go, there’s one thing you need to know. I’m Chris Hansen with Dateline NBC, and we’re doing a story on adults who meet kids on the Internet for sex.
Culbertson pleaded not guilty to one charge of an attempted lewd act on a child.
Back at the house, our female decoy is about to say hello to 27-year-old Justin Smith, a video post-production editor who does freelance work for nickelodeon, the cable network geared towards kids.
Using the screen name, “residentsmith,” he chats online to a decoy who tells smith she’s a 13-year-old girl.
After the decoy sends a picture, Smith writes:
(chat log) residentsmith: “it’s definitely bad i think you’re this cute. lol.”
The girl asks, how come?
He writes back, “cause i’m 27”
He sends her several naked pictures of himself.
Residentsmith: i honestly never showed myself to anyone as young as you
The next day, Smith seems to express regrets.
Residentsmith: “It can be dangerous.” Decoy: “how come?”Residentsmith: “cuase it’s illeagal” (sic)
Over the course of 10 days, Smith sends her links to 40 pornographic videos--- showing everything from oral sex, to masturbation, to sex among multiple partners. He tells her when he comes over, he wants to perform oral sex on her.
And now, here he is walking into the house.
Female decoy: Hey! Come on in. How are you doing?Justin T. Smith: Good. How are you?Decoy: Awesome!Smith: Good.Decoy: I made us some drinks.Smith: Awesome.Decoy: And we have a hot tub.Smith: Awesome. (laughs)Decoy: I really liked your videos, by the way.Smith: Did you really?Decoy: So how have you been?Smith: I’ve been good. It took me like 20 more minutes to get down here, ‘cause there was so much traffic.Decoy: Are you serious? Where do you live?Smith: North Hollywood.Decoy: Oh, that’s not bad.Hansen: We have a lot to talk about. You and I. Why don’t you have a seat right there, please.Decoy: Okay.Hansen: I need you to keep—no. I need you—Smith: I have to go.Hansen: You’re gonna want to talk to me.Smith: I’m sorry.Hansen: Trust me on this.Hansen: Now you work at Nickelodeon, right?Smith: No.Hansen: You don’t. What’s your name?
Smith leaves, but police greet him as soon as he runs outside.
Smith is taken to the processing center, where a police investigator interviews him.
Smith (to police): I’ll be lucky if I have any sort of resemblence to my job...to my friends... how my family perceives me...to the girlfriend I have..the dog we have together.Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: He knew coming in that what he was doing was wrong. That’s why when he realized when he was caught and the ramifications on his life and everyone around him, that, in my mind, is why he became so emotional.
Smith later pleaded no contest to two counts: an attempted lewd act upon a child and attempting to send harmful matter.
Nickelodeon told us they fired Smith, and that he had no contact with children when he worked there.
With all this technology, a house bristling with hidden cameras, microphones everywhere—and 20 people crammed inside--- some glitches are bound to happen.
It did when one of our visitors arrived in his truck.
24-year old Qays Mahjoob—nicknamed Matt—thought he was coming to see a 13-year-old girl. The decoy invites him inside.
Decoy: Hello? Are you comin’? How was the drive?
Mahjoob suddenly hears a walkie-talkie in the background.
Qays Mahoob: What’s that?Decoy: What’s what?Mahjoob: That sound?Decoy: What sound?
It was the decoy’s walkie-talkie. Instructions to her from inside the house were mistakenly broadcast in the driveway.
Mahjoob gets spooked, but he circles around and comes in anyway.
Decoy: Okay. Why did you go away?Mahjoob: ‘Cause I thought it had something to do with the police.Decoy: (laughs) Yeah, I’m not that retarded.Mahjoob: Oh.
Online, Mahjoob—screen name longbeachdude19-- thought he was chatting with a 13-year-old girl.
He tells her that he will perform oral sex on her.
(chat log) longbeachdude19: “I will show u heaven,” he writes. “I love it. I can do that all day.”
Mahjoob asks if she’s performed oral sex, asks if she’s good at it, and other specifics we can’t tell you about here.
And remember, he’s chatting with someone who said she was 13.
Decoy: What have you been up to?Majhoob: Not much.Decoy: Did it take you that long to come back? Do you wanna have a seat or something?Mahjoob: Gimme a tour. (laughs)Decoy: Gimme a tour? Oh, I see. Well, this is the hot tub.Mahjoob: Cool.Decoy: We could hang out here.Hansen: Hey man, how are you? Matt, I need to talk with you for a minute.Mahjoob: I know what—Hansen: Matt, why don’t you have a seat right over there.
But talking is not what he has in mind.
When he is confronted by police, they ask him put his hands up. He doesn’t respond fast enough, and the result is a taser shot.
Hansen: Why was it necessary to use the taser on this guy?Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: He’s already demonstrated that he’s not going to listen to the orders of the police officers. A lot of these guys, they are confronted with the reality that they are about to be exposed for what they did. And a lot of them may try violence to get away. The taser was used to prevent any injury to him and also to any police officers.
At the processing center, police find condoms in his car.
He’s pleaded not guilty to an attempted lewd act on a child.
Our undercover house in Long Beach is busy. 38 men are arrested over three days.
But eight months earlier, during our previous investigation in Riverside, California—one man, 26-year-old Michael Siebert walked into our house.
Back then, Seibert had a sexually explicit online chat with someone who told him she was thirteen, and he sent a picture of his genitals.
Seibert certainly had some explaining to do then. Seibert told the Riverside police he gets treatment for seizures, and that the scar on his head was caused by a fall when he was an infant.
Later, he pleaded not guilty to a charge of an attempted lewd act on a child and attempting to send harmful matter to a child with intent to seduce. That case is still working its way through the court system.
So, fast forward eight months from our house in Riverside to our Long Beach investigation.
He’s still online, still using the same screen name, and amazingly--- still chatting with someone who tells him she is 13.
Just like his chat eight months before, he asks:
bud44800: I need sex.
He also asks about group sex....
But he’s also suspicious, and asks, “Are you a cop?”
To which she replies, “No, I’m not a cop.”
Then, apparently referring to his meeting with Dateline eight months earlier, he writes:
bud44800: I got caught before.
Incredibly, he tells the decoy he has to delay the Long Beach liaison for a day because he has to go to court--- a court date to face charges arising from our riverside investigation.
But the very next day... there he is!
Michael Seibert: Who’s all here?Female decoy: Just me.Seibert: Oh.Decoy: Promise, my parents are gone. Chris Hansen (walks out): You know, you look familiar to me.Seibert: Oops.
That’s right! oops. he’s done it again!
Hansen: Michael, right? Seibert: Oops, sorry. Hansen: Do you remember who I am?Seibert: Hmm. Can I just go? Hansen: What are you doing here Michael? Seibert: I’m sorry.Hansen: We talked about how it was wrong. You were just in court on Friday, right?Seibert: Uh-huh (affirms).Hansen: And what happened in court on Friday?Seibert: He said more time.Hansen: More time before the next court date.Seibert: Yeah.Seibert: I’m sorry what I did.Hansen: Okay. But you gotta explain to me why or how you thought it was okay after having a court date, stemming from our last visit. And then within 24 hours you show up at this house to meet another young girl. What are you thinking about? Now you know—Seibert: I know.Hansen: You know what you said online, right?Seibert: Yeah.Hansen: How old is this girl?Seibert: Don’t know.Hansen: Thirteen. She told you she was 13.Seibert: Yeah, and I told her to go away. But she keeps I-M-ing me back.Hansen: You ask if she’s got naked pictures of herself. You ask if she performs oral sex. What color her underwear is. Hansen: Michael you know this, right? We had this very same conversation in Riverside, California.Seibert: Yeah.Hansen: Do you remember that?Seibert: Yeah.Hansen: And right then you told me that you knew this was wrong—Seibert: I know it’s wrong.Hansen: And that you would never ever do it again. And that turned out to be a lie, didn’t it, Michael?Seibert: I’ll promise this time. If you rip it up I’ll never come back.
But if he appears to be a sad case, you should know that, according to Perverted-Justice, Seibert has had sexual chats with at least three other decoys who said they were under age girls.
And you should also know that there’s another side to Seibert’s story.
According to court documents from this case in 2002, Siebert pleaded guilty to two counts of “Assault by means likely to produce Great Injury (no weapon involved)." Though in the original charges, he is charged with assault with automobile, bat, and hands and feet against two different people (man and woman). A total of four original counts.
He served a year in jail for a dangerous assault.
Hansen: What was the deadly weapon you used in the assault?Seibert: Bat.Hansen: And who did you go after with the bat? Some guy?Seibert: umm.Hansen: Is there anything else you want to tell me, Michael?Seibert: I know I did wrong.Hansen: You did wrong.Seibert: Can I go?Hansen: Michael, you can go. But I’m gonna remind you that I’m Chris Hansen with “Dateline NBC” and we’re doing another story on adults who try to meet kids on the Internet for sex.Seibert: I know I did wrong.Hansen: You can go. You can go. You can go right now. You can walk right out that door.Seibert: But any cops out there?Hansen: That’s not up to me, Michael.Seibert: Yeah, it is.Hansen: I’m not the police. So why don’t you go ahead. It’s time to go.
Seibert clearly doesn’t want to leave. Having been through this before, he knows the police are waiting outside.
Seibert: F**k. I need a bathroom.Hansen: Michael, you’re gonna have to go outside.Seibert: I know. I hear ‘em. Police: Come out. Walk out. Walk out. Walk out get on your knees—
Like the others, Seibert is charged with an attempted lewd act upon a child. He has pleaded not guilty. His lawyer says Siebert has “severe mental issues.”
Hansen: Is that a defense in any way in this case?Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: In my mind, no, it’s not a defense. He knows what he did was wrong. He knew enough that when you confronted him his first words were “oops.” You know, he knew enough to promise you that he wasn’t going to do this again. Hansen: Siebert admitted to me during our interview that he had been previously convicted of assault. What does that say about the danger he could present to a young teen home alone?Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: My biggest fear is that he would show up. The young teen would decide not to go through with what they had been talking about in their Internet chat. He would become frustrated with that, and his violent nature would come out.
If Seibert is convicted of the Long Beach charge, as well as the earlier charge in Riverside, he could be facing up to seven years in prison.
Over the course of three days, 38 men were arrested in the investigation. Most would eventually plead not guilty.
That’s a large number of suspects, but the Long Beach police were ready.
Chris Hansen: Did that seem like a big number to you? It’s our second highest number ever.Sgt. Lee DeBrabander: Given the amount of population in this area, it’s pretty much what we expected. We had a range that we set up that we based the number of officers at the operation on. And that came right in to that range.
Coming up next week, you’ll meet some more men who come up our driveway in Long Beach.
When one man comes to our house, he seems to have second thoughts.
The question is—will he finally come inside?
And, for the first time since we’ve been doing our investigations, the police will set up in near-by park—where a suspect may be thinking he can lure a young teen into his car.
They’ll be ready.
But back at the house things will still get busy with some trying to make a get away.
But the police will have other plans.
The next installment of the Long Beach, Calif. investigations airs Dateline Tuesday, Feb. 6, 8 p.m.