Lauren Nelson by Jeffrey/Neira/Fox
The producers of America's Most Wanted have come out swinging against a newspaper story claiming that Miss America Lauren Nelson has refused to testify against the alleged sexual predators corralled in a sting operation detailed this past weekend on the Fox program. "Despite information to the contrary that appears in... Newsday, according to the Miss America Organization neither Lauren Nelson nor her representatives have told the Suffolk County District Attorney or anyone else that she would refuse to testify in any of the cases in which she participated," says a statement posted at AMW.com. "We don't know why [District Attorney Thomas Spota] would make the comments attributed to him without knowing all of the facts." AMW producers go on to say, "We believe that our work speaks for itself, and we believe in letting the legal system take its course."
Lauren Nelson with America's Most Wanted host John Walsh
This Saturday on America's Most Wanted (9 pm/ET on Fox), viewers will see Lauren Nelson use her Miss America powers for good, as a "special investigator" enlisted to snare online predators in a very different Web. Nelson, who has dedicated her reign to promoting Internet safety for kids, posed in chat rooms as a 14-year-old girl, and found herself on the receiving end of overtures at first plain and genteel, but for the most part ultimately graphic and sexually perverse in nature. The end game? To give a would-be predator enough rope with which to hang himself, by arranging for an in-person "meeting" with Nelson's underage alter ego. The perv would instead, however, be greeted by AMW host
As part of a Suffolk County (NY) Police Department sting, Miss America Lauren Nelson went undercover in online chat rooms, posing (and posting pictures of herself as) a 14-year-old girl. Recounting the experience, "Sometimes [men] would say, 'You're too young, sorry,' which is what needs to happen," Nelson tells the Associated Press. "But some would continue chatting. It [was] only a matter of time before it got pretty explicit." Under the ruse that she was "cutting school," Nelson lured sexual predators to a home in Long Island, where they were confronted by police and America's Most Wanted host John Walsh. At least four men were arrested as a result of the sting. Fox's AMW details the operation this Saturday.