To Catch a Predator has put an uncomfortable spotlight on men who go online to solicit underage boys and girls for sex. But in recent months, the hidden-camera sting operation has been facing some heat of its own.
NBC Universal is being sued by the sister of an assistant county prosecutor from a Dallas suburb who shot himself last November when police and a Dateline crew loomed outside his door with an arrest warrant. The prosecutor, Louis Conradt Jr., was about to be charged with soliciting sex with a minor after he engaged in explicit online and phone conversations with an adult posing as a 13-year-old boy in a Predator investigation. Among numerous accusations in the $105-million lawsuit, Patricia Conradt contends that Dateline "steamrolled" police in Murphy, Texas, into arresting her brother at his home, leading to his suicide.
NBC News has called the suit "preposterous," saying there was no reason to believe that Conradt was aware of Dateline's presence when police showed up. Still, the incident has led to scrutiny of the Predator franchise. Has host Chris Hansen shamed his last pervert on national TV? NBC News hasn't decided whether it will do another Predator report. - Reporting by Stephen Battaglio
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Related: NBC Sued for $105 Mil over Predator Suicide, 20/20 Investigation Preys on Dateline's Predator