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‘To Catch a Predator’: The debate rages on . . .

June 26, 2008 |  6:15 pm

Show Tracker readers are all over the map when it comes to "Dateline NBC's" "To Catch a Predator" and host Chris Hansen.Chris_hansen

Comments started pouring in after Matea Gold reported that NBC had resolved a $105-million lawsuit with Patricia Conradt, sister of Louis William Conradt Jr., a 56-year-old assistant county prosecutor in a Dallas suburb who killed himself as a police tactical team forced its way into his house while "Dateline" cameras filmed the scene outside. (Read Gold's original report and later update about references to the incident being stripped from NBC's website following the settlement.)

Readers are directing plenty of heat at NBC and Hansen for what they see as interfering with efforts to fight crime as opposed to preventing it.

One commenter with the name look at the research, who says he or she is “involved in the treatment of sex offenders,” writes: “ . . . Anyone suggesting that these sting operations reduce crime have a fundamental misunderstanding about criminal behavior. . . . While I have nothing but respect for survivors of sexual abuse, it is irresponsible to suggest that any victims have been saved because of these sting operations. . . . All these stings do is teach offenders to hide their behavior more effectively.”

Mike agrees: “ . . . The news people are supposed to report news, not make it. They also got no stinking badges. They need to get out of the way of the police and let them do all the policing, and they can get back to reporting news.”

Kaye says jumping the gun can’t be right. Conradt allegedly "talked to some other guy pretending to be a kid online and had some fantasy cyber sex but then NEVER showed up in person to actually try to have sex and then these reports tracked this guy down in his house? wow. So now you are guilty of crimes you Don't commit? Last week I was drinking and was pretty drunk, I almost drove home but then decided it would be a bad idea. Am I still guilty of a DUI?" Adds Ben: "What someone does in front of their computer and what somebody actually follows through with are two different things.”

john eblen also wonders why there is a debate at all: “It is impossible for me to rationalize how anyone can protest against NBC protecting 13 year old children from predatory adults…THANK YOU NBC for saving a hundred children from almost certain sexual abuse by adult predators and shame on these sympathizers for forgetting these victims are children.”

Photo: Chris Hansen, courtesy NBC.