"To Catch A Predator" - Chris Hansen - NBC Dateline
Dateline hidden camera investigation turns spotlight on Internet predators
Instant messaging on the computer has become the phone for kids today. Children spend hours chatting online with their friends, and sometimes with strangers. A recent study found that one in five children online is approached by a sexual predator, a predator who may try to set up a face-to-face meeting. In a Dateline hidden camera investigation, correspondent Chris Hansen catches some of these men in the act. Also, scroll to the bottom of the page for the software mentioned in the story and more resources. To follow the trail of an Internet predator prowling for children, from seduction in a chat room to a face-to-face meeting, Dateline rented a house, wired it with hidden cameras, and enlisted the help of an online vigilante group called "Perverted Justice." Volunteers from the group posed as teens in chat rooms, saying they were home alone and interested in sex. Within hours there were men literally lining up at our door. The men who turned up in our investigation included a New York City firefighter and a man with a history of mental illness and a criminal record. And they all had something in common: the same excuse. Just about every man who came to our house said it was the first time he had done something like this and most claimed they really had no intention of having sex with a minor. Here's an excerpt of what we found: Steve, 35, thinks he's got a hot date with a 14-year-old girl. Instead he'll be meeting Dateline NBC correspondent Chris Hansen. At first he seems to think I am a police officer. I haven’t told him yet that I'm a television reporter and at this point he has no idea he's being videotaped.
A long line of visitors expected to find a young teen they'd been chatting with online, home alone. Instead, they found Dateline cameras
In any home where there are kids with computers, there are parents with concerns. Teenagers can spend hours chatting online, but who are they chatting with? On the other end of that instant message could be a complete stranger — or a sexual predator. It's a dangerous side of the Internet, one that's growing and many children are at risk. So we went undercover, filling a house with hidden cameras. Soon, a long line of visitors came knocking, expecting to find a young teenager they'd been chatting with on the Internet, home alone. Instead, they found Dateline. We want to warn you some of what you'll read is explicit. But parents need to know what their kids can confront when they sit down at the computer. The problem seems to be getting worse — and the profile of the suspected predators more frightening. Just this past summer, an editor for “Weekly Reader,” a newspaper for school children was arrested for using the Internet to solicit sex with a 14-year-old boy. He pleaded not guilty. And this past spring, a New York City cop, a youth officer, was also caught attempting to meet a child online for sex. He pleaded guilty last month “to attempted use of a child in a sexual performance” and agreed to serve six months in prison. Law enforcement officials estimate that 50,000 predators are online at any given moment. And the number of reports of children being solicited for sex is growing says Michele Collins of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
Dateline's ongoing hidden camera investigation into computer sex predators--grown men, trolling the Web for sex with minors. This time, police are making arrests
SOUTHERN CALIFORNIA — A month ago, Dateline launched its third investigation into a growing national epidemic—grown men trolling the Internet, many looking for sex with children. This time, to expose them, we set up multiple hidden cameras in a house in Southern California. A decoy coaxes the men in, but instead of finding a 12- or 13-year-old home alone, the men looking for sex will meet me. Here’s an example of the kind of confrontation we’re in for: A 37-year-old, Kurt Lemke, a truck driver, calls himself “haloballfan” online. He thinks he’s here to meet a 13-year-old boy named Dave, but we really send him a decoy photo. During his chat, he makes plans to give the boy oral sex.
Meet more of the men from our Ohio investigation
"This report airs May 3, Wednesday, 9 p.m.. It's the latest in Dateline's month-long series of undercover investigations: children at risk from grown men online. We're back in small town America, where the investigation leads us to one of the most disturbing cases we've ever found. A warning: some of what you're about to read is explicit. GREENVILLE, OHIO. — It’s was a busy three days here in Darke County, Ohio. A house, equipped with hidden cameras inside and out, has become the destination for men hoping to hook up with young teens they met online. From their Internet chat, it’s clear that most of the men are here for one thing: sex. But as soon as they see me, they know there’s been a change of plans and their stories change as well. Most folks who live here think that this area would be immune to this sort of activity, and think “It wouldn’t happen here.” But as we showed you last week, we find in rural America what we found in every other location— men lining up at our door, ready to keep their date for sex with a minor. A 30-year-old, screenname “Meatrocket8,” starts chatting online with a girl posing as a 15-year-old virgin. The decoy referring to her virginity says “I bet you’re scared of that.” “Meatrocket8” says, “Actually you find it quite attractive. I’m honored to be considered the candidate for your first time.” Later as the chat gets more graphic, he asks for her address . . ."
Despite awareness of recent stings, some potential predators still take a chance and make a date online with an underaged teen
This report airs May 17, Wednesday, 9 p.m.: This month, millions of people have been watching our investigations into computer sex predators — among them, some of the suspected predators themselves. And what's most surprising is that even knowing that they may be walking into a sting is not enough to keep some of them away. Tonight, we're back in Florida, where we started our investigation last week. We want to remind you that some of what you'll see and read is explicit. FT. MYERS, FLA. — Like all our previous investigations, the potential predators in Ft. Myers, Fla. kept us busy. Some are surprisingly candid... Donald Morrison: They arrested me for possessing child pornography cause I had nude pictures of her on my computer. They ended up dropping the charges. Others tell us stories we’ve heard before... Thomas Coffen: I just came over to say "hi." That was it. They all had something in common: everyone of them chatted online about having sex with a person posing as a young teen, made a date to meet, and then showed up at our undercover house. Chief Hilton Daniels, Ft. Myers, Fla. police: A number of these individuals traveled quite a ways. I believe the furthest one drove 223 miles, to Fort Myers to have sex with a child. Chief Daniels says it’s frightening to think what would have happened if there really had been a child home alone.
The men we met during the latest 'To Catch a Predator' investigation
"FT. MYERS, FLA.— A 49-year-old man talks to a teenager he's never met before. He probably believes she’s the 15-year-old he’s been chatting online with for the last week and a half. Actress, decoy (hidden camera footage): Hey, I just have to change my shirt real quick, but just come in and watch some TV. I’ll be right there. Michael Wilusz: Okay. What Michael Wilusz doesn’t know is she’s really a 19-year-old actress we hired to be a decoy. He walked into a Dateline hidden camera investigation. Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent (walking in): Come on in over here. Have a seat there. Wilusz: Oh wow. (laughs, eating cookies). Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent: Hungry? How does it taste? Wilusz: Great. Wow, these are home-baked? Hansen: Do you want time to finish your cookie? Wilusz: Not really. Hansen: So you’re good if I ask you a couple of questions? Wilusz: Yeah. It’s the latest in our continuing series of investigations into online sex predators. For the first time we’re in the south: Fort Myers, Florida. Hilton Daniels is Fort Myers chief of police . . ."
Despite awareness of previous Dateline investigations, some potential predators show up anyway
"Like moths to the flame, they just keep coming. It's been more than two years now since we first began our series of reports investigating online sex predators. Five different states... 129 men exposed. On Dateline Wednesday, investigation number six. This time, we've set up our hidden cameras in a rented house in rural Georgia. And once again, even men who've seen our reports show up at the door. We should let you know, some of what you'll see and read below is explicit. This report first aired on NBC, Sept. 13. FORTSON, GA. — On a stormy summer night, on a winding country road, a potential sex predator slowly approaches a house where he believes a child is waiting for him. He’s driven a long way for this meeting- almost two hours. But the driver won’t find a young girl inside—instead a Dateline investigative team awaits his arrival. Why is this man making such a long trip in the dead of night? Perhaps because he believes a 15-year-old girl is alone inside ready to have sex with him. But his journey didn’t begin that day— it began more than a week earlier when he entered a Yahoo Georgia chat room and decided to hit on a decoy, an adult posing as a 15-year-old. It didn’t take long for the 23-year-old, screenname “scoobydooat101”, to steer the chat towards sex. He asked all kinds of sexual questions like “What positions have you tried? U like doggie?” "Scoobydoo" says “Well if we ever have sex, I’ll introduce it to you. But I switch positions a lot, so you’re bound to learn a few new tricks.” Now the man with the bag of tricks is walking in our house. Wehired a very young looking 19-year-old to play the part of the girl . . ."
Some potential predators drive hours to a rural area in Fortson, Ga. One even arrives by big rig
"In community after community, vulnerable young teenagers are still at risk from grown men online. On Sept. 22, Friday, our hidden cameras are in Georgia. This time among the suspected predators caught on tape are three military men — two served in Iraq. Now they could be serving time in prison. Again, we want to warn you, some of what you'll read below is explicit. FORTSON, GA. — Even when men know it’s against the law, know there’s a chance they’ll be apprehended, men still show up at a house where they were told a child is home alone and willing to have sex with them. And the number of men who continue to arrive at the door during each undercover operation is alarming—like our latest investigation (the sixth one), this time in Harris county, Georgia. We’ve rigged this house with 12 hidden cameras— five inside and seven outside. From a control room inside the house a crew operates the cameras and records a man’s every move from the moment he drives up to the house. We’ve hired a young-looking 19-year-old to be play the part of a young girl—a decoy who will invite the men in. Meet 24-year-old Reymundo Anguiano. He thinks he’s here to see a 14-year-old girl named Diane. He met her online just hours ago in an AOL chat room. To give you an idea why he might be here, take a look at what he said online. Using the screen name truesweetguy69, he asks a decoy—an adult pretending to be 14 -- if she’s good at giving oral sex. The decoy says “nobody ever complained, didn’t do it lots but i know how to do it.” Then truesweetguy69 asks if he shows the girl a picture of his penis would she give him oral sex. The decoy, who he thinks is 14 says “oh yeah.” And sure enough, truesweetguy69 sends her a picture of his genitals."
A new investigation, a new set-up (in the backyard), and more men caught on camera in a town already home to two high-profile predator cases
Petaluma, Calif. — A girl appears to be home alone and looking for company. She keeps waving men into the garage... and they keep following her all the way to the backyard where she offers them a drink. Anyone watching this scene repeat itself over and over might be wondering what’s going on. The girl is an 18-year-old actress hired by Dateline. She’s inviting suspected sex predators to sit at a bar in a backyard that is wired with hidden cameras. Decoy: Where do you work? Gopi: I work in Apple. Decoy: Oh, so you sell fruit? Gopi: Sorry? Decoy: You sell fruit? Gopi: I’m a software engineer. Decoy: Oh, software, oh, like the computer. Oh. (Laughter) Gopi: Yep. Yep. She chats with the men making them feel more at ease and then I come out. Chris Hansen, Dateline Correspondent (walks out): So you had quite the commute today, huh? Why don’t you have a seat over by the bar there. How’s it going? Please sit down. Did you enjoy your drink? It’s all part of Dateline’s latest investigation into online sex predators. As in the past, men from all walks of life show up. A respected doctor and a carpenter who gave us the most revealing confession we’ve ever heard.
The latest 'Predator' investigation uncovers some prominent men caught in what police say are criminal acts. These men risk losing their jobs... and in some cases, perhaps even their freedom
PETALUMA, CALIF.— We set up a house where a young teen is supposed to be home alone. Like moths to a flame, potential sex predators can’t stay away. That is of course until they see me. Even though millions of people have seen our series and we’ve caught 150 men, in this latest investigation, our seventh one, we have one of our largest turnouts ever. 29 men show up at this upscale house in Petaluma, California in just three days. We’ve rigged it with hidden cameras—the street, driveway, garage, alley and every inch of the backyard are covered. But our guests have no idea they’re being recorded. Inside the house, members of the online watchdog group Perverted-Justice are in chat rooms posing as young teens. Dateline has paid the organization a consulting fee. The PJ members are pretending to be 12- and 13-year-olds who are interested in sex and whose parents are away. If a man in a chat room hits on one of the decoys and proposes sex, he’ll be given the address of this house and invited over. Dateline hired an 18-year-old actress to play the part of the 12- or 13-year-old home alone...and the men seem happy to see her.
Two firsts in the Long Beach, Calif. investigation: A man from a previous sting shows up again; while our presence in town is leaked online
Long Beach, Calif. — 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, the very 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.”
XIII-"To Catch a Predator: Potential Predators Adapt to Recent Stings" - Chris Hansen - NBC Dateline
Part 2 of the Long Beach, Calif. investigation: Presumably to avoid a sting, one potential predator suggests meeting at a park in broad daylight
"Long Beach, Calif. — 22-year-old Corye Blagg is walking into Dateline’s undercover house in Long Beach, California, a house with 15 hidden cameras. They’re recording every move he makes. Blagg, an ex-Marine, works for a computer company in San Diego, and just drove 100 miles to get here. Why? Blagg had chatted on line with someone he thinks is a 13-year-old— and he says he wants her to be his girlfriend. Blaggca (chat transcript): All I’m missing is a sweetheart to share my love with. But Blagg is really chatting with a decoy working for Perverted-Justice,an organization that exposes men who sexually target minors on-line. Perverted-Justice works as a consultant for Dateline—setting up computer profiles, and pretending to be underage teens interested in sex. Remember, he’s 22 years old, and the decoy says she’s a 13-year-old female."
XV-"To Catch a Predator: Flagler Investigation: Online and on the beach" - Chris Hansen - NBC Dateline
Part 1 of the Flagler Beach, Fla. investigation: Where families crowd beaches and theme parks, and potential predators crowd the Internet
FLAGER BEACH, FLA. — It’s December in Flagler Beach Florida (population: 5,000), and it’s time for the annual holiday parade. The entire police force of Flagler, a town some 20 miles north of Daytona, is working parade duty. But later that evening, most of those same officers are working one of the biggest investigations they’ve ever tackled. The police are hiding in a garage behind our latest undercover house, waiting to arrest the man who’s about to walk inside. 34-year-old Mohamad Abdalla works in real estate. He’s married, and has an 8-year-old daughter. Female decoy (on hidden camera): Come inside. It’s cold out here. Come in. Come on in. Hi. How are you? How was your drive? Mohamad Abdalla: Can I leave the door open? Decoy: You can leave the door open. Abdalla: How you doing? Decoy: Sit down. Good. Long before he got to the house, Abdalla used the screen names ‘blondy91972’ and ‘midos1972’ to chat with someone who told him she’s a 13-year-old girl. But he was really talking to a decoy for the online watchdog group Perverted-Justice, a group we hired because of its experience pretending to be teens online who are curious about sex.
Part 2 of the Flagler Beach, Fla. investigation: A police officer from another town arrives with a gun in his pocket and an arsenal in his car
FLAGLER BEACH, FLA. — Who wouldn’t want to visit Flagler Beach? This small, idyllic spit of land on Florida’s east coast attracts thousands of visitors every year. But some of the visitors you’ll meet aren’t just coming for the sun, sand, and surf. Flagler Beach it seems, is a town ready to take on potential sex predators. Officer Kevin Pineda explains the kind of complaints his department has been hearing. Officer Kevin Pineda: Older gentleman going to our beach—that much isn’t a crime, they’re just staring at people. But when they start making advances towards the young generation in our city, it causes concern. Having seen Dateline’s investigations, Pineda decided to conduct his own experiment. He set up his own decoy profile online in local chat rooms, posing as a 14-year-old girl named “Jenna,” screen name “flaglerbeauty14f.” Officer Pineda: Within about 5 to 10 minutes the screen was just cluttered with instant messages, you know, emails. It was just unbelievable. Over just two days, Pineda received messages from more than a hundred people, mostly older men and their intent was unmistakable. One guy sent an image of his penis, and his wife performing oral sex on him.
XVII-"To Catch a Predator: Expensive home rich with potential predators" - Chris Hansen - NBC Dateline
When 'To Catch a Predator' rented a multi-million dollar home on the Jersey shore, 28 men showed up -- sometimes two at a time.
"OCEAN COUNTY, N.J. — We're in Ocean County, New Jersey for our eleventh internet sex predator investigation. Mike: You're Chris Hansen. Hansen: I am. Here, men will show up after making a date online, apparently hoping for sex with a young teen and knowing exactly what they’ve walked into… Justo Benavides: This is the Dateline thing. ...seem to realize what they are doing is illegal… Hansen: So you know what happens next. Lubrano: Yup (hands behind back)."
Despite knowing NBC's 'To Catch a Predator,' men still showed up to meet teens at the undercover house on the New Jersey shore. 'When do I get to see myself on TV?' asked one
"OCEAN COUNTY, N.J.— We’ve been catching suspected Internet sex predators for more than three years, exposing men on the hunt for sex with young teens. More than 200 men have been arrested. After 11 investigations in eight different states, a 117 men have either pleaded guilty or been found guilty by a judge or jury. Yet there are still men out there willing to take the risk of getting caught. It seems no matter where in America we go, we find men apparently ready to molest young teens. During our latest investigation in Ocean County, New Jersey, it’s no different. Men familiar with our reports show up anyway. It's a beautiful stretch of beach and a picture-perfect summer vacation spot for parents and children. But it's also for potential predators. Michael Lubrano: You’re Chris Hansen? Chris Hansen: I am. One who actually appears happy to meet me... Jeremy Keister: It’s nice to meet you. Chris Hansen: Thank you. (laughter)"
Things went south for the parade of men who showed up at the undercover 'Predator' house thinking they would meet a young girl home alone
"Bowling Green, Ky. — We're at it again, catching potential online sex predators in the act of attempting to meet young girls. Elliott: I’ve had that fantasy in the back of my head. Chris Hansen: About being with a young girl? Elliott: A young girl, yes. We're in a new state, in a new part of the country -- southwestern Kentucky. What's not new is the men's reaction to meeting who they think is a young girl. Armstrong: I haven't had a kiss yet. Elliott: Gosh, you're pretty. West: Well, I’m going to give you a hug. McPhetridge: I’d like to hold you. Decoy: And then what? McPhetridge: And kiss you. That's why I was asking you to come up here. We're set up in this six-thousand square foot home in Bowling Green, Kentucky. We've outfitted the house with thirteen hidden cameras and seven are outside, capturing a potential predator as he drives into the development, up our street and into our driveway. Then five cameras inside pick up his every move as he walks in the door."