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Thread: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

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    Default Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Remember that show "Dateline NBC: To Catch a Predator"? Something just didn't seem quite right with it.

    I know they are trying to take real bad guys off the street, but it seemed to be a real underhanded sneaky way of doing it. So I'm wondering if what the police did was even legal. The law clearly states that it doesn't matter what age you think the girl is, because if she's under age it's illegal. And if you have sex with an underage girl, you are a criminal, even if you thought she was the age of consent (usually 16 or 18).

    So the law clearly makes a point of stating it doesn't matter what age you THINK she is, what matter's is how old she ACTUALLY is. On that line of reasoning, it would make sense to also say, that if a person thought the girl was underage it doesn't matter, all that matters is that she actually IS if legal age. And as such, it would seem to me that the POLICE are the ones doing something illegal, by arresting people who didn't actually break the law. It would seem that the people arrested in these cases could counter-claim that the police violated the law by falsely arresting someone who had broken no law.

  2. #2
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Technically they did, they arrived to these places with the intent to have sex with a minor. Its like going to a cop with the intent to buy drugs. They dont have drugs, but they came thinking they did.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ωmega View Post
    Technically they did, they arrived to these places with the intent to have sex with a minor. Its like going to a cop with the intent to buy drugs. They dont have drugs, but they came thinking they did.
    However if the person was a minor, their "intent" would NOT matter. It would not matter if their intent was to have sex with an adult. All that would matter is that the person they had sex with, was NOT an adult. Likewise, I would think that if their intent to have sex with a minor, it would not matter, because the person was in fact an adult. Remember, only a person's ACTUAL age matters, as far as the law is concerned. Obviously the person who's intent was to have sex with a minor is more dangerous of a person, but when it comes to sex crimes, the law doesn't usually care about intent, rather it only cares about the person's actual age. Holding to this standard, I think it invalidates the sting operation carried out by police in the show To Catch a Predator.

    I'm not well versed in the law in the places where they did this sting operation, but in general I'm pretty sure that the type of sting operation they did, and the manner in which they did it, meant that the police would have violated the law in most jurisdictions.

  4. #4
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Animedude5555 View Post
    However if the person was a minor, their "intent" would NOT matter. It would not matter if their intent was to have sex with an adult. All that would matter is that the person they had sex with, was NOT an adult. Likewise, I would think that if their intent to have sex with a minor, it would not matter, because the person was in fact an adult. Remember, only a person's ACTUAL age matters, as far as the law is concerned. Obviously the person who's intent was to have sex with a minor is more dangerous of a person, but when it comes to sex crimes, the law doesn't usually care about intent, rather it only cares about the person's actual age. Holding to this standard, I think it invalidates the sting operation carried out by police in the show To Catch a Predator.

    I'm not well versed in the law in the places where they did this sting operation, but in general I'm pretty sure that the type of sting operation they did, and the manner in which they did it, meant that the police would have violated the law in most jurisdictions.
    Exactly. Youre not well versed of the law. I asked the same question to my fiance, who is in the academy to be a cop, because I thought it was entrapment, which is illegal. This sting is perfectly legal, because even if they person they were talking to was 80, it doesnt matter. They were told the person was a minor and they began to send naked pictures, explicit texts and the like to someone they thought was a minor. IE- theres a really damn good chance theyre doing this to other children as well.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ωmega View Post
    Exactly. Youre not well versed of the law. I asked the same question to my fiance, who is in the academy to be a cop, because I thought it was entrapment, which is illegal. This sting is perfectly legal, because even if they person they were talking to was 80, it doesnt matter. They were told the person was a minor and they began to send naked pictures, explicit texts and the like to someone they thought was a minor. IE- theres a really damn good chance theyre doing this to other children as well.
    So what you are telling me as:

    If you THINK they are an adult and end up having sex with a minor, it DOESN'T matter what you think.

    But if you THINK they are a minor even if they are actually an adult, all of a sudden what you think DOES matter?

    Doesn't this seam like a double standard?

    Also, while such behavior in one case involving only a "decoy minor" adult may indicate other such behavior involving actual minors, the fact that it merely MAY indicate it, is not PROOF of such additional criminal acts. To prove additional crimes have occurred, one would need to find VICTIMS of those supposed additional crimes. You can't have a sex-crime without a victim.
    Last edited by Animedude5555; 07-10-2013 at 09:26 PM.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Animedude5555 View Post
    So what you are telling me as:

    If you THINK they are an adult and end up having sex with a minor, it DOESN'T matter what you think.

    But if you THINK they are a minor even if they are actually an adult, all of a sudden what you think DOES matter?

    Doesn't this seam like a double standard?

    Also, while such behavior in one case involving only a "decoy minor" adult may indicate other such behavior involving actual minors, the fact that it merely MAY indicate it, is not PROOF of such additional criminal acts. To prove additional crimes have occurred, one would need to find VICTIMS of those supposed additional crimes. You can't have a sex-crime without a victim.
    Anything involving some form of a sex with a minor, real or not is illegal. Period. Again, if you approach an officer asking for weed, you get arrested. They dont have drugs, but its the fact you approached them for it. You approach a legally ages woman you THINK is underaged for sex you get busted. Or cops posing as prostitutes. Same thing. You approach them for illegal sex- sex you never have with a women who isnt a prostitute and you get arrested. End of story.

    And at what point did I say having sex with a minor you thought was an adult was ok???!

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ωmega View Post
    Anything involving some form of a sex with a minor, real or not is illegal. Period. Again, if you approach an officer asking for weed, you get arrested. They dont have drugs, but its the fact you approached them for it. You approach a legally ages woman you THINK is underaged for sex you get busted. Or cops posing as prostitutes. Same thing. You approach them for illegal sex- sex you never have with a women who isnt a prostitute and you get arrested. End of story.

    And at what point did I say having sex with a minor you thought was an adult was ok???!
    I'm pointing out that there is a double standard.

    The law specifically states that what you THINK their age is does not matter, and all that matters is what their age actually is.
    Quote Originally Posted by Washington State sex crime law
    In any prosecution under this chapter in which the offense or degree of the offense depends on the victim's age, it is no defense that the perpetrator did not know the victim's age, or that the perpetrator believed the victim to be older
    Source: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.44.030

    However, the fact the law says this is usually only applied in cases of "assumed age is adult, but actual age is minor". This part of the law apparently is IGNORED in cases of "assumed age is minor, but actual age is adult" (like in the show To Catch a Predator). Because the rules are bent this way when the police and court interpret the law, the result is a MAJOR double standard that can best be summed up in the below 2 sentences.

    If the person is a minor, but you believe they are an adult, WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOES NOT MATTER.

    If the person is an adult, but you believe they are a minor, WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOES MATTER.



    This double standard, whereby the justice system TWISTS AND BENDS THE RULES to fit the way that IT WISHES THE LAW WAS WRITTEN is a major SCANDAL, as far as I'm concerned. It allows people to be arrested for crimes they have NEVER COMMITTED. It is just more proof that we are living in a POLICE STATE! I regard this kind of handling of the law as being as bad as the ILLEGAL WIRETAPS and ILLEGAL METADATA GATHERING that the NSA has been doing that has been going on under Obama (and probably Bush), and as bad as the ILLEGAL LAW called the "Patriot Act" that the idiot President Bush signed into law. It's just one more thing that ENABLES THE POLICE TO ARREST YOU FOR MORE THINGS THAN THEY DID BEFORE, and gives them even more power to arrest you for CRIMES YOU HAVE NEVER COMMITTED!!!!!
    Last edited by Animedude5555; 07-10-2013 at 10:16 PM.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Stop justifying pedophile's dude and seek some therapy. Damn.

    ---------- Post added at 11:27 PM ---------- Previous post was at 11:24 PM ----------

    On the show, the police read the conversation back to the person in which the decoy will say they are of under age of consent.

    These people want to have sex with them because they believe they are under aged.
    They deserve to go to jail, there is no arguing this.

    Get help before you hurt someone.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Sex with a minor is illegal. Sting operations to catch predators is legal. It's that simple.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Animedude5555 View Post
    I'm pointing out that there is a double standard.

    The law specifically states that what you THINK their age is does not matter, and all that matters is what their age actually is.

    Source: http://apps.leg.wa.gov/rcw/default.aspx?cite=9A.44.030

    However, the fact the law says this is usually only applied in cases of "assumed age is adult, but actual age is minor". This part of the law apparently is IGNORED in cases of "assumed age is minor, but actual age is adult" (like in the show To Catch a Predator). Because the rules are bent this way when the police and court interpret the law, the result is a MAJOR double standard that can best be summed up in the below 2 sentences.

    If the person is a minor, but you believe they are an adult, WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOES NOT MATTER.

    If the person is an adult, but you believe they are a minor, WHAT YOU BELIEVE DOES MATTER.



    This double standard, whereby the justice system TWISTS AND BENDS THE RULES to fit the way that IT WISHES THE LAW WAS WRITTEN is a major SCANDAL, as far as I'm concerned. It allows people to be arrested for crimes they have NEVER COMMITTED. It is just more proof that we are living in a POLICE STATE! I regard this kind of handling of the law as being as bad as the ILLEGAL WIRETAPS and ILLEGAL METADATA GATHERING that the NSA has been doing that has been going on under Obama (and probably Bush), and as bad as the ILLEGAL LAW called the "Patriot Act" that the idiot President Bush signed into law. It's just one more thing that ENABLES THE POLICE TO ARREST YOU FOR MORE THINGS THAN THEY DID BEFORE, and gives them even more power to arrest you for CRIMES YOU HAVE NEVER COMMITTED!!!!!
    ...them bending the law to catch highly potential child molesters is an issue for you....
    mmkay.

    Well, you and child molesters are the only people who seem to care about this 'double standard' sooooooooooo

    deal with it

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    It is a criminal Double Standard. It is legal Setups. It is criminal Entrapment. And the Judges do not care because they want to get re-elected. Cops have busted into People's Houses, raided for false Drug and Firearms Claims, shot a Mayor's Dogs in New Jersey (Napolitano on Fox reported that), and confiscated private Property.

    It is Entrapment and Setups built into the Law. Innocent People are going to Jail. Just because a Guy is a Scumbag does not mean he is a Lawbreaker.

    The Police have too much Power. On Dateline, they are not arresting Criminals, they are enticing People, setting People up, and entrapping People and CREATING CRIMINALS!

    The Crimes are invented and phoney-baloney. And now they are registered Sex Offenders for Life because of it ruining their Lives, Fortunes, Careers, and Families all because we live in a Police State caused by People like Bush and Osama, I mean Obama Hussein.

    These People on Dateline are the true Scumbags, and the Cops are just as much Criminals as the ones they entrap and arrest. And the Judges should be debarred along with the District Attorneys and Prosecutors for overfilling crowded Prisoners with innocent People on bogus Charges.

    Some of these Guys are Trash and belong in Prison, but actually enticing them? It is like offering Crack to an Addict and then arresting him for taking the Bait.

    As for the Prostitution, it is the exact same damn thing. Entrapment and Enticement. These D.A.'s have no Shame, and these Cops should be in Prison too. That would sure change how they treat People innocent or not.


    "Let us enjoy the Rain together. My Umbrella is always open for you. Knowing me is knowing never having to say goodbye. It never stops raining, does it?"

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Ωmega View Post
    ...them bending the law to catch highly potential child molesters is an issue for you....
    mmkay.

    Well, you and child molesters are the only people who seem to care about this 'double standard' sooooooooooo

    deal with it
    I just believe that the law enforcement should act within the bounds of the law.

    I also believe that it's good to stop terrorists, but what the NSA is doing by spying on Americans without warrant is ILLEGAL!

    My point is, that the ends (no matter how noble they are) do NOT justify the means, if those means are wrong.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayMan View Post
    It is a criminal Double Standard. It is legal Setups. It is criminal Entrapment. And the Judges do not care because they want to get re-elected. Cops have busted into People's Houses, raided for false Drug and Firearms Claims, shot a Mayor's Dogs in New Jersey (Napolitano on Fox reported that), and confiscated private Property.

    It is Entrapment and Setups built into the Law. Innocent People are going to Jail. Just because a Guy is a Scumbag does not mean he is a Lawbreaker.

    The Police have too much Power. On Dateline, they are not arresting Criminals, they are enticing People, setting People up, and entrapping People and CREATING CRIMINALS!

    The Crimes are invented and phoney-baloney. And now they are registered Sex Offenders for Life because of it ruining their Lives, Fortunes, Careers, and Families all because we live in a Police State caused by People like Bush and Osama, I mean Obama Hussein.

    These People on Dateline are the true Scumbags, and the Cops are just as much Criminals as the ones they entrap and arrest. And the Judges should be debarred along with the District Attorneys and Prosecutors for overfilling crowded Prisoners with innocent People on bogus Charges.

    Some of these Guys are Trash and belong in Prison, but actually enticing them? It is like offering Crack to an Addict and then arresting him for taking the Bait.

    As for the Prostitution, it is the exact same damn thing. Entrapment and Enticement. These D.A.'s have no Shame, and these Cops should be in Prison too. That would sure change how they treat People innocent or not.
    enĚtrap (n-trp)
    tr.v. enĚtrapped, enĚtrapĚping, enĚtraps
    1. To catch in or as if in a trap.
    2.
    a. To lure into danger, difficulty, or a compromising situation. See Synonyms at catch.
    b. To lure into performing a previously or otherwise uncontemplated illegal act.



    To catch someone in a trap for a crime they normally would not commit.

    If a cop approaches someone with free weed or offering sex, its entrapment. If they approach the cop then its a bust. That simple. Its illegal for them to approach you, but if you approach them its fair game. They didnt force you to come to them asking for illegal substances/activities, you did that on your own

  17. #14
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayMan View Post
    It is a criminal Double Standard. It is legal Setups. It is criminal Entrapment. And the Judges do not care because they want to get re-elected. Cops have busted into People's Houses, raided for false Drug and Firearms Claims, shot a Mayor's Dogs in New Jersey (Napolitano on Fox reported that), and confiscated private Property.

    It is Entrapment and Setups built into the Law. Innocent People are going to Jail. Just because a Guy is a Scumbag does not mean he is a Lawbreaker.

    The Police have too much Power. On Dateline, they are not arresting Criminals, they are enticing People, setting People up, and entrapping People and CREATING CRIMINALS!

    The Crimes are invented and phoney-baloney. And now they are registered Sex Offenders for Life because of it ruining their Lives, Fortunes, Careers, and Families all because we live in a Police State caused by People like Bush and Osama, I mean Obama Hussein.

    These People on Dateline are the true Scumbags, and the Cops are just as much Criminals as the ones they entrap and arrest. And the Judges should be debarred along with the District Attorneys and Prosecutors for overfilling crowded Prisoners with innocent People on bogus Charges.

    Some of these Guys are Trash and belong in Prison, but actually enticing them? It is like offering Crack to an Addict and then arresting him for taking the Bait.

    As for the Prostitution, it is the exact same damn thing. Entrapment and Enticement. These D.A.'s have no Shame, and these Cops should be in Prison too. That would sure change how they treat People innocent or not.
    You said it yourself, some of the guys belong in prison.. Well guess what? They are thanks to the 'enticement'.
    Those fools simply could (better yet should) turned down advances from a minor, whether it was a trap or not. It is integrated into the law and It's that simple.
    The show acts like a deterrent since I'm sure potential criminals have seen it. I don't think it will create criminals as much.


  18. #15
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    I do not think a person should ever go to jail, unless they commit an action that results in harm to someone, or are stopped while in the process of committing an action that would result in harm to someone if the perpetrator had successfully committed the action.

    Let me give you an example by giving you a set of scenarios, and what I think the outcome of each scenario should be:

    If you rape a kid, you should go to prison.

    Or if you were about to rape a kid, but the kid's father grabbed his gun and chased you away before you could commit the act, you should go to prison.

    However, if you go to someone's house thinking there is a child there that you are going to have sex with, but it turns that out the person is really an adult, completing the action (having sex with that person) would not result in any harm, because the person was in fact an adult and NOT a child. In this case you should NOT go to prison. You most certainly are a disgusting person, and it is very likely that you will in the future do something that WILL land you in prison. But this specific incident should not land you in prison, because prison is for law breakers, and this specific act did not in fact violate any law. And no law should punish a person unless that person has done something that has harmed another, or was in the process of doing something that would harm another and was only stopped by intervening circumstances (such as the victim successfully fought off or eluded the offender, or another person intervened and stopped the offender).


    In general, I believe that the only thing that should get a person thrown in prison is when that person commits an act (or is about to commit an act but are then stopped by some external force) which would bring harm to the other person. Anything act that in itself does not cause harm to another, should not be a violation of the law.

    And yes this also applies to drugs and prostitution. A woman who prostitutes herself is causing no harm to anyone else. One can debate whether her actions are demeaning to herself by selling herself for sex, but one thing is certain and that is that her actions cause no harm to anyone else. Likewise, a person who uses drugs is poisoning his/her own body, and as a result that person is harming himself/herself, but is causing harm to nobody else. Of course people high on drugs may do other things that are illegal, but if they do then they should be prosecuted for those additional actions, and not for the drugs themselves.
    Last edited by Animedude5555; 07-11-2013 at 01:59 AM.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by Animedude5555 View Post
    I do not think a person should ever go to jail, unless they commit an action that results in harm to someone, or are stopped while in the process of committing an action that would result in harm to someone if the perpetrator had successfully committed the action.

    Let me give you an example by giving you a set of scenarios, and what I think the outcome of each scenario should be:

    If you rape a kid, you should go to prison.

    Or if you were about to rape a kid, but the kid's father grabbed his gun and chased you away before you could commit the act, you should go to prison.

    However, if you go to someone's house thinking there is a child there that you are going to have sex with, but it turns that out the person is really an adult, completing the action (having sex with that person) would not result in any harm, because the person was in fact an adult and NOT a child. In this case you should NOT go to prison. You most certainly are a disgusting person, and it is very likely that you will in the future do something that WILL land you in prison. But this specific incident should not land you in prison, because prison is for law breakers, and this specific act did not in fact violate any law. And no law should punish a person unless that person has done something that has harmed another, or was in the process of doing something that would harm another and was only stopped by intervening circumstances (such as the victim successfully fought off or eluded the offender, or another person intervened and stopped the offender).


    In general, I believe that the only thing that should get a person thrown in prison is when that person commits an act (or is about to commit an act but are then stopped by some external force) which would bring harm to the other person. Anything act that in itself does not cause harm to another, should not be a violation of the law.

    And yes this also applies to drugs and prostitution. A woman who prostitutes herself is causing no harm to anyone else. One can debate whether her actions are demeaning to herself by selling herself for sex, but one thing is certain and that is that her actions cause no harm to anyone else. Likewise, a person who uses drugs is poisoning his/her own body, and as a result that person is harming himself/herself, but is causing harm to nobody else. Of course people high on drugs may do other things that are illegal, but if they do then they should be prosecuted for those additional actions, and not for the drugs themselves.
    What about filming Prostitution? Paying a Woman to have Sex with you on Film is making Pornography, but paying a Woman for Sex is illegal. The only Difference is a Camera. Is that F.U.B.A.R. or WHAT?!?!?!?


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  20. #17
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayMan View Post
    What about filming Prostitution? Paying a Woman to have Sex with you on Film is making Pornography, but paying a Woman for Sex is illegal. The only Difference is a Camera. Is that F.U.B.A.R. or WHAT?!?!?!?
    Yeah, that's dumb. I suppose the only difference is that the woman isn't being payed by the man for the sex. They are BOTH being payed as employees of the porno company that is making the film. So technically it isn't a "client buying sex from a prostitute" situation. However I do think that many of these laws that appear to be based on morals, and not based on any actual harm being done, are simply left-over laws from a previous era when there were more Christians in the country, so the laws tended to reflect Christian morality.

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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    Quote Originally Posted by RainyDayMan View Post
    The only Difference is a Camera.
    You heard the man, FILM EVERYTHING!

  22. #19
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    I place a lot of importance on what is happening in the chats. I really don't care what the law says. If the undercover agent invited the person over, that should be treated as entrapment. If person insisted on coming over and the undercover agent simply agreed, then it's not entrapment. That is why I've always been very negative about Dateline because they omit this important detail and instead draw attention to the most vulgar things said in chats.

    Regardless, statutory rape laws are largely bogus. There shouldn't be an age of consent. It should be based on puberty, because that's when you become interested in sex and become sexually attractive to others. We are calling people pedophiles for having natural sex drives because of arbitrary age restraints that only matter legally. When you think pedophile, you should be thinking sex with children, not sex with teenagers.

    I'm just acknowledging truth. When a female teacher has consensual sex with a teenage male student, the attitude is that the student got lucky. Reverse genders and grozit gets serious. In the first case we are just being honest and rational albeit insensitive, and in the second case a defensive, chivalrous attitude kicks in. It no longer matters that she wanted it, because, well, old men are creepy and should be having sex with old women to whom they aren't biologically attracted.

    I do think that many of these laws that appear to be based on morals, and not based on any actual harm being done, are simply left-over laws from a previous era when there were more Christians in the country, so the laws tended to reflect Christian morality.
    These attitudes were imposed by Christianity. They were imposed onto Christianity, and they would exist regardless.

  23. #20
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    Default Re: Was what the police did in the show "To Catch a Predator", legal?

    You can prosecute someone based on criminal intent. If person A (male or female) approaches someone who they think is a minor with the intent to interact sexually with them, then it doesn't matter if that person isn't a minor. The intention was to sexually interact with a minor, the intention was to knowingly break a law. There are of course provisions depending on a variety of circumstances where the offender should not be criminally prosecuted. For example, there have been cases where minors would actively conceal their age and acquire false identities for the purpose of extortion. There are also provisions for when the act was committed accidentally or innocently, for example if the offender met the minor at an over 18's/21's bar, etc.


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