NBC Predator Lawsuit Green-Lit for Trial
Louis William Conradt Jr. Fatally Shot Himself in November 2006 After Dateline NBC Camera Crew, Accompanied by Police, Confronted Him with Solicitation Allegations
By B&C Staff -- Broadcasting & Cable, 2/27/2008 7:01:00 AM
The $105 million suit against NBC News was filed by the sister of Louis William Conradt Jr., who fatally shot himself in November 2006 after a Dateline camera crew showed up at his Terrell, Texas, home, accompanied by police, to confront him with allegations that he solicited sex with a minor online.
NBC News was working with activist group Perverted Justice for To Catch a Predator, in which adults posing as minors engaged in sexually explicit online chat to lure potential sex offenders into sting operations.
Conradt’s sister, Patricia, charged that NBC News goaded police into arresting her brother at his home after he failed to show up for a sting staged at another location.
U.S. District Judge Denny Chin rejected NBC’s request to dismiss the suit, saying that there were grounds for trial and that “a reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement.”
NBC News representatives have repeatedly denied any responsibility in Conradt’s suicide, pointing out that there is no evidence to suggest that Conradt knew Dateline cameras were there.
In a statement responding to Tuesday’s ruling, an NBC News spokesperson said, “We think the evidence will ultimately show that Dateline acted responsibly and lawfully and we will continue to defend ourselves vigorously. The judge's ruling was based solely on the plaintiff's version of the facts. For purposes of this motion only, the judge was required, under the law, to accept the plaintiff's allegations as true.”
I disagree with Joyce. NBC is clearly at fault here. When Conradt failed to show up at the Predator house (he had also broken off contact with the decoy several days earlier) NBC should have moved on to another sting and left it to the authorities to decide what to do with Conradt. Instead the network goaded a bunch of star-struck cops into a wholly unnecessary SWAT bust at his home, endangering them as well as the alleged perpetrator. Conradt could easily have been arrested at his office the next day, without violence. I hope NBC pays big-time for this one. Too bad the police and Perverted Justice aren't also named in the suit.
Marcia Steiner - 3/10/2008 10:21:00 PM EDT
This lawsuit has no merit. I want
others to comment because this is huge!
You are going to meet up with a minor
you are carrying a concealed weapon
on your way to meet up with a minor
you meet up with a TV reality show
and cops. Hey if these people were not
there and there was a real 13 yo on the line,
what are we talking here? two shots to the head
if the meeting goes sour? He did us all a favor
when he pulled the trigger!!!
Joyce Gaines - 2/27/2008 1:58:00 PM EST
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