CrimProf Blog

Editor: Kevin Cole
Univ. of San Diego School of Law

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Tuesday, April 11, 2006

100 G's

That's the amount NBC has admitted to paying an organization, called Perverted Justice, to set up a pedophile sting operation in Ohio for a "Dateline NBC" story, "To Catch a Predator." Seventeen men were arrested in March as part of the sting, which has drawn criticism because of the payment scheme. They were accused of looking for sex with minors after communicating with people posing as juveniles on the web. To meet local statutes involving evidence-gathering, three Perverted Justice members who engaged in Internet chats with alleged pedophiles were deputized by Darke County's sheriff. Technically, deputizing the volunteers made them law enforcement officers during the sting...It is almost unheard of for a media outlet to allow its paid associates to act as law enforcement officials, even on a temporary basis...because they might be publicly perceived as being "agents of the government" rather than as independent news gatherers.  More from the Washington Post here and here. [Mark Godsey]

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