Chris Hansen in August of 2015 began once again running a variation of his famous “To Catch a Predator” Internet sex sting.
His show was cancelled back in 2008 after a lawsuit when one of the men arrested committed suicide. There have been a number of suicides arising as a result of men entrapped into compromising situations. The new TV show is different in that it is not run by law enforcement, but rather Hansen’s own TV crew. The show resulted in ten arrests in Fairfield. The new show called “Hansen vs. Predator” is cashing in on the entertainment value of sex stings. I actually defended several of the men arrested years ago when Hansen filmed one of his shows in Ft. Myers, right down the street from my home. Hansen’s shows are actually dangerous in that years ago, a man in Murphy Texas shot himself as a result of the show. There was a lawsuit, a settlement and the show got cancelled.
Maybe Hansen can team up with Grady Judd in Polk County. Hansen’s new show is all about money. It is privately funded with a kickstarting campaign. For fifty dollars you can get a coffee mug with Hansen’s scowling face saying “have a seat”. For $1200 dollars you can actually have a seat, a lunch with Chris Hansen in New York. Hansen is now in talks with several networks seeking a contract for his new show. Once again, this is all about creating crime, not detecting or preventing it. What Hansen should do is a video to be used in grade schools as an educational tool teaching and warning kids about the dangers of the Internet. Educational films simply don’t pay as much as salacious TV specials. The almighty dollar rules.
These shows are all about rating and advertisers. There is a tremendous incentive to create a crime. If no one responded, if no one showed up or if someone tried to walk away there would be no show. Nothing sells on television like sex and Hansen has mastered selling it to the viewers. No one seems to care about the truth.
If you are on an Internet social media site, a dating site or a hookup site and you see a post or text that appears to be a minor, flag it and report it to the police. Prevention is the answer and the best way to protect children is to keep them off the Internet. Never try and meet a minor, for any reason, much less sex. As a sex crime lawyer, I have handled three dozen Internet sex sting cases and talked to many more men arrested around Florida and the Country. Most are not pedophiles but rather shy introverted young men on adult dating sites. They simply were not looking for children. The public is terribly misled by men like Chris Hansen and publicity seekers like Sheriff Grady Judd.