...to the tune of $105 million.
That's the settlement they've been ordered to dole out to the family of a man who they say was driven to suicide as a direct result of the show's ethically questionable tactics. Apparently, a federal judge agreed, stating the network "crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement." Ouch. So, what happened?
Well, Louis William Conradt Jr., a prosecutor from Dallas, was engaging in a sexually explicit conversation with an adult posed as a 13 year old boy. Yucky. As "To Catch a Predator" does, they set up a sting. Thing is, this prosecutor never showed up. NBC wasn't satisfied, so they pressured authorities to go to his house and arrest him anyway.
The judge in this case, Denny Chin, found that both the network and the law enforcement acted with deliberate indifference, which is a no-no when something bad happens as a result. The future of the "To Catch a Predator" series is uncertain...understandibly so.
I'm not saying they shouldn't have done anything about this guy (although, in lots of cases, "solicitation" is a bullshit charge), but it's clear they could have done something differently. Personally, when I enjoyed myself an episode or two of TCaP, I always felt like it was a little ethically ambiguous. Did anyone else feel the same, or did your seething hatred for these men blind you to any concerns that might have been there?