In a December post about Dateline’s “To Catch a Predator” series taking place in Flagler Beach several people were upset with their arrival. At the time there was an Opinion:Editorial at the Daytona news-journal online site obviously upset with Perverted Justice.
The series began airing Tuesday and once again another expected “Opinion:Editorial” opposing Dateline’s involvement.
It’s one thing for a local police department aggressively (and ethically) to investigate local crime. It’s another for it to volunteer to be part of a sting that by nature mostly will import potential criminals from out of the county, and in some cases out of the state.
So if they were locals it would be ok? Doesn’t the mere fact these men are willing to travel distances for a possible hookup with an underage child speak volumes?
Perhaps the rift is caused by the distinction between a “sexual predator” and a “sex offender”. What is the difference between a sexual predator and a sex offender?
Despite the name of Dateline NBC’s “To Catch a Predator,” in Florida only a judge can decide whether someone is designated a sexual predator, whereas the sex offender designation applies to anyone who has committed a sex offense.
To be deemed a sexual predator, judges must consider the severity of the sex offense and how many times a person has been convicted of a sex offense. In addition, sexual predators must have been convicted of either a first-degree felony sex crime, or two second-degree felony sex crimes.
Some examples of sex offenses are: kidnapping, luring or enticing a child, sexual battery, sexual performance by a child, computer pornography, transmission of computer pornography by electronic device/equipment and procuring a person under the age of 18 for prostitution. SOURCE: Florida Department of Law Enforcement http://www.flsexoffender.net
Additional episodes of “To Catch a Predator” are scheduled to air next week.
FYI: Merriam-Webster’s definition of Predator
Main Entry: pred·a·tor
- Pronunciation: \ˈpre-də-tər, –ˌtor\
- Function: noun
- Date: 1912
1 :one that preys, destroys, or devours
2 :an animal that lives by predation
Alexandria, VA – February 28, 2007 – According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), there are an estimated 603,000 registered sex offenders in the U.S. today. However, of that number, at least 100,000 sex offenders are noncompliant and no one knows where they are.
Note: It is estimated The “Dateline NBC” predator show which aired March 6, set in Flagler Beach, drew 6.1 million. How many of those viewers who will or have appeared on past or future shows is yet to be determined.