A federal judged has ruled that the sister of a man who committed suicide after being filmed on NBC’s To Catch As A Predator may sue the network for $100M.
Louis Conradt, a 56-year-old assistant district attorney, shot himself in November 2006 after he was confronted at his Terrell, Texas, home by police officers. They were accompanied by an NBC news crew that was there to film his arrest.
“To Catch a Predator,” a segment of NBC’s “Dateline” newsmagazine program, lures men to a house with hidden cameras in the belief that they are about to have sexual relations with underage girls or boys. There, they are confronted by the program’s host and promptly arrested. In Conradt’s case, he was expecting to meet up with a 13-year-old boy.
Critics of the show say it is a form of entrapment, and they have questioned NBC’s partnership on the series with an online vigilante group called Perverted-Justice.
Conradt’s sister, Patricia Conradt, sued the network, saying “Dateline” was responsible for his death and the harm to his reputation. She grew up in the house where Conradt committed suicide.
The suit charges NBC with intentional infliction of emotional distress and violation of civil rights. In his ruling, the judge said, “A reasonable jury could find that NBC crossed the line from responsible journalism to irresponsible and reckless intrusion into law enforcement.”
The sister probably doesn’t have standing to sue the cops for entrapment.