To Catch a Predator in Murphy, Texas- Update

It seems like, generally speaking, the dust is settling in Murphy from that Sting Operation last month orchestrated by Dateline NBC and Perverted Justice. I still am not sure when the Murphy sting will air on television, but it does not appear that it will be this month.

As this drama has unfolded, while I have gained a great deal of respect for both sides of this issue (and heaven knows I am all for catching these predators and locking them up), I have lost most of the respect I had for perverted justice. I find PJ’s zeal to catch predators admirable, but I find their vendetta to target anyone who disagrees with their extreme methods very, very disturbing.

I want to highlight one of the comments from my previous entry and other things I have seen on the internet since then. One of the commentators on my previous entry was an unfortunate victim of one of the men caught on the Sting operation, but not in the way typically highlighted by Dateline NBC. She was the spouse of one of the men caught:

I wrote Dateline NBC earlier this year. Why? Because my husband (sweet and kind and adored by all) was arrested for trying to pickup a minor. He arranged to meet them on his lunch hour and it was the police. He spent the weekend in jail while I packed up all his stuff and called a lawyer – for me, not him.

The local news station was there for his first hearing. So I got to wait around for the segment to air and pray like crazy no redneck vigilante freak would come to my house, not knowing he wasn’t living there anymore and try to break in. After it aired (which contained the unbelieveable perverted instant messages which preceeded his arrest) I got myself out of the house within 48 sleepless hours.

I believe these people should be caught. I have been a victim of of abuse as a minor. Why I wrote NBC was because that is ALL they show, the perps getting arrested. Everytime someone finds out what my husband did, I have to hear about someone seeing that stuff on Dateline. I’m sick of hearing about it. I lived it.

It’s easy to show that week after week and have people be horrified by it. It IS horrifying. What is more horrifying is that they never, ever talk about the aftermath. What treatment do these people get? What happens to their families who didn’t do anything wrong and are torn apart?

It would be nice if Dateline would follow up more about the CAUSES and AFTERMATH of this behavior. In the further words of that commentator:

“I wrote NBC because it is evident they don’t care about catching perps. They care about the salacious story which makes them money. They will care about us when they start explaining the whys and what to do about it.”

On another place on the web, someone describes that one of the perpetrators caught in the Murphy Sting was his former roommate, John Ed Baker, and he goes on to state that he had always thought there was something fishy about this individual. This drew an angry response from the perpetrator’s (soon-to-be-ex?) wife:

I just can’t believe what I’m reading here. You people are not in anyway directly connected to John Ed right now, therefore, can you really make public statements? I was married to John Ed for 2 1/2 years, we seperated about 3 weeks ago because he was having an affair. Then I hear from friends at church that he’s been arrested. I am devastated that this might be on tv and that people would THINK that it was going on while we were married.

Whether one agrees with this particular “sting” methodology or not, the deplorable behavior of these perpetrators documented in this series has far-reaching and devastating consequences for victims other than the purported minor targets. It would be educational if Dateline would concentrate some attention on the aftermath of these issues, showing how this behavior is destructive to not only the intended target, but to family and friends of the perpetrator as well.

Finally, the commentator on my blog also asked this question, which I believe does bear some consideration:

And most importantly, why there are scores of men who 5 or 10 years ago would have NEVER even thought of such a thing doing it now? What I wouldn’t give for NBC to interview the psychiatrists who are experts in sex addiction who could explain how people end up on this downward spiral and things people should be doing to decrease the likelihood of things getting out of control like that in their homes.

Does anyone have any comments in response to this question? It would be nice to see a large portion of a Dateline NBC episode committed to this topic, rather than the salacious stuff. Of course, the salacious stuff gets ratings, so don’t hold your breath…

25 Responses to To Catch a Predator in Murphy, Texas- Update

  1. “They care about the salacious story which makes them money”

    In a very real way, they are perps as well.

  2. Seth R. says:

    Yeah? And what about the self-righteous public who just can’t get enough of these public hangings?

    I think, in a sick and twisted way, we feel better when we read about these horrors in the newspaper. We feel better about ourselves because “I would never try to have sex with a minor!” We feel better about our society because “that’s one more sicko behind bars where he belongs.” We conveniently forget that it was we (collectively) who allowed him to do what he did all those years.

    And in some cases, perhaps the most shrill and strident voices condemning this perverted guy are those who are themselves covering up the abuse in their own homes. As if vehement expressions of distaste can immunize us from the blame that lies at our own doorstep.

    And finally, once the perpetrator is caught, we want him villianized and dehumanized as much as possible. We want the five o’clock news to reassure us that this misguided fellow was never REALLY one of us to begin with. “This wasn’t a real human being, this was a MONSTER!” We don’t want to consider that the same impulses, the same capabilities and the same evils potentially lie in all of us. We do not wish to face our own inner demons, so we project them forth onto this man and then cast stones at our own darker natures.

    In a very real sense, sexual criminals are the quintessential scapegoats of modern American society.

  3. In a very real sense, sexual predators are the real vampires in modern human society, and the press is often the ghouls following in their footsteps, battening on the flesh of the dead and dying.

  4. john f. says:

    Seth, you might be right in some instances but in general, I think that expression of outrage at the normalization and commodfication of sex through internet pornography and the industry efforts to destigmatize it is not code for abuse or individual involvement in pornography. I think that many people are genuinely disturbed by the vigilante efforts of PJ and Dateline because they put the communities in which the stings are held in danger. The same people who question the wisdom and propriety of PJ’s program can also be 100% against internet pornography and child abuse of any kind, whether sexual, physical, or emotional. Raising a loud fuss about these deplorable things cannot and should not be read as an effort to hide one’s own indiscretions, even if that might indeed be so in a few cases.

  5. hope says:

    Has anyone even thought about how these people were trapped? It was a very sophisticated physiological method of manipulation. I really believe some of these people aren’t even predators at all. Some actually may have felt sorry for this online posted suicidal posing child. I am a mother of two I want the real predators caught but this seems more like a witch hunt. I say shame on Dateline for causing so much pain to families just to have a sick show. And by the way the show is very one sided they only show what makes them look like they are really getting the real predators. My problem is understanding who are being the real predators here.

  6. ron says:

    I fail to see what crime has been commited. If the crime is sex chatting online with a minor,I say not guilty the person they are chatting with is an adult. As far as showing up at the house again the person at the house is an adult so where is the crime. With all of the loop holes in the law how do they convict these guys when no real victim exists.

  7. mark says:

    The crime, Ron, is that the person believes they are chatting with a minor and chatting in a very sexual explicit way, in some cases, having internet sex with someone they believe is a minor. They also are going to the house of someone they believe is a underage minor in order to have illicit sex with a minor.

    I agree that it would be nice to hear about the full ramifications to this type of activity. But like all “reality” TV, it’s all about watching train wrecks of others. This includes American Idol, Survivor, and the others.

  8. mark says:

    Hope, who caused the pain to the families? The pervert looking for a minor to get it on with, or PJ and Dateline for educating the clueless about the dangers of letting an under aged minor chat on line.

  9. Teri says:

    In reading the responses to the “Catch a Predator” Dateline Investigations — I find it completely unbelievable that family members of the perp(s) and communities where the investigations are being conducted are protesting the apprehension of the devious predators. It is my opinion as a community , a parent, and a country, we have an obligation to protect our future generation and children from these sexual deviants. I also believe strongly that the sick individuals seeking out our children do not warrant protection or privacy while caught in the act of possibly violating our children.

  10. Johanna says:

    Wow!
    Everything isn’t big in Texas. You have a lot of small minded people. So what if the decoy is an adult. These sick losers don’t think they are talking to an adult pretending to be a child…THEY THINK THEY ARE TALKING TO CHILDREN! Hence how a sting works. These (Sickos) intentionally seek the attention, conversation, and subsequent meeting WITH THE INTENT, to have sex with a child. Why do so many pedophile sympathizers cry “entrapment.” You cant get trapped in anything illegal if you aren’t doing anything wrong. And that kind of graphic discussion with a minor is illegal and immoral. Grow brains people. Unless you have blinders on, these men want to hurt children, that’s the long and short of it. Even if a real child were soliciting that kind of attention, an adult…a law abiding adult would just not engage a child in that behavior. These aren’t the garden variety deviant lurking in the bushes, bribing our children with candy. These are tech savvy individuals who take advantage of today’s parents lack of attention they are paying to their children and there online activities. In a way, they are worse, because the are tucking your kids in at night and you have no idea.
    And as far as the families that get hurt in the aftermath..too bad, so sad. Move. No matter if it’s on the news or relegated to just your family and loved ones, your life is forever changed, and that isn’t Dateline or perverted justice or the police or the judges fault. You are just a victim like someone’s child might have been if the sicko you call spouse or son had been allowed to hurt a real child, IF THEY ALREADY HAVEN’T! Get a therapist, get your children a therapist and pray to God and thank Him that your child wasn’t a victim. If communities banned together to keep scum off the streets instead of protesting people who are trying to do good, maybe there would be less victims.

  11. Jordan F. says:

    I don’t think anyone disputes that what these people are doing is horrendous and wrong. Also, I don’t think anyone has said (at least I know I haven’t) that these people should not be taken into custody and locked up.

    What I did say was that I would find it interesting for Dateline NBC to ALSO include a portion of the show to the impact of these mens’ deplorable behavior on their families. Stuff like this can rip a family apart- it seems like it would be a good deterrent to show how destructive this behavior is, not only to society, but to the very people these men claim to love and hold dear.

  12. DCUTE1 says:

    JOHANNA DEFIENTLY HAS A POINT!! THANK YOU FOR THOROUGHLY EXPLAINING THE OBVIOUS TO ALL THESE PEOPLE WHO ARE STUCK BEING INDENIAL!! THE SHOW IS TAKING OFF CREEPS FROM OUR STREETS-THEY WENT TO THESE HOMES WITH INTENTIONS AND ANY SICK MAN WHO WOULD CHAT WITH A TEEN/ CHILD ABOUT HAVING SEX SHOULD BE PUNISHED. YES IT MUST BE DEVASTATING FOR THE FAMILIES BUT LIKE JOHANNA SAID–THEY SHOULD BE HAPPY THEIR OWN KIDS HAVE NOT BEEN HURT BY HAVING THIS SICK MAN NEAR THEM!!

  13. Reggie says:

    Stephen M is a little dramatic. And stupid.

  14. Rachel says:

    I completely agree with Johanna. Its not Dateline’s fault that these people go over to a house with their perverted intentions. And people who blame other parties other than the alleged pervert are just trying to pass the buck. Sometimes, I think that criminals get more benefits than hard working citizens. However, I would be very interested in seeing Dateline do programs that discuss the aftermath of these situations…however, I think that some families may not want their lives further televised. Regardless, it would be nice if Dateline explained to the narrow-minded out there, that it is not the family’s fault and that the press should leave them alone.

  15. Rachel says:

    I was doing further research in to the series and I came across this. In the second paragraph, Chris Hanson talks about the effects on the family. http://insidedateline.msnbc.msn.com/archive/category/1035.aspx

  16. Cheryl Dewey says:

    You have to feel bad for the families of these sick perverts but, it is the perverts that have caused the problem and should except all the blame not the TV show. If men thought they might be caught in a sting and end up on television maybe they would STOP! In the original article on YAHOO News, the City Managers contract was bought out. The city should be proud that someone was looking out for their children. Don’t hide your head in the sand and say these crimes have no basis. These men(and I use the term loosely) BELIEVED they were chatting with minors and the fact they showed up after driving ANY distance proves they ARE perverts and detriments to our society! Ms. Watson doesn’t think her perfect neighborhood should be put on display. With 3 children and a fourth on the way she should be cheering that her neighborhood is protected! Perverts live in ALL neighborhoods of all financial and professional levels. The fact that Murphy doesn’t want to prosecute any of them screams”PERVERTS WELCOME”! We would rather protect you than prosecute you. We would rather have you live here in PEACE than be embarressed in front of the world that you exist! DATELINE feel free to come and use MY house and MY computer if it will take ONE pervert off the streets of Midland Michigan.

  17. Kathy says:

    I am the mother of an adult survivor of child sexual assault, and I can tell you all here without reservation, the predators NEED to be off the streets!!! My son was horribly and traumatically sexually abused by a very trusted family friend for several years. This predator was a fellow church member, husband, father, and knows his Bible chapter and verse. You see, these predators are exactly that…PREDATORS. They prey on our children/grandchildren. The Murphy Police Dept. and City Manager need to be thanked, and not fired/criticized. I applaud their efforts to keep children safe!!! If only there had been such a sting operation to arrest this man who is STILL out there. The DA involved in the Murphy cases needs to re-examine his priorities. The Texas Legislature just passed Texas’ version of Jessica’s Law, and ABOLISHED the statute of limitations on child sexual assault. This state needs to protect our children, and whatever measures that constitutes, then that is what is needed. PLEASE think about the families of the sexually abused children, not just the predator’s family. How do you think we are dealing with all the aftermath of horrible sexual abuse of our child???? Who is the victim, and WHO IS THE PREPETRATOR????

  18. Brook H says:

    Ok some of you that have left comments about how Datelibne should show a segment about how the family reacts… Don’t ya’ll think that they might have been through enough already??? I mean finding out that one of your loved ones is a sexual predator is torment enough….This show might not have any impact on most of the sexual predators in the world but the men that get caught, and go to jail deserve what is coming to them if not more…. The people that have been sexually abused I bet are very thankfull that there is a show out on t.v like this now b/c i believe it gives them releif knowing that there is one less sexual predator in this world…. These pervs wanted attention apperently, they went to a young childs home wanting to have sexual relations with them and they want attention from whoever they tell there sex stories, well they got the attention they asked for now it is braoadcasted all over the nation, if there embarassed all well they deserve it… No I don’t feel sorry for them I don’t really see how anyone could, this show didn’t ruin their lives, they have no lives and if they did then they just ruined them theirselves….Although Datline has this show out these sickos will never stop its just goin to begin to get worse and worse every generation, every parent just needs to watch their kids closley, monitior them.. Im not sayin smother them and give them no life i’m sayin talk to them have a conv. every now and then… I just hope and pray to god that when I get old enough to have kids the won’t be sucked into one of these chat rooms and be dumb enough to meet up with a predator or be a predator for that matter…..

  19. Cheryl says:

    Although, as a family member of the accused you may feel embarressed, you have no need. This is not anything you need to take responsibility for, unless, you knew about it and didn’t turn them over to the authorities. As for the comment”what happens to the families that didn’t do anythng wrong and are torn apart?” Place the blame squarely where it belongs. On the pervert! Not on DATELINE. To the “soon-to-be-ex wife” of John Ed, you are worried about about people who THINK that this was going on while you were married? Do you honestly THINK it wasn’t!!! Do you think your husband became a pedophile 3 weeks ago! Be assured he has been a pedophile most of his adult life. These guys are great at hiding their perversion. The fact that you had no idea just goes to show you how good he was at it. You are not to be blamed nor should you be embarressed. You cannot control the actions of another nor be responsible for them. Shame on the Murphy justice system who let all these perverts walk away! Who are you trying to protect? Obviously not the children! You are as guilty as the perverts for knowing they exist an allowing them to walk free! SHAME-SHAME-SHAME. The good citizens of Murphy should demand the City Manager be rehired and the prosecuter resign!

  20. Janet says:

    Why aren’t the families asking their family member who got busted where their responsibility is for the family destruction. It isn’t DateLine’s job to worry about the after math that these predators have created for their families. Everyday law enforcement arrests child molesters and it isn’t their responsibility to take care of the families. The child molester doesn’t just wake up one day and say “I think today I will go online and pick up a kid to molest”. They have been doing it for a while. I say shame on you to all of the people who are putting the blame on Date Line. Take responsiblity for your own lives. The family of the Prosecutor who shot himself should be checking the children in their family out to see if he molested them. To sue Date Line because the pervert in your family finally got caught is ignorant. The guy was a scumbag and he got caught. Where is your responsibility to the children he molested, because that certainly wasn’t his first time. I think the city Manager should be rehired. The city is an embarrassment to children every where who have to live the rest of their lives with the shame of what was done to them by the scumbag on Date Line.

  21. Teresa says:

    Who cares about this woman’s husband? Sorry you married a sick pervert bitch but noone cares what happened to you or you r family! You know what they need to show is what happens to the minors!!!!! All the kids whose lives are fucked up by being sexually violated by sick perverts like your husband. So you had to go to jail BOO FUCKING HOO! You should have let him to rot and instead gone down to some shelter and helped victims of the crimes your sick freak of a husband commits. Whay are you blaming NBC and Perv Justice? Why aren’t you blaming your husband? WTF? wha kind of a world is it when people can only think about themselves and defend the sick pervs? How would you like it if someone defender your abuser? Get over yourself and dumb the creep you married before he molests your kids.

  22. Brook H says:

    i totally agree with teresa i mean i wouldnt of used some of the words she used but she is right, how do u kno he hasn’t never molested your kids????get over it, find yourself a new trusted man…….

  23. Addictions says:

    Addictions

    Addictions

  24. Clydia McKean says:

    So many children that I know have been molested. It’s horrible what these kids go thru. These children will never be the same. The ones I know have got away with it because the children were too young for the law to believe them. My opinon is no child should ever to be able to say sexual things or tell someone what happened to them. I am a nurse, on disability now. I would like to know who I can contact to be an advocate for these children? Any help would be appreciated. Thank you for your time & consideration.

  25. Nick says:

    Teresa: She never attempted to defend what her husband did, she simply stated that it would be appreciated if the program also focused on the impact that the perp’s actions had on his family. You’re one of those who apparently can’t understand or comprehend anything unless it happens to you personally. Imagine finding out one day that the person you are married to, live with and share your life with is suddenly found to be living a sort of secrect life you never knew about and ended up in some situation like this. Imagine how that would impact you and your life. She too is a victim of his actions.

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