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January 24, 2008 11:07 PM   Subscribe

Actress Dani Miura talks about what it's like to work as bait on To Catch A Predator. Previously.
posted by miss lynnster (67 comments total) 4 users marked this as a favorite

 
I was about 7 years old, walking around in the mall and I was about to get pictures done for a pageant. The photographer asked me, “Have you ever considered being a model?” and I said, "No, but I would love it!"

Whew, it's a good thing all those pedophiles just stick to the internet!
posted by Alvy Ampersand at 11:17 PM on January 24, 2008 [6 favorites]


Anonymous also caught a predator (Encyclopedia Dramatica, NSFW, NSF people without thick skin, naked pedophile picture warning, etc...) but with much more lulz.
posted by TheOnlyCoolTim at 11:42 PM on January 24, 2008 [3 favorites]


She's kind of hot. Does anyone know... hold on, I'll finish this thought after I answer the knock at my door.
posted by item at 12:23 AM on January 25, 2008


I just came in here to post basically the same comment as item. Never mind, then.
posted by Joakim Ziegler at 12:24 AM on January 25, 2008


I should probably point out that, regardless of the fact she's of legal age, I don't think she's hot
posted by item at 12:24 AM on January 25, 2008


Great mind... something... alike.
posted by item at 12:25 AM on January 25, 2008


Can we avert a debate over whether she's hot, please? Let's focus instead on how f-ed up that show is.
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:38 AM on January 25, 2008 [4 favorites]


I'm afraid to enter this thread. This isn't one of those Catch a Troll threads, is it?

I brought condoms...
posted by davejay at 1:45 AM on January 25, 2008 [5 favorites]


I skimmed through the interview and the whole thing is strange to me. The way her bio trumpets "To Catch a Predator" as her big acting break. I haven't seen the show but I've heard enough about it to know that the predators they're catching are, shall we say, not actors. She comes off as if it's just a job, she's doing what they tell her to, nothing scary except once a guy got tazed, but no big deal. I wonder if the seriousness of what happens to these people after they get arrested has really entered her mind.

Q Was there any comedy on the set in general or did the set have a quiet, somber sort of tone?
A. Oh no. It was comedy the whole time. We had a guy that was talking about anal sex with me so the whole entire time, they’d be joking and they’re like “Ooh Dani do you want some anal?” “Why don’t you go for that guy?” and it was just joking around the whole time.

posted by PercussivePaul at 2:06 AM on January 25, 2008


Oh! I know her! I mean, sort of. I met her on an online forum.
posted by Astro Zombie at 2:35 AM on January 25, 2008 [6 favorites]


That guy getting birdshit in his mouth is real and this is fake, right? This programme has to be, like, totally photoshopped?
posted by jontyjago at 2:37 AM on January 25, 2008


This was an interesting post, getting insight into a very bizarre and, as Lobster Mitten put it, totally f-ed up show. But I thought the interview was overall pretty unremarkable. She seems quite unintelligent and doesn't offer much insight into what it's like to be a part of the show, other than the fact that, as PercussivePaul quoted, the people on set seem to be utter jackasses who make jokes in the process of ruining (harmful but obviously messed up) people's lives. The show is fucked up and the actress doesn't seem sophisticated enough to know what she's a part of. That's my take on it, at least.
posted by farishta at 3:11 AM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I should add that I think pedophilia is a horrible horrible crime, and that my problem with CAP is its format, the way it makes spectacles out of these people for the enjoyment of viewers (and, it seems, their staff).
posted by farishta at 3:19 AM on January 25, 2008


There's nothing I can post here that isn't gonna result in a MetaTalk callout, so I'm just going to slink away quietly.
posted by PeterMcDermott at 3:22 AM on January 25, 2008


Do you ever get recognized on the street for your work on the show?
Oh yeah. I’ve gotten a couple, which is pretty funny. They’re like “Oh, you’re the pedophile girl.”


I wonder if this is actually a good career move.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 3:33 AM on January 25, 2008


I hate that show.
posted by sophist at 3:49 AM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


There's a lot I'd like to say, but I can't think of how to phrase any of it without it potentially coming back to haunt me later.

I'll just say this girl is pretty and I do not care for this show or what it does.
posted by Uther Bentrazor at 5:21 AM on January 25, 2008




This part is WTF, where it sounds like she has to lie:

Did they ever mention the show while talking to you?
Oh yeah. In half of the conversations, they would say “This isn’t one of those To Catch A Predator shows is it?” or “You’re not a police officer are you?”

posted by Brandon Blatcher at 5:56 AM on January 25, 2008


The program has proven to be quite successful, both in the amount of arrests and in terms of ratings.

My understanding is that while a lot of people are arrested not too many of them are actually convicted.

This part is WTF, where it sounds like she has to lie:

Um, why wouldn't you expect her to lie?
posted by delmoi at 6:22 AM on January 25, 2008


Anyway, I also disapprove of the show, and any 'hotness' she might have is kind of ruined by knowing what she does. Like Ann Coulter or someone.
posted by delmoi at 6:29 AM on January 25, 2008


It's all comedy and pratfalls now, but this girl is in for a lifetime of nagging shame beginning sometime in her mid-thirties. Which I think is what they call justice. Perverted justice.
posted by stupidsexyFlanders at 6:34 AM on January 25, 2008 [2 favorites]


How do you feel like some people have criticized the show regarding entrapment?
It makes me really mad because I know that perverted justice does a really, really good job of making sure they’re not trying to seduce anybody.We just sit in a chat room, we say 11, female, Long Beach, California and then see who pops up so when people accuse them of seducing these guys, it annoys me because I know it’s not true.

Were there times when it seemed like the pedophile was going to just leave and then it was you that kept them there?
Yea. There was one guy in particular I had to stand outside with for 40 minutes and talk him into walking into the house.

Um........
posted by googly at 6:37 AM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


I remember an earlier thread about this where someone linked to a more extensive interview with an accused pedophile and everyone was amazed with the weird, distant way the guy talked about what he did and wanted to do and how he was trying to justify everything he was saying, like he knew what he was doing was wrong but didn't want to just say so.

Then I read this interview and wondered why I felt I had read it before.
posted by XQUZYPHYR at 6:49 AM on January 25, 2008



Um, why wouldn't you expect her to lie?


Because I'm naive. I wouldn't think that someone would pull this or that a network would get behind it, but there you go. The freak show continues.
posted by Brandon Blatcher at 6:52 AM on January 25, 2008


Let's focus instead on how f-ed up that show is.

Someone educate me, since I've never actually watched the show, and frankly, don't care to, but isn't all basically televised entrapment?
posted by Dave Faris at 7:25 AM on January 25, 2008


Did you ever make any mistakes?
Yeah, there were some mix-ups. I answered the door when they didn’t realize that the guy, Dan, was supposed to answer the door, so it got really confusing. “Oh, that person’s not here right now.” We ended up still arresting the guy, but it was pretty funny.


Am I the only person who thinks this is not funny, but rather sad and horrible? The guy in question here was probably a dangerous creep, but you've still destroyed his life on television. Is there really a lighter side to that?
posted by OverlappingElvis at 7:33 AM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


To Catch a Predator is definitely America at it's finest.
posted by yerfatma at 8:01 AM on January 25, 2008


This interview with the actress is really boring. Seems like the reporter really has to draw her out to get her to say more than a sentence with each question. She's gorgeous, but engaging she isn't. I'm amazed she kept the guy talking for 40 minutes to get him into the house in the first place.

I'm conflicted about the 40-minute guy, btw. He was, definitely, looking for an eleven(!) year old girl on the internet. And he drove to the house, so he certainly wanted to get together. But then, once there, he balked. If you had to convince him to come into the house, wouldn't your time be better spent with someone else, someone more dangerous?

Was it just because they thought it would make for good TV that they kept after this guy, enticing him in? "Oh, think how extreme his reaction will be, after we did all this to convince him it was safe!" "Yeah, that will play really well on the show."
posted by misha at 8:22 AM on January 25, 2008


That Esquire story terfatma linked to is devastating.
posted by Astro Zombie at 9:46 AM on January 25, 2008


I wonder what her parents were thinking, especially as they were police officers. The mind boggles.
posted by stinkycheese at 9:59 AM on January 25, 2008


Turning this into a tv show and a circus has not helped things, I think, although maybe it has spread awareness and actually made predators less apt to act out of fear of being caught on TV. But with regards to Perverted Justice, and not Chris Hansen, isn't it probably good to try to stop people from molesting 11-year old kids before it actually happens, rather than afterwards? Without groups like that, I'm not aware of any preventative measure being taken to stop these guys from finding real 11-year-olds and acting out their fantasies.

Catching them before leads to a less serious charge, I think -- an attempt crime only -- and so any sentence should be shorter, but it does stop the person from succeeding and it does mean that the person might be forced to get treatment for trying to have relations with an 11-year-old child. I think that's a good thing. I don't think it's good for these guys to have their lives ruined by a tv interview that will make them known wherever they go now. That's cruel. But I do think some purer, less sensationalistic version of this enterprise is coming from the right place. Perverted Justice was probably better off before Chris Hansen made them into a prime time spectacle.
posted by onlyconnect at 10:03 AM on January 25, 2008


W. T. F.

I'm so glad I don't own a TV. Why did you have to bring this here?
posted by tarheelcoxn at 10:08 AM on January 25, 2008


More on the Conradt case.
posted by tkolar at 10:15 AM on January 25, 2008


Sigh, screwed up the case link.
posted by tkolar at 10:17 AM on January 25, 2008


Who loves you and who do you love!

Chris Hansen FTW!

Awful, awful television.
posted by Samuel Farrow at 10:27 AM on January 25, 2008


the people on set seem to be utter jackasses who make jokes in the process of ruining (harmful but obviously messed up) people's lives.

I have a friend who is an undercover narcotics officer. From knowing her, I know that the joking that happens is purely how these people cope. This is their job and they are spending HOURS sitting around waiting. It gets really, really boring. It's not all about the guy they're going after, just like any job there are interoffice politics and friendships and stuff going on. You can't really expect people to turn their personalities entirely off and just be serious all the time. When your job entails that you are CONSTANTLY facing ugly, depressing, or horrible things that happen in the world, you have to have a sense of humor (sometimes morbid) to keep yourself sane. Kinda like how people who work in morgues don't just sit around focusing on the seriousness of death.

Personally, I'm glad the show exists if only for two reasons...

One: it's in the public consciousness enough that now not only are people aware that their kids might be talking to people they shouldn't (which they need to know!) but maybe there are pedophiles who are now too paranoid to act on their desires (which is, in a sense, getting them before they do harm). Anything that somehow helps kids stay safe is ok by me. So hopefully it does, maybe.

Two: I LOVE watching people being ambushed by the landscaping. Seriously, when they dress up like trees to be more sneaky, it gives me the giggles every time. Because it's SOOOO unnecessarily silly and the pedophiles are like, "Whaaa? I thought I was free! But there's a bush chasing me! What the hell?"

Anyhow, fortunately there are some God-fearing men who only get involved because they wanted to explain to the girl's mother about her daughter's chat room behavior. Because otherwise one might think these guys were simply being caught red-handed doing something that they really really should know better than. I mean... think of it this way... Sacha Baron Cohen had to stop doing Borat and Ali G because people caught on. Nobody would fall for it anymore. But To Catch A Predator keeps going and going and going because these guys are determined. If they weren't, there is no reason they would show up at an 11 year old girl's house with condoms and beer in the first place.
posted by miss lynnster at 10:54 AM on January 25, 2008


They called the team Perverted Justice. There is no satire I can suggest that will outdo what they themselves have created.

It would be on par with a police advocacy group calling themselves Throw Down Piece or something.
posted by quin at 11:01 AM on January 25, 2008


I have a friend who is an undercover narcotics officer.

It's a real cheap derail, but I must:
[immature]
Does your friend ever get annoyed when y'all get together and you or another friends points and yells NARC!! NARC!! ? No? Cause man, I don't know if I could let that drop..
[/immature]
posted by cavalier at 11:09 AM on January 25, 2008


No. Because she'd put me in a headlock and kick my ass.
posted by miss lynnster at 11:11 AM on January 25, 2008


Maybe there's something I'm missing. How exactly does someone of the age of consent effectively serve as bait for child molesters? 'Cause like...she's not a fucking child.
posted by kittens for breakfast at 11:44 AM on January 25, 2008


The guys are only IMing and trying to meet these people because they think they are underage kids. And if they weren't doing it with fake underage kids they would be doing it with real underage kids, which tends to mess up the kids. Like I said above, though, I think anything they get arrested for is probably some milder form of whatever charge they would get if they had gone through with their plans with a real kid.
posted by onlyconnect at 12:05 PM on January 25, 2008


How exactly does someone of the age of consent effectively serve as bait for child molesters?

The same way that an undercover officer who is not actually a paid hitman effectively serves as bait for someone hoping to have their spouse whacked.

People have tried the "well I didn't *actually* pay a hit man to kill my wife, 'cuz it was a police officer in disguise" defense, but it doesn't seem to fly too well with the courts.
posted by tkolar at 12:10 PM on January 25, 2008


it's in the public consciousness enough that now not only are people aware that their kids might be talking to people they shouldn't (which they need to know!)

This is not a good thing. It increases parents' mindless paranoia, and diverts their attention from the real threats to their children.
posted by me & my monkey at 12:18 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


parents' mindless paranoia

I don't think it's mindless to be concerned about what your kid is doing if s/he spends hours on the internet. This is a danger that pre-internet kids weren't really exposed to and parents should be told about it. While lots of parents might know about google and cuteoverload and imdb, etc., they may not necessarily know what can go on in chatrooms, and they should precisely because it is a real threat.
posted by onlyconnect at 2:06 PM on January 25, 2008


Now even cats are in on it.
posted by mr_crash_davis at 3:07 PM on January 25, 2008 [1 favorite]


First of all, this is entirely online. As the Esquire article pointed out, it's possible (unlikely, but possible) that these people are assuming that their chat partners are pretending to be underage, just as they are often pretending to be something they are not.

Second, in the standard entrapment case, something changes hands, usually money. The john pays the pretend hooker, or for the suitcase of drugs, or to have her husband whacked. Nothing changes hands here. The victims of this - and yes, I'm going to call them victims - barely get to meet, let alone touch, the actors. And the actors themselves - all of them - are over 18. This is a thought crime, pure and simple.

There is nothing to suggest that "well, if we don't catch them now, they'll be diddling other kids". Most of these guys don't have records. The actors are leading them on, deliberately enticing them to meet. How many real 11 year olds do that?

I completely agree that kids need to be made aware of the potential dangers of online communication. But the reality is that they are literally thousands of times more likely to be victimized by someone in their family, rather than someone online. Unfortunately, that doesn't make for great television - there's no hunt, no chase, no kill. So we're entertained with men that we deliberately bait, draw into traps, and publicly humiliate.

Furthermore, as the Esquire article makes clear, the legality of most of what Perverted Justice, the TV show, and the hired cops do is questionable, at best. Cases are often thrown out because of a rush for the story and a big, juicy picture. The show is ineffective, caters to the absolute lowest common denominator (in both victims and its audience) and sometimes kills people. Tell me again what's good about it, or why anyone with a sense of decency would want to be associated with it?
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 4:20 PM on January 25, 2008 [3 favorites]


Go ahead and read this transcript and get back to us, will you Bora?

'Cuz this isn't some abstract game we're talking about. We're talking about middle-aged men propositioning 13 year olds.
posted by tkolar at 4:38 PM on January 25, 2008


and sometimes kills people

??
posted by LobsterMitten at 4:40 PM on January 25, 2008


As someone who was once an 11 year old girl, trust me when I say that people may firmly believe they are being led on sexually when the truth is the child is not doing or thinking anything that has any adult sexual relevance. I was friends with a neighbor, a college guy, when I was 11 or 12. To me it was just fun friendship, but my mom knew better and ran him off. I was so angry, but a few years later I realized that she was totally right and I had no clue. We played tennis together a lot, and he kept saying things like, "I wish my girlfriend was more like you" and stuff. He flirted with me and told me how pretty I was. I was friendly in return -- I liked him a lot and the attention made me feel good -- but when I think back I can see how was probably attributing adult thoughts to me that I definitely was NOT having about ANYONE yet.

Fortunately, he never got a chance to touch me. So hindsight tells me that my mom behaved awesomely.
posted by miss lynnster at 5:19 PM on January 25, 2008


I want to know whay the "kids" always have a basket of laundry. Is it for protection? So they look industrious? Anyone know?
posted by pearlybob at 6:00 PM on January 25, 2008


We're talking about middle-aged men propositioning 18 year olds pretending to be 13 year olds.
posted by tkolar at 4:38 PM on January 25 [+] [!]


Fixed that for you.
posted by mek at 4:57 AM on January 26, 2008


We're talking about middle-aged men propositioning 18 year olds pretending to be 13 year olds.
Fixed that for you.


Really? You read that transcript and think that was the very first time that guy had ever been in a chat room having a conversation like that?
posted by tkolar at 11:35 AM on January 26, 2008


Although arguably it could have been that every single time he went online to solicit young boys he ended up talking to a member of Perverted Justice. No harm, no foul!
posted by tkolar at 11:38 AM on January 26, 2008


tkolar - we prosecute people for what they do, not what we think they might have done in the past.

miss lynnster - I agree with you whole-heartedly, and your mom was awesome. However, I also know that you weren't giving said pervert your address and inviting him over for sex. That's exactly what these actors are doing.

LobsterMitten - I'd strongly recommend reading the Esquire article.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 11:52 AM on January 26, 2008


tkolar - we prosecute people for what they do

Actually we prosecute them for what they set out to do, not what the successfully accomplished.

You'll notice that in none of those links did anyone actually do anything other than talk to an undercover agent. And they were arrested and went to jail for it.

Please advise me on their status as victims.
posted by tkolar at 12:22 PM on January 26, 2008


Bora Horz Gobuchul writes....
I'd strongly recommend reading the Esquire article.

And I strongly suggest reading this transcript.

But I'm guessing you won't, as wading into the actual sleaze that's going on would be too much of a disconnect from the moral purity you'd like to bless these guys with.
posted by tkolar at 12:28 PM on January 26, 2008


I agree with you whole-heartedly, and your mom was awesome. However, I also know that you weren't giving said pervert your address and inviting him over for sex. That's exactly what these actors are doing.

Well, he knew where I lived. And who knows where he would've taken it if my mom hadn't stepped in quickly. I didn't know much about sex at that point at all. And I was really really liking the attention he was paying to me. He probably could've manipulated me if he'd been given the chance. I was pretty naive.
posted by miss lynnster at 12:45 PM on January 26, 2008


Please, tell us more about this "moral purity."
posted by mek at 12:49 PM on January 26, 2008


aside from the show, which is crazycrap, this catch-em cat and mouse thing on the Internet is just weird. yes, i'm aware that there are predators, and i experienced my own share of predators as a kid on the street in the suburbs. (teachers, mostly, come to think of it.) but really, the only time i couldn't handle myself was when i was feeling unloved by my family and alone. predators will always be everywhere, but a healthy child would not fall for this crap, and would tell the guy to piss off. i have been in a position to ask whole classrooms of high schoolers if they've ever encountered a creep online. they thought it was ridiculous question--that it was no problem to avoid creeps by hanging out in familiar places, and if they trotted through a public chatroom, they simply stepped around the horseshit. big f-ing deal.

so i wonder if there are actually any 12 year olds crazy enough to go standing on a virtual street corner flashing the old men in the sedans. if they do exist, then they've got bigger problems that only peripherally involve the creep.
posted by RedEmma at 1:09 PM on January 26, 2008


Please, tell us more about this "moral purity."

I'd like to hear more myself, since apparently if you possess it then greeting thirteen year olds by telling them they're "hot" is reasonable everyday behavior expected of district attorneys.

Let's be clear: I think the show is crap, and I think that publicly humiliating the perps amounts to cruel and unusual punishment. But to claim that no wrongdoing has taken place flies in the face of the legal code, the courts, and common decency.

Something that seems to evade the grasp of some of the commenters in this and other similar threads is that the crime took place when the person originally solicited someone they believed to be a minor. The person showing up at the house is nice because it provides a slam-dunk identification between the real person and the chatroom id, but the crime was committed long before the perp delivered themselves into the waiting hands of law enforcement.

If there were no cameras present I would consider this to be excellent police work. That there are cameras present sullies that, but it doesn't change the fact that a crime took place before Dateline was even involved.
posted by tkolar at 1:34 PM on January 26, 2008


tkolar: I'd like to think that I've been civil in this thread, but I feel you're making it personal - I'd ask you, politely, to dial it back a few notches.

I have a problem with entrapment in general: I think the technique creates the opportunity for a crime where one didn't exist previously. Be that as it may, there are several differences between To Catch a Predator and the cases you've cited (I didn't read through all of them, so I apoligise in advance if you've contributed an example that would be germane to the argument).

First, the defendant spoke to the undercover operative face to face, through the majority of the case.

Second, if the undercover agent had taken leave of his senses and gone through with what the defendant was proposing (killing the wife, etc) a crime would have been committed. In the case of To Catch a Predator the defendant would have had sex with someone that was over 18 - which, no matter what he believes, is not a crime, at least in most states.
posted by Bora Horza Gobuchul at 1:42 PM on January 26, 2008


tkolar: I'd like to think that I've been civil in this thread, but I feel you're making it personal - I'd ask you, politely, to dial it back a few notches.

I do apologize for the heat of my comments.

At the same time, I feel like I've said all I really have to say on this topic. In fact, if you honestly believe these men were entrapped into soliciting a minor for sex -- the crime they are prosecuted for, mind you -- then there's not much I'm going to be able to say to change your mind.
posted by tkolar at 2:01 PM on January 26, 2008


I can't say I'm wild about the techniques used in these stings, either. To beg a guy to come into the house for 40 minutes or to lie about the fact that the whole thing is a setup seems like wrong.
posted by ThePinkSuperhero at 4:17 PM on January 26, 2008 [1 favorite]


Bora Horza: There isn't a single-sentence answer to the question "who has this show killed and how?" that you could lay on me? I think it's a fucked-up show, I'm not all that interested in reading 12 pages of background and character profiles about it and so on. But have they KILLED people? And in a way that you can't summarize?
posted by LobsterMitten at 12:06 AM on January 27, 2008


The Esquire article is about a prosecuting attorney who committed suicide after being caught on the show.
posted by concrete at 1:28 AM on January 27, 2008


Actually, he wasn't caught on the show, but it looks like the prospect of appearing on it caused him to end his life. According to the Esquire article, after he didn't appear at the trap-house, the show's producers told the police to get arrest and search warrants, which they did. The writer speculates that seeing the TV crew led him to kill himself.
posted by Kirth Gerson at 5:10 AM on January 27, 2008


Thanks.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:30 PM on January 27, 2008


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