July 05, 2011

Chris Hansen: Potential Predator?

Let's start off the week by making you mad at me.

You may have heard the reports that Chris Hansen of Dateline NBC's "To Catch a Predator" fame, was recently caught on video tape going to dinner with a woman 21 years his junior. This report by the National Enquirer (which although a tabloid, accurately broke the John Edwards affair) claims a long-term and secretive romantic tryst between the two journalists.

Let the cries of hypocrite come raining down. But, let me speak briefly first.

1) There's no hard evidence here. Perhaps there will be. Not yet.
2) If this is true, adultery is not the same as pedophilia. This women is significantly younger than him, but not a minor. She's 30 years old.
3) A while back, when I was researching the Internet hacker group, Anonymous, for our QED podcast episode on the subject, the message boards were covered with individuals hoping to start a rumor about Chris Hansen getting caught having sex with a minor. They thought it would be hysterical. The popularity of this news story shows they were right. Perhaps it's true. Perhaps it's a false rumor.

Now, to the stuff you'll really get mad at me for. I brought up this argument two years ago, but here we go again for our new readers. I don't exactly understand what Chris Hansen is arresting these guys for. They're being charged with "soliciting a minor over the Internet." But, that's not what's happening. They're "soliciting an adult pretending to be a minor over the Internet."

I'm not sure how having a sexual conversation with an adult can be a crime - regardless of "intent". I'm not saying these guys aren't creep shows. I'm just wondering how they're doing anything illegal?