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Sailor acquitted of being a paedophile after To Catch A Predator TV show 'entrapped' him

Posted by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM
  • 1 Replies

By DAMIEN GAYLE

Last updated at 7:45 PM on 17th August 2011



Dramatic confrontations: Chris Hansen, host of NBC's To Catch A Predator

Dramatic confrontations: Chris Hansen, host of NBC's To Catch A Predator

A sailor who was accused of being a paedophile by a sting broadcast on a national cable network has been acquitted after a judge threw the case out of court.

Twenty-six-year-old Joseph Roisman appeared on NBC Dateline's To Catch A Predator five years ago, where he was accused of trying to have sex with an online decoy posing as a 13-year-old girl.

But yesterday Mr Roisman's mother whooped with delight as a judge threw the case out after just six days of testimony and accused the programme's makers of entrapment.

'I'm ready to move on with my life,' Mr Roisman told the Santa Rosa Press Democrat. He was kicked out of the Navy when the allegations became public.

Judge Arthur Wick found prosecutors had failed to prove Mr Roisman had a 'specific intent' to commit the crime he was accused of - attempting lewd acts with a child under age 14.

In reaching his decision, Judge Wick slammed the tactics used by online watchdog Perverted Justice, NBC's partner in the investigation, which he suggested lacked credibility and engaged in entrapment.

Mr Roisman had been on leave from the Navy when he was arrested after a three-day paedophile sting in Petaluma, California, in August 2006.

Perverted Justice volunteers posing as a 13-year-old girl living in the area contacted Mr Roisman through an internet chatroom and struck up an online dialogue with him.


During their chats, Mr Roisman suggested they 'cut up some fruit and eat it off each other' and asked the fictional teenager about the oldest person she had slept with, court documents said.

Mr Roisman eventually agreed to meet the girl at a Petaluma house. After travelling by bus from Watsonville, he stripped off his shirt as he entered the backyard of the home.

Dateline's television crew and host Chris Hansen were there to meet him. Mr Hansen has made a name and reputation for himself through his dramatic confrontations with suspects on the programme.

After a brief conversation, which was recorded and broadcast, Mr Roisman was arrested by officers from the Petaluma police, which was also broadcast.

'They took everything away from this kid just to make a TV show'

Stephen Turer, Joseph Roisman's lawyer

The defence team did not have an opportunity to present its case before Judge Wick stopped the trial and issued his verdict.

Mr Roisman's lawyer, Stephen Turer, argued that it was volunteers from Perverted Justice who had steered the conversation towards sex and his client had intended nothing more than 'watching movies and cuddling' after travelling 110 miles to meet the girl.

He added that his client had doubted the girl's age because she had a mature voice and spoke in a sophisticated way.

'This case is the poster child for the abuse in this programme,' Mr Turer told the Press Democrat. 'They took everything away from this kid just to make a TV show.'

After the verdict was handed down, Mr Roisman's mother, Deborah Roisman, from Watsonville, was fierce in her criticism of NBC Dateline. 

She vowed to sue NBC for the more than $100,000 she and her husband had spent defending their son against the charges, and derided the sting as a 'huge waste' of taxpayers' money.

Sonoma County jurors leaving the courthouse said they were disappointed by the methods used by Perverted Justice in carrying out the sting.

Juror Kathleeen Kerchkoff, a bank teller from Windsor, told the Press Democrat that the southern-California based group had obviously induced Mr Roisman to act the way he did, adding that she would have found him not guilty if the jury had been allowed to make a decision.

In total, 27 defendants identified by Perverted Justice and NBC Dateline's sting have been convicted. 

Perverted Justice are an online vigilante group who scour online chatrooms and social networks attempting to identify users who may be attempting to groom children for sex.

Since 2004, the group claims to have secured 546 convictions across the country.




Read more: http://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2027147/Sailor-acquitted-paedophile-To-Catch-A-Predator-TV-entrapped-him.html#ixzz1VJsY6KSF

by on Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:22 PM
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stinkerbelle28
by Member on Aug. 17, 2011 at 4:27 PM
I saw that. They are walking a fine line with those sting operations. I do think the men probably would have committed a crime, but since they didn't actually commit a crime the way the sting was set up I always wintered how they were arresting them. I dont think I worded that the best, lol.
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