The investigative NBC series “To Catch a Predator” has caught flak from civil libertarian critics, but it gets cheers on at least one college campus. The Kansas State Collegian says “Predator” host Chris Hansen got a standing ovation from a packed ballroom when he spoke at the university this week. The series involves luring men who are potential sexual predators into online conversations with actors pretending to be underage girls. The actors get the men to agree to a meeting at a house; when they arrive, Hansen confronts them.
“The whole thing started about four years ago when a friend of mine told me about the Perverted Justice Web Site,” Hansen said. Perverted Justice is a group that has been running sex predator stings since 2004 and teamed up with NBC to broaden the scope of its effectiveness. One alleged sex offender walked into the house unclothed. “Never in my four years of taking classes at Michigan State University did they teach you how to interview a naked man,” Hansen said. The program has caught 300 would-be sexual predators in 12 stings. “All but a couple dozen have been or are being prosecuted,” he said. “Of those, 140 have either pleaded guilty or have been found guilty.”