Judge: 'To Catch a Predator' is entrapment

Man featured on show has case tossed out

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Man featured on show has case tossed out

Image: MSNBC

A California man accused of being a sexual predator after a TV sting has had his case thrown out.

Joseph Roisman, now 26, appeared on the Dateline NBC show “To Catch a Predator” in 2006, where he was caught on tape showing up at a home to allegedly have sex with a 13-year-old girl that he had met on the Internet. As fans of the show know, that girl didn’t exist, and Roisman found himself in an awkward situation having to be confronted by the show’s host, Chris Hansen.

Roisman was part of a sting by the show working with volunteers from the group Perverted Justice, an organization which routinely poses as minors online, and when they are approached by adults looking to meet them for sex, they inform the police. This particular sting in Petaluma, California, resulted in 29 arrests and 27 convictions.

But Roisman managed to escape jail and go free, reports the Press Democrat, after Judge Arthur Wick ruled that the online conversations between Roisman and the virtual 13-year-old contained insufficient evidence and that Perverted Justice “lacked credibility” and “engaged in entrapment.”


Wick said, “The axiom actions speak louder than words clearly does not apply in this case.”

Roisman’s attorney, Stephen Turer, had argued that Roisman didn’t even believe the person he was chatting with was 13 years old due to the “sophisticated and mature messages” and that his intent was not to have sex when he traveled over 100 miles to meet her.

Roisman’s mother, Deborah Roisman, said “To Catch a Predator” made the past five years “a living hell” for her son, and that she and her family are planning to sue NBC, in part to recoup the $100,000 her and her husband spent on legal fees in their son’s defense.

Besides the arrest and spending a subsequent year in jail, Roisman was also dismissed from the Navy, where he was a cook at the time.

Roisman plans on petitioning the Navy to reinstate him into the service, saying, “I’m ready to move on with my life.”

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  • Wife of RSO

    Finally, a judge that can see the folly of the media and their tactics to get a rating. This man’s life was destroyed, parents rammed into debt all for some stinkin’ ratings for a TV show.

    I do hope NBC not only pays for the legal fees that were incurred but also for the time of that young man who had to stop his life to defend himself.

  • yellowroselady

    Chris Hansen seems to have his own issues right now….what goes around comes around, right? There are over 780,000 registered men, women and children on the national registried in America. The “offenses” range from urinating in public, streaking, sexting, false accusations, all the way to the horrendous cases which, unfortunately, is what the media focuses on and the public remembers. Once a person has paid their debt to society they should be allowed to reenter society as a fully functional person which would include employment, housing and not being humiliated at every turn. Having to place a sign in your yard on Halloween is punitive as is the public registry….


    • Suzanne Ennazus

      Sign in their yard? I don’t understand why Americans let children go around any strange houses to take candy from people they don’t know, and it shouldn’t be for the people having their house invaded by annoying kids who should take the responsibility.

  • Jeff

    Are you kidding me?? “reform sex offenders”?? That is shear fantasy. A MO will always be a MO, just as a Gay person will always be Gay, and a straight person will always be straight.

    Expecting a MO(lester)to swear off children is exactly the same as asking a straight man to swear off women.

    It just ain’t happening.

    I think that Dateline NBC is doing a great civic service. Police agencies have been selling crack cocaine on the street corners for years in sting operations to get dope users off the streets and they are applauded for it.

    Anyone who finds fault in how child molesters are caught and prosecuted and how afterwards they have to register and be monitored needs to take a hard honest look at themselves and what their sexual orientation really is.

    • Reread

      I know I’m a bit late here, but you totally missed the point when it comes to the sex offender registry.

      A dude who raped a 13-year-old girl, an 18 year old who had sex with a 15 year old, and even a 30 year old who got drunk a decade ago and ended up streaking on a drunken dare–they can all end up on the exact same registry and largely end up treated the same way.

      I don’t want to see the way the rapist gets treated change. I want people who don’t deserve to be treated like a rapist to not be.

    • Suzanne Ennazus

      I know that child molesters and rapists are the most sick people imaginable, but if they want to catch real paedophiles, then why do they make profiles of people over 18, and after contact is made only then say they’re under age? Aren’t they just as likely to pick up a loser who carries on with contact because it’s the only female who has shown any interest in them?

  • Ken

    No one hates a sexual predator more than I do. I believe there is a special place in hell reserved for them. With that said, …everytime I watch this show with this idiot Chris Hansen I feel as though I need to take a shower and scrub the dirt off!

  • Good for him on suing NBC. I hope they get every penny of that 100K . This “show” is an absolute joke and from what Ive researched every man “convicted” on this show was eventually released or given very light sentences or community service. LOL.

  • MATT

    Chris Hansen is a hypocrite. He is not without sin. Child molesters deserve to be punished,but this is media sensationalism pure and simple. Lets set up people to steal, assault, or kill someone. Same therory. Just like that numbnut from the show Cheaters. Smug jerks both.

  • Jeffisadouche

    Jeff, what in the world are you talking about? Did Daddy touch you in the wrong place when you were little and now you’re confused? Sounds like it. Don’t sacrifice the liberty of many for the security of the few.

  • $paCe

    some cases are just of young adult men getting enticed by 14 year old decoys. It’s just mans law after all, not Gods. Although where do you draw the line? Obviously some 60 year old dude looking to get with a 13 year old girl is going to get what he deserves, but a good portion of the entrapped men are in their 20’s and virgins that are enticed by the promise of a good time, something they never experienced before. It’s not so black and white. I know for one, that if I ever chat it up with a teenage girl looking for sex, my screen name is going to be Chris_Hansen69.

  • Suzanne Ennazus

    I don’t see how a country can say they have a respected legal system when justice is mixed with entertainment.