DA says police mishandled child-sex sting

The Associated Press/September 8, 2007

Dallas -- After a Dateline NBC segment criticized the Collin County district attorney for not pursuing more than 20 child-sex cases produced during the program's To Catch a Predator sting in suburban Dallas last year, the DA appeared Friday night on a rival network news show.

Collin County District Attorney John Roach declined to be interviewed for a Dateline segment that aired Wednesday. But he went on ABC News' 20/20 to say that Murphy police allowed Dateline to take control of the sting.

The controversy dates to four days in November when a Dateline crew and correspondent Chris Hansen spent four days in Murphy, working with the activist group Perverted-Justice.com to try to catch men who were soliciting Internet sex with juveniles.

Murphy police arrested more than 20 men at a house where Dateline cameras were waiting. In one case, the police went to the home of a Rockwall County prosecutor, who killed himself while the camera crew waited in the street.

But Roach declined to prosecute the cases, citing among other reasons lack of jurisdiction, lack of good witnesses and lack of evidence.

The subsequent fallout included the resignation of the Murphy city manager who worked with Dateline and a lawsuit by the family of the man who committed suicide.

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