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Response to an angry Murphy, Texas councilman

by Chris Hansen, Dateline correspondent

Right before our broadcast of 'To Catch a Predator' in Murphy, Texas, we received this blog post from a council member in Murphy, Texas:

Below is my response:

Dear Councilmember,  

Thank you for sharing you concerns about our To Catch A Predator investigation in Murphy, Texas, however I wanted to alert you to a number of inaccuracies in your note to us. Our investigation was conducted along with a parallel investigation by the Murphy Police in a careful, well thought out manner. Each time we conduct one of these operations, we consider the safety and sanctity of the surrounding neighbors. It is our position that the large police presence and the presence of our hidden cameras made this arguably the safest neighborhood in Texas. The investigations will hopefully deter the solicitation of minors online in the areas we work long after our investigations are over.

You suggest that "not one case for sexual solicitation of a minor has been filed in this sting." We have been told by the Murphy police that those filings are underway and will happen soon.

You point out that a bag of cocaine was found near our hidden camera house during our investigation. In fact a minute amount of cocaine was found a block or so away from our house and was turned into the Murphy Police. There is no known link between this cocaine and any of the suspects who surfaced in our investigation. So far as we know, none of the suspects even drove by the spot where the bag  was found in order to get to our house.

You say there were police chases through Murphy without lights. Neither we nor the Murphy police are aware of any police chases. There was an instance where a suspect was followed by an unmarked vehicle into Plano, where he was stopped by a marked police motorcycle. This did not constitute a "chase."

You allege that the arrest warrant served at the house of Assistant District Attorney Louis William Conradt Jr. was somehow invalid or was "expired." There was a typographical error that resulted in the wrong date being put in one part of the document, however, when the judge signed the warrant, the judge corrected the date.

Again, we thank you for sharing your concerns.

Editor's note: On November 11, 2006, the City Council of Murphy Texas held a special session to discuss the Dateline investigation in their town. Everyone in the open forum was allowed to have two minutes to speak to the council.
Click here for that video.

We've received some positive blog comments from residents of Murphy, Texas as well. Below are a few --

I live in Murphy and spoke at the public City Council meeting and I am proud to say that the people who opposed the sting operation were in the minority. Most of us support the Police Department wholeheartedly and look on this as yet another way that they try to keep our children safe. Murphy is a great place to live -- no city is perfect or completely safe from predators and anyone who thinks there's a city like that is living in a fool's paradise. We need our police to be hypervigilant and aware of the perverts who are everywhere and we can't stick our heads in the sand and pretend it doesn't exist because it's too uncomfortable to think about. Our children MUST be educated to keep them safe. And only by bringing child abuse out in the open can it be stopped -- it thrives on secrecy and flourishes when people say "it can't happen here."  --Nina Scott, Murphy, TX (Sent Wednesday, February 14, 2007 10:22 AM)