Tuesday, August 16, 2011
Yet another To Catch a Predator acquittal
To Catch a Predator failed to end in acquittal, and in Petaluma, CA, the site of one of the first stings and former home of Polly Klaas.
He was kicked out of the Navy and spent time in jail.
Tuesday, five years after appearing on NBC Dateline's “To Catch a Predator,” 26-year-old Joseph Roisman of Watsonville was acquitted of charges of attempting to have sex with an online decoy posing as a 13-year-old girl from Petaluma.
He is the only one of 29 men prosecuted in the 2006 sting to beat the rap.
“I’m ready to move on with my life,” Roisman said outside the courtroom following proceedings. “Hopefully the service will take me back,” he said of his desire to continue his military career.
His mother, Deborah Roisman of Watsonville, shouted, “Woo woo!” as Judge Arthur Wick ordered the case thrown out after six days of trial testimony, and later had harsh words for those involved in the TV show that implicated her son.
She said she and her pediatrician husband spent more than $100,000 defending their son. She vowed to sue NBC producers and called the sting a “huge waste” of tax money.
“They made my son’s life a living hell for five years,” she said.
A Dateline spokeswoman, Amy Lynn, did not return a call seeking comment.
In reaching his decision, Wick found prosecutors had not proven Roisman had “specific intent” to commit the crime - attempting lewd acts with a child under age 14.
He also criticized the tactics used by Dateline’s partner, online watchdog Perverted Justice, whom he suggested lacked credibility and engaged in entrapment.
“The axiom, ‘Actions speak louder than words,’ clearly does not apply in this case,” Wick said from the bench.
Wick stopped the trial and issued the verdict without the defense team presenting its case and before consideration by the jury....
Turer argued it was Perverted Justice officials who steered the conversation toward sex. Although Roisman was told the girl’s age, he was doubtful because of her mature-sounding voice and sophisticated talk, Turer said.
“This case is the poster child for the abuse in this program,” Turer said after the acquittal. “They took everything away from this kid just to make a TV show.”....
Sonoma County jurors leaving the courthouse Tuesday said they were not impressed by the Southern California-based group's methods. Windsor bank teller Kathleen Kerckhoff said they obviously induced Roisman to act the way he did. She said she would have found him not guilty if the case had come to the jury.
“I don't have any respect for Perverted Justice after this trial,” she said. “I think they do have quotas. They have an agenda. It was the right resolution.”
In all, prosecutors obtained convictions on 27 defendants. Sentences ranged from probation to nine months in jail.