Sexual-Predator Sting Ends in Former Texas Prosecutor's Suicide
Neighbors React After Town Was Used to Lure Sexual Predators
By MIKE VON FREMD
DALLAS, Texas, Nov. 7, 2006 — - A sexual-predator sting turned into a different sort of crime scene when a former prosecutor committed suicide as police surrounded his home.
When police arrived, they attempted to serve former Kaufman County District Attorney Louis "Bill" Conradt Jr. with a search warrant for his computer and an arrest warrant.
Police said Conradt attempted to make arrangements over the Internet to have sex with a decoy who was posing as a 13-year-old boy.
He refused to answer the door when they arrived, and was subsequently found with a self-inflicted gunshot wound.
An NBC camera crew was also outside the house when the gunshot was heard. According to The Dallas Morning News, the sting resulting in Conradt's arrest warrant was a joint operation between the Internet watchdog group Perverted Justice and NBC's "Dateline."
As part of the group's plan, 22 men seeking sex with children were lured to a house in Murphy, Texas, and arrested. Murphy police said Conradt did not go to the house, but they believed he would.
Neighbors Question Tactics
While they were glad predators had been arrested, neighbors in the community used for the sting were outraged their town was used as bait.
"They set up a sting to attract child predators to our neighborhood that otherwise would not have been in our neighborhood," said Murphy resident Mike Daniels.
Murphy Mayor Bret Bishop demanded that the city manager who approved the sting apologize to the neighbors.
"I think they deserve an apology, absolutely. Their children were placed at risk without their knowledge," said Bishop.
Protecting children from predators has been a key campaign issue in Texas and in a sign of the issue's importance, a new 500-home subdivision in Lubbock advertises that all potential homeowners will have to undergo a background check to screen out sex offenders.
One parent said, "It's nice to know that your neighbors went through the same process you did, and it is just that extra security."
The developer has written strict covenants that require background checks for all resales and harsh measures if an existing resident is convicted of child sexual abuse.
Homes are selling fast and developers believe this may be an attractive safety measure for subdivisions nationwide.
ABC TV affiliate WFAA contributed to this report.