New York State Removes Sex Offenders from Social Networking Sites

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					Legal Daily News Feature

New York State Removes Sex Offenders from Social Networking Sites
By Christine Cristiano

In response in part to New York’s Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act, aka e-STOP, social media networks,
Facebook and MySpace have removed more than 3,500 accounts belonging to registered sex offenders. Attorney General Andrew Cuomo
announced the news earlier this month from New York.

                              12/10/09                                   more often fit a model of statutory rape — adult offenders
                                                                         who meet, develop relationships with, and openly seduce
                             Governor David Paterson signed              underage teenagers — than a model of forcible sexual assault
                             e-STOP act into law last year               or pedophiliac child molesting. This is a serious problem, but
                             and the act authorizes the state            one that requires different approaches from current prevention
to release the identities and/or multiply aliases of convicted           messages emphasizing parental control and the dangers of
sex offenders to social networking sites to pre-screen new               divulging personal information.’’
accounts or remove existing accounts. The act ‘’bans online
social networking among sex offenders whose victims were                 According to information from Attorney General Cuomo’s
minors’’ and also requires convicted sex offenders to reveal all         office, “8,100 registered offenders shared their email
of their email addresses and online ‘’identifiers.’’                     addresses with the state, meaning that the recent database
                                                                         sweep revealed more than 43% had created accounts on
According to a statement from Laura Ahearn, executive                    Facebook and MySpace.”
director of Parents of Megan’s Law, “Parental controls alone
are not going to stop sexual predators from trolling the                 Social networking sites have removed the accounts of sex
Internet in search of unsuspecting children; that’s why we               offenders previously; in 2007, MySpace deleted over 20,000
need strong laws to protect them.’’ Megan’s Law was created              accounts and removed another 90,000 accounts in February of
in 1994 after the sexual assault and murder of 7 year- old               2009.
New Jersey girl, Megan Nicole Kanka. Megan was lured into a
neighbor’s home and brutally murdered by a twice convicted               Illinois has also passed its own law prohibiting sex offenders
sex offender.                                                            from registering on social networking sites, and felony
                                                                         charges will apply for those breaking the law. In 2008, Britain
In response to some studies that have found that sexual                  proposed that all registered sex offenders must submit their
predator risks on social networking sites is ‘’overblown,’’              email addresses to the government in order to monitor their
The Crimes Against Children Research Center has explained                presence on social networking sites.
that “Internet sex crimes involving adults and juveniles

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Description: Attorney General Andrew Cuomo announced the news earlier this month from New York.
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