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May 26, 2010

Prohibition on sex offenders using social media websites among new laws being considered in California

As detailed in this new San Diego Union Tribune article, which is headlined "Bill would limit sex offenders’ Internet use: Enforcement would be difficult, critics say," the recent high-profile crimes involving sex offender John Gardner in California is prompting more tech-savvy tough-on-sex-offender legislation. Here are the details:

Sex offenders trolling the Internet for their next young victim could wind up back behind bars, even without committing a new crime.  That is the goal of a measure moving through the Legislature that would prohibit paroled child molesters from using social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook.

“Predators have left the playground and are now going to the Internet,” warned Harriet Salarno, president of Crime Victims United, an advocacy group that has endorsed the ban.

But parole agents and civil libertarians are wary, questioning the wisdom of legally suspect legislation that would rob supervisors of time better used to make home visits that can reveal evidence of contacts with children, child pornography or other behavior.  “All they have to do is go to a public library and use a fake name and we’re not going to find it,” said Melinda Silva, a Sacramento parole agent and president of their statewide union.

John Albert Gardner III, sentenced this month in the murders of North County teens Chelsea King and Amber Dubois, maintained a MySpace page in violation of his parole for a previous molestation conviction. He used the name Jason the Stud and listed his home as the Playboy Mansion....

The issue has emerged in the campaign for state attorney general. Candidates have rushed to voice support of a crackdown, particularly Chris Kelly, who has taken a leave of absence from his post as Facebook’s chief privacy officer during the campaign.

Others urge caution.  Even the California Sex Offender Management Board, in its recent recommendations to the governor, cited time constraints facing parole agents. “There are so many social networking sites of various types that it may be virtually impossible to enforce,” the board said in its report....

Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster, is carrying separate legislation that would require registered sex offenders — even when they are released from parole — to submit to law enforcement all e-mail addresses, various user names and social network pages.  That way, he said, social networks can use the database to purge them from sites.  “We ask them for their physical address.  We ought to ask them for their electronic address,” Runner said.  His Senate Bill 1204 sailed through the Senate and is pending in the Assembly.

May 26, 2010 at 10:02 AM | Permalink


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"We ask them for their physical address, but we ought to ask them for their electronic ddress"- They ask NOTHING. If you do not provide them with the info they want, you go to jail. I also like how this is surrounding an AG race where one is trying to outdo the other in "how tough on crime they are". You now what? Only one person did those horrible things to chelsea king, STOP PUNISHING PEOPLE WHO DID NOT DO IT! Reactionary law making ruins lives, especially the ones that did nothing to deserve so in the first place.

Even the author of this article is completely biased, discriminatory, and assuming the worst.
"Sex offenders trolling the Internet for their next young victim could wind up back behind bars, even without committing a new crime" Not every sex offender is on the internet to "troll for their next victim" Did we forget that it has educational and job resources? Or is it the conception of lawmakers that the internet is a toy for kids that the perverts need to stay away from?

Make sure you know where the jews (er.. sex offenders) sleep and work, so their harrassment can be complete. After we have shredded their humanity, then off to the gas chamber.

Posted by: tbucket | May 26, 2010 11:15:59 AM

i agree this is nothing but criminal nazi crap.

as for this little nazi. "Sen. George Runner, R-Lancaster" I wish someone would EXECUTE him and his little nazi wife.

Posted by: rodsmith | May 26, 2010 3:43:29 PM

Also from California:

-- Assembly Bill 1022 would create a California Missing Children Rapid Response Team within the state's Department of Justice.
-- Assembly Bill 34 would require the state to file information about a missing child younger than 16 to the state's Violent Crime Information Center in two hours instead of four. That center would then be required to distribute information to nonprofits assisting in the search for the missing child.
-- Assembly Bill 33 would require more police training and the development of specialized law enforcement guidelines to prepare for future missing children cases. That bill would also require police be provided with a list of registered sex offenders within a five-mile radius of where a child is suspected of being abducted. It does not specify who would provide the list.
-- Assembly Bill 589 would require all registered sex offenders be issued a special driver's license that would identify them as such. The markings could include a distinctive stripe or color. The strategy is used in two other states ---- driver's licenses in Delaware are marked with the letter "Y," and Louisiana emblazons licenses with the words "sex offender."

Supported by Maurice Dubois, father of 14-year-old murder victim Amber Dubois, and co-authored by Assemblymen Pedro Nava, D-Santa Barbara, and Paul Cook, R-Yucaipa.

I'm not gonna include Chelsea's law.

All this from a state with a $19 billion dollar deficit. Good luck. How more politicians are gonna climb on the train?

Posted by: Anon | May 26, 2010 6:19:55 PM

I would like to interject a few things as food for thought. The term "sex offender" covers a wide range of things like, sexting, possession of child pornography, urinating in public, endangering the life of a child, rape, what is referred to as "the Romeo & Juliet group which encompasses two teens who have consensual sex and in some cases have married and have children and now due to the Adam Walsh Act and SORNA making past offenses retro-active to include them on the registry, teens getting drunk at a party and performing oral sex on someone under the age of 18 and the offender is 18 or above, people like Philip Garedo who kidnap and rape, and people like John Gardner who rapes, and then rapes and murders. I hope you are getting an idea of how broad based the registry is. Now imagine being a law enforcement person and being responsible for tracking "ALL" these people listed on the registry. Are the living too close to a school, are they living too close to a playground, do the go to the local library, do they attend the local college or university (college officials have to be notified they are going to be attending classes), and where are they working...if anyone will hire them. Many, many law enforcement personnel, many judges and many attorneys have said these registries are "OUT OF CONTROL" and are broken. Even John Walsh who pushed the registry said, “We didn't intend the registry to be used the way it is!" He also said, "Let's get rid of the current registry of 700,000 men/women and juveniles and list only the 10,000 violent offenders." Even politicians have said the registries have gone too far but it would be "political suicide" to try to change it. What a statement and a shame! John Gardner was evaluated by a professional and the outcome was he was a "threat" to society and would prey on girls. That is the risk assessment evaluation that needs to take place in every sex offender case. Then other factors like first offense vs. repeat and age should be considered.
The last point I would like to make is the cost for each state to come into compliance, per federal law, with SORNA which is Title 1 of the Adam Walsh Act, this summer. Google it and you will be able to see what it will cost your state to get into compliance and how much Byrne money they will receive. Most states have determined they don't have the money to spend on something that is already broken and doesn't work. What do you think…..another "bailout" in the works? Look at the numbers for your state and contact your congressmen/women and tell them you don't support spending billions and even 1 trillion in money we don't have. Thanks

Posted by: yellowroselady | May 26, 2010 10:55:17 PM

Apart from a small, single number ... every sexual offence or attack (i.e. hundreds/thousands worldwide), involving Social Networking sites, has been carried out by non-RSOs.

Posted by: Dr NL Oldfield | May 27, 2010 11:02:54 AM

The problem is not the offender "trolling" the Internet. The problem is parents use the Internet as a virtual babysitter. I can see no reason why social networking sites should allow anyone under the age of 18 to register an account. Would a parent send their child, nude, into a room filled with molesters? If so, they are asking for it. Keep your kids off any social site, don't allow them to register on any site... be a parent.

Posted by: Huh? | May 27, 2010 3:40:34 PM

lol how true this is!

"Apart from a small, single number ... every sexual offence or attack (i.e. hundreds/thousands worldwide), involving Social Networking sites, has been carried out by non-RSOs.

Posted by: Dr NL Oldfield | May 27, 2010 11:02:54 AM"

Heck if you look at the numbers.. 85-95% of ALL sex offences are FIRST TIME offenders therefore the registry is a waste of time; money; and effort!

Posted by: rodsmith | May 27, 2010 7:10:20 PM

I have a problem with this approach not just in terms of wasted capital and resources and unenforcability, but also in terms of potential first amendment violations. I wouldn't have a problem with a law that would prohibit contact between an RSO and a minor in that sort of a setting, but at least that law would be somewhat tailored. A blanket prohibtion is not tailored at all, and IMO is violative of the First Amendment.

Posted by: Guy | May 27, 2010 11:32:18 PM

The assumption that every registered sex offender who uses the Internet does so for nefarious purposes in insulting, and I'm not even an RSO, just an ordinary citizen.
The violation of first amendment rights is appalling.
The fact that politicians use isolated, high profile cases, using dead children and grief-stricken parents, from which to make political hay turns my stomach.
The lumping together of every offense that has even a hint of the sexual in it, and actually some that don't (I just can't see public urination as a sex crime by any stretch of the imagination) defies all logic.
The huge waste of financial and law enforcement resources on programs that DO NOT and WILL NOT address the problem is totally criminal.
Can we not demand that before legislation is passed, the supporters of said legislation must show studies and evidence that indicate it will do what they claim it will?

Posted by: Shelomith Stow | Jun 1, 2010 2:12:50 PM

More nonsense that will do nothing to reduce sexual abuse in this country. I wish the media would educate the public on what the word 'Predator' actually means because a first time offender involved in an incestual case is not a predator, neither is the teen who dated a girl four or five years younger, yet every state in this former great nation considers these people a 'predator.' Whose more dangerous, the former offender living next door, or a gov't who can dictate anything they want so long as you are labeled as such!

Posted by: Dolley | Jun 1, 2010 2:51:36 PM

I am just curious if there is any way to push the issue of not having sex offender written in red on a drivers license. I have a friend in the state of Alabama that was accused of rape when he was 16, and the victim was 38. She screamed rape because he did not want a continued relationship. He has been in no trouble since. He has a class A certified cdl license which is now useless because of sex offender being on his drivers license in bright red letters. Is there not some way to fight this injustice?

Posted by: Erin | Aug 31, 2010 7:15:43 PM

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