TRENTON – State Sen. Christopher “Kip” Bateman wants to require convicted sex offenders to publish information on their criminal statuses as part of their online social network profiles. He says this will help to protect children from sexual predators.
“In many ways, sex offenders can use the internet as a venue and a means to plot and begin to carry out their crimes against vulnerable and unsuspecting victims,” said Bateman (R-Hunterdon, Mercer, Middlesex and Somerset.) “This legislation supplements Megan’s Law to assist law enforcement agencies in stepping up their increasingly successful efforts targeting and fighting Internet sex crimes.”
Bateman’s bill, modeled after recently enacted Louisiana law, requires sex offenders to indicate the following in their social network profiles: That they are sex offenders; the specific crimes for which they were convicted; the jurisdiction of convictions; a description of their physical appearances; their residential addresses; and a link to their official sex offender listing on Internet registry. Violators of these conditions in S-2142 could be charged with a fourth-degree crime and face up to 18 months in jail and fines up to $10,000.
“This bill not only helps law enforcement officers track the online activity of predators to protect our children, but it also assists social networking websites and their users with self-policing,” Bateman concluded. “Because sex offenders can operate via online residencies, it is absolutely imperative for the public to be made aware of sex offenders who enter social networking communities.”
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