To protect the many children who use the Internet to chat with their friends, Senator Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr. (8th Senate District) announced his support for legislation to require convicted sex offenders to register their Internet screen names with authorities. The proposed law has already been passed by the State Senate.
"Children are increasingly using both instant messaging and social networking websites like myspace, friendster, and facebook as a means of communication. However, as we’ve seen on TV and in the newspapers, sexual predators often use the Internet as a way to lure in their victims, and in some cases, pose as children themselves in order to gain a child’s trust," said Senator Fuschillo. "This legislation is a ncessary step towards making the Internet safer for our children."
The legislation (S5917) would require convicted sex offenders to report all information on their Internet screen names and accounts to authorities. Law enforcement would also be allowed to share this information with internet service providers. Sex offenders who fail to register their information would be in violation of their parole.
The legislation also creates felony charges for predators who lie about their age to prey on children. Criminals who misrepresent their own age in order to send children indecent materials would face up to 7 years in prison under the new class D felony crime, in addition to any other applicable penalties.
The legislation has been sent to the Assembly for consideration.
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