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CA Challenged by Monitoring Internet Use and Sex Offenders

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By Kamika Dunlap on May 28, 2010 12:45 PM

Keeping sexual predators off of social networks and monitoring Internet use may be a challenge for California, as critics and parole agents take a closer look at the state's new measure to limit sex offenders' Internet use.

The bill moving through the Legislature prohibits child molesters from using social networking sites such as MySpace or Facebook and presents a challenge for CA enforcement, the San Diego Tribune reports.

Parole agents are concerned about the legal wisdom of the proposed legislation, as it will be difficult to enforce if paroled sex offenders for example, go to a public library and use a fake name. In addition, parole agents say they could make better use of their time through home visits, which could reveal stronger evidence of contacts with children, child pornography or other behavior.

As previously discussed, Assemblywoman Norma Torres (D-Pomona) is author of the proposed law AB 2208. This bill would make it a misdemeanor for any person required to register as a sex offender to use any Internet social network web site.

Specific penalties are still being worked out but violators could face up to six months in jail and a $1,000 fine.

As previously discussed, John Albert Gardner III, a convicted child molester, was sentenced to life in prison without the possibility of parole for the murders of Amber Dubois and Chelsea King, had his MySpace account shut down.

The social networking company worked with the FBI to delete the user profile of the convicted sex offender. John Gardner's MySpace account was removed because he was using a computer and the Internet to connect with others, which violated the terms of his parole.

According to officials, his account was set up in 2007. The profile of John Gardner listed his name as Jason the Stud, the Playboy Mansion as his hometown and "CSI" and "Bones" among his favorite television shows.

Criminal Justice experts have advised lawmakers to tread carefully as monitoring Internet use may prove impossible. In addition, some registered sex offenders need the Internet for work or use it to find jobs.

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