Sen. George Runner has introduced legislation that will stop convicted sexual predators on parole from opening accounts with social websites like Facebook, Twitter, Myspace and any other site that qualifies as social networking.
“I am a big fan of social network sites just like the next person, but unfortunately they create a virtual shopping mall for sex offenders on the prowl,” said Runner, who also authored California’s Jessica’s Law and Amber Alert. “With this bill, we’re going to shut the door on these malicious, dangerous people who prey on innocent and unsuspecting children.”
Senate Bill 1204 also requires sex offenders who have completed parole to register their email addresses with the California Department of Justice.
“Sex offenders are already required to register their street addresses with local police per Megan’s Law,” Runner said. “In the past decade it’s become obvious that Internet technology is a convenient means for sexual predators to stalk potential victims. It only makes sense to require sex offenders to share their email addresses with law enforcement.”
If the bill passes, California would be the second state to enact such a law; New York became the first when it passed a similar bill last year, known as “e-Stop, which was sponsored by New York Attorney General Andrew Cuomo.
In a December press release, Cuomo said more than 3,500 registered New York sex offenders have been purged from Facebook and Myspace since e-Stop was enacted, including a man convicted of assaulting a 14-year-old boy and another man who raped a 2-year-old girl.
John Walsh, co-founder of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children and host of “America’s Most Wanted, supports New York’s e-Stop saying last year in a press release that “New York sets the gold standard for other states to follow.”
Runner’s SB 1204 will be heard in the Senate Public Safety Committee and Senate Appropriations before it receives a full vote on the Senate floor.