SEX OFFENDER CAUGHT IN STING
Five years after Michael Bradley, 51, of Mastic Beach, was convicted of sodomizing a 15 year old boy, he logged onto Match.com an online dating Web site, saying he was looking for someone special to share his life with. Last week, Parents for Megan's Law began receiving anonymous tips that a registered sex offender was looking for love online, a direct violation of his probation. When the Stony Brook child advocacy group created a profile of their own, Carol, a divorced mother of two young sons living in Shirley, they sent him a message and he wrote back. Laura Ahearn, the group's executive director, likened such Web sites, where women frequently post photographs of their children, a shopping lists for convicted sex offenders. The organization highlighted the case as an example of the potential dangers online dating poses for single mothers and their children at a news conference yesterday. This could be capturing the first stage in the grooming process, Ahearn warned, referring to how sexual predators gain the trust of their victims. The Suffolk Department of Probation has confiscated his computer and is investigating. If they find he was using the Internet for social purposes, a judge could revoke his probation and sentence him to time in prison. Ahearn and Bill Noble, of the Safer Online Dating Alliance, said the few online dating Web sites screen their registrants, and advised checking the name against the National Sex Offender Registry, and even paying for a criminal background check.
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