‘WAKE UP CALL’ AS FACEBOOK SEX FIENDS GET KICKED
Daily News/Kenneth Lovett
In a major crackdown on Internet predators, more than 3,500 convicted New York sex offendershave been kicked off Facebook and MySpace, two online social networking sites. This is thefirst sweep of registered sex offenders under the Electronic Security and Targeting of OnlinePredators Act (e-STOP), a 2008 law Attorney General Andrew Cuomo aggressively pushed. LauraAhearn, executive director of Parents for Megan's Law and the Crime Victims Center, said the factthousands of offenders were dumped proves the law is working. Before e-STOP sexual predatorsfreely lurked in social networking sites trolling for innocent victims, she said. Withe-STOP, Attorney General Cuomo has sent a clear message that there is a new sheriff in thecyberworld protecting our most vulnerable. Among the major findings of the first sweep:
- Those kicked off Facebook and MySpace in recent weeks include a man convicted of sexuallyassaulting a 14 year old boy, another who raped a 2 year old girl, and a third convicted of sexualmisconduct against a 10 year old girl.
- Of the 3,533 offenders booted from the sites, 659 were from New York City and 328 fromNassau, Suffolk and Westchester counties.
- MySpace disabled a total of 1,975 accounts linked to 1,796 New York sex offenders over thepast few weeks.
- Facebook disabled 3,410 accounts linked to 2,782 offenders. There's overlap becausesome 1,045 registered sex ofenders signed up with both sites.
- Of the 8,106 registered sex offenders who reported their online information to the state,43.5% were either on the Facebook or MySpace networking sites.
Under e-STOP, convicted sex offenders forced to register with the state must provide homeaddresses, e-mail adresses, site user-names, and online profiles as well.
(Albany, New York)