Collaboration Helps Stop Sexual Predators
Legislative column by Assemblyman Brian M. Kolb (R,C,I-Canandaigua)
June 2, 2008
Recently, Governor David Paterson signed into law legislation that will further protect our children from dangerous sexual predators. This new law will be a powerful tool to help law enforcement prevent convicted sex offenders from luring new victims online. The Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (known more commonly as E-STOP) is a result of collaborative efforts between legislative leaders from both sides of the aisle. E-STOP will require convicted sex offenders to register their Internet screen names with the state’s Sex Offender Registry and allow social networking sites, such as MySpace and Facebook, to obtain these screen names in order to prohibit those account holders from accessing web sites on which they could contact children. Further, this law prohibits sex offenders on probation, conditional discharge or parole from using the Internet to contact children. E-STOP took effect immediately and the state’s Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) has already begun to send out letters to convicted sex offenders who are in the registry to let them know of the change in law. They will be required to register all e-mail accounts used for the purpose of online chatting, instant messaging or social networking. Offenders will have 10 days to comply when they create a new e-mail address or a new online profile. Failure to do so is a serious offense, and classified as a felony crime. Last year, my colleagues and I won the legislative battle for the enactment of civil confinement whereby dangerous sexual predators can be kept in secure facilities rather than being released upon the end of their sentence to roam our streets. Unfortunately, our judicial system is still reviewing this law and, in the meantime, these predators are oftentimes allowed to return to neighborhoods where children play. Laws, like E-STOP and Megan’s Law, are essential to give law enforcement the resources they need to prevent sex crimes. We must do everything in our power to assist law enforcement in protecting our loved ones, especially our children. The passage of E-STOP shows how much can be accomplished when partisan politics are put aside, allowing solutions to be discussed, compromises reached and laws created that benefit every New Yorker. We must apply these principles to other problems facing this great state – like excessive property taxes and skyrocketing fuel costs. Together, we can achieve great things. Should you like to discuss this or any other state-related issue, please contact my district office at (315) 781-2030 or e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org.