Assemblywoman Galef: Assembly Targets Internet Sex Predators

-STOP regulates sex offender use of Internet
April 22, 2008

Assemblywoman Sandy Galef announced that a new measure was passed in the Assembly on the Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (A.9859, “e-STOP”). This bill will help regulate sex offenders’ use of the Internet which will help prevent predators from victimizing children on Internet social networking sites.

“An online regulation requiring registered sex offenders to inform law enforcement of their online activity has been passed through legislation in the state of New York,” Assemblywoman Galef said. “In order to insure the safety of our children, we must take appropriate precautions when using this resource for learning and communication. By passing this legislation, we have taken another important step towards protecting our children from these dangerous predators.”

This bill is requiring all sex offenders who are required to register under Megan’s Law to also register all Internet accounts, electronic mail addresses, and anything else that can be used for the purpose of chatting, instant messaging, social networking, or other types of internet communications with the Division of Criminal Justice Services. If any of these sex offenders change their data, they must notify the same service within 10 days. If they do not, they will face the current penalties under Megan’s Law for not registering. The first offense will receive a class E felony and the class D felony for all subsequent offenses. Lastly, all sex offenders’ information will be available to social networking Web sites who are authorized to prescreen or remove offenders. They also have the right to advise law enforcement of any potential violation of the law or threat to public safety.

“Social networking Web sites and other online hangouts have become dangerous for users, especially underage teens. These sites often attract sex offenders intent on harming children, giving them a platform to expose minors to obscene material and unwanted sexual advances,” commented Galef. “e-STOP will be able to help prevent many of these sexual offenses that occur over the internet.”

This bill will also impose probation and parole for certain dangerous sex offenders under Megan’s Law from accessing certain types of sites including: pornography, access or belonging to social networking sites, use of the internet to communicate with other individuals or groups for the purpose of promoting sexual relations with minors, and the use of the internet to communicate with a minor unless the person is a child of the offender and the offender is not otherwise prohibited from communication with that child.

“This legislation is necessary for our children’s safety. By strengthening the laws regarding online sex predators and empowering Internet sites and authorities to help, we will prevent many future tragedies from occurring,” Galef concluded.