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Three recent crimes in New Jersey show how dangerous the Internet remains for children because of predatory sex offenders, said Assemblywoman Donna Simon, who sponsors a plan to force sex offenders to identify their status on any online social networking profile.
“Anyone who remembers the TV show ‘To Catch a Predator’ knows they don’t just knock on the door anymore. We can bring a some of the landmark Megan’s Law protects to the Internet,” Simon, R-Hunterdon, Somerset, Mercer and Middlesex, said. “It’s almost impossible to open a newspaper these days without seeing another example of a depraved predator hiding his past to victimize another innocent child. Any bit of knowledge that might prevent a tragic crime is essential.”
Simon pointed to three recent examples that highlight the need for more disclosure to protect children on the Internet:
• A Bound Brook man who had been convicted of exposing himself to teenage girls was caught responding to personal ads on an online dating site. http://www.nj.com/somerset/index.ssf/2013/01/convicted_sex_offender_returns.html#incart_river_somerset
• A Robbinsville man was arrested after flying to Colorado to engage in sexual activity with an investigator he believed was a teenage girl he met on Facebook. http://www.nj.com/mercer/index.ssf/2013/01/robbinsville_man_charged_with.html
• A Pemberton man previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13, was sentenced to life after traveling to Rhode Island to have sex with an investigator he believed was an 8-year-old girl he met online. http://www.phillyburbs.com/my_town/pemberton/pemberton-township-sex-offender-sentenced-to-life-plus-years/article_0200e157-8e0d-5f39-be1f-d15047c7b792.html
“These horrific, stomach-turning examples show how important it is for parents and children to know whether the person they’re chatting with is capable of committing atrocious acts,” Simon said. “My plan would give one more tool to the law enforcement officers who work around the clock to protect children from sex offenders.”
The legislation, modeled after a law enacted in Louisiana last year, would force anyone required to register under Megan’s Law to identify themselves as a sex offender on social networking profiles. Anyone caught violating that provision could face 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.
Assemblywoman Donna Simon / 908-968-3304
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