December 11, 2006
Virginia's top cop wants to make sex offenders register their email addresses and on-line Id's to keep them off social sites like Myspace.
A new law proposed by Attorney General Bob McDonnell today could limit the amount of access a registered sex offender has to children on-line.
This new proposal seeks to require a database of email and screen names and toughen the penalties for breaking the law.
Since it hit the world wide web, Myspace.com has become one of the most popular social networking sites.
But, its popularity has also opened the door to many sex offenders, who use the site to prey on young victims.
McDonnell said, "The bottom line is this: if you can keep sexual predators off of a website that has over 125-million users, primarily young boys and girls, its going to be a major step forward in ensuring both parents and young people that this site is safe for them and that they aren't going to have convicted child molesters on these sites."
It is already a federal law that all convicted sex offenders register their physical and mailing address on state registries.
McDonnell says he not only wants on-line addresses, he wants a tough law to deter repeat offenders.
"That's the biggest challenge, obviously. We're going to first of all make sure they know right at the point of release that if you lie about any of this information you can get your sentence revoked, which could be ten, fifteen, twenty, thirty years, and you could be convicted of a new misdemeanor offense for failure to register in a timely fashion," said McDonnell.
With over 13,000 sex offenders in the Commonwealth of Virginia alone, law makers do realize this isn't going to be easy.
"But it's going to be a significant step forward from where we are now," said McDonnell.
In a statement released by Myspace, executives said they are happy to work with the government on this type of legislation to protect kids on-line.