Sex offenders found on MySpace
BISMARCK - Ten of North Dakota's registered sex offenders have set up profile pages on MySpace, the Internet's most popular social networking site. Five are classified as high-risk sex offenders, and six were 30 or older, Attorney General Wayne S...
BISMARCK - Ten of North Dakota's registered sex offenders have set up profile pages on MySpace, the Internet's most popular social networking site.
Five are classified as high-risk sex offenders, and six were 30 or older, Attorney General Wayne Stenehjem said Wednesday.
"None were truthful about their age (in their posted profiles)," he said.
Stenehjem and law enforcement officials in other states subpoenaed MySpace so they could cross-check the true names of people using the Web site against their lists of registered offenders.
He said the North Dakota offenders' profiles no longer exist on MySpace.
"These offenders were hiding behind false profiles so they could establish a relationship with unsuspecting teens, perhaps even targeting their next victims," Stenehjem said.
He said his announcement Wednesday was an act of putting sex offenders on notice: "You are being watched."
He has also sent letters to all registered North Dakota sex offenders telling them they are now required to register all e-mail addresses they use, Internet screen names and disclose any profiles they have posted on MySpace and similar social networking sites such as Facebook and Flickr.
State law gives the attorney general the authority to decide what information will be collected from sex offenders as part of their registration requirement.
Stenehjem said Flickr and Facebook have not agreed to turn over names of its users so they can be cross-checked with lists of sex offenders.
Offenders will now have to disclose their vehicle information and keep law enforcement informed of changes to e-mail addresses, screen names and other information. If they don't, they can be charged with a Class C felony and face a 90-day minimum mandatory sentence or up to five years in prison.
This is not the first time Stenehjem has changed the requirements for sex offenders' registration information. Two years ago, he ordered them to have current photographs on file with the state Crime Bureau.
Stenehjem said several new laws took effect Wednesday that relate to sex offenders.
- Sex offenders will have to remain registered longer. Low-risk offenders who previously needed to register for 10 years must now register for 15 years. Moderate-risk offenders who previously registered for 10 years must now register for 25 years, and high-risk or repeat offenders must register for their lifetime.
- The first offense for possession of child pornography is now a felony instead of a misdemeanor.
- Two bills prohibit sex offenders from entering school property except in certain circumstances, such as if the school is a polling place or if it meets a school's local policy.
- Convicted Class AA felony sexual assault offenders who used violence will get a mandatory minimum 20 years in prison, and there are also new extended lengths of probation for sex offenders.
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