Jeff L. Thigpen Register of Deeds

Friday, March 16, 2007

To Catch A Predator: Register their email addresses!

Today, Lt. Governor Bev Perdue, Senator Julia Boseman, Representative Bruce Goforth and Representative Karen Ray introduced legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to report their e-mail address and other instant messaging and online identifiers to the Sex Offender Registry.

“This is an important tool to protect our children and others from dangerous internet predators who want to do them harm,” said Lt. Governor Bev Perdue. “Child predators have turned to computers to help them commit these heinous acts, and we must do all we can to prevent these crimes from happening.”

Once the online identifiers are provided to the Sex Offender Registry, they will be provided to electronic mail services and other internet services in order to screen online users. Sex offenders would also be required to notify the local sheriff’s office if they make changes to their e-mail address or any other online identifiers. Failing to do so would be a felony offense.

The Sex Offender legislation would also include these other key provisions:

-Adds Felony Child Abuse to the list of Sex Offender Registry Offenses when:

- the crime involves prostitution of a juvenile by a parent or someone else providing care

- a sexual act upon a juvenile by a parent or legal guardian.

-A court could order a sex offender to forfeit professional, business, and privilege licenses for failing to register

-Creates a grant program for law enforcement agencies when they develop innovative programs to track and monitor sex offenders

-Allows for more efficient notification to a local sheriff’s department when a sex offender does not receive an active prison sentence

“These additional steps will help our law enforcement agencies stop sex offenders in their tracks and make it more difficult to prey upon our children,” added Perdue.

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children, incidents of child exploitation in North Carolina increased from 225 in 2005 to more than 400 in 2006.


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