New Jersey Bans Sex Offenders from Internet Use

January 5, 2008 · Print This Article · Email This Post

Computer Safety for ChildrenNew Jersey has passed a draconian new law banning convicted sex offenders who used the Internet to commit crime from using the Internet at all. The bill applies to both sex offenders who lured victims with email and instant messages and to paroled offenders who are under lifetime supervision but who didn’t commit an Internet-related offense.

Signed by Acting Governor Richard J. Codey, in the absence of Governor Jon S. Corzine, who was on a Caribbean vacation, the bill interestingly does allow convicted sex offenders to use the Internet at work or while searching for a job. The law requires sex offenders to notify the state’s parole board if they have computer access; punishment for using the Internet is a $10,000 fine and 18 months in jail. The parole board supervises about 4,200 paroled sex offenders who meet the lifetime supervision requirement. Convicts will be submitted to random, unannounced examinations of their computer and must install computer software which tracks computer use. Polygraph tests can be ordered by parole officers when offenders are suspected of violating the ban on Internet use.

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Last month, New Jersey’s parole board banned convicts from using such social networking sites as Facebook and MySpace, after the state subpoenaed several sites and discovered hundreds of profiles belonging to sex offenders. Florida and Nevada are the only other states imposing Internet restrictions upon those convicted of sex crimes. There’s no similar federal law.

Megan KankaLinda Greenstein, D-Mercer, said the new law updates Megan’s Law, which became a model law throughout the United States requiring sex offenders to register their names and addresses with the state after release from prison. She said: “When Megan’s Law was enacted, few could envision a day when a sex offender hiding behind a fake screen name would be a mouse-click away from new and unwitting victims.” Megan Kanka, 7, died in July 1994 in Hamilton Township, New Jersey after being assaulted by twice-convicted sex offender Jesse Timmendequas, who was sentenced to death for the child’s rape and murder. Megan’s parents were unaware that the sex offender had moved in across the street.

Apparently, the New Jersey legislature is unaware of the existence of public libraries, Internet cafes, laptop computers, Starbucks and the automobile.

Read more news about sex offenders.

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