Sex offender ban on social networking sites difficult to enforce

By Sharon Smith - bio l email

CHARLOTTE, NC (WBTV) - A relatively new state law bans registered sex offenders from using social networking websites like myspace and facebook, but prosecutors say it's rarely used in court.

The law was enacted in December of 2008.

Prosecutor Kelly Miller says the law is great idea, but difficult to enforce because registered sex offenders on probation typically use the internet in the privacy of their homes. They often use different screen names and don't have their pictures on the account.

It often takes a court order for police to gain access to computer information needed to verify the account owner.

Miller points to Richard T. Mays, a convicted sex offender who raped two girls he met online. He's serving time in prison, but his myspace account is still active.

What's even more surprising, it was recently accessed. Mays was convicted in 2008.

Miller says the District Attorney's Office had requested myspace take it down. At the time this story was written, myspace had not commented.

Even if convicted, the social networking ban for registered sex offenders only brings probation.

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