New Jersey considers keeping sex offenders off social media

 New research shows that Twitter use could actually be damaging to users' romantic relationships.  (Emma Lee/ For NewsWorks file photo)

New research shows that Twitter use could actually be damaging to users' romantic relationships. (Emma Lee/ For NewsWorks file photo)

A bill under consideration in the New Jersey legislature would make it tougher for sex offenders to access the Internet.

State law already requires sex offenders to tell law enforcement if they have access to computers and the Internet.

But Assemblywoman Marlene Caride said her bill would also require them to provide their email address and user name.

“Having them provide their passwords, their links, all that, to law enforcement as part of their probation, we would have a tool to follow up to ensure they are staying off the social media that would bring them into contact with our children,” said Caride, D-Bergen.

The intent is to protect children from sexual predators, she said.

“Our kids are tweeting, Facebook, all these different social media avenues that are out there and available, and the goal of the bill was to prevent sexual predators from reaching out to these kids and persuading them to meet,” Caride said.

James Maynard, a defense attorney who has represented sex offenders, opposes the legislation.

“We believe that the more than 20 years of legislative efforts directed at those with sex offense histories, while well intentioned, represent a misdirection of resources away from the 95 percent of sexual abuse that is committed by first-time offenders,” Maynard said.

If the measure becomes law, violators would face a fine up to $15,000 and a possible three-to-five year prison term.

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