State Assemblywoman Donna Simon wants the state to create a law that would force sex offenders to identify their status on social networking profiles like Facebook.
“Anyone who remembers the TV show `To Catch a Predator’ knows they don’t just knock on the door anymore. We can bring a some of the landmark Megan’s Law protects to the Internet,“ Simon said. “It’s almost impossible to open a newspaper these days without seeing another example of a depraved predator hiding his past to victimize another innocent child. Any bit of knowledge that might prevent a tragic crime is essential.”
Simon, a Republican representing parts of Mercer, Middlesex, Somerset and Hunterdon counties, says three recent crimes in New Jersey show the need for the legislation and illustrate how dangerous the Internet remains for children.
Last year a Bound Brook man who had been convicted of exposing himself to teenage girls was caught responding to personal ads on an online dating site. Earlier this month, a Robbinsville man recently was arrested after flying to Colorado to engage in sexual activity with an investigator he believed was a teenage girl he met on Facebook. And a Pemberton man previously convicted of aggravated sexual assault of a child under 13 was sentenced to life this month after traveling to Rhode Island to have sex with an investigator he believed was an 8-year-old girl he met online.
“These horrific, stomach-turning examples show how important it is for parents and children to know whether the person they’re chatting with is capable of committing atrocious acts,” Simon said. “My plan would give one more tool to the law enforcement officers who work around the clock to protect children from sex offenders.”
Simon is sponsoring legislation, modeled after a law enacted in Louisiana last year, that would force anyone required to register under Megan’s Law to identify themselves as a sex offender on social networking profiles. Anyone caught violating that provision could face 18 months in jail and a $10,000 fine.