Seriously… that was the headline of this CBS12.com article!
Why are sex offenders allowed online?
How about to work? How about for access to news and research? How about communicating with friends and family?
If this is truly the subject of a “CBS12 Investigation”, perhaps the people at the West Palm Beach based station should actually investigate instead of spreading untruths?
They start their article by saying, “More than 70,000 sex offenders live and work in the state of Florida.” That’s a lie! Less than HALF of the 70,000 sex offenders live and work in the state of Florida.
In fact, 1.51% of those people don’t live anywhere – they are dead, yet still on the list. One-quarter of the list is presently incarcerated and not living or working in the community, thousands have been deported and twenty-thousand live and work in states OTHER THAN Florida, but they are still on the Florida registry because they used to live or visited here.
Even scarier are the quotes from Officer Justin Kerns with the Port St. Lucie Police Department who said, “It’s a concern because you can do all sorts of instant messaging where it’s private, so if you’re communicating with someone it takes a lot of investigative work to track it down, figure out who that person is talking to.”
Wait a second, Officer Kerns… why are you tracking down conversations between individuals? Most are no longer on probation and the OVERWHELMING majority of email and instant messaging conversations are perfectly lawful. Absent a warrant, what you are suggesting is called “wiretapping” and is a violation of 18 U.S. Code Sec. 2511 absent an investigation. Are all registrants under investigation?
Officer Kerns also said, “If an offender were going to try to re-victimize someone, that would be how they do it, that’s how they groom their future victims, through social media.” Officer Kerns clearly knows very little about re-offense rates or the fact that over 90% of victims know their perpetrators and what he’s describing occurs in very, very few cases. If he thinks “that would be how they do it” he’s misspending a lot of resources.
Some more “misinformation” spread by CBS12 is this statement, “Florida law initially only required sex offenders to register email addresses, however that changed during the 2016 Legislative session. That is when state lawmakers expanded the definitions of what Internet identification has to be reported to include social media and other new-age technology platforms.”
First, that’s absolutely incorrect. The prior law did not only require email addresses. Florida Statute 775.21 PRIOR TO 2016 required the registration of, “all electronic mail, chat, instant messenger, social networking, application software, or similar names used for Internet communication”
Second, is CBS12 unaware that the State was enjoined from enforcing the 2016 amended definition of “Internet Identifier”?
Perhaps this network and reporter Greg Angel should do some real “investigating.” Personally, many of us would love to correct him, but from his profile page it instructs us to use Twitter to connect with him (see: http://cbs12.com/station/people/greg-angel) and apparently he’ll construe that as us “grooming” him.
If someone is so inclined, please share this information with CBS12 by calling their general manager (561-844-1212) or emailing to [email protected].