Police Promote Bill That Would Target Online Predators

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - McCracken County Sheriff Jon Hayden said
his area found out the harsh reality that child predators can strike anywhere, showing that the state needs to toughen laws to prevent them from pursuing youngsters online.
Hayden joined Attorney General Jack Conway, prosecutors and
other law enforcement officers Wednesday in promoting a bill to strengthen the fight against online predators. The measure later cleared its first hurdle by winning approval from the House Judiciary Committee.
The western Kentucky sheriff said some people think such crimes
are limited to big cities, but one incident in his area showed it can happen anywhere. He said a teenage girl was raped last year, allegedly by an adult man she met on the Internet.
"This is a terrible problem," Hayden said at a news conference
before the committee vote. "It reaches all corners of the commonwealth."
Conway said that along with all its advantages, the Internet can also be "a tool for crime." He cited statistics showing that one in seven children report being solicited online for sex by adults.
"We recognize that the law lags technology," he said.
Louisville Metro Police Lt. Tom Dreher, commander of the department's Crimes Against Children's Unit, said his unit has seen an increase in Internet crimes against children. He said some perpetrators told officials they chose Kentucky because its laws against online child predators aren't as strong as some other states.
Rep. Johnny Bell, D-Glasgow, the bill's lead sponsor, called it "a strong movement forward in protecting the youth of our commonwealth."
The bill would allow law enforcement to use specially trained decoys for online stings. It would make it a crime to solicit anyone who the person believes is a minor.
Another provision would prohibit registered sex offenders from
using social-networking Web sites such as MySpace and Facebook. The
bill also would require sex offenders to notify the sex offender registry whenever they change their e-mail addresses.
The bill also amends the state's stalking statute to include cyberstalking.
It also would allow police to seize personal property such as a
computer or car that was used in committing online sexual offenses
against children.
During the committee hearing, Rep. Greg Stumbo - Conway's
predecessor as attorney general - said the measure would strengthen
the ability of law enforcement to crack down on Internet child predators. During Stumbo's tenure, the attorney general's office was involved in three Internet sting operations across the state.
"This is a wonderful step forward," Stumbo said of the bill.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)

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  • by barbara Location: frankfort on Feb 14, 2008 at 08:52 AM
    No matter where you are, this is an on going problem accoss the United States. If you even touch a child in the wrong way you need to be locked up for life, not a slap on the wrist and get out so you can do it again. I am all for stiffer laws, but you have to get everyone on board to make this work. There are people out there that do not think this is a epidemic toward our children. The abuser that are doing this has been abused when they were babies, back in the 50's and 60's people looked the other way or delt with the problem on there own terms. I hope some one does something about this before all of the children are abused
  • by Zatoichi Location: Richmond on Feb 14, 2008 at 06:14 AM
    Half the state will be in jail in a decade. The internet has unleashed a lot of folks who think they are totally anonymous and can get away with doing things they would not do in the light of day.
  • by c Location: fkt on Feb 14, 2008 at 05:01 AM
    Like they actually care about our children, right! If they catch these sickos, the judges let them go! If you are going to make a law, then for God's sake, make the punishment clear & take it out of the hands of these so called judges! It should be worded in a manner that NO ONE can misunderstand the punishment that should be required! Otherwise, you will just be wasting paper, time, & money! Parents can protect their children better, if they would stop paying for their children to be in these chat rooms in the first place! I have only one computer with internet access & its in a place where I can see what's going on! The other computers DO NOT have internet access & NEVER will! I know where my children are & am active in their lives. Call me protective, but they are my children & I will do WHATEVER necessary to protect them until they are old enough to protect themselves! Parents should be parents & not be afraid of the word NO! Quit being friends with your children & be parents!


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