Legislator Proposes New Bill To Protect Children Online

By Jon Sonnheim | 

Some might call registering internet screen names, email addresses, and my space pages an infringement of rights, but one Eastern Kentucky legislator is saying those proposals could protect your children from online sexual predators.

By now, you may have seen the television programs going undercover to catch online predators or perhaps worried about who your own children are talking to online. It's a new day and age for sexual predators forcing legislators and law enforcement agencies to stay one step ahead of them.

Last May, typing on one a computer put Husein Turki in prison after an internet sting operation, in which several officers in the Barbourville Police Department posed as underage girls in an online chat room. Nearly nine months later, those same officers say they remain dedicated to catching alleged online predators in the act.

"You didn't realize in a small town like this, you'd get that many people to talk to you like that," said Winston Tye with the Barbourville Police Department.

That's why Senator Ray Jones is proposing a new bill that would force sexual predators to register not only their street addresses, but email addresses and online identities as well.

"Clearly this bill is not going to stop every registered sex offender. It does give law enforcement another tool by which to prosecute these people," Jones said.

"It's nothing but good for the state police or law enforcement in general. We're for anything that can get information on sexual predators out there," said Tony Watts with the Kentucky State Police.

But some officers say they're not convinced the bill goes far enough.

"They come in and register with them today, and say here's what I use, and then go home, and as soon as they go home, within two minutes have five other names," Tye said.

The bottom line, officials say, is to always be cautious and mindful of who children are talking to on the internet because there's no telling who's behind the computer.

Husein Turki was in court Friday. His lawyers recently filed a motion to dismiss his charges because they believe they violate his first amendment rights. Meanwhile, Senator Ray Jones is optimistic Senate Bill 65 will get a hearing in the Senate Judiciary Committee within the next several weeks.