Kentucky Bill Would Force Sex Offenders To Register Screen Names

FRANKFORT, Ky. (AP) - Convicted sex offenders could be charged with felonies for not registering their Internet screen names and other electronic identities under a bill pending in Kentucky.

The legislation, similar to a bill pending in Congress, is intended to give law enforcement authorities a way to trace the online activity of sex offenders, said state Sen. Ray Jones, D-Pikeville.

Jones, the bill's sponsor, said he wants to address the national problem of online predators targeting children with virtual anonymity.

"Kids have access to the Internet at school, at home, when they go to a friend's home," Jones said Thursday. "We have to try to stop child predators from using the Internet because it is probably the single biggest risk for children."

Under the Kentucky legislation, convicted sex offenders would face one to five years in prison for the first violation, and five to 10 years for a second.

Under the federal legislation, introduced last week, social networking Web sites like MySpace and Facebook would have access to a database of sex offenders for checking names and addresses
against public profiles. It would require convicted sex offenders to register their e-mail addresses and other online identifiers with federal authorities. The information would not be released to the public.

Adults who misrepresent their age to a minor with the intent of sexually abusing a child could be prosecuted and sentenced to up to 20 years in prison under the federal legislation.

Copyright 2007 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved

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