Thursday, July 05, 2012

Louisiana to force sex offenders to reveal status online

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Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-LA)
Rep. Jeff Thompson (R-LA)

Just when you thought the overly draconian (and often outright inhumane) laws against sex offenders in the United States had gotten bad enough, lawmakers in Louisiana have passed a new law to make their lives even more of a living hell:

A new Louisiana law requires sex offenders and child predators to state their criminal status on their Facebook or other social networking page, with the law's author saying the bill is the first of its kind in the nation.

State Rep. Jeff Thompson, a Republican from Bossier City, Louisiana, says his new law, effective August 1, will stand up to constitutional challenge because it expands sex offender registration requirements, common in many states, to include a disclosure on the convicted criminal's social networking sites as well.


Social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace have been removing sex offenders from their web pages for years, but Thompson said the law is designed to cover any possible lapses by social networking sites.

"I don't want to leave in the hands of social network or Facebook administrators, 'Gee, I hope someone is telling the truth,'" Thompson said Tuesday. "This is another tool for prosecutors."

Because that’s just what the legal system needs – more ways to crush any lingering chance these “offenders” (vast numbers of whom are guilty of no more than streaking, public urination or hiring a prostitute) have at ever rebuilding their lives.

To make matters even worse, here are what the new law requires:

The new law, signed by Gov. Bobby Jindal earlier this month, builds upon existing sex offender registration laws, in which the offender must notify immediate neighbors and a school district of his or her residency near them, Thompson said.

The law states that sex offenders and child predators "shall include in his profile for the networking website an indication that he is a sex offender or child predator and shall include notice of the crime for which he was convicted, the jurisdiction of conviction, a description of his physical characteristics... and his residential address."

Now, of course, I’m absolutely certain that the actual text of the bill is worded with deliberate care to expunge any risks that such information may be used to harass or attack these undesirable individuals, right? You know, just as with those public sex offender registries.

(Unless, of course, such means of under-the-radar – let’s call it discouragement – were actually an unofficial feature, rather than a bug … but that’s just being paranoid, I’m sure.)

(via The Agitator)