New bill would require tracking sex offenders online - CBS News 8 - San Diego, CA News Station - KFMB Channel 8

Tracking sex offenders online: Effective monitoring or false sense of security?

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SACRAMENTO, Calif. (AP/CBS 8) - Registered sex offenders in California would have to report their online social networking accounts to law enforcement, under a bill approved by the state Senate. But critics say it does not go far enough.

""It will require all registered sex offenders to disclose their online social network addresses as part of their annual registration requirement," Sen. Sharon Runner said while introducing her bill for a vote.

Runner cites the example of John Albert Gardner, a convicted child molester who pleaded guilty last year to raping and killing two San Diego County teenagers while he was on parole. Runner, a Republican from Lancaster, says a red flag was his MySpace page, which contained graphic descriptions of sex acts.

"He had a MySpace page with graphic descriptions of sex acts," Runner added. "The last day he accessed his web page was the day before he killed Chelsea."

Her bill, SB 57, would require offenders to report their online addresses at the same time they report their home addresses, but they could continue to use the web sites.

Not everyone sees this legislation having any real impact.

"It's ridiculous... clearly no one is thinking about these things," said local crime victim advocate Bonnie Russell. "There are so many ways around it... It can be so easily defeated."

"If they really wanted to curb this, they would put tracking information on the computer," Russell added. "You would not trust these guys to tell you the truth."

The bill is patterned on similar laws in New York and Illinois. It passed on a 32-2 vote and moves to the Assembly.

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