Wednesday, December 13, 2006

Forget collecting e-mail addresses -- THIS is what to do!

Some are now clamoring to collect the e-mail addresses of registered sex offenders as a way to make MySpace safe. The stupidity of this has been noted by many:

- The registered sex offender looking for a new victim isn't going to worry about the comparative minor penalty for a unregistered e-mail address

- New e-mail addresses are really, really easy to get

- Unregistered e-mail addresses are really, really hard to detect

- A lot if not most of the registered sex offenders are likely not to (fully) comply (because it's onerous, it's stupid and really abusable), thereby putting them into habitual violation of the law; which will be corrosive in the long run and likely increase the number of victims

- About half the sex offense convictions every year are first-time, which means that even with full compliance, the number of threats is at best halved

So I was happy to see that a group has figured out the correct solution, and they did it some time ago!

Last month, the Web site posted news of the conviction of Sean Young, a Wisconsin man sentenced to 10 years in state prison for soliciting sex online from a 14-year-old girl. According to a transcript of an online chat posted on the site, at one point Mr. Young had asked the girl, identified only as Billie, what she was wearing. When she answered “sweats,” Mr. Young typed back that if she were his daughter, “i’d make u wear sexy clthes.”

Billie turned out to be an adult volunteer for Perverted Justice, an anti-pedophile group, and when Mr. Young drove to a house where he expected to meet the teenager for sex, he was arrested by sheriff’s deputies.

The conviction was logged as the 104th that Perverted Justice says it has been responsible for since 2003, a tally that as of yesterday had reached 113. What started as one man’s quest to rid his regional Yahoo chat room of lewd adults has grown into a nationwide force of cyberspace vigilantes, financed by a network television program hungry for ratings.

“It’s a kind of blog that has turned into a crime-fighting resource,” said Robert McCrie, a professor at John Jay College of Criminal Justice in Manhattan.

Perverted Justice is best known for putting its online volunteers at the disposal of the television newsmagazine “Dateline NBC,” which has broadcast 11 highly rated programs in which would-be pedophiles are lured to “sting houses,” only to be surprised by a camera crew and, usually, the police.

Despite that publicity, the inner workings of Perverted Justice and its reclusive founder remain largely a mystery, even as the group has emerged as one of the most effective unofficial law enforcement groups in the country, a kind of Neighborhood Watch of the Net....

(Excerpt) Read more at ...

To make these places safer (note the 'r' -- they'll never be completely safe), put police and volunteers out to catch those, registered or not, who are going after children. You'll get a much better bang for the buck than "tissue-paper armor" protections like registering e-mail addresses.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Why so much attention to sex offenders? Sex sells baby. Also because the grandstanding politicians can't solve most problems and want to hide the fact they are corrupt, so they yell FIRE in a crowded theater. All these harsh measures against sex offenders only means the offenders won't be able to obey the law and that will give society a reason to lock them back up. Will that protect kids? Not on your life.

8:09 PM  

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