Indiana law requires sex offenders to register e-mail, screen names

Bill expands current requirements

A law signed one week ago today by Indiana Governor Mitch Daniels aims to make the Internet safer for children.

The law, Senate Bill 258, bans sex offenders from using social-networking sites, instant-messaging programs or chat rooms that the offender knows includes children. The law also requires offenders to register their e-mail and user names with the state each year and makes it a Class D felony if they don’t.

“These e-mail addresses are what’s going to be important when law enforcement authorities are doing investigations related to social networking sites such as Facebook and MySpace,” Indiana Attorney General Steve Carter said March 24 during an appearance in Indianapolis to discuss recently-enacted legislation. Carter also visited Fort Wayne, South Bend, Evansville and West Lafayette to tout the new law.

According to the National Center for Missing & Exploited Children, approximately one in seven young people between the ages of 10 and 17 experience a sexual solicitation or approach while online.

“We know kids reside on those social networking sites, so we’re going to stop that,” Carter said. “It will create a safer environment.”

The new law expands current registration requirements for the state of Indiana. Presently, sex offenders residing, working or studying in the state must register with the local Sheriff’s office within 72 hours after arriving in that jurisdiction. Offenders must re-register any time they experience a change of address, employment or location of study. Detailed information about all sex offenders registered in the state of Indiana is available online at

The registry has been available since January 1, 2003, and was enacted as part of Zachary’s Law, named for Zachary Snider of Cloverdale. Snider was murdered by a convicted sex offender in 1993 when he was 10 years old. According to the Indiana Sheriffs’ Sex and Violent Offender Registry Web site, the purpose of the registry is “to inform the general public about the identity, location, and appearance of sex and violent offenders who live, work, or study in Indiana.”

Carter said the explosive growth in Internet usage in recent years made the increased registration requirements necessary.

“Our laws need to change with our technical advances,” he said.

Rep. Shelli VanDenburgh, D-Crown Point, co-sponsored the legislation with Carter. She said expanding current laws to monitor offenders’ Internet usage is an important step towards preventing future crimes.

“Children are extremely vulnerable in these situations,” VanDenburgh said. “It is our responsibility to protect them from those looking to cause harm. Web sites like MySpace are prime breeding grounds for sexual predators to contact children.”

Carter said MySpace is cooperating with the new law, which will take effect July 1.
[Ed: When addressing the question of
A.G. Steve Carter's, Shelli VanDenburgh's, and Governor Daniels' intelligence/character, we can arrive at either of several conclusions:
A) They are deeply ignorant, both of the reality of sex offenses, their recurrence, their prevention, their "threat level" relative to other crimes as well as with the simplicity and ease of technological workarounds to laws which mandate the reporting of email addresses and the proscription against social networking (and having much in common with policies implemented in countries like China, North Korea, and Burma).
B) They are cynical and manipulative politicians who pander to the most ignorant of their constituents without regard to either the truth or to essential civil liberties, knowing that the main effect of their law will be to truly victimize society as a whole. They are, quite possibly, evil.
C) They are both of these things and in roughly the same proportion. ]

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