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Sex Offenders Arrested After Using MySpace.com

By Shelley Kofler

http://stream.publicbroadcasting.net/production/mp3/kera/local-kera-635676.mp3

Dallas, TX – Texas Attorney General Gregg Abbott says MySpace.Com could do more to make its Internet site safer. He said that while announcing the arrests for 14 convicted sex offenders who violated their parole by creating profiles on the website. Four live in North Texas.

Abbott says the roundup of sex offenders began with a subpoena his office issued to MySpace.com, an online networking site.

We had a subpoena issued to MySpace.Com that required them to turn over to us all registered sex offenders who had established a profile on my space, said Abbott.

With that list, investigators then identified 14 convicted sex offenders in Texas who were violating parole by creating profiles on website. In an effort to prevent their meeting with children, peace officers arrested the ex-cons in September.

The Attorney General's campaign to identify potential child predators using the Internet began four years ago.

Abbott said MySpace executives were somewhat cooperative during the recent investigation, but he hopes they will go further to improve online safety.

They could voluntarily disclose the names of all registered sex offenders who may be on their site so anybody going on there would know automatically. Two, they could implement age verification. Three, they would use a system that would identify the photographs of known child pornography so it could be matched against a national database that would quickly allow us to go after those who are passing on child pornography, said Abbott.

KERA attempted to reach MySpace for a response to those suggestions. Abbott claims MySpace has rejected them in the past as being too costly and too difficult to implement.