Source AP ©

Nearly 150 sex offenders have profiles on MySpace.com

Nearly 150 convicted New Jersey sex offenders had profiles on MySpace.com, with more than half either on probation or parole.

"We have the proof in hand to confirm the worst fears of New Jersey's concerned parents and educators - that sex offenders are active on Web sites used by children and teenagers," Attorney General Anne Milgram said.

She said the sex offenders on probation and parole can be subjected to tougher prohibitions against Internet use.

MySpace agreed in May to provide states with e-mail and Internet addresses of sex offenders, bowing to requests from attorneys general in eight states who had pressured MySpace to disclose the information. It built a database on sex offenders, removed about 7,000 profiles from the site nationally and turned names over to law enforcement in all 50 states, officials said. The site has about 180 million profiles.

The names of the registered sex offenders were turned over to New Jersey authorities after the Attorney General's Office issued a May 21 subpoena. A second subpoena was served on June 29 seeking additional information from MySpace.com.

Milgram said her office will review the list of sex offenders identified through MySpace and try to determine the exact nature of the offenders' activities on the site.

Also, she said other social networking Web sites will be asked to cross-check their user profiles with publicly available lists of registered sex offenders and provide names of any sex offenders to her office.

"The information provided by MySpace is only a first step," Milgram said.

Social networking sites such as MySpace allow users to create online profiles with photos, music and personal information, let them send messages to one another and view other profiles.

Milgram said MySpace included names, e-mail addresses and Internet protocol addresses of convicted sex offenders who had registered with state authorities. According to MySpace records:

- The 141 New Jersey sex offenders logged onto MySpace 34,000 times during the time they were registered with the site, which ranged from a few months to two years. Many logged onto the site hundreds of times.

- 43 MySpace users were New Jersey parolees and another 37 on probation. The other 61 are registered New Jersey sex offenders, but neither on parole nor probation.

The Attorney General's Office has turned over the information to parole and probation officials to check for violations, while the state police will review data for potential use in investigations.

Connecticut, for instance, recently charged two sex offenders with violating parole by creating a MySpace profile without permission from parole officials.

New Jersey sex offenders who violate parole face up to five years in prison and a fine of up to $15,000 (11,028 EUR).

According to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children one in seven children in America between ages 10 and 17 is sexually solicited online.

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