A bill has recently been signed into law that will require anyone using Facebook or a social networking site who has also been convicted of a sex crime to post his or her status as a sex offender on his or her profile. Though this law will not affect anyone in Minnesota, it has dangerous implications and could set precedence for the Minnesota legislature.
The bill’s author has said that this new law is merely an extension of his state’s sex offender registry and that, if challenged, it would be found constitutional. The law requires that anyone who has been convicted of a sexual crime or was once considered to be a child predator must put that he or she is a sex offender and list the crimes of which he or she was convicted on the social networking profiles. The individual must also include his or her home address and a physical description.
For someone that has been convicted of and served his or her punishment for a sex crime, this new law could make it even harder for the individual to integrate back into society. With his or her name on the sex offender registry, it will already be difficult to find a home, a job, or develop any relationships with his neighbors or friends. Luckily, however, there are very few people who actually look up individuals on the sex offender registry, so he or she could live with some anonymity. With this new law, however, there will be very few people who will not know whether someone was, at one point, a sex offender.
With the serious punishments that follow a conviction for sex crimes, including being put on the sex offender registry, it is important to seek out a strong criminal defense attorney whenever charges are filed.
Source: CNN, “New La. Law: Sex offenders must list status on Facebook, other social media,” Michael Martinez, June 20, 2012