Office of the Attorney General
Attorney General Stumbo Announces MySpace Releases Sex Offender Names to Kentucky
Attorney General Greg Stumbo announced that his office has today received the names of 68 MySpace.com users that the Website believes are convicted sex offenders from Kentucky.
Attorney General Stumbo received the names and other identifying information, such as the users’ email and IP addresses, in response to a subpoena sent by the Attorney General to MySpace on May 21 demanding that the company turn over information about sex offenders. MySpace had earlier confirmed that it had identified thousands of registered sex offenders as members of the popular social networking site. MySpace reports that it has deleted the users from its site but preserved the information about them in order to provide it to attorneys general such as Stumbo.
“We are providing this information to the Kentucky State Police and Corrections Department to determine if the offenders violated terms of their probation or parole by having a MySpace profile,” said Attorney General Stumbo. “My office takes this issue very seriously as it is apparent that Kentucky children could be endangered by encountering a registered sex offender online.”
In an April press conference, Attorney General Stumbo highlighted Kentucky’s new law requiring the state’s 6,245 registered sex offenders to register their “electronic mail addresses and any instant messaging, chat, or other Internet communication name identities” with the Kentucky State Police Sex Offender Registry. Senate Bill 65, which was the first law in the nation requiring convicted sex offenders to register their online identities, was sponsored by Senator Ray Jones II of Pikeville and goes into effect June 26, 2007.
In 2006 alone, the nationwide media reported almost 100 criminal incidents across the country involving adults who used MySpace to prey or attempt to prey on children. Since May of 2006, Kentucky’s Attorney General has participated with a multistate group of attorneys general from 52 states and territories to push social networking sites to do a better job protecting children from threats such as sexual predators and inappropriate content.
Last week’s subpoena to MySpace is just the latest part of this effort. Because of the push of the attorneys general, MySpace has previously taken other steps to improve safety on its site such as screening profiles for inappropriate content and making certain profiles private. The attorneys general are continuing to urge MySpace to require parental permission for children to be on its site, among other safety steps.
Attorney General Stumbo’s Kentucky Bureau of Investigation last month conducted its second successful child sexual predator sting and has now arrested 20 men for attempting to solicit sex with a minor over the Internet.
The Attorney General’s Office is also leading efforts to educate school children, teachers and communities about dangers on the Internet. Stumbo’s Internet safety outreach initiative is one of the products of the i-Shield Task Force that he established November 6, 2006. The purpose of the Task Force is to encourage law enforcement to work together to educate children, teachers, parents and communities about online risks and give them the instruction they need to avoid becoming the next Internet crime victim. The Task Force has worked with the Kentucky Center for School Safety and non-profit group i-Safe America to help promote Internet safety in schools and communities.
“Education is the key to protecting our kids,” Stumbo said. “So many of them are just not aware of the dangers on the Internet. We’ve given them the keys to the information superhighway without any drivers’ education classes. We’re working with the schools and law enforcement to change that.”
“As Kentucky’s top law officer, I have made keeping Kentucky’s children safe online a top priority,” Stumbo added. “In the near future I expect to have more to announce regarding the work of my office in protecting the Commonwealth’s children from the dark side of the Internet.”