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State Attorney General Says 200 Sex Offenders Joined MySpace

July 31, 2008

By Michael Hasch, The Pittsburgh Tribune-Review

Jul. 31–Authorities are reviewing records for nearly 200 registered sex offenders in Pennsylvania who opened accounts on MySpace, a popular social networking Web site.

“Convicted sex offenders have no business in that kind of environment,” state Attorney General Tom Corbett said.

Corbett spokesman Nils Frederiksen said Megan’s Law records were reviewed to determine whether any convicted sex offender has violated terms of his release through MySpace use.

Information about the individuals is being forwarded to state and local probation and parole officers to allow them to search for possible violations.

The Attorney General’s Child Predator Unit has identified 185 MySpace accounts that appear to match registered sex offenders.

MySpace provided information last year for about 110 registered sex offenders believed to have been active on the site.

“We’re not aware that any violations were found in that first group,” Frederiksen said. “It’s something we have to evaluate on a case-by-case basis.”

Frederiksen said the office continues to press MySpace about sex offenders who use phony names on the site.

MySpace reached an agreement in January with attorneys general in all 50 states and the District of Columbia to take significant steps to protect children who use the site.

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