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Sex offenders can't catch a break (or a Pokémon)

We have discussed the various strict and often life-altering restrictions placed on registered sex offenders numerous times on this blog, but it is worth repeating. A person convicted of a sex crime who is required to register as a sex offender will have to comply with a whole host of restrictions, from where they can live to what they can do online.

These requirements can make it all but impossible for a person to live a normal life and try to move on past an offense. And some states aren't trying to make it any easier. Recently, it was announced in New York that registered sex offenders will also now be banned from playing PokémonGo.

For those who may be unfamiliar, PokémonGo is a game for your mobile device. It uses GPS and augmented reality technology to allow players to "catch" virtual Pokémon in their real world surroundings as they walk around. Players can meet up at various real locations to "battle" and there are landmarks that serve as stops where people can win prizes. 

The fact that so many people -- including huge numbers of kids -- play the game has prompted the governor in New York to ban sex offenders from the game, calling it a "tool" for people "seeking to do harm to our children."

It may not be long until other states including Florida adopt similar bans. In fact, the governor is requesting help to ban offenders from downloading the game from the game's creator.

The announcement was not made in response to any specific incident. While a report was released that identified several PokéStops, Pokémon gyms and Pokémon found near dwellings of registered sex offenders, there was no indication that anything suspicious had happened. In fact, in most cases, it is the game that encourages people to go to certain locations, not users.

Sex offenders in Florida and across the U.S. should be aware of these PokémonGo bans, and we will certainly be keeping an eye out for any Florida-specific developments. It would also be wise to discuss with your attorney or a law enforcement agent any concerns you may have about the game and potential violations or areas you should be avoiding to protect yourself.

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