A Florida man was recently arrested after Florida Department of Law Enforcement agents received a tip about the man’s alleged computer chatting with a minor. Agents served a search warrant on the man’s home, where they removed computers and hard drives. A search of the confiscated computer revealed that the man, who worked as a computer programmer for a local hospice, had saved over 20,000 chat messages with young girls, many of them requesting and/or exchanging naked pictures with the chat recipients. The man is currently being held in jail without bail, where he awaits a trial on his Internet sex crime.
Perhaps the most severe consequence of a potential conviction from this crime will be the man’s required registration with the national sex offender database system. Created by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, and signed into law by President George W. Bush, the law calls for a uniform system for registering and tracking sex offenders among all 50 states, plus U.S. territories and tribal lands. However, only 15 out of 50 states — of which Florida is one — have been certified as compliant with the law.
Proponents of the law argue that a uniform registration system would prevent sex offenders from migrating to states with less-stringent registration requirements. One correctional officer who worked at a state correctional facility for 10 years recounts overhearing conversations among sex offenders about moving to states with more relaxed rules.
Critics of the rule, however, say that a uniform registration system will not improve deterrence. Others say that resources would be better spent tracking dangerous felons, rather than sex offenders, many of whom are regarded as situational and opportunistic violators who may not be as likely to reoffend. A criminal record and registration as a sex offender can make it very difficult to find a job or get a place to live. For that reason, such critics advocate for programs to help criminals readjust to society and to stay off drug and alcohol dependence.
Source: wftv.com, “Suspected child predator jailed on 12 new sex-crime charges,” Oct. 11, 2012