Local News

Social networking a felony for convicted sex offenders

Posted November 5, 2010
Updated November 10, 2010

— North Carolina law enforcement agencies are cracking down on sex offenders who use social networking sites, following a two-year-old state law.

The 2008 law makes it a felony for convicted sex offenders to create profiles on social networking websites, such as Facebook and MySpace, where children can be members.

"We need to protect our children, and this is one of the ways that we do it," North Carolina Attorney General Roy Cooper said.

As law enforcement agencies get training on how to find sex offenders online, investigators are becoming increasingly active in enforcing the laws, he said.

Stephen Michael Broadie Sex offenders get felony for social networking

"It's an important law. Sometimes it takes a year or so for new laws to get out there and for people to realize that they are there," Cooper said.

In July, the Durham Police Department and Durham County Sheriff's Office served 11 search warrants on MySpace and Faceboo arrested eight sex offenders in a sting operation to enforce the law.

  • Jalee Beverly, 28, of Rosetta Drive; 2002 convictions for two counts of statutory rape of a child under 6, first-degree kidnapping
  • Emil Brunner, 23, of Glenn Road; 2009 conviction for indecent liberties with a child
  • Ahrmad Griffin, 34, of Holloway Street; 2003 convictions for two counts of indecent liberties with a child
  • Christian Johnson, 34, of Shiva Court; 2008 convictions for two counts of indecent liberties with a child
  • Lester Packingham Jr., 29, of Pike Street; 2002 conviction for indecent liberties with a child
  • Cenntell Thomas, 26, of North Roxboro Street; 2007 convictions for two counts of indecent liberties with a child
  • Raquim Watson, 23, of South Alston Avenue; 2008 convictions for two counts of indecent liberties with a child
  •  Brandon Whitehurst, 22, of Campus Walk Avenue; 2005 conviction for incest

The Harnett County Sheriff's Office also arrested a registered sex offender, Stephen Michael Broadie, 23, of 2218 Old U.S. 421 in Lillington, on charges of setting up a Facebook profile. Broadie was convicted of indecent liberties with a child in 2006, according to state Department of Correction records.

The attorney general said that sentencing will vary, depending on the suspect's prior criminal history.

"It sends a strong message that we're not going to tolerate sex offenders who troll the Internet, trying to send inappropriate material to our children," Cooper said.


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  • kbo80 Nov 5, 2010

    If they were still in prison then they would not have access to any of these sites. The earliest conviction was in 2002 but, he is out with access to the internet eight years later.

  • Justin T. Nov 5, 2010

    I hope this law expands even further... hopefully some of my Facebook friends who update their status every time they eat a meal, go to bed, or perform some other random mundane task will get arrested, too.

  • WhitePony Nov 5, 2010

    This law protects absolutely no one. The fact that no one faced additional charges for attempt to solicit is proof that they weren't arrested for misusing Facebook, only for having one.

    jjesusfreak01 is correct that people who are free deserve to be treated like it.

    kewlmom made an excellent point that shows how easily this law could be abused.

    And if you actually think this law is protecting your children, here's the REAL "News" about sex offenders: if they were really using Facebook to find and lure new victims, they would use a fake account.

    This law protects no one.

  • bopeace1999 Nov 5, 2010

    The only one that made any sense:>> teachyour childrenwell said: "Very stupid law. It should be up to parents to monitor what children are doing online. I almost guarantee you that there are more freaks out there that have no record than there are those that have one. You could be labeled a sex offender for a variety of reasons that have nothing to do with children. Are murderers banned from those sites? No, and they could be hunting down their next victim."

  • tar97heel Nov 5, 2010

    Further, how many adults are on Facebook now? Probably more than minors. Isolating offenders will only cause recidivism, since they likely feel they have not much left to lose. A strong "personal social network" is precisley what many of these guys (and girls!) need. Additionally, the case is increasingly strong that every facet of society is moving toward being interlinked with "social networking," including corporate/job-related networking. In 5-10 years, it will be all but impossible to segment everyday life from some form of social networking - and further isolating people who already carry a scarlet letter is a recipe for disaster to society, and tantamount to creating the opposite effect of what is needed - to give them all the tools to be productive, successful, and not re-offend

  • jjesusfreak01 Nov 5, 2010

    This is stupid. Dangerous criminals shouldn't be out on the streets, and those who have served their time should be treated like full citizens. This in between stuff is damaging to our society and dangerous to our children.

  • tar97heel Nov 5, 2010

    Another grand political stunt to create fear and make people think LEO/AG/Legislature are keeping us all safe, thus justifying their jobs and securing their re-election.

    Statistics show over, and over, and over again that the vast majority of these situations arise because the "victim" was in close proximity - either family member or or similar - to the perpetrator. Of course, legislators never mention that on campaign stops

  • justafella Nov 5, 2010

    OGE, proably all of them since they are on Probation/Parole.

  • OGE Nov 5, 2010

    How many of these people were point blank told, you can not join a social networking site?

  • corey3rd Nov 5, 2010

    Having to admit you use MySpace should be punishment enough.