Local News

AG: 2,100 N.C. sex offenders on MySpace

Posted March 10, 2009 11:17 a.m. EDT
Updated March 10, 2009 11:27 a.m. EDT

— More than 2,100 registered North Carolina sex offenders were found on the MySpace social networking site, Attorney General Roy Cooper said Tuesday.

Almost two years ago, Cooper subpoenaed MySpace to get data on sex offenders using the Web site. MySpace later turned over the names and e-mail addresses of 2,116 convicted North Carolina sex offenders found on its site.

Cooper has requested similar information from MySpace competitor Facebook.

“It’s no secret that child predators are on these Web sites,” Cooper said in a statement. “Turning over information about these predators to law enforcement helps, but MySpace, Facebook and other social networks need to do much more to protect kids online.”

At the urging of Cooper and other state attorneys general, MySpace last year developed technology to find and remove sex offenders from its site. Cooper said he is pushing Facebook and other social networking Web sites to take similar steps.

MySpace officials said they have removed all of the identified sex offenders from the site. People who have been charged with but not convicted of sex offenses, offenders who aren't registered with authorities and registered offenders using aliases might still be using MySpace, officials said.

Cooper said he remains concerned about sex offenders on the site who might be lying about who they are, and he has asked MySpace to do more to protect children on its site.

The General Assembly last year beefed up sanctions for online predators, including banning convicted sex offenders from social networking sites where children are members. Those who authorities believe violated the law can be charged with a felony.

Prosecutors in Cooper's office have shared the MySpace information with state probation officials to identify possible violations by probationers who may be barred from using a computer or contacting minors.