Identifying/convicting Sexual Predators is only part of the battle
Computers, tablets, and cell phones all lead to the rapid expanse of social media. Sites such as Facebook draw in billions of followers’ postings. Then there are the numerous date/meet sites that provide a wide forum for internet
Once a sex offender is convicted, they are labeled Level I (low level risk), Level II (moderate risk) and Level III (high risk). This sex offender status follows an individual throughout their lives and they are required to notify local police agencies of their address, or change. Depending on their status, they are also required to either register social media information, or refrain from social media sites altogether while on parole /or probation.
Unfortunately, once a convicted Sex Offender is off of parole or probation, unless otherwise specified conditions are set, the computer access and social media forum is wide open.
On Monday, following an intensive five month investigation, State Police in Lyons reported the arrest of Jesse Graham, age 47, residing at 111 East Pearl Street in the Village of Newark (formerly 611 North Main Street in Newark).
Graham was charged with the Class E Felony Fail to Register Internet Access and Identifiers as a Level II Sex Offender. It is alleged that he signed up on Facebook with a phony name. According to police, he used a name made up from the Bible. It was not illegal for Graham to be on the website, only in using a phony name.
The chances of Graham being discovered were extremely slim, according to State Police Investigator Scott Carr. Using his false name on Facebook, Graham reportedly contacted other family members, even the 15 year-old female victim of his 2002 Rape in the 3rd Degree conviction. He received a state prison term of 1-3 years.
Most social websites have rules/terms of registering. Facebook terms clearly spell out that:
• You will not provide any false personal information on Facebook, or create an account for anyone other than yourself without permission.
• You will not create more than one personal profile.
• You will not use Facebook if you are under 13.
• You will not use Facebook if you are a convicted sex offender.
Under terms of Facebook, it states “We do our best to keep Facebook safe, but we cannot guarantee it.” Unfortunately, there is no way to truly monitor such sites without the public’s help.
In the Graham case, a citizen complaint led to the arrest, but Investigator Carr said this was only his second such case of internet Sex Offender crime he has investigated, that led to an arrest. “These cases are difficult to prove.” In the Graham arrest, the defendant cooperated once confronted with the allegations.