Steve Looks Out For Our Kids

February 24, 2009

This story in the Bucks County Courier Times today tells us that…

State Rep. Steve Santarsiero wants to prohibit Internet use by anyone convicted of committing a sexual offense using the Web.

The statistics are sobering. One in five girls and one in 10 boys are sexually exploited before they reach adulthood.

Additionally, the U.S. Department of Justice’s Youth Internet Survey shows that one in five children ages 10 to 17 has received unwanted sexual solicitations online.

With that in mind, state Rep. Steve Santarsiero, D-31, hopes to introduce a bill early next month aimed at keeping sexual predators off the Internet. Specifically, Santarsiero’s proposal would prohibit Internet use by anyone convicted of committing a sexual offense using the Web and those required to register as a sex offender under Megan’s Law. The bill also would require all other convicted sex offenders to register with Pennsylvania State Police and reveal any online identities and Internet accounts they might have, including e-mail addresses, personal Web sites, online community memberships and chat room aliases, he said at a press conference Monday in Lower Makefield.

Joining Santarsiero was Lower Makefield police Chief Ken Coluzzi, who called the proposal “a great piece of legislation.”

“Obviously it is hard to monitor sex offenders until they do something wrong. + But we can keep these predators away from our schools, why not keep them away from our children when they are home,” Coluzzi said.

Santarsiero calls his planned bill, the Pennsylvania Electronic Security and Targeting of Online Predators Act (PA e-STOP) which he said would protect children surfing the Web from online sex offenders.

(By the way, I have a message for the Courier Times copy editor in charge of this story; I corrected three misspellings of Steve’s last name. Can you please watch that next time?)

I like the fact that this bill puts the onus on the offender, as opposed to former U.S. House Rep Mike Fitzpatrick’s infamous Deleting Online Predators Act, which instead put the onus on kids, as well as libraries and schools, that may be completely innocent of any wrongdoing, as noted here (it was hard not to escape the conclusion that the real aim of Mikey’s bill was to try and shut down social networking sites which could be used for political fundraising and organizing; the 2006 bill marked one of my infrequent disagreements with our incumbent 8th District U.S. House Rep, as noted here).

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