Senators working to reinstate social media restrictions for sex offenders

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Two Indiana Senators are working to reinstate restrictions on sex offenders’ access to social media websites following a federal appeals court ruling.

Last week, the 7th U.S. Circuit of Appeals in Chicago overturned a federal judge’s decision to ban sex offenders from visiting the websites, saying the “blanket ban” was too broad and did not protect children.

Senators Jim Merritt, R-Indianapolis, and John Waterman, R-Shelburn, have amended Senate Bill 220 to narrow the class of people prohibited from using social media websites. If passed, class A felony child molesters and sex offenders convicted of child solicitation would not be allowed to use sites like Facebook or Twitter.

“We can’t permit offenders like these who have proven track records of endangering children to have access to social media sites where they can, once again, threaten our kids behind closed doors,” Merritt said. “It’s of the utmost importance to reinstate this law and defend vulnerable young Hoosiers.”

SB 220 would also prohibit persons required to register as sex or violent offenders for crimes like kidnapping, seduction and exploitations from using social media websites to communicate with Hoosiers younger than age 16 without parents’ or guardians’ permission.

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