There is no “one-size-fits-all” category of criminals, and that is particularly true of those convicted of a sexual offense. There are serial rapists and pedophiles, and also, for example, an eighteen year old boy or girl involved in a committed relationship with a sweetheart who is under the legal limit for sexual relations in that particular state. What passes as the age of consent in one state may be illegal in another state a few feet or miles away. And, of course, there are offenses between the two extremes. But once convicted of a sexual offense, the collateral consequences are often more extreme for sex offenders than for almost any other crime.
A murderer who completes his sentence is generally allowed to live in any area he chooses. A convicted sex offender might not be allowed to live in within a certain distance of a school, park, beach, playground or anywhere else children might gather. This sanction takes a hard toll on a convicted sex offender’s family who are innocent of any crime. After completing a prison sentence many sex offenders, including some whose “crime” was urinating in public, are branded for years, if not life. (See Reentry Central “Digital Scarlet Letter” Brands Sex-Offenders for Life 8-30-2011)
Those convicted of a sex offense can also be banned from using a computer, or must report every site they visit, and even may have monitoring devices attached to their computers. Being banned from using social media sites is not uncommon for sex offenders. click here to go to website
Not every convicted sex offender should have unlimited access to the internet, but where does one draw the line? Federal Judge Richard Kopf of Nebraska recently ruled against certain parts of that state’s newly enacted sex offender registry law regarding those who have completed their sentences and are not under community supervision. Knof’s ruling allows certain sex offenders to use social networking sites.