THE NEW PANIC: Sex Offenders Have REALLY AWESOME MySpace Pages

Just to be clear, saying you found sex offenders on MySpace is like saying you found sex offenders in the phone book. To which we say, would you like a medal or a monument, Sherlock?

Of the almost two dozen pages on MySpace that matched names and cities of local sex offenders,mousetrap.jpg law-enforcement officials confirmed nine were on Florida’s sex offender registry and six others “were probably” on the list, officials said.

However, the lack of pictures and information on some of the pages made it difficult for officials to positively link all of the sites to sex offenders. Detectives who investigate Internet crimes on the Treasure Coast said none of the profiles violated any laws because the sex offenders were not on supervised probation.

MySpace on Tuesday announced its partnership with the online identity and background verification company Sentinel Tech Holding Corp. amid complaints and investigations such as the one conducted by Scripps Treasure Coast Newspapers about sex offenders with personal pages.

Sentinel will build a “national, real-time searchable sex offender database” that will contain detailed background information on the 550,000 registered sex offenders in the United States, a news release states. It will be frequently updated with the names, ages, physical descriptions and distinguishing features such as scars and tattoos. MySpace hopes to have its database operational in 30 days, according to the release.

A 24-hour-a-day staff will monitor the database and remove MySpace profiles matching a registered sex offender, the release states. In the meantime, MySpace said it will delete any profile it can associate with a sex offender.

SCRIPPS NEWS SERVICE: The Price Of Parenting Is Vigilance OR The Future Of Newspapers Is EXPLAINING The Internet, Not Whipping Up Irrational Fears About It

RECOMMENDED READING: “The Politics of Injustice: Crime and Punishment in AmericaBy Katherine Beckett, Theodore Sasson. “The U.S. crime rate has dropped steadily for more than a decade, yet the rate of incarceration continues to skyrocket. Today, more than 2 million Americans are locked in prisons and jails…How did the U.S. become the world’s leader in incarceration? Katherine Beckett and Theodore Sasson provide readers with a robust analysis of the roles of crime, politics, media imagery and citizen activism in the making of criminal justice policy in the age of mass incarceration. Debunks myths about crime in the U.S., challenges many current anticrime policies that became harsher in the 1990s, and illuminates the political implications of crime and punishment. Updated throughout with particular attention to Chapter 5, “Crime in the Media,” including research and analyses of crime in the news, crime as entertainment, and the interplay of news media, entertainment, and crime.

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