June 8, 2007
Jefferson City, Mo. — Attorney General Jay Nixon today provided the Missouri State Highway Patrol with the names and other information of 178 convicted sex offenders identified as having pages on the popular social networking Web site MySpace.com. Nixon is sharing the information with Missouri law enforcement, which will examine the data to look for potential parole violations by offenders who may be barred from using a computer or contacting minors.
“I will continue to work with my fellow Attorneys General to protect young people from predators who disguise their intentions on Internet sites,” Nixon said. “The cooperation of MySpace in identifying these sex offenders and providing us with that information is an important part of this process.”
Missouri is part of a multi-state group of Attorneys General working to protect young people from sexual offenders who may be using MySpace and similar sites to contact minors. After Attorneys General sent a letter to MySpace on May 14 demanding that the company turn over information about sex offenders, MySpace confirmed that Sentinel Tech Holdings has already identified thousands of registered sex offenders as members of the popular social networking site. MySpace has deleted these users from its site but preserved information about them and provided it to the Attorneys General.
Nixon said MySpace will continue to search its site for registered sex offenders and will give the states information about all offenders found on its site, including their e-mail and IP addresses. The Attorneys General commended MySpace for taking this important safety step.
The fact that many sex offenders have used MySpace points out how dangerous social networking sites can be for children, Nixon said. In 2006 alone, there were almost 100 media reports of criminal incidents across the country involving adults who used MySpace to prey or attempt to prey on children. Nixon said he and other Attorneys General remain concerned about other sex offenders who may be on the site using an alias and misrepresenting their age.
Nixon and the other Attorneys General are pushing social networking sites to do a better job protecting children from threats such as sexual predators and inappropriate content. Because of the push by the Attorneys General, MySpace previously took steps to improve safety on its site, including screening profiles for inappropriate content and making certain profiles private.