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Sex Offender Accused of Social Networking Pleads Guilty

A Durham County registered sex offender pleaded guilty to using a social networking website this month. The former North Carolina Central University student was sentenced to three to four months for accessing restricted social networking websites.

The Pinehurst man, 22, was convicted of incest in Moore County in September of 2009, for which he has served one of three years of probation. Earlier this month, he was accused of groping a North Carolina Central University student and attempting to force his way into her dorm room.

However, a District Court judge held that the man could not be tried on a charge of sexual battery in the case. Although the district attorney's office attempted to prosecute him on a lesser charge for assault on a female, the charge was also thrown out by the judge. The man's attorney claims there was no evidence that any touching occurred in the situation, which involved excessive drinking.

The current charge stems from a coordinated effort by the Durham Police Department and the Durham County Sheriff's Office to track down registered sex offenders using social networking websites, which is prohibited by law. The man was one of eight sex offenders caught by officers this summer maintaining a profile on a social networking website.

The men arrested are not accused of using the websites to solicit sex. Most of them used their correct name to create their profiles on popular websites like Facebook and MySpace. However, registered sex offenders in North Carolina are prohibited from maintaining accounts on social networking websites. At the time of their arrests, all of the men resided in Durham.

Source: News & Observer "Sex offender pleads guilty to social networking," Jesse James Deconto, 26 October 2010

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