A Swannanoa, North Carolina woman was arrested earlier this month and charged with two counts of using social networking sites as a registered sex offender. A Buncombe County judge set her bail at $5,000.
The Swannanoa woman had been convicted of participating in the prostitution of a minor in North Carolina back in 1996. The charge and conviction in Randolph County led to a two-month stint in prison, after which she was released and forced to register as a sex offender.
As we've discussed previously, North Carolina's General Assembly passed a law that went into effect in 2009 prohibiting all registered sex offenders from maintaining a personal profile with any social networking site. Offenders are still allowed to use the internet for legitimate business purposes and for social email communication, but sites such as Facebook, Myspace and Twitter are off-limits.
In its first year, North Carolina law enforcement officials used the law to arrest and charge 36 people with such a violation. This number saw a huge increase in 2010, with 127 registered sex offenders being charged with maintaining personal social networking profiles.
It's always interesting to watch how changes in technology affect those accused of crimes. Just think, the internet was just crawling out of its infancy back in 1996 when the aforementioned Swannanoa woman was convicted and forced to register as a sex offender. Social networking wouldn't become popular for nearly another decade. Now she is banned from participating in one of the most popular forms of electronic social communication because of a conviction for which she served two months in jail 15 years ago.
"Times, they are a changin'."
Source: Citizen-Times.com "Asheville area sex offender faces charge for using Facebook" 2/2/11