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Recent measures seek to crack down on sex offenders

In recent weeks, Louisiana lawmakers have been busy considering various measures affecting criminal defendants throughout the state. In particular, the measures we're referring to aim to target and crack down on those convicted of sex offenses.

One of the measures, which we've previously mentioned in one of our posts, seeks to penalize "mandatory reporters" who witness but do not report crimes of child sexual abuse. The bill expands the list of mandatory reporters to include school bus drivers, college professors, coaches, technical and vocational school faculty, staff members of colleges and vocational technical schools and administrators.

The measure, as we've noted, is a response to the ongoing case against Penn State assistant football coach Jerry Sandusky, who is accused of sexually molesting children for a number of years. The bill would make offenders eligible for up to three years in prison and/or a penalty of $3,000. The bill is still under consideration in the Senate.

Another bill, which has passed the state House, would ban registered sex offenders from utilizing social networking websites, like Facebook and LinkedIn. An original version of the bill was reportedly ruled unconstitutional by a federal court several weeks ago, but the new version has been proposed. The measures applies to those convicted of a sex offense involving a minor, pornography involving juveniles, indecent behavior with juveniles, computer-aided solicitation of minors and video voyeurism.

The latter bill, unlike its predecessor, apparently does not ban an offender from accessing the Internet, but only applies to certain sites, and aims to prevent sex offenders from setting up personal profiles on the internet. The bill is set to be considered by the Senate.

It is obvious to anybody looking at these bills that criminal defendants that fall into the category of "sex offender" face extra risks and challenges in protecting their rights. That is why it is so important for defendants facing these charges take steps to build a solid defense early on in their case.

Sources:

NOLA, "House approves bill banning sex offenders from social networking websites," Ed Anderson, April 17, 2012.

NOLA, "Senate committee passes bill cracking down on child sex abuse," Ed Anderson, March 27, 2012.

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