Today, Governor Bobby Jindal signed into law HB 55 by Rep. Thierry -- a Governor's Package Bill -- which criminalizes the accessing or using of social networking websites, chat rooms and peer-to-peer networks by registered sex offenders.
Governor Jindal said, "We don't let sex offenders on our playgrounds and online social networking sites will now be no different. We must always be one step ahead of the monsters that prey on our children, and with the development and popularity of social networking websites, such as Facebook and chatrooms, sex offenders have new tools for communicating with our children. Law enforcement officials will now have a new mechanism to deter sex offenders from interacting with our children by criminalizing their use of these sites."
The new law will apply to registered sex offenders who were previously convicted of indecent behavior with juveniles, pornography involving juveniles, computer-aided solicitation of a minor or video voyeurism; or were previously convicted of a sex offense in which the victim of that sex offense was a minor. Under the bills these criminals, upon first conviction, will be fined up to $10,000 and imprisoned for up to ten years without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence. Upon a second or subsequent conviction, they will be fined up to $20,000 and imprisoned with hard labor for five-20 years without benefit of parole, probation or suspension of sentence.