MySpace has 125 million users. Adults use it to keep track of friends, but many users are teenagers. Some of the teens we came across on MySpace give out personal information, lie about their ages, and post inappropriate pictures that could lure the wrong person. We have been told the Internet is a "feast" for sexual predators and to be careful who you talk to.
Our NewsChannel 11 investigation discovered six Lubbock sex offenders on MySpace, a blatant violation of their probation and parole conditions. We learned that probation officers, like Jennifer Mora, keep close tabs on some of the offenders. They caught Patrick Wong and Bryan Dupuy using MySpace which landed them back in jail.
We spoke to Wong as he was being escorted out of the courthouse in handcuffs after a probation revocation hearing. "Patrick, do think people should be upset that a sex offender like yourself, is on MySpace?," asked NewsChannel 11. "No ma'am," he answered.
A judge will decide what happens to him and Dupuy. "If they're revoked they can go to the penitentiary," said Mora.
More than likely that is where Paul Gutierrez will end up after he violated his parole. He is back in jail after NewsChannel 11 tipped off authorities he had a MySpace page.
That's three from our list of six, back in jail, which leaves three more convicted sex offenders actively using MySpace and unaccounted for. So who is keeping tabs on them? "If his case is closed and he has a MySpace account he is not violating any condition?," asked NC11. "No because he is not under supervision," said Mora.
41 year-old Shane Fisher is a registered sex offender who is free to roam MySpace with no risk of going back to jail. His crime was Aggravated Sexual Assault and kidnapping of a 17 year-old girl. He is considered a high risk Lubbock offender who has a MySpace page and has even made friends with 14 and 15 year old girls.
We went to his house to ask him about that. His "wife" answered the door. "We wanted to ask him about his use on MySpace. Should people be upset that a sex offender is on MySpace?," NC 11 asked. "I think you need to leave," said the woman.
We knocked on the door where 21 year-old Esiquio Reyes is living. He just moved to the Budget Inn Motel. We found out he was kicked out of his old apartment for being a registered sex offender. He has also served his time. On his MySpace, he is very honest about who he would like to meet; "I'd like to meet females and some males...I have a very big male problem," he wrote.
But what you my not know, Reyes was convicted of sexually assaulting a nine year-old boy. We wanted to ask him about that, but he did not answer the door when we stopped by.
The law states that sex offenders must register their names and faces for life after serving their time. That is why you see them on Lubbock City television and the Lubbock Police Department's online sex offender registry page. But once they successfully complete their sentence, they are free to roam the Internet and even have accounts on MySpace.
Mora says bottom line, you must know that sex offenders are using MySpace. "It's a challenge to try and keep up with these offenders. Some of them do have accounts and we're able to stay on top of it and able to look them up. The scary thing is they can use aliases that we can't keep track of. That's why we have to monitor the computer use itself, not just MySpace," said Steven Henderson, Lubbock and Crosby Counties Adult Probation Director.
Here's our sixth person; 23 years-old Danny Wayne Frizzell. His crime was sexual assault on two young boys ages 12 and 13 years old. His name and age matched an account on MySpace, but there was no picture to compare. Frizzell has served his time and is free to have a MySpace account.
Sex offenders who have served their time are free to be on MySpace if they want. There is no law that states they can not be there. However, we spoke with State Representatives Carl Isett, Delwin Jones and Senator Robert Duncan. They all believe added restrictions are needed. For example, Isett, Jones, and Duncan believe any sex offender using social networking sites should prominently display they are a sex offender for anyone to see. The issue may be discussed at the next legislative session that starts in January.
Senator Robert Duncan:
"It seems entirely appropriate to closely monitor the online activities of convicted sex offenders, and I am interested in the possibilities of such additional restrictions. The emergence of social networking web sites designed for children has created a place of relative anonymity where anyone of any deviant background can recreate their persona. This is certainly troubling. Although we must be mindful that first amendment violations could create new problems and actually delay justice, the Texas Legislature has already taken careful steps to protect our children from online predators. Last year, we made it a felony for anyone to make sexual overtures to a minor online. Subsequently, Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott has prosecuted more than 80 individuals who attempted to set up a sexual rendezvous or distribute sexual material to minors. Clearly, this law is working, and we must continue our vigilance in protecting our children from these predators."
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Lubbock PD Registered Sex Offenders