Saturday, 23 April 2011

Dating Website Bans Sex Offenders, Sets Dangerous Precedent

Last week, a California woman filed a lawsuit demanding that popular online dating website include a new screening feature that would ban sex offenders from registering on the website. The woman's lawsuit came after she was sexually assaulted by a man she'd met on the popular dating website. The lawsuit demanded that change its screening procedures to include a match of users’ names with names on federal sex offender registries. Considering how inaccurate some of this information is, California criminal defense attorneys were quite surprised when gave up without a fight, and agreed to set up sex offender screenings on the website.

The owner of the site, Mandy Ginsburg, has always held out against including sex offender screenings on the website, precisely because of the unreliable data available in sex offender registry data. However, she has now done an about-face. According to her, she has been given new information that suggests that a “combination of improved technology and improved database” can allow higher levels of accuracy.

What we really need is to find ways to integrate sex offenders, many of whom are people with mental problems who need treatment, back into society. Our laws already make it difficult for sex offenders to do this, placing strict restrictions on where they can live. Also, there are enough numbers of studies to show that most sexual assaults are committed not by people who are on the sex offender registry, but by those who have no previous record of sexual assault. Besides, good luck to trying to verify aliases with names on sex offender registries.

There are other things that concern Pasadena sex crimes defense attorneys. What's to stop people tomorrow from suing dating websites, to force them to include screenings for DUI convictions, domestic violence, shoplifting, possession of marijuana and other crimes? This could set a precedent for the violation of the rights of people convicted of all kinds of offenses.

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