Court: Sex offender Facebook ban unconstitutional - 14 News, WFIE, Evansville, Henderson, Owensboro

Court decides sex offenders can not be banned from Facebook

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INDIANA (WFIE) -

A new ruling in Indiana means sex offenders can now use the same social networking sites your children use.  

It's an issue that's shocking a lot of parents.  

Here's why sex offenders will now be able to create a Facebook page and communicate with anyone they want including children.

A law meant, in part, to help keep children safe online, has been struck down.

"I think freedom of speech is beginning to be a dangerous thing," resident Mark Thomas said.  

But it's that freedom of speech, online, that a federal appeals court says makes it unconstitutional to ban registered sex offenders from sites like Facebook and Twitter for their lifetime.

"Wish they would put other laws in place to help protect us," Thomas said.

For Alice Ross, she's has taken the law into her own hands, at least when it comes to protecting her 11-year-old daughter online.

"She doesn't have a Facebook. She might have interest, but I'm still her parent and I'm the one who makes the choices for her," Ross said. 

But for the thousands of other children who use Facebook to post pictures and share what's going on in their lives, they could now be online, and sharing those details with someone convicted of a sex crime.  

The Civil Liberties Union of Indiana helped to argue the case in court that sex offenders are unjustly barred from using social media and doing legitimate business online.

"This law is so broad. It encompasses huge amounts of innocent conduct," said Ken Falk with the Civil Liberties Union.

But for Ross the new law has nothing on her law. 

"I believe I am in charge of my own child, therefore she does not or he does not have to have a Facebook. Therefore, won't be put into situations or conflicts with a sex offender with Facebook," Ross told 14 News.

Others laws are still in place making inappropriate contact with children online, illegal. Sex offenders can still be banned from using Facebook and Twitter while on probation or parole.

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