reporter - crimes & courts, public safety and Warren County government

Don Lehman covers crime and Warren County government for The Post-Star. His work can be found on Twitter @PS_CrimeCourts and on poststar.com/app/blogs.

State Assemblyman Dan Stec has introduced a bill that he hopes will close a "loophole" that has developed that allows sex offenders to use social media without registering them.

The state Court of Appeals ruled June 27 that state Corrections Law does not require sex offenders to have to reveal social media accounts because they are not "internet identifiers" such as email address or direct messaging accounts. The case stemmed from an Essex County Level 3 sex offender's arrest for not disclosing a Facebook account.

That decision came after the Appellate Division, in a decision written by Supreme Court Justice Stan Pritzker of Washington County, overturned the Essex County conviction.

Stec, R-Queensbury, introduced a bill in the Assembly that will add language to the law to clarify the offender's responsibility to detail their social media presence.

"This is a loophole that needs to be closed,” Stec said in a news release. “This is a public safety issue that puts all our community members at risk. We cannot have registered sex offenders on social media sites without them reporting. This is not a partisan issue and is something that both sides of the aisle can get behind."

The bill had not been issued a number as of Monday, and the Legislature likely won't act on it until next year, though. So until the law is updated, sex offenders can not be made to register their social media accounts.

— Don Lehman

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