Hoosiers on the sex offender registry will challenge a federal court ruling that bans them from some social media sites, including Facebook.
The American Civil Liberties Union will appeal the decision with a class action lawsuit on behalf of the offenders on the grounds that the court's ruling is a violation of the offenders' First Amendment rights
"Mr. Doe, the main plaintiff, has custody of a young son who is beginning to use social media," Ken Falk, legal director of ACLU Indiana, told RTV6's Derrik Thomas.
"He wants to be able to supervise it. He can't do that. For many people, this is a major, major, incursion on their ability to communicate, and that is what the First Amendment stands for."
Judge Tanya Walton Pratt called social networking sites a virtual playground for sexual predators, defending her ruling to keep sex offenders off the sites.
The ACLU is arguing that being banned from social media has other consequences for offenders, such as not being able to communicate in political discourse on Facebook and Twitter.
Gary Miller, former Marion County Superior Court judge, said there are many other ways besides social media to get in contact with people.
"This law prohibits predators from social media outlets; it does not prevent them from contacting any politicians, any religious leaders anyone," Miller said. "If you want to contact the pope, or the president or your local state rep, you can do it through a number of sources on the Internet. That kind of contact is allowed."
However this legal battle is resolved, Sandy Runkle-Delorme, director of programs for Prevent Child Abuse Indiana, is reminding parents to monitor their children's online activity.
"It's wonderful to give your children privacy because it helps them grow and feel independent, but when it comes to this area, it's OK to be in your child's business," Runkle-Delorme said. "You have to be vigilant about what's happening online."
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