Fifteen Oneida County sex offenders are facing charges tonight as part of operation E-Stop. That's a program designed to keep our kids safe. Investigators used Facebook to crack-down on sex offenders who were using the site linked with email accounts. Under E-Stop failing to register email addresses can send an offender right back to jail. Law enforcement went through all the offenders in our area and searched for them by name on Facebook. If an offender had a Facebook page using an email that wasn't registered, they were arrested. the fifteen arrests this week came as the result of a cyber-tip sent to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children.
"We found that the individual had email and internet that was not registered with the sex offender registry so out of that came the idea of doing our own little county sweep," said Deputy Obernesser.
The sex offenders were charged with felonies under E-Stop Legislation, which became law in 2008. It requires offenders register their internet provider information and email addresses.
The authorities made it clear, that just because these sex offenders were in violation of the law, it doesn't necessarily mean they were trying to lure or contact children online through Facebook.
"I want to applaud Deputy Obernesser and all of our partners here at the CAC for sending a very strong message that we will do everything we can to protect our children," said Sheriff Maciol.
Those I spoke with found the arrests substantial but felt sex offenders could easily get around the law, possibly by using an alias instead of their real name.