By CHUCK BENNET
May 17, 2008 -- New Jersey troopers busted three convicted child predators yesterday for allegedly lurking on Internet social networking sites in violation of a new law aimed at protecting kids on the Web.
The pervs had opened accounts on MySpace and Facebook, two sites increasingly popular with kids and teens, despite the state law that forbids paroled sex offenders from online social networking.
"Really, the danger we see is they are in a place where kids meet. It's a virtual playground," Lt. Keith Halton, assistant bureau chief of the State Police Computer Crimes Bureau, told The Post.
They were the first arrests stemming from the groundbreaking law that went into effect in January.
All three of the arrested men have rap sheets that are a parent's nightmare.
Stanton Ulmer, 32, of Neptune Township, has a 1999 conviction for aggravated sexual assault on a minor.
Felice Black, 24, of Paterson, has a 2005 conviction for endangering the welfare of a child.
And Pietro Parisi, 34, of Westville, has a 1996 conviction for endangering the welfare of a child and a 2003 conviction for sexual assault.
Ulmer had a Facebook account, and Black and Parisi were on MySpace.
There is no evidence that they attempted to contact children over the Internet, Halton said, but the law specifically bars them from even visiting the sites.
The men were charged with violating the provisions of their parole, and released on their own recognizance pending court appearances. If convicted, they face up to 18 months in jail, a $10,000 fine, and having their parole revoked. Their computers were also seized, along with a Web cam and a mobile phone.
Last January, MySpace announced that it found thousands of registered sex offenders on its site, including 268 in New Jersey. Another 23 Facebook account holders were New Jersey sex offenders.
New York has enacted a similar law aimed at keeping predators from trolling online.
On Wednesday, New York state officials began mailing letters to some 25,000 registered sex offenders telling them that they must disclose all of their Internet user names, e-mail, and online identities. That data will be then passed on to social networking sites.
New York's law further prohibits some offenders from contacting anyone under the age of 18 online or visiting pornographic Web sites.
MySpace, which is owned by News Corp., the parent company of The Post, has 110 million users worldwide and Facebook has 47 million users.
Halton says parents need to be vigilant of their children's online activity.
"For parents, we recommend getting them a presence on various sites to see how they work and see that their kids are involved with," he said. "Parents are sometimes overwhelmed but you don't have to become a geek just be familiar with the technology."
Saturday, May 17, 2008
WEB 'PEEPER' PERVS PINCHED
By CHUCK BENNET