Sex offenders fight to use Facebook

A federal judge has upheld an Indiana law banning registered sex offenders from accessing Facebook and other social networking sites used by children.

Judge Tanya Walton Pratt said in an order Friday that the state has a strong interest in protecting children, and that the rest of the Internet remains open to those who have been convicted.

Dearborn County Prosecutor Aaron Negangard says Pratt made the right decision.

"It's no surprise that the ACLU would support a concept like that but it seems pretty clear, the law seems pretty clear that it's not violating any constitutional rights," says Negangard.

The American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed the class-action suit on behalf of a man who served three years for child exploitation, along with other sex offenders who are restricted by the ban even though they are no longer on probation.

Indiana State Police Detective Dan Elmore is an undercover officer in the Crimes Against Children Unit.

Elmore says online child exploitation is a rapidly growing problem.

"It's set up as a friendship network but these offenders know that they can get on there and they can pose to be whoever they want to be and they can hunt these children," says Elmore.

Federal judges have barred similar laws in Nebraska and Louisiana.

ACLU legal director Kenneth Falk says he is disappointed by Pratt's ruling and is considering an appeal.

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