MARSHALL COUNTY, AL (WAFF) -
A new ruling in Indiana means sex offenders can now use the same social networking sites children use.
A federal appeals court said it is unconstitutional to ban registered sex offenders from sites like Facebook and Twitter for life. The Civil Liberties Union of Indiana helped to argue the case that sex offenders are unjustly barred from using social media and doing legitimate business online.
Other laws are still in place to make sure inappropriate contact with children online is illegal, and sex offenders can still be banned from using social media site while on probation or parole.
Alabama has a similar law regarding sex offenders. Convicted sex offenders can have access to social media sites, but there are restrictions.
At least two people in Marshall County are currently facing charges relating to the social media law.
Sheriff Scott Walls said convicted sex offenders can have access to social media websites, but in order to do so, they must notify the reporting agency of which ones they are on and where they are located.
Walls said his department takes sex offender situations very seriously. While the law allows sex offenders access, it does not stop law enforcement from monitoring.
"Well, the purpose of notifying law enforcement when the sex offender reports is we can monitor that, see if there's any underage children in contact with the person, and we do look at those pages. Now, we open those pages and we look at them," said Walls.
He believes Alabama's law will stand the test of the courts because it doesn't prevent a sex offender from accessing social media sites but rather allows for them to be monitored.
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