ACLU fights sex offender monitoring law - 13 WTHR Indianapolis

ACLU fights sex offender monitoring law

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Rep. Scott Reske (D-Pendleton) Rep. Scott Reske (D-Pendleton)
Ken Falk Ken Falk
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Richard Essex/Eyewitness News

Indianapolis - A legal effort is underway to stop a law that allows police to monitor Internet use of sex offenders.

There are hundreds of men and women registered as sex offenders in Indiana, all of whom can be found on the Indiana sheriff's sex offender registry web site. In addition to registering as an offender, the law requires convicted offenders install software on their computer that allows police to keep tabs on their Internet activity 24 hours a day, seven days a week.

"There is nothing in this law that restricts what can be looked at. Also, there is nothing in the law that explains what you are supposed to do with this information. In fact, the law doesn't even say who they are giving permission to," said ACLU spokesperson Ken Falk.

Failure to buy the software and sign a consent form when registering is a felony.

"I think number one, protection of children and Internet predators is starting to be a problem. This is a way to address it," said State Representative Scott Reske (D-Pendleton).

But according to the Indiana chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union, the law tramples Fourth Amendment rights.

"There has to be at least some reasonable suspicion to enter their homes and violate their Fourth Amendment," Falk said.

Once a sex or violent offender leaves prison, they usually go on probation. But that's not where the issue lies. It's when they get off probation that raises the red flag.

"People who are no longer on probation or parole or any court supervision, who are free people, who have all the constitutional rights that all Americans have, one of those, of course, is your Fourth Amendment right," said Falk. "We want to make sure that people that have been convicted sex offenders in the past are not using their computers to access child pornography."

Rep. Reske says he will work to amend the law in the next General Assembly if the court rules it unconstitutional.

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