Three registered sex offenders have been arrested by New Jersey State Police after accessing MySpace and Facebook.
All the offenders had been convicted of sexual offences against children, and were charged with violating provisions of Megan's Law which came into effect in January.
The new legislation restricts internet access by convicted sex offenders.
The arrests followed a four-month investigation by the State Police Digital Technology Investigations Unit with the assistance of the State Parole Board and the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force.
Attorney General Anne Milgram initiated the investigation after a civil investigation coordinated by the Division of Consumer Affairs determined that there were hundreds of registered sex offenders with accounts on social networking sites.
"Our earlier investigations made it shockingly clear how vigilant we must be in guarding against the danger of sexual offenders surfing social networking sites to search for and contact potential victims,'' Milgram said.
"Social networking sites cannot become playgrounds for sexual predators."
The perpetrators were Stanton Ulmer, 32, of Neptune Township, Felice Black, 24, of Paterson, and Pietro Parisi, 34, of Westville.
The investigation found that Ulmer had a Facebook account, and Black and Parisi had MySpace accounts. Detectives also seized computers, a webcam and a mobile phone.
"Social networking sites provide a meaningful way for people to communicate via a virtual community,'' said Rick Fuentes, the State Police superintendent.
"But they are potentially dangerous by also offering sexual predators 'one-stop shopping' to locate and groom victims."
The Attorney General issued civil subpoenas to social networking sites last year to determine whether registered sex offenders had opened accounts after MySpace disclosed that it had been able to identify thousands of convicted sex offenders who had established profiles on the social networking site.
New Jersey authorities determined that there were at least 268 registered New Jersey sex offenders with MySpace accounts. In addition, Facebook identified 23 account holders as potential registered sex offenders in New Jersey.
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