Sunday, October 23, 2011
Serious Jail Time for Cyber Harassers
New Mexico is taking another look at cyberstalking with legislation that could mean serious prison time for those who use the Internet to harass someone.
Albuquerque Mayor Martin Chavez and two state lawmakers are proposing a new state law that would bump up cyberstalking to a felony and would force cyberstalkers to register as sex offenders.
APD Chief Ray Schultz said it's time to make laws tougher to stop predators in cyberspace, who have managed to operate from behind bars.
"One of those loop holes is the fact that somebody in jail can cyberstalk from jail via electronic means and there's no way for that to be successfully prosecuted," he said.
Mayor Chavez unveiled new legislation Thursday that will make it a sex crime to cyberstalk an adult--a fourth-degree felony.
"Right now, stalking an adult is a misdemeanor in New Mexico," Chavez said.
Last year, a Sandia Labs worker was sentenced to two years under federal law after using her work computer to stalk the lead sing of the rock band "Linkin Park" in 2006.
Children are already protected from being stalked electronically in New Mexico, but the mayor said that isn't enough. He wants all convicted cyberstalkers to register as sex offenders.
"I think any legislator would be hard pressed to say anyone convicted of stalking a child online ought to be able to proceed in anonymity in the future. They need to register like all the other creeps," Chavez said.
The FBI said it will have a new, state-of-the-art computer forensics lab in Albuquerque next year that police departments will be able to use to enforce local laws and track cyberstalkers.