New York Moves To Ban Sex Offenders From Online Gaming Networks

AG Schneiderman Comes To Landmark Agreement With Sony, Microsoft, Others

NEW YORK (CBSNewYork) — New York’s attorney general has made a startling discovery: Your children may be playing Internet video games with registered sex offenders.

In a move that’s the first in the nation, the top prosecutor is having the predators purged from online networks, reports CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

1010 WINS’ Stan Brooks reports

Most parents don’t think anything of it. They see their kids playing video games and assume everything’s fine because they’re doing it at home.

But Attorney General Eric Schneiderman said Thursday nothing could be further from the truth. Video gaming platforms have become a favorite hunting ground of sexual predators.

“We have to be vigilant in this area because online gaming is not just a digital playground. It has the potential to become a 21st century crime scene,” Schneiderman told CBS 2’s Marcia Kramer.

Schneiderman announced a ground breaking initiative called “Operation: Game Over,” in which he has convinced game makers like Sony, Microsoft, Apple and Disney to purge their system of over 3,500 accounts belonging to people who are registered as sex offenders in New York.

“This initiative protects the most vulnerable segment of our population from the most dangerous segment of our population,” Schneiderman said.

WCBS 880’s Irene Cornell On The Story

Internet safety expert Stephen Sharon said online networks are a prime spot for sex offenders.

“[Kids] need to understand that their first and last name, their address, their phone number, even their e-mail address, personal information shouldn’t be handed out to a user, even if they think they trust them because they played a lot of hours with them,” Sharon told CBS 2’s Hazel Sanchez.

“Operation: Game Over” coincides with sexual predator incidents in New York. Earlier this month, Richard Kretovic, who lives in a neighborhood near Rochester, pled guilty to sexual abuse charges. Schneiderman said Kretovic “used voice and text chat functions on the popular gaming system Xbox live to lure and assault a 12-year-old victim.

Advocates said it’s important that parents warn kids that this could be going on.

“Teenagers look for love, attention and affection in the wrong places,” said Laura Ahern, the executive director of Parents For Megan’s Law and the Crime Victims’ Center. “A 14-year-old would be surprised to learn that the person they’re chatting with is a 65-year-old male or female registered sex offender.”

The move by the attorney general is just the first step. There are 33,000 registered sex offenders in New York and 800,000 nationwide. He wants all of them off gaming platforms.

In New York, sex offenders have to register all their e-mail and other social media addresses with the state. Failure to do so is a felony.

Do you let your children play video games with strangers online? Let us know below…

  • Cassandra

    not all sex offenders are predetors. do you know how many men are in prison because of peein in public or a girl lying about her age. its not right to ban every single sexual offender from video gaming expecially when it has nothing to do with a young child.

  • jasmine live tv

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  • John

    Once again, New York’s AG invents a solution for a problem that does not exist in order to grab face-time and once again, the news-media falls for the lie and fails to call him out. The facts are that there is not one single case in the United States, let alone New York, where a REGISTERED sex-offender has been arrested, charged or convicted of any crime of seeking out children on a internet gaming site. As in the case cited by the AG, the person charged WAS NOT a registered sex-offender and was not on any registry anywhere. The fact is that person was completely unknown to law enforcement as a sex-offender. So, the fact is, the AG has disingenuously twisted details to fit his version of a problem that does not exist. Remind you of the former AG and his campaign to ban registered sex-offenders from social websites? Again, it was all about politics and getting face-time in the press.

    • Richard

      Damn, you stole my thunder. Kretovic would have still lured that boy. there is no law to protect your kids from predators that have never been convicted. Parents need to take more responsibility to teach their children not to meet strangers online.

  • michaelfury
  • Amtracmarine

    Let’s ban these kids with their parent approved gaming accounts.

  • arianeb

    Until “sex offender” is ONLY defined as “convicted rapists” and “convicted of crimes against children”, then limiting the rights of sex offenders is patently immoral. The vast majority of “sex offenders” are things like people caught peeing in a public place, or teenagers acting like teenagers. They do not deserve this kind of punishment.

    The gaming community is up and arms against AG Schneidrman, he looks like a complete fool.

    • danny

      100% agreed! That’s why I won’t sign any petition on FB or anywhere else until the laws define sex offenders as you state. Urinating in public is a bit nasty, but it is far from sex. Well, just about anyway…

  • Amtracmarine

    If a 17 year old High School sr has consintual sex with his 16 year old High School Jrhe will be labled a sex offender. You want to ban this kid from playing video games for doing or trying to do what we all wanted at 17??

  • Amtracmarine

    “Teenagers look for love, attention and affection in the wrong places,” That doesn’t say much for todays youth or parents. Any child that hooks up with someone they met playing COD or MOH has issues that their parents should have noticed.

  • Anony Mouse

    I don’t understand how you would enforce it… anyone can make an online gaming profile completely anonymously (or fraudulently).

    Even now, I just made a fake profile to comment on this page.

    • Amtracmarine

      Thank you AM.

  • Kevin

    Sorry, this is not a solution. The solution is for parents to use those parental controls!

  • David Hess

    This is a solution in search of a problem. The Monroe County case referenced in the article did not involve a registered sex offender. 95% of those arrested for sex crimes in New York State have no prior convictions for sex crimes and thus are not listed on any registry.

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