The Northern Westchester Examiner

Murphy Proposes Bill to Ban Sex Offenders from Using Social Media

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State Senator Terrence Murphy (R/Yorktown) has proposed legislation that would prohibit Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from using social media networks.

Murphy, a father of three, made his proposal to update Megan’s Law after a Katonah man was arrested this month for allegedly coercing a 14-year-old girl through social media to engage in sexually explicit activity.

“No child should be victimized in any way,” Murphy said. “I will fight every day to strengthen our laws to make sure we protect children from becoming victims of these reprehensible and disgusting acts.”

In 1996, New York State created Megan’s Law, in honor of seven-year-old Megan Kanka, who was raped and murdered in 1994 in New Jersey by a neighbor. The law requires convicted sex offenders to register with New York State. Since its original passage, Murphy said society has seen some major shifts, including the explosion of social media.

“Megan’s Law must be updated to prohibit the use of social media networks for Level 2 and 3 offenders as long as they are required to register with New York State.,” Murphy said. “A lot has changed since Megan’s Law was first authored. I intend to hold several round tables with state and local law enforcement, social services and advocates to see what other provisions we need to expand on.”

David Ohnmacht of Katonah spent eight years in prison for sexually assaulting girls 14 and under, and was found guilty of first degree rape, attempted rape, sodomy, sexual abuse and processing pictures of a sexual performance by a child. According to reports, Ohnmacht began communicating with his latest victim the same month that his five-year term of post-release supervision ended.

“Those alleged predators have more access in this digital age than they’ve ever had before, but as parents we have to be the first line of defense by talking with them and making sure they know the dangers that lurk online,” said FBI Assistant Director William Sweeney, Jr.

“I sincerely hope the court has no mercy, and if found guilty, gives him the maximum sentence of 50 years in prison,” Murphy remarked of Ohnmacht.

As a councilman in Yorktown, Murphy was an advocate for child safety zones and victim safety zones. In 2015, legislation sponsored by Murphy, which prohibits sex offenders from living within 1,500 feet of their victim, passed the Senate but never made the floor of the Assembly.

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