Online Predators Warned with Tougher Laws

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By Esther Tanquintic-Misa | January 21, 2013 2:11 PM EST

Nick Xenophon, independent Senator for South Australia, is bent to make online predators not only stopped in their tracks in luring young women into their traps, but also to be meted the full penalty of the law.

Australia's laws at present only cover the actual lie an offender did to cover their age as requisite of an intent to commit a sexual offence.

This time, when parliament resumes in February, Mr Xenophon will file a revised and recharged online predator bill that metes out a maximum eight-year jail term to anyone caught lying or maliciously changing their real personal information just to be able to have a face-to-face meeting with their targets, especially young children or young Australian folks.

The proposed bill is named Carly's Law, after Carly Ryan, an Adelaide teenager, who was murdered by Garry Francis Newman from Victoria who she met in a gothic website. Made to believe she was communicating with Brandon Kane, a 20-year-old "emo guitarist," Carly agreed to meet up with Brandon in February 2007 only to found out that she will meet face-to-face a 50 year old paedophile. Rejecting his advances, Newman murdered the then 15-year old, as evidences pointed out he bashed her, suffocated and then placed in the water at Port Elliott, south of Adelaide, where she eventually drowned. Newman is currently spending his life's next 29 years in prison.

Lying about one's personal information to somebody, especially about age, "should be an offence without having to show a sexual purpose because I don't think there would be any good excuse for an adult wanting to meet a child after lying about their age online," Mr Xenophon said.

"Giving the police this tool of being able to intervene much earlier without having to show sexual purpose would be very useful in preventing children being abused or being hurt."

Simply said, Mr Xenophon's proposed law states that if you're an adult lying to a child online about your age and you attempt to arrange a meeting with that child, it will be against the law.

Amendments to Carly's Law, where Mr Xenophon and his colleagues sought criminalise the act of lying one's age to a child on the internet, was first proposed in 2010 but was unfortunately thumbed down by the Australian Senate on August 2012.

"There is nothing appropriate about a 50-year-old wanting to meet a 14-year-old," Carly's mother, Sonya, said.

"We're not talking about stopping the 40-year-old who lies about his age because he's embarrassed about playing World of Warcraft."

"We're talking about predators who create false identities to target vulnerable children."

According to Adelaide Now, the name Newman used to cover his identity to Carly was only one of 200 fake identities, ranging from "kuruptkoala" to the more risque. Newman used web design jobs to cover up his online illegal activities.

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