MYSPACE ARRESTS IN HOUSTON BY THE ATTORNEY GENERAL’S OFFICE!

THE RESULTS OF A TWO WEEK OPERATION!

Texas Attorney General Greg Abbott today revealed the results of the nation’s first large-scale crackdown on registered sex offenders using the popular social networking site, MySpace.com. In a two-week operation, officers with the Attorney General’s Cyber Crimes and Fugitive Units investigated and arrested seven previously convicted sex offenders with online profiles after MySpace.com released offenders’ subscriber information at the demand of attorneys general across the country.

“Texans will not tolerate criminals who prey on our children,” Attorney General Abbott said. “These convicted sex predators established online identities on a Web site that is popular with teenagers and children. The Cyber Crimes Unit will continue its aggressive crackdown on sex predators who threaten our kids.”

Attorney General Abbott added: “By providing law enforcement with this critical user profile information, MySpace.com has taken an important first step towards a safer Internet. We urge all social networking sites to do whatever is necessary to protect children from Internet predators.”

The Office of the Attorney General arrested six previously convicted sex offenders who activated MySpace.com accounts in violation of parole or probation requirements that specifically prohibit them from using the Internet:

• Patrick Joseph Blevins, 49, arrested in Houston; convicted in Harris County in 1996 of indecency with a child by sexual contact. His victim was a 14-year-old girl.

• Reginald Lee Collins, 27, arrested in Houston; convicted in Harris County in 1998 of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His victim was a 7-year-old girl.

• Ronald Daven Metoyer, 41, arrested in Houston; convicted in Harris County in 2001 of aggravated sexual assault of a child. His victim was a 14-year-old girl.

• Robert Shepard Walter, 23, arrested in Houston; convicted in Harris County in 2004 of indecency with a child by exposure. His victim was a 14-year-old girl.

In May, the Texas Attorney General issued a subpoena to MySpace.com that forced the network to release subscriber information of all registered sex offenders who established online member profiles. MySpace.com provided Attorney General Abbott with data from Sentinel Safe, a database of information on registered sex offenders that the network compiled to verify the identities of their users.

Attorney General Abbott has repeatedly pressed MySpace.com and other social networking sites to implement definitive safety measures to protect their young users from sexually explicit images and unwanted sexual advances. Since the push from Attorney General Abbott and other attorneys general, MySpace.com has taken steps to improve safety on its site, including screening profiles for inappropriate content and making certain profiles private.