Sex offenders and social media: What SCOTUS decision means to one family

The US Supreme Court has overturned a ruling that barred sex offenders from social media, citing 1st amendment rights. But one family thinks the decision is dangerous.

Wiping the tears from her eyes, it is still hard for Renita Lefevers to talk about.

“He raped her on more than one occasion,” she said.

In 2012, her granddaughter Abigail was kidnapped and raped for two weeks, before police were able to track her down. She was 12 years old.

“She had been contacted through the media, through Facebook,” Renita said.

Her granddaughter was contacted by a man named Timothy Newman, who had a history of sex convictions. He is now serving a 48 year sentence.

But Renita and her husband, Michael, said their fight is far from over after learning on Monday the United States Supreme Court overturned the North Carolina law banning sex offenders from social media.

“If you’re convicted of crimes, you’re not allowed to vote. But a convicted, registered sex offender can go on Facebook and solicit,” she said.

The court ruled, saying in part, “To foreclose access to social media altogether is to prevent the user from engaging in the legitimate exercise of first amendment rights.”

But Renita believes allowing felons access, will put children across the state in danger.

And even though Abigail made it home alive, she said life as she knew it forever changed.

“She’ll be scarred the rest of her life,” Michael explained.

Renita said she’s not sure if it will make a difference, but she is writing a letter to her congressman to try and figure out some way to protect kids from those online predators.

© 2017 WCNC.COM


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