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Koster knocks 373 people off MySpace because they're suspected sex offenders

This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, June 18, 2009 - Missouri Attorney General Chris Koster says that his office has removed 373 Missourians from MySpace "because their profiles appear to match those of registered sex offenders."

His office has forwarded the names to the Missouri Highway Patrol, who have been asked "to review the information to determine if any of the individuals are violating parole by using a computer or attempting to contact minors."

In January 2008, MySpace entered into an agreement with state attorneys general around the country "to increase protections for young children and teenagers from online predators,'' Koster said in a statement. "As a result of the agreement, MySpace instituted a policy of deleting the profile of any user it identifies as a sex offender.

“We must protect our children from sex offenders, whether children are playing in a playground or on a computer,” Koster added. “I applaud the nation’s attorneys general’s agreement with MySpace. As Missouri’s attorney general I will continue to aggressively pursue any avenue sex offenders use to threaten the safety of our children.”

Koster also praised this week's ruling by the Missouri Supreme Court that requires all sex offenders to register on the Sex Offender Registry, "no matter when the crime was committed."

That ruling appeared to be aimed at offenders who had been minors at the time of their crime.

Jo Mannies has been covering Missouri politics and government for almost four decades, much of that time as a reporter and columnist at the St. Louis Post-Dispatch. She was the first woman to cover St. Louis City Hall, was the newspaper’s second woman sportswriter in its history, and spent four years in the Post-Dispatch Washington Bureau. She joined the St. Louis Beacon in 2009. She has won several local, regional and national awards, and has covered every president since Jimmy Carter. She scared fellow first-graders in the late 1950s when she showed them how close Alaska was to Russia and met Richard M. Nixon when she was in high school. She graduated from Valparaiso University in northwest Indiana, and was the daughter of a high school basketball coach. She is married and has two grown children, both lawyers. She’s a history and movie buff, cultivates a massive flower garden, and bakes banana bread regularly for her colleagues.