Sex offender charged after failing to register MySpace account
EDWARDSVILLE - A Bethalto area man is one of the first people in the area to be charged under a new law that prohibits registered sex offenders from holding MySpace or other Internet-based social networking accounts
Gregory J. Kruckeberg Jr., 27
, of the 5600 block of State Route 140, was charged Monday in Madison County Circuit Court with unlawful failure to register as a sex offender, under a provision of a statute passed last year. The law mandates that registered sex offenders make known to police any Internet connections or Web sites they use or maintain.
"The law has been there, but this is the first time we are charging anybody," said Capt. Brad Wells of the Madison County Sheriff's Department.
Kruckeberg initially was taken into custody last Thursday and was charged formally Monday
The investigation, which began in November, started as the result of someone calling the department to ask why Kruckeberg could have a MySpace account
, Wells said.
He said the investigation took a couple of months because of the subpoena process and the difficulty in gathering evidence about a person's individual accounts.
Detectives had no evidence that Kruckeberg was an immediate threat to anyone by virtue of his access, Wells said. "If that was the case, we would have had him under a whole lot more of a microscope and (in jail) a lot sooner," he said.
The failure to register also is a violation of MySpace's own guidelines
, Wells said.
MySpace recently has made a very public effort to oust sex offenders from its registration rolls. Last week, it announced that it had purged the accounts of 90,000 people. The move came in the wake of public pressure over offenders potentially preying on children through the use of such sites.
"(After the tip), we did a ‘preservation' on the account," Wells said, explaining the department occasionally takes such action in order to prevent records or evidence from being lost or destroyed. A subpoena was necessary to help prevent the MySpace page from being taken down from the site. The tactic occasionally is used in tracking cell phone records and social networking sites, he said.
The department eventually confirmed that the suspect had an active account and a live connection to the Internet
, Wells said.
Kruckeberg was being held at the Madison County Jail in Edwardsville on $25,000 bond
Kruckeberg became a registered sex offender after a 2006 conviction for aggravated criminal sexual abuse in Madison County, records indicate. He has a lengthy record for crimes including forgery, aggravated battery to a pregnant person, burglary and theft, but according to records, he has gotten only probation or supervision for the crimes
While there are dozens of sex offender charges filed each year in Madison County, it remained unclear Monday whether this case is the first to be based on the statute that went into effect on Jan. 1, 2008. Wells said it was the first for his department, but Stephanee Smith, a spokeswoman for the Madison County State's Attorney's Office, said she was unsure if it was the first for the county overall.