First sex offender charged under new registry law - WKOW 27: Madison, WI Breaking News, Weather and Sports

First sex offender charged under new registry law

MADISON (WKOW) -- The first convicted sex offender charged with violating a new state law is behind bars in Eau Claire County.

Bruce E. Moores, 50, is being held in lieu of bond. He's facing three charges, including violating the state's sex offender registry law by failing to provide all of his internet identifiers.

Moores is the only person in Wisconsin to be successfully charged with violating this portion of the registry law so far, according to the Department of Corrections. The law took effect on March 4, 2010.

A 27 News investigation revealed slow implementation of the law requiring convicted sex offenders to give the state all of their usernames, email addresses, and social network IDs was preventing some sex predators from being prosecuted.

Although the department is not required by statute to notify offenders of any changes to the registry law, district attorneys and special counsels had advised the department that notification would help prosecutors secure convictions, according to Lance Wiersma, Director of Sex Offender Programs.

Wiersma says the department began notifying offenders in December 2010, more than nine months after the law went into effect. He says his staff needed the time to gather input and develop the most efficient procedures for notifying offenders, and gathering their information.

One month before, in November 2010, special agents from the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force executed search warrants against two convicted sex offenders in Waukesha County who had been observed using Facebook. The men hadn't given the state their online usernames -- a potential felony under the new registry law -- according to court documents.

One of the offenders was trolling the social network site for children, soliciting pictures of teens, and occasionally going to see them in person, according to Justice Department special agents in sworn court records.

The cases were referred to Waukesha District Attorney Brad Schimel. Schimel told 27 News he's confident the men violated the registry law, but he never filed charges. He said a jury would be unlikely to convict the men because they weren't properly notified at the time the warrants were executed.

As of late last month, the department had notified roughly three-fourths of the state's 21,000 offenders, with more than 5,000 to go.

In April, the department told 27 News it expected to have all offenders notified by July 1. In a letter to Representative Andy Jorgensen dated May 4, the department said it will have all offenders notified by June 30 -- 16 months after the law went into effect.

Moores' preliminary hearing is scheduled for May 10.



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