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July 12th, 2006 Ian Demsky | News Stories
 

Myspace Invaders

Multnomah County steps up efforts to catch sex offenders who are using MySpace.com to find new victims.

     
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Convicted sex offender Jason Brophy's mug shot (above) and MySpace.com page.
In the exploding cyberworld of MySpace.com, Jason is a moderately popular dude. He's got more than a hundred online "friends," mostly young and shirtless men.

Jason advertises himself on the networking website as a "gay bottom boi" who's looking to meet 18-to-30-year-old "tops" who are "uncut."

"i am very oral and good at it. i do swallow," his profile (myspace.com/bandito1274) says while admonishing that interested parties "must be std free and in the portland oregon area as i can't travel right now."

Jason—Jason Eric Brophy—is also prominently featured on two other websites: Multnomah County's and the state's sites for predatory sex offenders.

WW found the MySpace page belonging to Brophy in a spot check to see if predatory offenders listed on the state and county sites had MySpace pages and what they were doing with them. Brophy, 31, has been in and out of prison and jail since 1995 for offenses including sex abuse, sodomy and parole violations.

Brophy, who lives near Portland's North Park Blocks, appeared to have had at least online contact with minors through his MySpace account, which if proven would violate the terms of his parole, Multnomah County officials say. In a blog entry titled "Older Guys Are Bad," Brophy writes (in all caps): "I am 31 yrs old and I like younger guys. Why can't the older guys get the picture. I am not turned on by older guys."

County parole and probation officials say they're finding more and more sex offenders committing new offenses or violating their release conditions on MySpace and other sites, such as the bulletin board Craigslist.org.

"It was a matter of realizing what kids are doing and realizing that, yeah, the sex offenders are already there," says county Department of Community Justice spokesman Robb Freda-Cowie.

There have been five sex offenders busted locally for MySpace offenses since May, he says. A couple of other investigations are ongoing.

After one violation was brought to the attention of county probation and parole officer Tiffany Nielsen earlier this year, she started checking the MySpace pages of the offenders she supervises. The idea caught on with other officers, and she wrote up a how-to tip sheet for the department.

"What we're looking for are inappropriate contacts, inappropriate content, and sex, drugs and rock-'n'-roll themes," she says.

Nationwide, MySpace has increasingly come under fire for how easily sexual predators can troll for young victims. Last month, a 14-year-old Texas girl filed a $30 million lawsuit alleging the site failed to prevent an adult who pretended to be a high-schooler from sexually assaulting her. MySpace has responded by adding security measures that make it more difficult for adults to contact minors whose names or email addresses they don't know.

Brophy was convicted of sodomy in 1999, failure to register as a sex offender in 2004 and sex abuse in 2005. His criminal record also includes convictions for theft, robbery and arson, court records show.

Brophy's parole bans him from contact with minors, and he is forbidden to go where youngsters gather, has an 11 pm curfew and isn't allowed to view pornography. According to the sex-offender sites, his modus operandi is to molest young men using alcohol or force to defeat their resistance; he's also "ride-by" groped more than 40 women from his bike.

He was one of three Portland-area predatory sex offenders with MySpace sites under their own names turned up by WW in about a half-hour of searching for their names, though Brophy's was the only one soliciting sex or featuring a completed profile.

WW found that several of Brophy's online "friends" are minors, if their profiles are accurate. The youngest is 16.

Before parole officials could act on news of Brophy's MySpace page, he was arrested July 3 and charged with a different parole violation: possession of pornography. Freda-Cowie says Brophy's probation officer will recommend a 75-day jail stint along with removal of the MySpace page and restrictions on Internet use.

 
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