Sex Offenders to be Banned from Virtual "Gyms" but Not Public Showers

Sex Offenders to be Banned from Virtual "Gyms" but Not Public Showers


Keep MA Safe | News Release 


CONTACT:   Andrew Beckwith | | 339.298.7567


Sex Offenders to be Banned from Virtual "Gyms" but Not Public Showers

Legislators seek to ban sex offenders from virtual Pokemon "gyms" weeks after allowing them into actual women's locker rooms

Wednesday, August 3, 2016

WOBURN — MA State Representative Jonathan Zlotnik introduced legislation on Beacon Hill today that would bar registered sex offenders from playing “augmented reality” games.  The bill is intended to address safety concerns related to mobile apps like the wildly popular Pokemon Go which encourages players to visit virtual “Poke Stops” or “Gyms” that exist in real world locations. 
The representative from Gardner, MA said in a press release yesterday that the game’s unique features “present the possibility that potential sex offenders could use the features of the game to commit crimes against children.”  He went on to say that when “a new technology comes along we have to make sure that the law keeps up so that criminals can’t take advantage of any created gaps.”  
Ironically, legislators looked the other way when it came to the newly created gender-identity gap in their recent passage of a law that allows men who assert a female gender identity to use women’s bathrooms, locker rooms, changing facilities and even showers.  During debate on the transgender bill, an amendment was introduced which would have similarly barred registered sex offenders from claiming a gender identity to allow them into women’s gyms, etc. Nevertheless, legislators overwhelmingly rejected it by a vote of 92 to 58.  Although Representative Zlotnik was among the 58 who initially voted for protections against sex offenders, hours later he voted for passage of the bill without those safeguards.   
Keep MA Safe Chairwoman Chanel Prunier sees this glaring inconsistency as rank hypocrisy. 

“Lawmakers should show at least as much concern for protecting women and children in real gyms and locker rooms from sex offenders as they do in ‘Poke Stops,’” Prunier said. 

Keep MA Safe is seeking to repeal the transgender bathroom and locker room law, because it puts women and children at risk.  This week, they are beginning their campaign to collect the 32,375 signatures needed to put this law on the 2018 statewide ballot for repeal.
“While I understand their concern about sex offenders exploiting ‘augmented reality,’ our lawmakers failed to address the very real loophole the transgender law has created for predators,” Prunier said. “This is why we have to bring the issue to a vote by the citizens.”
Attorney and father of four Andrew Beckwith, who is helping the Keep MA Safe campaign, sees this as a double standard as well. 

“So what our legislators are telling us is that it’s OK for a registered sex offender to use his phone in the women’s locker room at the local gym with our wives and daughters, so long as he is not playing Pokemon,” Beckwith said.