Tuesday, July 15, 2008

Convicted Sex Offender - Rabbi Michael Ozair Living in Thailand

© (2008) Vicki Polin, MA, LCPC, NCC

Rabbi Michael Ozair: National Sex Offender Registry / Facebook Account Photo

Towards the end of May (2008),  a member of The Awareness Center happened to stumble upon convicted sex offender, Rabbi Michael Ezra Ozair's Facebook account.

When I was informed I immediately looked at Ozair’s site. I was stunned to see that most of his “friends” appeared to be teenage girls from Thailand, China, Israel and a few from Los Angeles. Rabbi Ozair did have a few adult friends listed (mostly male), several of whom were individuals in which The Awareness Center had been watching, due to worrisome information about them.

Considering Michael Ozair is a convicted sex offender and it appeared that he might be using his Facebook account to groom teenage girls, a report was made to the IC3 (The Internet Crime Complaint Center).

The fact that removing an account from Facebook is not the answer to the real problem, because Ozair -- like many other convicted sex offenders can easily create another account using another name within in minutes of an account being terminated. Nonetheless, it was hoped that his account closing would send a message that his behavior was being monitored.

Over the last few months several newspaper articles stated that Facebook had a policy that convicted sex offenders were not allowed to have an account with them. A note was sent to facebook with all the necessary information. At the time I thought the problem would be solved easily. I was wrong.

The next day I received a note back from Facebook asking for more information regarding Michael Ozair and was asked for a direct link to the sex offender registry in which he was listed. I went to both the California and National sex offender registry -- Michael Ozair was not listed. I had no idea what was going on and started to dig. After several phone calls and e-mails to law enforcement in Los Angeles, I learned that Ozair was no longer listed in a way in which he was easily found. Each state has its own protocols in how their registry works. Unfortunately, since Michael Ozair is currently registered as living outside the United States -- in Thailand, his profile is not easily accessed.

My contact at the LAPD forward Michael Ozair’s most updated registration to both the contact at Facebook and to me. I thought this would be all that was needed and Ozair’s account would be closed.

I didn’t hear anything for a few days and kept checking to see if Ozair’s account was removed. The entry was still there. I recontacted Facebook and they stated there was some technical difficulties with the police officer’s e-mail and that the officer would need to send the information to a different e-mail address and was asking for more information besides a copy of the sex offender registration.

On July 3, 2008, I finally received a note stating “After reviewing the reported abuse, we have removed all offending content based on our Terms of Use.”

If it weren't for the many hours communicating with Facebook and the LAPD, Michael Ozair’s account would have remained open -- Meaning this convicted sex offender would have maintained full access to teenage girls on Facebook.

I’m still bewildered with the reality that a convicted sex offender would be allowed to move to Thailand, especially considering it is known to be a haven for sexual predators. It’s also known as one of the worst countries when it came to the human sex slave trade.

Rabbi Michael Ozair’s case shines a light on a deeply worrisome phenomenon -- several American convicted sex offenders are moving to places like Thailand, China, India, Israel, etc. -- all known Mecca's for child predators to most likely continue creating more victims. As Americans we need to be concerned with not just the safety of our children, but the children of the world. Without a federal policy in place, American sex offenders will continue with this trend.

No comments: