Page last updated at 08:26 GMT, Wednesday, 24 March 2010

Complaint sparks removal of paedophile's Facebook page

Alain Hegarty's Facebook page
Alain Hegarty was jailed in 2005 for abusing a child

Facebook has removed the profile of a paedophile who has been recalled to jail and said there was "no place for convicted sex offenders" on the site.

Alain Hegarty, 62, of Burnham-on-Sea, Somerset, was jailed in 2005 for sexually abusing a girl aged under 13.

He was recalled to jail after concerns from his victim's family that he had contacted children using the social networking website.

Hegarty, formerly of Kingswood, Bristol was released on licence in 2007.

'Dealing with aftermath'

He had been sentenced to two-and-a-half years in prison.

An Avon and Somerset Police spokeswoman said that Hegarty would be held while it was investigated whether he had breached his probation terms.

A relative of the victim told BBC Points West: "We were really shocked that he had a Facebook account.

"It's difficult dredging up things that happened five years ago and the victim is still dealing with the aftermath of what's happened."

A Facebook spokeswoman said the website "worked aggressively to find and remove these people from the site".

In other countries we are able to obtain data on registered sex offenders and remove these people quickly
Facebook spokeswoman

She said: "Unfortunately, this effort is hampered in the UK because data on registered sex offenders (eg names and e-mail addresses) is not available.

"In other countries we are able to obtain data on registered sex offenders and remove these people quickly.

"We are hopeful that a similar solution could be workable in the UK.

She added that people are encouraged to report users they think are in breach of the website's terms.

Facebook has an ongoing relationship with, and had provided material to, British law enforcement agencies that had helped secure convictions, she added.



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