Banned on Facebook because of sex offences with minors? No problem just change your name

THE FIRST woman to be convicted in New Zealand for having sex with a minor is thumbing her nose at being blacklisted from the popular social networking site Facebook.

In December 2005, Briar Dravitzki, a 23-year-old solo mother, pleaded guilty in the New Plymouth District Court to two charges of performing an indecent act with a boy who was 13.

She claimed the boy had told her he was 17.

She was sentenced to 240 hours of community work, nine months’ supervision and ordered to undergo specialist treatment.

Eight years later following a campaign from the Sensible Sentencing Trust to ban all sex offenders from Facebook, Dravitzki was officially blacklisted from the site.

But now she’s back on Facebook – under the name of Briar Emson, a ‘full-time Mummy’ living in New Plymouth.

Although Facebook has no legal right to ban sex offenders, it still does based on information from organisations like the Sensible Sentencing Trust.

In 2013 an American appeals court found an Indiana law barring registered sex offenders from using social networking sites was unconstitutional and prohibited “substantial protected speech”.

That decision followed a class action suit challenging the law on behalf of sex offenders, including a man identified only as John Doe, who served three years for child exploitation.

The appeals court found the original court decision hindered “constitutionally protected online interactions with other adults at a time when that form of communication is as common and necessary as the telephone was just a few years ago”.  

The fact Dravitzki has been able to get round the ban simply by changing her name makes a mockery of efforts to rid Facebook of sex offenders.

On her personal Facebook page, Emson aka Dravitzki has been posting video, photos along with lewd comments such as ‘good p**** always comes with a psycho bitch attached to it.”

A year after she was convicted of performing an indecent act with a 13-year-old, Dravitzki was asked if the boy looked young for a 17-year-old.

Her response was this: “I mean, you can’t tell these days can you? And the people who he was with were 17.”

Dravitski, who has a history of mental health problems, described how she and several others were at a friend’s place in New Plymouth when she first met the boy. She claimed that initially she was not attracted to him.

“He came to my place with his friends,” she said. “He’d been sleeping in a car. I asked why.

“The people who were there clarified [sic] that. He said he’d been kicked out of home.”

She said she and the boy then got drunk and the boy asked if he could ‘crash in my bed’ because the others at the house were taking the couch and the spare bed.

This wasn’t the only time Dravitzki had sex with the boy.

The second time, however, proved to be her undoing – the boy’s mother found out where he was staying and walked in on the pair in the middle of the act.

Dravitzki claims to have struggled with mental illness since age 15.

cookStephen Cook is a multi award winning journalist and former news editor and assistant editor of the Herald on Sunday.

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