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Sex offender convicted of Internet violations

LOCKPORT – Level 3 sex offender Sean P. McLaughlin was convicted Tuesday of violating the Sex Offender Registration Act by failing to report two Internet screen names to the state.

Without comment, Niagara County Judge Matthew J. Murphy III announced a verdict of guilty on two felony counts against McLaughlin after hearing four days of testimony and arguments in a nonjury trial last week. Each count carries a prison term of up to four years.

McLaughlin, 43, of Rochester, was living in the Town of Lockport in November 2013 when he befriended a 12-year-old boy, a friend of the son of a woman McLaughlin was dating.

The boy set up an account for a chat application on McLaughlin’s smart phone, and with it they were able to communicate via the boy’s iPod Touch, Deputy District Attorney Holly E. Sloma said in her summation.

Defense attorneys Charles Marchese and Robert Berkun argued that McLaughlin thought smartphone apps were not barred by the law.

McLaughlin returns to court Jan. 9 when another nonjury trial will be scheduled on kidnapping and child endangerment charges. He is accused of taking the 12-year-old boy out for the day on Nov. 23, 2013, and lying about his own name and address when the boy’s mother tried to pick up her son.