California requires sex offenders to register with their local law enforcement agencies. Information on the whereabouts of registered sex offenders was first made available to the public with the implementation of the Child Molester Identification Line in July 1995. Now, information on the whereabouts and identities of convicted sex offenders can be obtained on the Internet or through computer terminals at local police stations. To access the California Attorney General's Megan's Law database online, click here.
Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the victim's family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kanka family sought to increase the amount of information available to members of the public about sex offenders in their communities.
The law also authorizes local law enforcement to notify the public about high-risk and serious sex offenders who reside in, are employed in, or frequent a particular community.
The law is not intended to punish the sex offender and specifically prohibits using the information to harass or commit any crime against the individual. Rather, it recognizes that public safety is best served when members of the public know that a sex offender has moved into their community.
|How Do I Know if My Child Has Had Contact With a Sex Offender?
|Whether you're concerned about a stranger chatting online with your son or daughter or a neighbor being unusually friendly to your child, you can find out free of charge if the individual is a registered sex offender. Simply visit the California Attorney General's Megan's Law database online. You can also access Megan's Law database at local police stations.
|What Information Is Available About Registered Sex Offenders?
|The Megan's Law database available to the general public online currently contains records on more than 76,000 registered sex offenders in California. The database provides access to the following information about registered sex offenders:
- Name and known aliases
- Age and gender
- Physical description, including scars, blemishes and tattoos
- Photograph, if available
- Specific crimes that required the person to register
- County of residence
- Zip code
- Address (The disclosure of an offender's address depends on the nature of the conviction.)
|The information available at police stations categorizes offenders as serious or high-risk sex offenders. The two categories are defined as follows:
A serious sex offender is an individual convicted of at least one sex crime, from lewd or lascivious conduct with a child or misdemeanor child molestation to sodomy and rape.
A high-risk sex offender is a person convicted of multiple violent crimes, at least one of which is a violent sex crime.
|Are there other difference between the information available online and the information available at local police stations?
The databases online and at the police station are not identical. For example, those convicted of certain sexual crimes can apply for exclusion from the Internet database. Thus, while they would be included for viewing in the database accessible at police stations, they may not be included on the site the Attorney General has provided to the general public.
Also, the Megan's Law Internet database is currently accessible only in English. However, the information on the police stations' database is available in 12 different languages. These languages include: Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.