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State Sex Offenders Registries

State Agencies - Sex Offenders Registries

The State Sex Offender Registries make certain private and personal information on registered sex offenders available to the public.

The brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka that prompted the public demand for broad based community notification. On May 17, 1996, President Clinton signed Megan's Law. Megan's Law requires the following two components:

  • Sex Offender Registration - The 1994 Jacob Wetterling Act requires the States to register individuals convicted of sex crimes against children. Sex offender registration laws are necessary because:
    • Sex offenders pose a high risk of re-offending after release from custody;
    • Protecting the public from sex offenders is a primary governmental interest;
    • The privacy interests of persons convicted of sex offenses are less important than the government's interest in public safety;
    • Release of certain information about sex offenders to public agencies and the general public will assist in protecting the public safety.
  • Community Notification - Megan's Law allows the States discretion to establish criteria for disclosure, but compels them to make private and personal information on registered sex offenders available to the public. Community notification:
    • Assists law enforcement in investigations;
    • Establishes legal grounds to hold known offenders;
    • Deters sex offenders from committing new offenses;
    • Offers citizens information they can use to protect children from victimization.

Check photographs and files for missing persons and exploited children.

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