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Attorney General Lockyer Applauds Governor for Signing Bill to Post Megan's Law on Internet
AB 488 by Assemblywoman Parra Will Make Information Accessible to Millions
(SACRAMENTO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced the governor has signed Lockyer-sponsored legislation authorizing the Department of Justice (DOJ) to post online Megan's Law information about registered sex offenders living in California.
"Megan's Law is an invaluable tool already used by thousands of parents to better protect their children from registered sex offenders who may pose a danger to the community," Lockyer said. "Putting Megan's Law on the Internet will now give millions of families ready access to this important information through their home computers.
"Putting Megan's Law on the Internet has been among my highest priorities since taking office," Lockyer said. "We owe the Legislature and the Governor a vote of thanks for finally making it a reality."
Sponsored by Lockyer, AB 488 by Assembywoman Nicole Parra, D-Hanford, will provide detailed information, including the registered home address of the state's most serious sex offenders. Those include individuals who have been convicted of committing a lewd act upon a child under the age of 14, committing a sex crime that includes the element of force or fear, or who have been convicted of two or more sex offenses in separate trials.
In addition, home address information will be available on individuals who have been designated a sexually violent predator by a court. A sexually violent predator is defined as an individual who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense against two or more victims and who has a diagnosed mental disorder that makes the person a danger to the health and safety of others in that it is likely that he or she will engage in sexually violent criminal behavior.
The web site also will contain the same information currently provided on the DOJ Megan's Law database: name, aliases, age, gender, race, physical description (including scars, marks and tattoos), photograph (if available), convictions requiring registration and county and zip code where they last registered.
Under current law, citizens must go to sheriff's offices and participating police departments to view the Megan's Law database. To make the database more accessible to the public, the DOJ also has staffed "viewing booths" at large county fairs and the State Fair every year since 1997. In 2002, Lockyer initiated changes that included updating the database every 24 hours and making the information available in 13 languages: Arabic, Armenian, Cambodiam, Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog and Vietnamese.
The Attorney General praised Assemblywoman Parra for helping steer the bill through the Legislature, and said he looks forward to working with the governor to increase the amount of information that is made available to the public about sex offenders living in the community.
"It's been a hard, years-long fight to enact a bill that will provide this crucial information on the Internet," Lockyer said. "With only 80,000 law enforcement officers on the beat to protect 35 million citizens, it is vitally important to give the public the tools they need to help protect themselves and their families.
"Thanks to Assemblywoman Parra, we have a good first step that balances public safety with privacy concerns of sex offenders."