Did you know you can check online for sex offenders registered in your neighborhood? If you haven't checked the website yet, you might be shocked to see just how many registered sex offenders reside near your home, or around your child's school. Have you thought about what you might do if you happened to check the registry and found out your new next door neighbor is a sex offender whose crime included lewd acts with a child? For most of us, our first thought would be to tell our neighbors and maybe even print up flyers for distribution within the neighborhood advising of this person's presence. Well, according to the California Megan's Law website you may only use the information you found to protect a person at risk. Meaning you just can't go around issuing flyers or telling your neighbors about the offender next door. The California Megan's Law website posts the following: Legal and Illegal Uses. The information on this web site is made available solely to protect the public.
Anyone who uses this information to commit a crime or to harass an offender or his or her family is subject to criminal prosecution and civil liability. The Megan's Law website also includes on its FAQ page, the following: I want to share with others the information I found on the Attorney General's Megan's Law Website. Does the law prohibit me in any way from sharing this information? A person may use the information disclosed on the Attorney General's Web site only to protect a person at risk.
It is a crime to use the information disclosed on the Attorney General's Internet Web site to commit a misdemeanor or felony. Unless the information is used to protect a person at risk, it is also prohibited to use any information that is disclosed pursuant to this Internet Web site for a purpose relating to health insurance, insurance, loans, credit, employment, education, scholarships, fellowships, housing, accommodations, or benefits, privileges, or services provided by any business. Misuse of the information may make the user liable for money damages or an injunction against the misuse. Before using the information disclosed on this Web site, you may want to consult with an attorney or merely suggest to others that they view the Web site for themselves.
So what can you do? Well here are a few suggestions from their site: First and foremost, suggest to everyone you know that they check the site for themselves. Our site in California is http://www.meganslaw.ca.
gov/homepage.htm Additionally: 1. Make sure you know where each of your children is at all times 2. Make an effort to know the people with whom your child is spending time. 3. Get to know your neighbors.
4. Assume preventing sexual assault is everyone's responsibility 5. Talk to your children about personal safety issues as they relate to child sexual abuse. Do this when you talk to your children about bike safety, crossing the street, or talking to strangers. It is, in many ways, just another personal safety rule about which children need to be aware.
6. Organize neighborhood block watches, if desired by your neighbors. The bottom line is to be informed and share the Megan's Law website with everyone you know. Knowledge is your best defense in protecting you and your family.
Law Offices of Donald P. Schweitzer 201 South Lake Avenue, Suite 700 Pasadena, California 91101 (626) 683-8113 http://www.PasadenaCriminalDefense.com