WHAT IS MEGAN'S LAW
California for more than 50 years has required dangerous sex offenders to register
with their local law enforcement agencies. However, information on the whereabouts
of these sex offenders was not available to the public until the implementation of
the Child Molester Identification Line in July 1995. The information available was
further expanded by California's Megan's Law in 1996 (Chapter 908, Stats. of 1996).
In 1995, a convicted child molester was arrested for the murder and rape of 7 year-old Megan Kanka in a New Jersey suburb. The offender lived across the street from the Kanka residence; however the police department was prohibited from disclosing the presence of this child molester because, at the time, the law did not allow the release of sex offender information to the public. This incident prompted a change in the federal law and, on May 17, 1996, President Clinton signed the Federal "Megan's Law" (H.R. 2137) which "required the release of relevant information to protect the public from sexually violent offenders."
The California State Legislature signed California's version of Megan's Law, Assembly Bill 1562, into effect on September 25, 1996. California's Megan's Law arms the public with certain information on the whereabouts of dangerous sex offenders so that members of our local communities may protect themselves and their children. 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 the community.
There are three categories of sex offenders included in the database. The lowest level, entitled "Other," cannot be released to the general public. This level involves offenders convicted of a single misdemeanor (or lesser) sex crime. The next level is labeled "Serious" and includes individuals that have been convicted of a single felony sex offense. The most critical level is called "High Risk." These offenders have been convicted of at least one violent sex crime and a combination of other offenses.
The law is not intended to punish the offender and specifically prohibits using the information to harass or commit any crime against the offender.
Megan's Law makes available to adults and organizations information on "serious" and "high-risk" sex offenders in their local community. The information on a registered sex offender includes:
- name and known aliases;
- age and sex;
- physical description, including scars, marks and tattoos;
- photograph, if available;
- crimes resulting in registration;
- county of residence;
- zip code (based on last registration).
You may also access the information via the MEGAN'S LAW WEB APPLICATION for free at viewing stations located at certain law enforcement agencies.
- California Megan's Law Website
- Police departments Offering access (Contact your local police department, El Camino Police does not currently offer this service)
The information is updated daily by the Department of Justice and is viewable in 13 different languages. The languages are Arabic, Armenian, Cambodian, Chinese, English, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese.
Reminder: The information disclosed pursuant to Megan's Law may not be used to harass or commit any crime against the offender.
It is a crime to fail to register. If you have been convicted of a sex offense or arson crime, you may be required to register with local law enforcement under California law. If the offense was added to the registration law after the date of your conviction, you may not have received personal notice of your duty to register as a sex or arson offender.
Check with your local law enforcement agency to see if the offense for which you were convicted requires registration. To register, go to the police department in the city where you live or are located, or the local sheriff's department if you are in an unincorporated area.
If you have questions about your sex offense or arson conviction, or need to know whether your out-of-state conviction is the equivalent of a registrable offense in California, contact the Sex and Arson Registration Program in the California Department of Justice by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org, or the address below:
Sex and Arson Registration Program
California Department of Justice
P.O. Box 903387
Sacramento, CA 94203-3870
Sex offenders are required to register with local law enforcement agencies within five working days of being released from a local jail or state prison or completion of any alternate sentence. Sex offenders also must re-register every year within five working days of his or her birthday, moving, or changing his or her name.
With few exceptions, the registration requirement is a lifetime mandate. During annual registration, the registered sex offender is required to verify his or her name and address or temporary location. Failure to properly register may be a felony and may count as a "Third Strike" (Penal Code Section 290).
Two new laws also took effect in 2002 that will further improve law enforcement's ability to protect the public from sex offenders. As of January 1 2002, specified sex offenders are required to annually, instead of only upon first registering, update important information, including: the license plate of any vehicle owned by or registered to the offender, fingerprints, and a current photograph.
Also sex offenders attending classes, participating in programs, or working on college campuses will be required to register with the campus police department in addition to registering with the police or sheriff's department in the community in which they live. If a campus does not have a police department, those offenders will be required to register with the police or sheriff's department that has jurisdiction over that campus.
To register as a sex offender with the El Camino Police Department, call 310-660-3100 to make an appointment.