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Megan's Law

About Megan's Law

Megan's Law, which addresses sex offenders and child molesters was signed by President Clinton on May 17, 1996.

Megan's Law was much needed, despite Washington State's 1990 Community Protection Act which included America's first law authorizing public notification when dangerous sex offenders are released into the community. It was the brutal 1994 rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka by a previously Registered Sex Offender that prompted the public demand for broad-based community notification.

Megan's Law requires the following two components:
Sex Offender Registration and Community Notification.

About Sex Offender Registration

The 1994 Jacob Wetterling Act requires the States to register sex offenders registered 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.

Megan's Law & Sex Offender 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 sex offenders;

• Deters sex offenders from committing new sex offenses;

•Offers citizens information they can use to protect children from Registered Sex Offenders, child molesters and victimization.

This information was obtained by

Megan Kanka

Megan Kanka



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