The Law

Megan's Law, signed into law by President Clinton in 1996, extended the Sexual Offender (Jacob Wetterling) Act of 1994 that required persons convicted of sex crimes against children to notify local law enforcement of any change of address or employment after release from custody.

With the Jacob Wetterling Act states have the discretion to disseminate registration information to the public, but dissemination was not required. That changed with Megan’s Law.

Megan’s Law required law enforcement agencies to release information about registered sex offenders that law enforcement deems relevant to protecting the public.

Identify Sex Offenders Near You

Megan's Law:

  • assists law enforcement in investigations,
  • establishes legal grounds to hold known offenders,
  • deters sex offenders from committing new offenses and
  • offers citizens information they can use to protect children from victimization.

While the contents of state sex offender registries are public records and you have the right to see them, access is often difficult. Often, you must know the name of the individual for which you are looking and, in many states, you must go to your local police station and complete an information request form. In some states, there are fees and search limits. Many states now maintain web sites, but these often have limited functionality.