Megan’s Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known registered sex offender who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kankas sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. All states now have a form of Megan’s Law.
The U.S. Congress has passed several laws that require states to implement sex offender and crimes against children registries: the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act, and Megan’s Law. On March 5, 2003, the United States Supreme Court ruled that information about potential predators may be publicly posted on the Internet.
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.
Sexual offender search sites: