The database of sex offenders maintained by California under Megan’s Law is rife with errors about the state’s 80,000 convicted sex offenders, says state audit. The Los Angeles Times reports that the database was created in 1996 to list the location of sex offenders, who are required to register with local police departments. But some of the information is outdated.
“The address information for roughly 23,000 records [has] not been updated for at least a year, largely because the sex offenders have not registered,” state Auditor Elaine M. Howle said yessterday. “And 14,000 of these have not been updated for at least five years.” She said 482 released child molesters, rapists, and other sex offenders are missing from the database because they are erroneously listed as being in prison. Howle added that “the database may unnecessarily alarm the public because it includes hundreds of duplicate records and erroneously indicates that 1,142 sex offenders are living in public communities although the Department of Corrections reports them as incarcerated.”
State Sen. Dean Florez, who requested the audit, said the findings are alarming for parents. “I think it tells them Megan’s Law is not working,” Florez said. “It never has worked. It’s a false promise.” But state Atty. Gen. Bill Lockyer vowed to make the law work. “The only effective way to solve the problem is to create and fund more law enforcement teams to find all sex offenders who fail to comply with state registration laws,” he said.