Californians may soon be able to access free information about sex offenders – including their names, photos and home addresses – via the Internet, if Gov. Arnold Schwarzenegger signs a bill awaiting his approval. Supporters predict it would help citizens protect their children and improve the accuracy of the sex offender registry. But opponents worry it would encourage vigilante attacks against law-abiding ex-cons and their families. The governor, who has not taken a position on the measure, has until Sept. 30 to approve the posting of the Megan’s Law database at a state-run Web site.
Every state has some form of Megan’s Law, which allows the public to get information about sex offenders. Forty-four states make at least a portion of their registry available online. California is one of just six states whose registries are not Internet-accessible. The others are Rhode Island, South Dakota, Vermont, Hawaii and Oregon, according to Parents for Megan’s Law. The link gives an Associated Press summary of the California proposal’s details.