Information on more than 7,000 registered Pennsylvania sex offenders will be posted on a state Web site under a bill Gov. Ed Rendell signed Wednesday, the Philadelphia Inquirer reports. Now, a state police Web site contains details on 57 sexual offenders – and that information is available to the public only upon e-mail request. Rendell hailed the expanded law as critical to protecting children. The American Civil Liberties Union of Pennsylvania and the Defender Association of Philadelphia said it would likely stir a fresh wave of challenges testing the statute’s constitutionality.
The Web site, which the state police must assemble within six months, will list the name, city, county, zip code, and photo of every registrant. Street addresses will be posted for the most serious offenders, who are classified by the courts as “sexually violent predators.” “What we are talking about here are changes to a law that will protect children from abuse and sometimes death,” state Auditor General Robert P. Casey Jr. said. The state law had been derided as one of the weakest in the nation, receiving an “F” rating last month in a nationwide survey by Parents for Megan’s Law, a New York advocacy group.