It’s important to know how to research sex offenders in California so that you can keep yourself and your family safe. Individuals who have been convicted of sexually motivated crimes are likely to commit similar crimes again. Get the information you need to avoid CA sex offenders.
Who is a sex offender in California?
In California, a sex offender is anyone who commits a sexually motivated offense. The definition is meant to be broad, enabling the justice system to account for a wide variety of sexual crime. An expansive list of offenses for which an individual in California is required to register as a sex offender is listed here: http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/sexreg.aspx?lang=ENGLISH. These offenses range from rape and sexual battery, incest and molesting children, to indecent exposure.
People who are required to register as sex offenders in California, and who have committed a crime against a victim under 16 years of age, are prohibited by law from working with children if they would have more than occasional contact with a child in the course of their work, or if they would have any sort of power over a child. California registered sex offenders must notify their employers and volunteer organizations that they are registered. If they fail to notify their employers, it is a misdemeanor offense.
Researching Sex Offenders in California
You must agree to a disclaimer before accessing the California sex offender database. You can find the entry page here: http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/disclaimer.aspx?lang=ENGLISH. You may search by name, address, city, zip code, county, parks, and schools.
There are 63,000 people who are considered sex offenders and required to register in California. 33,500 of these have home addresses listed in the database, and 30,500 more are listed by zip code, city, and county. CA law enforcement officials have information about 22,000 other sex offenders who are not listed on the site.
Megan’s Law is a nationwide law that requires sex offenders to register with the database in their state, so that citizens can find out if there are sex offenders living near them. In California, the California Department of Justice maintains the Sex Offender Tracking Program.
Before an individual who has committed a sexual offense is released into the public, they are notified that they must register as a CA sex offender, and the California Department of Justice is informed of this, so that they know of the existence of the offender. Most sex offenders must update their personal information once per year, although homeless sex offenders must update once every 30 days, and sexually violent predators (which is a classification reserved for certain offenders) must update every 90 days. The CA sex offender database should reflect whether an individual listed has updated or not.
Every time a California sex offender moves, or if they become homeless, they must report this change to the law enforcement agency within five days. The CA Department of Justice updates the sex offender database every single day, as new information is received.
Some sex offenders don’t have to publicly appear on the website, although they must register with law enforcement. About 25% of sex offenders do not have to disclose their status to the public. It depends on the type of crime the person has committed. Sometimes people get to apply for exclusion from the web site, but they are still registered sex offenders.
California has been keeping track of its sex offenders since before the national Megan’s Law was enacted. This history of record keeping, combined with the growing population, makes California the state with the largest number of registered sex offenders. Megan’s Law was passed after the tragic rape and murder of a New Jersey girl by a known child molester who had just moved across the street from her house. Every state has a form of Megan’s Law that enables citizens to research offenders in their area.