Obtaining Sex Offender Information
Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, a New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved across the street from the family without their knowledge. In the wake of the tragedy, the Kanka's sought to have local communities warned about sex offenders in the area. In order to prevent a similar tragedy from occurring in the future, on September 6, 1996, California State Assembly Bill 1562 was adopted, implementing California’s version of the federal "Megan’s Law."
On December 15, 2004, the public was given the ability to view sex offenders on the new internet state operated Megan’s Law Web site. This web site was the result of California Assembly Bill 488 being signed into law on September 24, 2004.
The web site provides the public with the below listed information on California registered sex offenders (specified persons who are required to register as sex offenders under Penal Code section 290):
- name and any known aliases used
- specific residence address or zip code
- physical description
- offense conviction(s) related to their registration requirement
- a photograph
- a mapping feature which allows the users to search for the location of a sex offender by name, address, city, county, or proximity to parks and schools.
Megan's law information is available in Arabic, Armenian, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, Punjabi, Russian, Spanish, Tagalog, and Vietnamese. Audio recordings in each language can be found on the Attorney General's website: www.ag.ca.gov
CALIFORNIA PENAL CODE SECTION 290
Section 290 of the California Penal Code requires people convicted of certain sexual offenses to register with the local law enforcement agency responsible for the jurisdiction in which they reside within 5 working days of their birthday, and within 5 working days of changing their address. This is a lifetime requirement. Law enforcement cannot dictate where an offender lives, as long as the offender registers his/her residence with the appropriate jurisdiction. (Complete requirements are listed in Section 290 of the California Penal Code.)
The San Ramon Police Department also offers Offender Watch, a sex offender management and community notification tool. Click here to find out more about this community service.