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California Registered Sex Offender Information Available at San Mateo County Fair

Monday, August 11, 2003
Contact: (415) 703-5837

(SAN MATEO) – Attorney General Bill Lockyer today announced that the Megan's Law database system, which provides information on the identity and whereabouts of California's registered sex offenders, is available at the San Mateo County Fair through August 17.

"We regularly set up our Megan's Law system at several fairs and conferences around the state to provide Californians easy access to an important tool they can use to protect their families," Lockyer said. "We've had many cases in which fair-goers have discovered that acquaintances or others in positions of trust were convicted sex offenders – and they quickly took steps to ensure the safety of their children."

Megan's Law information usually is available only by calling a Department of Justice (DOJ) hotline, (900) 448-3000, or visiting a local sheriff's station or police department. The Attorney General has long supported making the information more convenient by posting it on the Internet. Until a law is passed, the DOJ will continue to make registered sex offender information more accessible by staffing booths at public events. Lockyer also urged schools and community groups to work with local officers to set up Megan's Law viewing sessions at community centers or "Back to School" nights.

Members of the DOJ and the San Mateo Sexual Assault Felony Enforcement (SAFE) Task Force are assisting fair-goers as they access the database and search for sex offenders registered in their communities. The Megan's Law booth is open each day in Fiesta Hall at the San Mateo County Expo Center. The SAFE task force is composed of members from the DOJ, San Mateo County Sheriff's Office, South San Francisco Police Department, Daly City Police Department and San Mateo County District Attorney's Office.

To access the Megan's Law information, an individual must be at least 18 years old or accompanied by a parent or legal guardian, possess a valid California Driver's License or identification card and sign a release stating that they will not use the information for any illegal purpose, such as to commit a crime or discriminate against a registered sex offender. Individuals who search the system by name or by their zip code will be able to view a photo, physical description and a summary of sex crimes committed by the listed sex offenders.

Enacted in 1996, California's Megan's Law system contains information about 80,000 "serious" and "high risk" registered sex offenders. The information is updated daily, and is available in 13 languages.

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