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Understanding Megan's Law

Updated December 23, 2009

The Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center has received many inquiries about Megan’s Law, which mandates the release of information necessary to protect the public from high risk sex offenders.

In conjunction with the Los Angeles County Sheriff’s Department and the California Department of Justice (DOJ), the Cerritos Sheriff’s Station/Community Safety Center offers the following information about Megan’s Law.

Megan’s Law was created in 1996 after a 7-year-old New Jersey girl was molested and murdered by a known child molester that had moved in across the street from her home. Information on his background was not made available to those in the area. In response to this event, Megan’s parents successfully initiated a drive to publish the criminal history of sex offenders.

California has long required individuals convicted of certain crimes to register with the local law enforcement agency where they reside. As a result of Megan’s Law, the California DOJ now maintains a database of dangerous sex offenders that is accessible to the public. The purpose of Megan’s Law is to inform the public, not to punish the registrant. Some of the information made available includes the name, sex, age, physical description, photo, crimes committed resulting in registration, and the last known address of the offender. California’s Megan’s Law statute prohibits using the information obtained to harass or commit any crime against the offender.

To search for sex offenders in your area, visit the Megan's Law website.

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