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New Web site provides many state sex-offender registries

By The Associated Press

WASHINGTON — Information on sex offenders in 21 states and the District of Columbia is now available on an Internet site launched this week by the federal government.

Participation by states in the National Sex Offender Public Registry is voluntary. Assistant Attorney General Regina Schofield said all state information was expected to be posted within six months.

The site does not contain any information not already made available on the Internet by each state. But it allows someone to do one search online to determine whether an individual who has been convicted in one state has moved to another.

Users can search by name, town, state and/or zip code.

There are more than 500,000 registered sex offenders nationwide, the Justice Department said. The recidivism rate for sex crimes is four times higher than for other offenses, according to the U.S. Bureau of Justice Statistics.

Privacy advocates have been wary of publishing the names of people who already have served their sentence.

But several recent high-profile abductions and killings have led to calls for widened access to the information. The most recent case was the abduction of two Idaho children, one of whom was later found dead, allegedly by a convicted sex offender.

Every state but Oregon publishes the names, photos and backgrounds of at least some people convicted of a variety of sex crimes, particularly those involving children. But different rules apply as to what information can be accessed. Oregon's information is available by telephone.

Participants in the national site are: Arizona, Colorado, Delaware, Florida, Hawaii, Idaho, Illinois, Kansas, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maryland, Nebraska, Nevada, New Jersey, Ohio, Pennsylvania, Rhode Island, Tennessee, Utah, Virginia, Washington, D.C., and Wisconsin.


High court OKs posting sex-offender info online

Meanwhile, in separate ruling, justices say officials don't have to give sex criminals a chance to prove they aren't dangerous before putting their photos, addresses on Net. 03.05.03

3rd Circuit: N.J. can post sex offenders' addresses online
Overturning lower court, panel rules state's interest in preventing sex crimes outweighs offenders' interest in not having information published. 08.19.03

6th Circuit upholds Michigan's sex-offender registry
Three-judge panel rejects challenge from convicted offender, saying list doesn't imply that those named are a danger to society. 02.26.04

Oklahoma court overturns ruling against Web site
Error in state registry misidentifying man as sex offender had led to $3.7 million penalty against 04.04.05

N.Y. county revises online 'Wall of Shame' anti-DWI initiative
Day after judge rules that posting arrests violates due process, Nassau County executive says he'll wait until suspects are convicted before listing them on Web page. 10.22.08

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