Chance to learn more about Megan’s law Web site

Gilroy
– At least one convicted sex offender lives in nearly every
neighborhood in the city, according to a recently released Web site
that is the subject of a community meeting next week.
By Lori Stuenkel

Gilroy – At least one convicted sex offender lives in nearly every neighborhood in the city, according to a recently released Web site that is the subject of a community meeting next week.

The California Department of Justice launched the Megan’s Law site last month to provide personal information about more than 63,000 sex offenders living in the state, including names, photos, home addresses, and lists of the offenses they committed. There are 85 sex offenders living in Gilroy, according to the site, convicted of crimes including rape and child molestation.

The Gilroy Police Department received “a handful” of calls from residents following the release of the Web site, said Detective Michael Beebe, who investigates sex crimes.

Beebe and Santa Clara County District Attorney Investigator Sharon Pearsons will speak at an informational meeting about Megan’s Law on Wednesday, Jan. 26, from 6:30 to 7:30pm in the multi-purpose room of Luigi Aprea Elementary School, 9225 Calle Del Rey.

“We’re going to try to present some basic information about the Web site, and direct people’s attention to it,” Detective Beebe said Friday. “We’re going to try to avoid focusing on any specific registrant.”

There will also be time for a question-and-answer session during the meeting.

Megan’s Law – named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl murdered in 1994 by a convicted sex offender who lived across the street from her, unbeknownst to her parents – requires law enforcement agencies to notify communities of potentially dangerous sex offenders living nearby.

All 50 states have similar laws that require public access to sex-offender data, and many provide the information online.

The site, www.meganslaw.ca.gov, makes the information much more accessible than it was before, when it could only be viewed at the police station, in supervised 15-minute increments.

“Once people get a little more comfortable with what the requirements or the regulations are – and that we here at the PD have contact with them – then I think it’ll just make people feel more accepting of the situation,” said Rachel Munoz, a Community Service Officer.

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