Could a sex offender be living in your neighborhood? You may not be able to protect your children from all dangers, but a quick search of the sex offender database before you relocate or buy a house is a smart idea.
What is Megan's Law?
Megan's Law, in the U.S., is designed to sanction sex offenders and reduce their recidivism rate. The law is enacted and enforced on a state-by-state basis. Megan Kanka was a 7-year-old who was brutally raped and murdered by a twice-convicted sex offender, living across the street from her in New Jersey. In 1994, Governor Christine Todd Whitman signed "Megan's Law" requiring convicted sex offenders to register with local police. President Clinton signed the law in May 1996.
Who is Required to Register?
Offenses requiring registration include felony sexual assault (regardless of the age of the victim); an offense involving sexual abuse or exploitation of minors; or sexual abuse of wards, patients, or clients. This includes those on probation or parole or anyone else serving any other form of community supervision. Juveniles are required to register in Arkansas when ordered by the court. In addition, any person who was acquitted on the grounds of mental disease or defect, out-of-state offenders who were required to register in their own state and offenders who are registered in another state and work or attend school in Arkansas are also required to register.
There are four levels of sex offenders under Arkansas law. The levels represent the likelihood the offender will re-offend, with 1 being the least likely to re-offend and 4 being a sexually violent predator.
Sex Offenders in risk level of 1, 2, or 3 are required to re-register at the sheriff's office every 6 months. Level 4 offenders must re-register every 3 months. The levels are Arkansas specific, and if a sex offender moves to Arkansas from another state, they must be evaluated in Arkansas. Law Enforcement is not allowed to notify the public UNTIL a risk level has been assigned by the state of Arkansas. This process can take several months.
As of Jan. 1, 2004 ACIC created a section on their website to display information, including pictures, of registered sex offenders that have been T assessed at level three and level four. Pursuant to §12-12-911(Viii). In addition, level 2 sex offenders will be listed if the sex offender was 18 years of age or older and the victim was age 14 or under when the crime was committed.
A level 3 or 4 sex offender cannot live within 2,000 feet of a school, daycare or public park.
In Arkansas, if a sex offender lives in the area prior to a school, daycare or public park being opened, they do not have to relocate if one is opened.
Police are required to do public notifications for level 3 and level 4 sex offenders. They may notify on level 2 sex offenders if the sex offender was 18 years of age or older and the victim was age 14 or under when the crime was committed. Police may go door to door notifying the neighbors of who the sex offender is and where they live.
How Long Are Offenders on the List?
Offenders are registered for 15 years (lifetime for a sexually violent predator or if convicted of an aggravated sex offense or multiple offenses) from the date of release from incarceration or being placed on parole or probation or other supervision.
How Many Are Registered?
Arkansas has about 13,000 registered sex offenders.
Where is the Website?
The web address is http://acic.org/offender-search/index.php.