While we can't eliminate all potential dangers for our children, we should be aware of the potential risks and take appropriate precautions. Maryland has adopted a version of "Megan's Law" which requires the notification process when a sex offender is released from jail or when they are on probation.
What is Megan's Law?
Megan Kanka was a 7-year-old who was 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.
What Kinds of Crimes Require Registration?
Offenses requiring registration include rape, sexual assault, sexual abuse of minors, unlawful sexual contact, visual sexual aggression against a child (exposing oneself), sexual misconduct with a child under 14 and solicitation of a minor via the Internet.
What Can The Registry Be Used For?
The Maryland Sex Offender Registry provides the sex offender's name, date of birth, physical address, place of employment (if known), crime for which the sex offender was convicted and a photograph of the sex offender (if available).
Generally, it means that your family should understand who sex offenders are, that they are living nearby and that members of your family should exercise basic safety precautions. Talk to your children about strangers and review safety tips with them. Almost all sex offenders who are sentenced to jail are eventually released and return to living and working in the community. The police department does not have the authority to direct where a sex offender may live, work, or attend school. Knowing that sex offenders live in the area does not give anyone the right to harass them, vandalize their property, threaten them or commit any other criminal act against them.
If you have additional questions about the sex offender registry, contact Sex Offender Registry Unit, (410) 585-3649.