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CA: How to find data about sex offenders.

January 8, 2003

By Yomi S. Wronge

The arrest of Kenneth Eugene Parnell -- one of California's most notorious child predators, who was arrested at his home in Berkeley on Friday on allegations he tried to buy a 4-year-old boy -- has renewed interest in Megan's Law, which makes certain information about convicted sex offenders available to the public.

In light of the Parnell case, here is what you can find out under the law, and how to obtain the information:

Q When do police notify the public about a molester?

A When a ``high-risk'' offender moves into a neighborhood, police will alert residents through the media or by distributing fliers or mailers. A ``high-risk'' offender is anyone with a repeat felony sex conviction or a one-time felony sex conviction committed with violence. Police may also notify the community about a "serious" offender -- someone convicted of one felony sex crime, such as child molestation, or two or more misdemeanor sex crimes -- if there is reason to believe someone is in danger. Parnell was considered a "serious" offender.

Q How can I find out if there is a sex offender living near me?

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Source: 2003 Mercury News