Prompted by the tragic murders of Megan Kanka and Amanda Wengert, citizens of this state demanded a law that would let them know when a convicted sex offender is living in their neighborhood. Former Governor Christine Todd Whitman and the state Legislature responded by approving a series of laws collectively known as “Megan’s Law.”
Megan’s Law created a registration and notification procedure to alert law enforcement, schools, community organizations and neighbors to the presence of a sex offender who authorities believe may pose a risk to the community. This information is designed to enhance public safety and awareness. However, no law can guarantee the protection of our children. There is no substitute for common-sense safety precautions, such as teaching our children whom to trust and knowing where they are at all times. This web page answers many of the common questions that people ask about Megan’s Law.
Common Questions & Topics Concerning Megan’s Law
- Who must register under Megan’s Law?
- What types of offenses require registration?
- Where does an offender register?
- What is Community Notification?
- Who receives Community Notification?
- What is a “School or Community Group”?
- What types of groups are automatically qualified?
- How do I find out if there are any sex offenders and what type of information is available?
Who must register under Megan’s Law?
- Those who were ever found to be a compulsive and repetitive sex offender by the Court at the time of their conviction regardless of the date of the conviction.
- Any individual who was convicted, adjudicated, or found not guilty by reason of insanity of any of the crimes listed below, after the enactment of Megan’s Law on October 31, 1994.
- Any individual who was under some type of supervision on October 31, 1994. “Supervision” could mean that the individual was in the county jail, a state prison, on probation, or on parole.
- Any person who is required to register as a sex offender in this state or another state and is either is enrolled or employed on a full-time or part-time basis in any public or private educational institution in this State.
What types of offenses require registration?
- Aggravated Sexual Assault
- Sexual Assault
- Aggravated Sexual Contact
- Sexual Contact, if the victim is less than 18 years of age
- Endangering the Welfare of a Child, by engaging in sexual conduct
- Endangering the welfare of a child, by participating in child pornography
- Child Luring or Enticing
- Kidnapping (under certain circumstances)
- Criminal Restraint, if the victim is less than 18 years of age and the offender is not a parent or guardian
- False Imprisonment, if the victim is less than 18 years of age and the offender is not a parent or guardian
- Promoting Prostitution of a Child
- An attempt to commit any of the above crimes or a crime of a similar nature in another state
Where does an offender register?
An individual who is required to register must do so at the local police department in the community where he or she resides. If their town does not have a police department, he or she must register with the State Police.
What is Community Notification?
Community Notification is a means of alerting the community that a sex offender, who has been determined to be a moderate risk or high risk to re-offend, is living in the community. This determination is made by a Superior Court Judge.
Who receives Community Notification?
Tier Risk Level Who Receives Notification 1. Low Risk To Re-Offend Police in the towns in which the registrant lives, works and/or goes to school 2. Moderate Risk To Re-Offend Police in the towns in which the registrant lives, works and/or goes to school; Schools and registered community groups who are charged with the care of children and women in a Court approved designated area around where the registrant lives, works, and/or goes to school Internet Notification on Some Offenders 3. High Risk to Re-Offend Police in the towns in which the registrant lives, works and/or goes to school; Schools and registered community groups who are charged with the care of children and women in a Court approved designated area around where the registrant lives, works and/or goes to school; The general public in a Court approved designated area around where the registrant lives, works, and/or goes to school Internet Notification on Some Offenders
What is a “School or Community Group”?
A “school or community group” has been defined as anyone that owns or operates an establishment where children gather under their care or where women are cared for.
What types of groups are automatically qualified?
Public Schools, Licensed Day Care Facilities, and Summer Camps. In order to qualify as a school or community which will receive notice, the court must find that the members of the group are “likely to encounter” the registrant.
If you belong to a school or community group and would like to make an application to receive this type of notice, you may file an application with your local police department. Examples of such groups would include: Boy Scouts, Girl Scouts, Little League, Department of Recreation, PAL, Battered Women’s Shelter.
This application should be filed with your local Police Department.
How do I find out if there are any sex offenders and what type of information is available?
Important information is available to you at any time at the New Jersey State Police Sex Offender Internet Registry. This site is updated daily and provides information that is import to the safety of your family.
The purpose of this information is to permit you to protect the children in your care from potential harm. Any actions taken by you against this individual, including vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm or physical assault against the person or their family, will result in your arrest and prosecution for criminal acts. For additional information, click on the link below.