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A MESSAGE FROM THE ATTORNEY GENERAL

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. Governor Christine Todd Whitman and the state Legislature responded by approving a series of laws collectively know 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.

We are all partners in making this law work. we have an obligation to act responsibly with the information we receive. No one has the right to take the law into his or her own hands by threatening or harming a sex offender. Vigilante acts will be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION

The parents of 7 year old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township did not know that a twice-convicted sex offender was living across the street until that neighbor was charged with the brutal rape and murder of their daughter.

The crime, occurring only months after a similar incident in Monmouth County, prompted passage of state laws requiring notification about sex offenders who may pose a risk to the community.

New Jersey’s law, commonly known as "Megan’s Law", requires convicted sex offenders to register with local police. Megan’s Law also establishes a three-tier notification process to provide information about offenders to law enforcement agencies and, when appropriate, to the public. The type of notification is based on an evaluation of the risk to the community from a particular offender. The Attorney General’s office, in consultation with a 12 member council, has provided county prosecutors, who must make the evaluation, with the factors to be used in determining the level of risk posed by the offender. Equipped with the descriptions and whereabouts of high-risk offenders, communities will be better able to protect their children.

WHO IS REQUIRED TO REGISTER UNDER MEGAN’S LAW

  • Those individuals who were found to be a compulsive and repetitive sex offender.
  • 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. The term "supervision" could mean that the individual was in the county jail, a state prison, on probation, or on parole.
CRIMES REQUIRING NOTIFICATION
  • Aggravated Sexual Assault;
  • Sexual Assault;
  • Aggravated Criminal Sexual Contact;
  • Criminal Sexual Contact if the victim was less than 18 years of age;
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child involving sexual conduct;
  • Endangering the Welfare of a Child involving photographing or filming a child engaging in sexual conduct;
  • Child Luring;
  • Kidnapping, if the victim is less than 18 years of age and the offender is not the parent or guardian;
  • 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;
  • An attempt to commit any of the above listed crimes.


For the purposes of Megan’s Law, 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.

In order to qualify as a school or community group that will receive notification, 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 notification, you may file an application with the County Prosecutor's Office for the county in which you reside.  You will be required to prove that you reside at the residence by providing a lease, deed or recent utility bill.  If there is information regarding a sex offender that you are entitled to receive, it will be disclosed to you at that time.

The information provided, for all three levels of notification include the offender's name, description and photograph, address, place of employment or school(if applicable), a description of the offender's vehicle and license plate, and a brief description of the offense.

The following groups automatically qualify:

  • Public schools;
  • Licensed day care facilities;
  • Summer Camps.




Who receives Community notification


Community Organization Rules of Conduct

If you receive a Notice Form from law enforcement that there is a convicted sex offender living in the neighborhood where your organization is located, you must comply with the following rules:

You may do the following:

1. You should use the information you have received to exercise appropriate caution to those under your care or supervision, based upon the information provided.

2. You should remain alert for the presence of this individual in the vicinity of those under your care or supervision.

3. You should keep the notification flier in a secure location accessible to appropriate staff members, but which is not accessible to those in your care or supervision or to others.

4. If you believe that you have seen this individual in the vicinity and have a reasonable belief that the offender represents a threat to you or those under your care or supervision, you should contact your local law enforcement agency.

Doing the following is inappropriate and may result in court action or prosecution being taken against you:

1. Do not share the information in this notification flier, or the flier itself, with anyone outside of the community organization. Specifically, you should not share the information in this notification flier, or the flier itself, with those under your care or supervision, their parents, guardians or other relatives, your own family members, or the media.

2. Do not make any copies of the notification flier, or reproduce it in any way.

3. Do not post the notification flier in a public location, or display it in a place where it is visible to anyone.

4. Do not attempt to harm the offender or his/her property. Do not attempt to harass the offender or make unsolicited, unwanted contact. If you believe the individual is a physical threat to you or children in your care, please contact your local police.

5. Do not take any action against the offender’s family, household members or employer that may in any way harm or harass a person or property.

This flier is provided to you for the sole purpose of giving you information that can assist you in exercising your supervisory obligations. Law enforcement will notify all appropriate community members, schools, organizations, residences and businesses. If you are not certain whether sharing the notification flier with a particular individual or disclosing the notification information would be appropriate under particular circumstances, you should contact the Megan’s Law Unit in the County Prosecutor’s Office, for specific direction.

Tier
Risk Level
Notification Protocol
 One Low Risk to Re-Offend1.  Police in the town in which the registrant lives, works, and/or goes to school.
Two Moderate Risk To
Re-Offend
1.  Police in the  town in which the registrant lives, works, and/or goes to school.
2.  Schools and registered community groups who are charged with the care of children
     and women in a designated area around where the registrant lives, works, and/or goes
     to school.
ThreeHigh Risk To Re-Offend1.  Police in the town where the registrant lives works, and/or goes to school.
2.  Schools and registered community groups who are charged with the care or children 
     and women in a designated area around where the registrant lives, works, and/or goes
     to school.
3.  A designated area around the towns in which the registrant lives, works, and/or goes
     to school.






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