President Bill Clinton (1946–; served 1993–2001) signed Meghan's Law, also known as Megan's Law, on May 17, 1996. Megan's Law requires registration of convicted sex offenders and notification when a sex offender moves into a community. States are required to register sex offenders and to make public both private and personal information about the offender in the community where the offender lives.
States may establish their own standards for what information is disclosed about an offender. Megan's Law is named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka, who was the victim of a brutal rape and murder in 1994.
Registration and community notification of convicted sex offenders is required because of the high rate of repeat offenses by sex offenders after their release from custody. The government's first interest and responsibility is protection of the public. These interests come before the privacy interests of sex offenders. Registration allows law enforcement to immediately investigate known offenders when a crime is committed. Community notification allows citizens to better protect their children from sex offenders who might have moved into their community.
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