ORGANIZATION HELPING TRACK SEX OFFENDERS
New York-based Parents for Megan's Law recently expanded its Sex OffenderRegistration Tips program to the state of Georgia, helping people to report if a sex offender isworking with children or violating the law in some other way. The non-profit group usesretired New York Police Department investigators who vet tips to determine if they seem viable,then contact local probation and parole officers to let them know an offender might be engaged inprohibited activities, said Laura Ahearn, the group;s executive director. It's a way forpeople to report offenders who are believed to be out of compliance with registration requirements,employment restrictions, conditions of probation or parole or who are in positions of trust wherethey access potential child victims, Ahearn said. Parents for Megan's Law began 15 years agoproviding a local sex offender hotline. About five years ago, and with federal funding, theorganization created internet reporting and e-mail alert systems, which now are available in all 50states, Ahearn said. We want to make communities aware of this valuable resource, becausevery few states have stringent laws that will prevent sex offenders from putting themselves inplaces of trust with children, she said. Under current Georgia law, prospective teachers andschool bus drivers must undergo fingerprinting and background checks, and being on a sex offenderregistry disqualifies them for those jobs. But sex offenders can volunteer or find workelsewhere without having to undergo background check. Anyone who wants to report a possiblesex offender can do so by calling the Megan's Law Helpline at (888) ASK-PFML, or by visitingwww.parentsformeganslaw.org. ; People also can sign up for e-mail notifications on the website.