SEX OFFENDER HOTLINE
Parents for Megan's Law, a Stony Brook-based agency established to support victims of child sexual abuse, has received $100,000 in federal funds to set up a nationwide toll-free hotline so callers can obtain information about sex offenders in their communities. Senator Charles E. Schumer (D-NY) announced Monday that he had secured the funds and also unveiled proposed federal legislation requiring state to post comprehensive information on sex offenders on the Internet. Parents for Megan's Law also will be able to give out this information through its national hotline. While much of this data is now public, it is not always accessible to everyone, said Laura Ahearn, founder and executive director of Parents for Megan's Law. We have been feeling pressure from people across the country to provide them with this information, she added. She said the hotline will give the address of sex offenders, as well as their criminal history and a victim profile. If Schumer's bill, known as the Sexual Parental Notification Act, receives congressional approval, similar free, comprehensive information that can be obtained anonymously also will be available on the Internet. Having access to information about sex offenders in your community is your right, not your privilege, Schumer said. He said the bill doesn't yet have a sponsor in the House.