SEX OFFENDER LIST UNVEILED; DATABASE HAS INFORMATION ON 125 LOCAL MOLESTERS.
A statewide computer database, opened to public viewing at police and sheriff's stations Tuesday, lists 125 registered sex offenders living in Valencia, Saugus, Canyon Country, Newhall and Castaic.
The Megan's Law CD-ROM - named for a 7-year-old New Jersey girl whose murder by a repeat sex offender living in her neighborhood prompted passage of laws regarding public notification of rapists, pedophiles, molesters and similar criminals - can be viewed by anyone over 18 years old, except convicted sex offenders.
At the Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's station, those who want to read the files may do so for 15-minute blocks of time. The computer is available 24 hours a day, seven days a week.
California's version of Megan's law took effect in January. The state Department of Justice compiled the database, which includes the offender's full name, aliases, photograph, date of birth, physical description and a list of the sex crimes for which he or she was convicted. The offender's ZIP code will be provided, but not his or her address.
The ZIP code breakdown of sex offenders in the 650-square-mile area patrolled by Santa Clarita Valley sheriff's deputies has the greatest number, 39, living in Canyon Country and none in Stevenson Ranch.
Barbara Van Der Velde, a divorced mother of two young sons, was the first resident to use the database at the Santa Clarita Valley station.
She said she wanted to check the ZIP code of her Valencia neighborhood and was distressed to find 15 names listed.
``I've got a 5-year-old and a 6-year-old and they're very friendly and they live next door to a park,'' Van Der Velde said. ``I'd like to know if there's anybody around who should be taken seriously.''
She wrote down the names, criminal convictions, aliases and physical descriptions of the offenders in her ZIP code. ``What I'm going to do with (the information), I'm not sure,'' Van Der Velde said, adding she just wanted to know who might pose a threat to her kindergarten and first-grade sons.
Maybe she will share the sex offender information with fellow members of Single Mothers Outreach, Van Der Velde mused. The database is sort of a mixed blessing, she concluded.
``It makes me a little more anxious - sometimes more information makes it harder to live normally,'' Van Der Velde said.
The database program is simple to operate in that users simply have to point and click the mouse to display the information.
Sgt. Robert Galarneau of the Santa Clarita Valley station said some people who made appointments to use the program backed out when they learned they couldn't bring their children along. Only adults may view the entries.
``The computer is pretty easy to use, but I'm frustrated that I can't get pictures (of the offenders) to show my kids,'' Van Der Velde said.
Many of the entries don't include photographs of the offenders, an omission that Galarneau said the state Department of Justice intends to remedy in its next quarterly update, on Oct. 1.
Megan's law applies only to sex offenders who have been classified as high-risk or serious because of their crimes and/or repeat convictions. High-risk offenders are considered sexual predators; none of them is living in the Santa Clarita Valley, Galarneau said.
All 125 on the list are classified as serious offenders, Galarneau said.
Offenses that are listed on the database include assault with the intent to commit rape, lewd or lascivious conduct with child, sodomy, oral copulation, penetration with a foreign object, sexual molestation, felony sexual battery, and enticement or abduction of a child for the purpose of prostitution, Galarneau said.
Those who want to tap into the database must provide a California driver's license or state identification card, and sign a form promising that they will not use the information to harass or discriminate against a registrant.
The database information may not be used for purposes of insurance, loans, credit, employment, education, scholarships, fellowships, housing or accommodations, benefits, privileges or services provided by any business establishment, according to rules outlined in a Department of Justice brochure.
Misuse of the information can result in fines of up to $1,000 and sentences of up to six months in county jail. Any person who uses the information to commit a felony faces a five-year prison term.
SEX OFFENDERS BY ZIP CODE
39 living in 91351 Canyon Country
35 living in 91321 Newhall
22 living in 91350 Saugus
15 living in 91355 Valencia
11 living in 91384 Castaic
3 living in 91354 North Valencia
0 living in 91381 Stevenson Ranch
SOURCE: L.A. County Sheriff's Department.
Photo: (color) Santa Clarita resident Barbara Van Der Velde checks out the new sex offender database at the Santa Clarita sheriff's station Tuesday.
Shaun Dyer/Special to the Daily News
Chart: SEX OFFENDERS BY ZIP CODE (see text)
Michael Carter (Member): Helpful info 10/14/2008 2:03 PM
Do you want to find a sexual offender fast and easy? I recommend www.predatorbarrier.com .Because it has an enormous database with the possibility of finding any sexual offender at the same time in all 50 states and it also can be accessed from a mobile phone. Everything free of charge.
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|Publication:||Daily News (Los Angeles, CA)|
|Date:||Jul 2, 1997|
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