- The Washington Times - Monday, March 21, 2005

Information about the nearly 18,000 registered sex offenders living in the District, Maryland and Virginia is available on Web sites and at local police stations.

Their names and addresses are listed in a Sex Offender Registry, kept by local and state police as a result of laws passed in honor of Megan Nicole Kanka, a 7-year-old from New Jersey who was raped and killed in 1994 by a convicted child molester living across the street from her home.

In 1996, President Clinton signed Megan’s Law, which requires each state to notify the public when dangerous sex offenders are residing in their area.

A version of Megan’s Law now is on the books in all 50 states and the District, according to the Alexandria-based National Center for Missing & Exploited Children (NCMEC). In several states, convicted sex offenders are listed on the Internet.

Virginia’s registry can be found at https://sex-offender.vsp.state.va.us/cool-ICE/. Maryland’s registry is at https://www.dpscs.state.md.us/onlineservs/sor/. The District’s registry is at https://mpdc.dc.gov/serv/sor/sor.shtm.

As of yesterday, state and local officials said, there are 13,102 sex offenders on Virginia’s registry, 4,211 in Maryland, and 580 in the District. Virginia divides offenders into 2,281 nonviolent and 10,821 violent sex offenders.

Carolyn Atwell-Davis, NCMEC’s director of legislative services, said 20 percent to 25 percent of the more than 430,000 convicted sex offenders in the United States have not registered.

Convicted sex offender John Evander Couey, 46, who was formally charged yesterday with capital murder in the abduction and death of 9-year-old Jessica Marie Lunsford, was booked last weekend for failing to register his change of address as required as a sex offender and for probation violation. Jessica’s body was found Saturday, more than three weeks after she disappeared from her Florida bedroom.

Offenders who do not register or fail to update the registration can be punished.

In the District, offenders must register within three days after release or parole from prison. Failure to register can result in a $1,000 fine and a 180-day jail sentence. A second violation can result in a $25,000 fine, five years in prison and revocation of parole.

In Maryland, the punishment is three years in prison and a $5,000 fine. Violent offenders must remain on the registry for life. Nonviolent sex offenders remain on the registry 10 years.

In Virginia, arrest warrants are issued for sex offenders who fail to register within 10 days. Violent offenders remain on the registry for life, and nonviolent sex offenders remain on the register 10 years.

Debbie Mann, a manager of Sex Offender Registry in Virginia, said the registry has received an estimated 4.6 million requests since December 1998.

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