Wagner slams state police over Megan's Law website

Auditor General Jack Wagner said Pennsylvania's Megan's Law website is plagued with technological problems that are preventing the public from finding and identifying sexual offenders who live and work in their communities.

In a report released today, Wagner said the site is not user friendly on a number of counts, among them, that it does not allow for inconsistencies or spelling mistakes in searches and posts poor-quality photos of offenders. Wagner also said the site does not have a mapping feature which is common in other states. 

There are roughly 10,000 sexual offenders listed on the state Megan's Law site, maintained by the Pennsylvania State Police, and of those about 1,000 are so-called "sexually violent predators," who have committed the most serious category of crimes primarily against children.

"The state police can do a better job policing the Megan's Law site," Wagner said.

Among Wagner's recommendations: post multiple photos that are clear and up-to-date, list all sex offenses for which an offender was convicted, upgrade the site's search feature to allow more types of searches, include a sex offender mapping tool and email notification so that members of the public can learn when a sex offender moves into their neighborhood.

The special report follows an audit of the state Megan's Law that Wagner conducted in 2006. That audit showed the website failed to provide public with basic information such as up-to-date photos and street addresses of offenders. Legislation was passed to add street addresses for all offenders.


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