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What is the National Sex Offender Public Registry?


All fifty states, including Massachusetts, require convicted sex offenders to provide certain information about their current residence, employment and related life information. The purpose of compiling this information is to allow members of the public to check up on sex offenders who may have moved into their neighborhood or have begun working for a local employer after being convicted of a sex crime in another jurisdiction.

The National Sex Offender Public Registry was established in 2005 to permit people to search sex offender registries in different states. The NSOPR was deemed necessary because sex offenders often moved to a state where their names were not registered and then committed another sex crime, thereby defeating the purpose of the state's sex offender registry program. The NSOPR has now become the National Sex Offender Public Website, an Internet based database that allows the public to search sex offender registries in each of the fifty states and tribal and territorial governments.

The NSOPW can be accessed on the Internet from a personal computer or on a mobile device by downloading an app. The information available on the NSOPW is provided and maintained by each participating jurisdiction. Information obtained on the NSOPW can be verified by checking with the state that provided the information.

Anyone who is listed on a state sex offender registry is under a legal obligation to report changes in their living or working circumstances. The failure to do so is a crime. Anyone who feels that they are no longer required to register may wish to consult an experienced criminal defense attorney for help in clarifying registration requirements.

Source: U.S. Department of Justice, "National Sex Offender Public Website," accessed on March 3, 2018

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