Megan's Law

Megan’s Law (Public Law 104-105) is the federal law that “require(s) the release of relevant information to protect the public from sexually violent offenders.” Megan’s Law was originally enacted in 1996, and is now included in the more expanded sexual offender laws (See Sex Offender Registration and Notification). This federal law requires the sex offender register with various entities, including the Attorney General (for the National Sex Offender Registry) and each jurisdiction where the sex offender resides. Megan’s Law is supplemented by the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (Public Law 114-119) passed in 2016.

Megan’s Law was created in response to the 1994 murder of Megan Nicole Kanka in New Jersey. Unbeknowst to Megan Kanka and her family, a violent predator previosly convicted of a sex offense against a child was living across the street before he abducted, sexually assaulted, and murdered Megan. Additional background details are located here: 34 U.S. Code § 21501.

[Last updated in July of 2020 by the Wex Definitions Team]