Bill would force state to post sex offenders on Web

January 25, 2001

Bill would force state to post sex offenders on Web

By LAURA ERNDE / Staff Writer

ANNAPOLIS - Maryland lawmakers are disturbed that the state has not posted the names of sex offenders on the Internet, despite a law passed two years ago allowing that to be done.


Sen. Donald F. Munson, R-Washington, filed a bill this week to require the state Department of Public Safety and Correctional Services to post the names and photos of sex offenders on the Internet.

Parents have a right to know if a child sex offender is living in their neighborhood and the Internet is an efficient way to give them that information, Munson said.

"That way parents would have some assurances that these people do not live in their neighborhood or (could) take appropriate action if they do," he said.


Many states, including neighboring West Virginia, already post the names of sex offenders on the Web.

Maryland passed a law two years ago to allow the department to post the names online, but hasn't followed through.

Munson said he was sensitized to the issue by the death two months ago of 9-year-old Christopher Ausherman.

The Frederick, Md., youngster was raped and murdered. A 45-year-old man with a history of sex crimes has been indicted in the child's death.

Secretary of Public Safety and Correctional Services Stuart O. Simms told a House committee Thursday that the agency is working to put the names on the Internet.

If the Maryland General Assembly approves $200,000 this session, the department expects to have the information online by the end of the year or by early 2002.

Del. Sue Hecht said she supports Munson's bill.

Hecht is introducing legislation to keep convicted sexual offenders who are likely to repeat their offenses in the custody of the Department of Health and Mental Hygiene until they are no longer a risk to society.

"Maybe this will push it along," said Hecht, D-Frederick/Washington.

Hecht is working on the details of her bill with the help of the Maryland Attorney General's Office.

Modeled after a similar law in Kansas, the law would apply to so-called sexual predators, who re-offend despite treatment.

The Herald-Mail Articles