Government 900 number sells info on child molesters
CALIFORNIA — In late September, Gov. Pete Wilson signed a law setting up a “900” telephone number service which enables Californians to buy information about persons convicted of felonious sex offenses involving minors.
Persons using the service will be able to give identifying information about the persons they want checked to an operator who will tell them whether or not the person they described is on the list of convicted child molesters.
Callers will pay $4 for the first minute and $2 for each additional minute. Proceeds from the telephone number program will go into a Sexual Predator Public Information Account operated by California’s Department of Justice. Under the new law, the department will use up to $600,000 of the monies yearly for administrative costs in keeping the information up to date.
The new law also provides for a registry of habitual sex offenders who are child molesters to be open to the public in local law enforcement offices. The registry will include names, photographs, physical descriptions, community of residence and zip codes.
California already required the registration of persons convicted of sex offenses with local law enforcement officials but that information has been held in confidence. Information registered about sex offenders who are not child molesters is still confidential.
Assemblywoman Barbara Alby (R-Fair Oaks) introduced the Child Protection Act in January shortly after constituents complained that their children had been molested by a neighbor who had formerly been convicted of child molestation.
A spokesman for Alby said that the assemblywoman received little criticism about levying costs for use of the “900” number.
(Child Protection Act, AB 2500)