How to find out if a person is a registered sex offender?

Written by misty s. bledsoe
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How to find out if a person is a registered sex offender?
All sex offenders are required to register with local authorities. (hands in meeting image by timur1970 from

Once a person is convicted as a sex offender, he is required to register with local authorities in the jurisdiction in which he lives and works. The national sex offender public website run by the U.S. Department of Justice maintains a database of offenders. Knowing if sex offenders live in or near your neighbourhood and local school districts can help you keep your family safer, because you can use it to determine which streets or neighbourhoods you allow your children to play in.

Skill level:
Moderately Easy

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Things you need

  • Internet access

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  1. 1

    Log onto the Internet, and visit the national sex offender public website at the link in the Reference section of this article. Read the terms and conditions of use for the website.

  2. 2

    Click on the "I agree" button when finished reading the terms and conditions. A new screen will appear.

  3. 3

    Type in the verification code provided to you by the site, and hit the "Continue" button when you are finished.

  4. 4

    Type the last and first names of the person you think might be a sex offender in the "Last Name" and "First Name" fields. Click the "Search" button. To make an advanced search, leave the "Last Name" and "First Name" fields blank, and click on the link below the "First Name" field labelled "Click Here." Fill in as many of the identifying sections as you can, and then hit "Search."

  5. 5

    View the search results as they are displayed. If the person is not listed and you still suspect the person is a sex offender, try clicking on the "Public Registry Sites" tab in the top menu choices. Click on the state in which you think the person lives, and follow the screen prompts to perform the search.

Tips and warnings

  • If the person is not found in any of the databases and you still feel she is a convicted sex offender, then the national sex offender public website advises under the "FAQ" section to contact your local authorities for more information. Most state sex offender websites that appear on the national site have a phone number to call for more information if you do not have access to the Internet. More than one website claims to give you access to the national database of sex offenders, but not all of them list each state's site registries as the national sex offender public website does.
  • Note that the national sex offender public website does not make any claims to 100 per cent accuracy of the information and encourages seekers to search each applicable state level database if the seeker believes the information found in the national database to be inaccurate.
  • It is possible that a person is a convicted sex offender, but did not register as required by law. It's also possible that if a person was recently convicted, the national database would not immediately be updated. Keep in mind that if a person is charged with a sexual crime, it is not the same as being convicted as a sex offender. All persons are innocent until proven guilty by a court of law.

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