Justice Department Unveils Sexual or Violent Offender Website
HELENA – A new Website allows Montanans to find out where designated sexual and violent offenders live in their communities.
The site, unveiled for public use January 10, 2001, is connected to the state’s Sexual or Violent Offender Registry database and provides up-to-date information on the whereabouts of registered offenders.
“This registry is an excellent way for the public and law enforcement officers to know the whereabouts of sexual and/or violent offenders, so Montanans may be informed whether potentially dangerous people live in their neighborhoods,” Attorney General Mike McGrath noted, “With this new Website, law enforcement now has one more tool to help people take the appropriate steps to protect themselves and their children.”
People can search for offenders by name or do a more general search that allows them to see where registered offenders in their city or county live. The site provides additional information about each registrant’s crimes, as well as photos for non-compliant offenders and those offenders who have been designated at higher risk of committing repeat offenses.
The amount of information available about an offender depends in part on the risk level assigned to him or her. Information on the site is updated once a day.
The Montana Legislature created the sex offender registry in 1989, and added violent offenders to the registry in 1995. In 1997, lawmakers gave the Department of Justice responsibility for the registration program.
The Department has developed the Website over the past several months, to make the information more widely available. The project was funded by a grant from the Montana Board of Crime Control.
Attorney General Mike McGrath cautions, however, that the information from the registry and the Web site should not be used to threaten, intimidate or harass registered offenders.
“New technology is giving law enforcement new opportunities to disseminate information and to make that information available to local communities,” Division of Criminal Investigation administrator Mike Batista said. “We believe the new Website will provide the public with easy, convenient access to sex offender information.”