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Sex offender database proposed

Profiles of sex offenders living in California will be available online if a state bill becomes law.

Profiles of sex offenders living in California will be available online if a state bill introduced last Monday becomes law.

Southern California Republican Rep. Jim Battin introduced a bill to amend an existing law that requires the Department of Justice to maintain a "900" telephone number people can call to get information about sex offenders.

Battin's bill would create an Internet directory about sex offenders who are convicted on or after January 1, 1998. Offenders who would be required to register include rapists, those who attempt to or sexually assault a kidnap victim, and those who commit any offense involving "lewd and lascivious" conduct.

Currently, offenders have to register with the chief of police of the city where they live within five working days of locating there. If the person lives on a University of California or the California State University campus the offender has to register with chief of police for the university.

Some information will be excluded from the online database: "The department shall keep confidential, and not enter into the directory, information regarding any person for which the attorney general has determined that disclosure pursuant to this section would endanger the safety of a person involved in an investigation, the successful completion of the investigation, or a related investigation," the bill states.

In addition, the bill lays out strict punishment for anybody who misuses the directory. Those who use the database to commit any crime will get stiff penalties added to their punishments. For felony violations, a person will get an additional five years in prison. Misdemeanor offenders will be fined between $500 and $1,000 on top of other penalties.