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California, Pennsylvania Provide Online Sex Offender Registries

WILLIAMSPORT, Pa. (January 25, 2004) – Pennsylvania and California have became the latest states to make a sex offender registry (SOR) available online, free of charge, to any person with Internet access.

Each state is required by federal law to maintain a registry of sex offenders. However, six states do not make an adequate online SOR available at no charge to their citizens. Those states are: Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Dakota.

In 2003, Little League became the first national youth sports organization to require a background check of all managers, coaches, board of directors members, and any other persons, volunteers or hired workers, who provide regular service to the league and/or have repetitive access to, or contact with, players or teams. While other youth organizations have since followed suit (such as Pop Warner Football), Little League remains the only national youth baseball or softball organization to have such a requirement.

At a minimum, the background check must include a check of the sex offender registry of the state in which the person lives. But in the case of the seven states that do not make their list available online to their citizens (Hawaii, Missouri, Nevada, Oregon, Rhode Island, and South Dakota), the local Little League must conduct a criminal background check. In most cases, there is a fee for each person for whom such a criminal background check is performed.

Previously, California residents had to visit a police station and request to see the SOR on a CD. Now, any person with an Internet connection can access the registry.

Pennsylvania Little Leagues previously had to pay a $10 fee for a criminal records check per person, because the SOR was not available to the public.

Local Little Leagues in all states can take advantage of Little League’s partnership with Rapsheets to conduct background checks as well. The special Internet site allows local Little Leagues to search a national database of more than 170 million criminal records - instantly – for $1.50 per name, and with no maintenance fee. The site provides searches of criminal records from 48 statewide databases, including Sex Offender Registries from 43 states and the District of Columbia. Normally, this service is $19.95, with an additional monthly maintenance fee.