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Clinton calls for national sex offender registry

Clinton's radio address

June 22, 1996
Web posted at: 12:30 p.m. EDT

WASHINGTON (CNN) -- President Clinton used his weekly radio address Saturday to call for a national registry of sex offenders.

Under the 1994 crime bill passed by Congress, states are required to establish such registries. And the so-called "Megan's Law," named for a 7-year-old girl killed by a neighbor with a history of sexual offenses, requires states to inform a community when a convicted offender moves in. (382K AIFF or WAV sound)

Clinton called the national registry "the next step" in allowing law enforcement authorities "to follow those who prey on America's children wherever they go, state to sate, town to town."

The president said that he had directed Attorney General Janet Reno to begin work on a plan to institute such a registry, and report back to him in 60 days.

"We must make sure police officers in every state can get the information they need from any state to track sex offenders down and bring them to justice," Clinton said. (108K AIFF or WAV sound)

The president responded to complaints that registries and notification laws may violate civil rights of those convicted of sex offenses, saying "there is no right greater than a parent's right to raise a child in safety and love."

The National Center for Missing and Exploited Children praised the president's announcement, calling it "strong, decisive action."

The Center, in a press release distributed by the White House, said that 49 states have state sex offender registries, and 34 states have enacted community notification laws.

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