TOMS RIVER - With Halloween just around the corner, many local editions of the online publication Patch have posted trick-or-treating warnings including maps with the locations of registered sex offenders.
News 12 New Jersey spoke to many New Jersey parents who say they are glad the websites are publishing the information.
“I think that it’s helpful,” says Katherine Fell, of Brick. “I think people forget that they could actually look that information up themselves.”
Fell says that she will review the information before taking her 5-year-old out to celebrate Halloween.
However, not everyone is happy the information has been published. Walter Knueppel is currently on the list. He served eight months in prison after being convicted of sexually assaulting a 17-year-old girl in 1994. He says publishing the information is harassment.
“They’re invading my privacy,” Knueppel says. “I know I did wrong and I paid for the stuff that I did.”
News 12 New Jersey reached out to the attorney general’s office for comment about the legality of publishing the material online. The office would not comment on the Patch articles, but directed the station to the Megan’s Law statute.
The statute states that information from the sex offender registry can be used by the public or a private entity “for any lawful purpose consistent with the enhancement of public safety.”
The registry website also warns people against using the information to harass or threaten the people listed.