Sex offender list used to find dates, police say

R.A. Hettinga rah at
Fri Feb 4 18:27:15 PST 2005


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 Sex offender list used to find dates, police say
 Convict on Megan's Law roster charged with misdemeanor
 - Ryan Kim, Chronicle Staff Writer
 Friday, February 4, 2005

While fearful parents were searching the Megan's Law sex offender database
for local molesters, police said Glen Westberg, a registered sex offender
himself, was perusing the internet listing for a very different reason: a

 In what is considered to the first case of its kind in California,
Westberg, 35, of Cupertino was charged Thursday with one misdemeanor count
of illegally accessing the database as a registered sex offender.

 Authorities said Westberg used the newly released on-line database of
registered sex offenders to find potential dates, sending explicit letters
to a handful of offenders in hopes of wooing them for sex.

 Westberg, a twice convicted child molester, was booked into Santa Clara
County Jail on Thursday and faces up to six months in jail and a $1,000
fine, if found guilty.

 "I never would have thought someone would have used this for dating or for
soliciting people," said Santa Clara County prosecutor Steve Fein.

 Bill Ahern, commander of San Mateo County's Sexual Assault Felony
Enforcement task force, said police first learned of Westberg's activities
after a San Mateo County registered sex offender reported receiving a
solicitation on Jan. 14. The letter, one of about five Westberg allegedly
sent out to local sex offenders, explained that Westberg had found the man
on the Megan's Law database and was interested in a date. Ahern said
Westberg had provided an explicit physical description of himself and
directed the man to look him up on the database. He wrote that if the man
was not interested in sex, they could still pursue friendship, said Ahern.

 "The (recipient of the letter) was quite alarmed by it and didn't know
what to think about of the letter," Ahern said. "He didn't know if someone
was trying to get him into trouble."

 Ahern, posing as the man who received the letter, contacted Westberg and
had him meet him at Redwood City Starbucks cafe on Jan. 27. There,
investigators confronted Westberg, who admitted he had used the database
and had sent similar letters to four other Bay Area registered offenders.

 The Megan's Law database, released to the public on Dec. 15, contains the
names and, in many cases addresses and pictures, for 63,000 sex offenders
required by law to register with their local law enforcement agency.
Registered offenders are not allowed to access the site, in part to prevent
them from conspiring with other convicts.

 Westberg earned his way on to the list following two convictions for child
molestation in San Mateo County in 1992 and 1998, Ahern said. Prior to the
release of the list, some law enforcement officials worried that someone
might use the list to take the law into their own hands, said Ahern.

 "Everyone was afraid of vigilantes, but we haven't had that," he said.
"Here, you have an offender trying to abuse other offenders, which is kind
of a strange twist."

R. A. Hettinga <mailto: rah at>
The Internet Bearer Underwriting Corporation <>
44 Farquhar Street, Boston, MA 02131 USA
"... however it may deserve respect for its usefulness and antiquity,
[predicting the end of the world] has not been found agreeable to
experience." -- Edward Gibbon, 'Decline and Fall of the Roman Empire'

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