Sex Offender Database
Since Megan's Law (also called the Sexual Offender Jacob Wetterling Act of 1994) was passed, states and the federal government are required to maintain a database of people who have been convicted of sex crimes against children. Sex offenders are required to be registered in the public data access system so that government officials can keep track of where sex offenders reside -- even after the individual has completed his or her sentence. The sex offender database is public record.
Sex Offender Registry
A sex offender registry is a system that allows authorities and the general public to have knowledge of the residences and activity of those convicted of sexual offenses. Depending on the jurisdiction, those convicted of sexual offenses may be subject to housing restrictions and how far away they must remain from minors, schools, and daycare centers. The registry varies from state to state.
Megan's Law and Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
Megan's Law mandates a sex offender registration service and community notification. The details of what information is available vary from state-to-state. Most commonly, the type of information available includes the convicted offender's name, address, incarceration date, and the type of crime committed. Most often the information is available to the public via websites, but it may also be accessed through newspapers or distributed in pamphlets.
As a supplement to Megan's Law, the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was passed in 2006. The act organizes sex offenders into three tiers, based on the nature of the crime. The tiers stipulate registration requirements based on the nature of the crime, with Tier 3 offenders being the most serious. Those who are in Tier 3 must provide their whereabouts every three months and remain on the registry for life. Those on Tier 2 must report their whereabouts every six months and must remain on the registry for 25 years. Tier 1 offenders must report their whereabouts every year and remain on the registry for 15 years. If an individual fails to report his or her whereabouts on the registry, he or she is charged with a felony.
Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act Tiers
Tier III Offenses
- 1. Sexual acts involving force or carried out under threat 18 U.S.C. 2241(a)
- 2. Sexual acts with one whom the actor causes unconscious, or impairs by drugging or intoxication 18 U.S.C. 2241(b)
- 3. Sexual acts with a child under the age of 12 18 U.S.C. 2241(c)
- 4. Sexual acts with one who is mentally incapable of appraising, or physically incapable of declining, or communicates unwillingness of the sex act 18 U.S.C. 2242
- 5. Sexual contact with a child under the age of 12 18 U.S.C. 2244(c)
- 6. Non-parental kidnapping or false imprisonment of minors
- 7. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit of any of the above
- 8. Any new offense committed by a Tier II offender.
Tier II Offenses
- 1. Sex trafficking of minors 18 U.S.C. 1591
- 2. Transportation of minors with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity 18 U.S.C. 2423
- 3. Coercion and enticement (Mann Act) 18 U.S.C. 2422(b)
- 4. Sexual acts with minors age 12-15 18 U.S.C. 2243(a)
- 5. Sexual contact with minors age 12-15 18 U.S.C. 2244
- 6. Sexual offenses involving those in custody, and the actor has custodial, supervisory, or disciplinary authority 18 U.S.C. 2243(b)
- 7. Offenses where minors are used in prostitution
- 8. Offenses where minors are used in sexual performance
- 9. Offenses involving the production or distribution of child pornography
- 10. Any attempt or conspiracy to commit of any of the above
- 11. Any new offense committed by a Tier I offender
Tier I Offenses
- 1. Sexual contact without permission 18 U.S.C. 2244(b)
- 2. Offenses involving simple possession of child pornography
- 3. Offenses involving public indecency (some states limit this to where the victim is a minor)
- 4. Offenses involving voyeurism 18 U.S.C. 1801
- 5. Sex offender registration continues to be applied to offenses in addition to rape, child molestation, and child pornography crimes.