Worrying statistics show that sex crimes are on the rise in The States but aside from the constant discussion surrounding this topic, it can be difficult to separate the legal facts from the hype. To be clear, a sex offender is defined as someone that has been convicted of one or more sex crimes. The legal definition of a sex crime can differ from state to state however on the whole, acts such as indecent exposure, sexual assault, incest, child pornography, statutory rape, genital mutilation, sex trafficking and sexual abuse of an underage person are all widely regarded as sex offenses in most places.
It is illegal for a person to expose their genitals in public just as it is illegal for engaging in sexual acts for payment. Looking at this list rationally, it is clear that there is a distinction in severity between indecent exposure and, say a crime like sex trafficking.
However, many of these crimes demand the offender to "register", which in turn, could prohibit them from leading a normal life. The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), passed in 2006, provides the nation with a set of minimum standards as well as ensured that national monitoring programs were strengthened. However, not all states have adopted these standards and even those states that have, have made slight tweaks to the original laws.
So, what does it mean to "register"?
A sex offender registry which is a database of information about convicted sex offenders that is usually associated with local and federal law enforcement systems. Each state has its own registry system and requirements on exactly what information must be provided differs from state to state. On the whole, this information includes their name, date of birth, social security number, address, photograph, vehicle information, offense information, DNA sample and fingerprints. Some of this information is actually accessible to the public via background checks and sex offender sites which usually only includes their name, current address, offense and photograph.
To be clear, registered sex offenders are those that need to register at their local law enforcement agency after being released into a community after being convicted of sex offences and serving time. In addition, the convicted individual must re-register once a year or more depending on the crime and the state laws. Failing to re-register is a criminal offence in itself. This system allows law enforcement authorities to stay informed on the whereabouts of previous sex offenders. Although in some cases, the offender may be able to prevent any information about themselves from being public, most of the time, this information is accessible to the general public.
The SORNA helps jurisdiction bodies to define exactly which criminal offenses are also considered sex offenses. One this has been established, jurisdiction must then which 'tier' each criminal offence fits under. Therefore, those convicted of sex crimes can be categorized by courts of law, based on their tier or risk factor. This is denoted by the likelihood of them repeating an offence.
Tier III offences are offences that involve a lifetime registration with quarterly re-registration. An example of a Tier III sex crime includes sexual acts or contact with a child under the age of 12, non-parental kidnapping or false imprisonment of minors or sexual acts involving force or carried out under threat. Tier II offences on the other hand, come with consequences of a 25-year registration period with semiannual registration. Examples of Tier II sex offences include the sex trafficking of minors, sexual acts with minors age 12-15 and offenses where minors are used in sexual performance.
Finally, tier I offenses mean registration for 15 years with annual verification. This tier involves those that commit felonies and misdemeanors such as sexual contact without permission, offenses involving voyeurism and possession of child pornography. In addition, if a Tier I offender re-commits a crime, they become a Tier II offender and if a Tier II re-commits a crime then they also move up a tier.
In addition to the registration process, sex offenders may also need to live by rules that denote where they are allows to live and even work. In addition to regular consequences of committing a crime, such having your right to vote or your right to own a firearm withheld, it can also be prohibited for convicted sex offenders to be in the presence of persons under the age of 18 or residing within certain proximity to a school or a daycare. In more severe cases, law can prevent convicted sex offenders from living near venues such as stadiums, airports and malls which are common places for families to gather.
Searching for sex offenders doesn’t need to be complicated. When used correctly, a background check search engine will protect both yourself and your loved ones from harm. The most important thing to do is look for an accurate, credible and reliable sex offender search service that will provide you with easy-to-read reports based on data collected from public records throughout the country. If you are concerned about the wellbeing of your family then conduct a background check to prevent your loved ones being victims of sex crimes.