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Former PA youth pastor ordered to register as sex offender

Megan's Law is a general name for laws that require state and local authorities to provide information about people who have been convicted of sex crimes. Each state decides exactly how this information is made available to the public, and in Pennsylvania, people who have been convicted of a sexual offense may find their names and other identifying details, such as place of employment, published on a state website.

A former youth pastor living in Scranton recently lost his fight not to have to register as a sex offender. He was accused of sexually abusing three teenage girls over the course of several years starting in 2003. In 2009 he was sentenced to prison for eight to 16 months, and citing a change in the law regarding the allegations against him, he was trying to avoid sex offender registration.

In addition to the prison sentence, the 32-year-old was also placed on probation, which expired in November 2013. The law change, however, meant that if his probation had ended before 2013, he could have avoided the registration requirement. The man decided to take legal action to try to have his probation ended retroactively in 2012.

According to his attorney, the man has met all of the terms of his probation and not committed any other crimes.

The judge was apparently not swayed, however, and decided that the defendant should be subject to the registration requirement.

Clearly, being convicted of a sex crime can have repercussions long after the completion of a prison sentence or probation. Pennsylvania residents who have been accused of a sexual offense have a right to fight the charge and try to legally mitigate any negative consequences.

Source: citizensvoice.com, "Judge: Ex-youth pastor must register as sex offender," Bob Kalinowski, Dec. 12, 2013

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