Megan’s Law, both a federal law and a Pennsylvania statute, requires sex offender registration for the purposes of alerting the public to their whereabouts and helping to prevent the occurrence of further offenses. Depending on the nature of the offense, those convicted of sex crimes may have to provide personal information to the public for 15 years, 25 years, or even be subject to lifetime registration.
The stated objective of Megan’s Law is to notify the public about sex offenders through identification and tracking. By identifying and keeping track of sex offenders, the public is able to receive notification when a registered sex offender is present in their community.
For identification purposes, the registry makes public the name, along with any known aliases and date of birth of registered offenders. Also available to the public are photos and physical descriptions.
In order to track offenders, registrants’ addresses and places of employment are made public. Registrants are also required to keep information updated and the public will be informed whether offenders are currently compliant with registration requirements.
Descriptions of the offenses requiring registration are also made public along with dates of conviction. By providing this, and other, information, the public is kept on notice regarding registered sex offenders in their community.
The mere accusation of a sex crime can shackle someone with a stigma and convict them in the court of public opinion. A criminal conviction carries additional unique consequences including the loss of a certain amount of privacy when complying with sex offender registration law. With so much at stake, it is vital that those accused of sex crimes work with a knowledgeable attorney who will aggressively fight to ensure their rights are respected and the best possible outcome is achieved.
Source: Pennsylvania State Police, “Megan’s Law Website – Frequently Asked Questions,” accessed April 7, 2017