Megan’s Law Issues West Chester
There are four federal acts named after the victims of violent and/or sexual assaults. The first is named after Adam Walsh, age 6, who disappeared in 1981 and was found dead sixteen days later, the second is named after Jacob Wetterling, age 11, who disappeared in 1989 and was never found, the third was named after Pam Lychner, who was brutally attacked in 1990, and the fourth after Megan Kanka, age 7, who accepted an invitation from a neighbor in Hamilton Township, New Jersey, to see his puppy.
That neighbor was a twice-convicted pedophile who raped and murdered Megan, dumping her body in a nearby park. Congress passed the Federal version of Megan’s Law in 1996. Megan’s Law requires states to establish registration programs so local law enforcement can keep tabs on sexual offenders released into their jurisdiction, and so the public can find out about sexual offenders who live in their neighborhood.
Tier Classifications Under Megan’s Law
Pennsylvania Governor Tom Ridge signed Megan’s Law in 1995, and it took effect in April 1996. The legislation was intended to identify sexual offenders who were predators, allowing the courts to impose lifetime registration mandates on such offenders, to register sex offenders and sexually violent predators with the Pennsylvania State Police, and to notify neighborhoods when a sexually violent predator moved into the community. In 2004, significant changes were made to Megan’s Law, most importantly making information on all registered sex offenders available to the public on the Internet. Under Megan’s Law, the following “Tier” classifications exist:
Tier I sexual offenses require the offender to register for 15 years, and include the crimes of Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure, Institutional Sexual Assault, Indecent Sexual Assault, Video Voyeurism, Invasion of Privacy, and Sexual Abuse of Children. Tier II sexual offenses require the offender to register for 25 years, and include the crimes of Trafficking in Individuals, Statutory Sexual Assault, Prostitution and related offenses, Unlawful Contact with a Minor, Sexual Exploitation of Children, and Production of Sexually Explicit Depictions of a Minor. Tier III sexual offenses require the offender to register for the remainder of his or her life, and include the crimes of Rape, Statutory Sexual Assault, Aggravated Indecent Assault, and Sexual Abuse. (This is not a complete list of the criminal offenses which fall under each Tier).
Sexually Violent Delinquent Child and Sexually Violent Predator
As of December 2014, Juvenile offenders are no longer required to register as a sex offender in the state of Pennsylvania, unless they are classified as a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child. A Sexually Violent Delinquent Child is a minor who commits an act of sexual violence, and that act, if committed by an adult offender, would have resulted in a conviction of: rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, indecent assault, aggravated indecent assault or incest.
The minor must have been deemed by the court to require treatment, and will be labeled as a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child. A minor deemed a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child will be required to register as a sex offender for his or her lifetime. An adult individual who has been convicted of a sexual offense, whether a Tier I, II, or II, and is deemed to be a Sexually Violent Predator, must also register as a sex offender for his or her lifetime.
Tier I offenders must report, in person, to the Pennsylvania State Police Approved Registration or Verification Site once a year, Tier II offenders are required to report every six months, Tier III offenders must report every three months, Transient offendres must report monthly, A Sexually Violent Delinquent Child must report every three months, and a Sexually Violent Predator must report every three months. Offenders who fail to appear in person at the Approved Registration Site are subject to prosecution. The offender must also appear within three business days if any of the following occur:
· The offender changes his or her name;
· The offender changes his or her place of residence;
· The offender fails to maintain a residence and becomes a transient;
· The offender starts a new job;
· The offender changes jobs;
· The offender quits or is terminated from his or her job;
· The offender enrolls as a student;
· The offender terminates enrollment as a student;
· The offender obtains a new telephone number;
· The offender changes his or her telephone number;
· The offender terminates his or her telephone number;
· The offender buys a vehicle;
· The offender changes vehicles;
· The offender sells his or her vehicle;
· The offender obtains temporary lodging or terminates temporary lodging;
· The offender obtains an e-mail address or changes an e-mail address, or
· The offender changes information related to professional or occupational licensing.
Notification Requirements for Transient Sexually Violent Predators or a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child
In the case of a transient Sexually Violent Predator or a transient Sexually Violent Delinquent Child, law enforcement must notify neighbors around the area where the person maintains a temporary habitat or a homeless shelter where the person resides as well as: the president of each college located within 1,000 feet of the offender’s temporary habitat, homeless shelter, park, etc., the licensee of each daycare, preschool program or family daycare in the area, the director of the County Children and Youth Service Agency and the Superintendent of each school district for public, private and parochial schools located within a one-mile radius of the transient or homeless offender’s “residence.”
Under Megan’s Law, members of the public can search the Internet for registered sex offenders living in their area. The information available includes the offender’s name, year of birth, street address, school the offender is enrolled in, place of employment, photograph of the offender, physical description with identifying marks such as tattoos or scars, the license plate number and description of the offender’s vehicle, description of the offense, date of conviction, and, when possible, a map of where the offender lives.
If you have more questions concerning Megan’s Law, a Pennsylvania criminal defense attorney can help find the answers for you.
The sex crimes defense attorneys of Ciccarelli Law Offices have successfully represented individuals throughout the state of Pennsylvania that have been accused of sexual assault crimes. Our Chester County based law firm is based at 304 North High Street, West Chester PA 19380 and serves clients in Kennett Square, Downingtown, West Chester, Coatesville, , Chester Springs, Chadds Ford, Landenberg, Honey Brook, Oxford, Malvern, Parkesburg, Phoenixville and . Contact us now at (610) 692-8700 or call toll free (877) 529-2422. Don’t wait—contact an attorney immediately.