Not quite. Previously under Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania, when an individual was convicted of a sex crime, he or she would be required to register as a sex offender. The sex offender’s name, age, physical description, street address, and a description of the offense was published to a public forum (such as a website) so neighboring residents would be informed about the sex offender’s status.
As of December 20, 2012, Megan’s Law received additional state legislation requiring convicted sex offenders to register in one of the three (3) “Tiers” of sex offender registry based on their underlying offense(s).
The new sex offender registry requirements stem from the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA). SORNA provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards of sex offender registration and notification in the United States.
SORNA requires each state to create its own sex offender registry with new and harsher requirements. The chief aim of SORNA is to close the potential gaps and loopholes that existed under prior law and generally strengthens the nationwide network of sex offender registration and notification programs.
Pennsylvania’s Three Tier Sex Offender Registration System
As mentioned above, under the new law, individuals are placed in one of three Tiers based on their underlying offense(s). Under Tier I, sex offender registration is required for 15 years. Tier 2 requires a 25 year sex offender registry. Tier III requires sex offender registry for the lifetime of the convicted sex offender. Individual registered in Tier III are deemed predatory sex offenders.
Difference between Megan’s Law and SORNA
SORNA is a part of Megan’s Law in Pennsylvania. Previously, individuals convicted of one sex offense were required to register for ten (10) years after being released from prison or probation. If an individual was convicted of two or more sexual offenses, he or she would be subject to lifetime registration upon release.
Now, individuals will be required to register as a sex offender for longer periods of time based on the nature of the sex offense committed. Further, individuals who did not complete their period of registration by December 20, 2012, must comply with the new law or face criminal prosecution.
Who Must Register Under SORNA?
In addition to convicted adult sex offenders having to meet the new SORNA registry requirements, select “juvenile offenders” must also register under the new Tier system.
Juvenile offenders must register under SORNA if the following definitions are met:
- Are adjudicated delinquent on one of the following:
- Rape (18 Pa.C.S. §3121)
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (18 Pa.C.S. §3123)
- Aggravated Indecent Assault (18 Pa.C.S. §3125)
- Conspiracy, Attempt, or Solicitation to commit any of the above; and
- Are 14 years of age or older at the time the offense is committed; and
- Live, work, or attend school in Pennsylvania; and
- Are adjudicated delinquent on or after December 20, 2012.
If a juvenile offender meets the above requirements, but were adjudicated before December 20, 2012, they will be required to register if they are on delinquent supervision for the SORNA offense on December 20, 2012.
If you would like to know how the new sex offender registry system impacts you, please contact the Law Office of Basil D. Beck III for more information.