A person is considered a sex offender if they have been convicted of any sex-related crime or any crime against a minor. A sex-related crime intended or committed by a sex offender can include: rape, sexual exploitation, sexual abuse, incest, sodomy, prostitution related offenses, and some indecent exposure offences. A person is also deemed a sex offender when they commit virtually any crime against children. These sex offender crimes can include any of the aforementioned offenses carried out against a child, kidnapping a child, possessing or contributing to child pornography, any unnatural or lewd act against a minor, inappropriate communication with a minor (such as internet solicitation), minor prostitution involvement, and the like.
Depending on the nature of the crime, a sex offender may be charged and convicted of a misdemeanor or a felony. A sex offender may serve jail or prison time, pay punitive and compensatory fines, and receive a number of other penalties. A sex offender also has a number of responsibilities and restrictions they must comply with following a conviction. These requirements may vary depending on the state where the crime took place, but the laws are generally similar across the nation. Every state has some version of what is known as Megan's Law.
Megan's Law is a federal sex offender law that was passed in the US in 1996, requiring that all convicted sex offenders register as such in their county of residence. This sex offender law required each state to develop a procedure for informing the public that a sex offender has been released or resides in their community. Most state sex offender laws require that a sex offender register in their place of residence within the first week or two of relocation or release, every time they move to another home, county, or state, for the rest of their lives. Many sex offender laws also require a sex offender to notify their employer of their sex offender status. Any failure to comply with registry requirements will result in criminal charges and penalties.
When a sex offender registers with local law enforcement they are required to provide information about themselves (such as physical description, work and home address, names and alias') and the nature, extent, and location of their sex offenses. This information can be used by law enforcement to inform people about sex offenders in their area. Citizens may also have access to sex offender information relevant to their communities.
In addition to the registry responsibility, there are many terms that a sex offender must comply with. A sex offender may not be allowed to have any contact with: minors, places where minors may congregate, his victim or their family, any materials sexual in nature, an establishment where alcohol is a major revenue source, any romantic relationship with someone who has kids, and similar types of contact. These restrictions are detailed in a sex offender's parole or probation terms and must be adhered to at all times.
July 17, 2008 - Stricter Sex Law Rejected in NJ
April 3, 2008 - FL Bill Wants to Make Video Voyeurism a Felony
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