If you are a convicted sex offender, according to Megan’s Law, you are required to register with the Pennsylvania State Police or the local law enforcement agency. In addition, the Adam Walsh Act (AWA) of 2007 stipulates that all states and the District of Columbia must keep a sex offender registry and registration is required of every offender who committed a sex crime against a minor, which helps to create the national sex registry. This includes juvenile sex offenders as well as adults. Furthermore, any time a sex offender moves, law enforcement must be notified of the change in residency. If you forget to register or let the police know where you live, you can be charge with a felony.
This means that your personal information, such as address, physical description, license plate number, and criminal history, will become public knowledge. If you have a family, they can be subjected to harassment by neighbors, employers, and other parents and/or children. Landlords, real estate agents, and apartment housing managers are vulnerable as well because they are under a legal obligation to let the other tenants know that a convicted sex offender has moved in. On the other hand, they can also be sued for violating a person’s right to privacy.
Megan’s Law was passed in 1994 after seven-year old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered in New Jersey by a neighbor, a convicted sex offender living right across the street with four other sex offenders. The law required sex offenders to register with state or law enforcement. In turn, their name is put in the national sex offender registry and residents are notified that a convicted sex offender is living in their neighborhood.
This state’s Megan’s Law has a loophole: if you are a convicted sex offender from out-of-state and move to Pennsylvania, you do not have to register.
Another change will be that homeless sex offenders be required to not only register, but check in with state police once a week until they find a permanent place to live.