V. Sex Offender Registration Laws

Look, I did something wrong. I think it makes sense that the police have the information they need to monitor my whereabouts. I accept that. I committed a crime, and I accept that consequence. That consequence makes sense. It’s the rest of it that doesn’t.

—Paul G., convicted in 1994 of adult rape, released from prison in 199588

If sex offender registries were limited to previously convicted sex offenders who had committed sexually violent crimes or sex crimes against children and who have been individually assessed as presenting a high or medium risk of committing similar crimes again, registration might help protect the public. Indeed, at least some registrants convicted of sexually violent crimes agree that registering with local law enforcement makes sense.89 As a man convicted of rape in 1992 and released into his Idaho community in 2002 told Human Rights Watch, “The police should know where I live. They should monitor me. I have no problem going down to the police station to register. It’s the price I pay for what I did.”90

But registration is not limited to offenders who pose a significant risk of committing another serious crime. This chapter describes who is required to register, for what, and for how long. 

The Role of Federal Law

While a few states have had sex offender registries since the 1940s, most states began creating registries in the 1990s. 91 Today all 50 states and the District of Columbia have them. Federal law now requires states to maintain sex offender registries and has limited state discretion regarding who must register, and for how long.   

In 1994 the US Congress passed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, named after an 11-year-old boy who was abducted at gunpoint while riding his bike near his home.92 The law required states to establish sex offender registries, subject to the loss of a percentage of federal funding if they did not.93 Under the legislation, people convicted of sexual abuse of children or sexually violent crimes against adults were required to register their current addresses with local law enforcement for 10 years following their release into the community.94 The law authorized, but did not require, law enforcement officials to release to the public information on a registered sex offender when, in their discretion, they determined public notification about the registered sex offender’s presence in the community was “necessary to protect public safety.”95

In 1996 Congress expanded the length of registration required for individuals convicted of “aggravated” sexual violence and for sex crime recidivists.96 These individuals were required to register for life.97

Ten years later, with the Adam Walsh Act of 2006, Congress again passed legislation increasing the categories of people that states were required to register as sex offenders and for how long they would have to do so.98 The Act also authorized a national registry that would incorporate the information from every state registry.

The Adam Walsh Act significantly expands the federal requirements of who must register as a sex offender. The Act defines a sex offense as a “criminal offense that has an element involving a sexual act or sexual contact with another.”99 The law exempts consensual sexual conduct when the victim was at least 13 and the offender was no more than four years older.100 For the first time, federal law under the Adam Walsh Act requires some juveniles to register (see Chapter VII, “Sex Offender Laws and Child Offenders”).

The Adam Walsh Act creates three tiers or levels of registrants, determined solely by the conviction offense, with Tier I crimes the least serious and Tier III crimes the most serious. The tiers dictate the duration of the registry requirement.101 

The Act also sets the frequency with which a former offender must update registry information: Tier I sex offenders must do so every year; Tier II sex offenders must do so every six months; and Tier III offenders must do so every three months. A registrant must not only register with local law enforcement in the jurisdiction where he or she resides, but must also register in the jurisdiction where he or she is employed or and goes to school.102 The Act makes failure to register a violation of federal law, carrying with it a fine or imprisonment.103 These registration requirements are applied to all registrants, for the duration of their registration. So, for example, a man convicted of soliciting an underage prostitute would have to register in the jurisdiction where he lives and also in the jurisdiction where he is employed (if different) and provide information about his employer to the police, even if his work does not involve contact with children.

One of the goals of the Act was to create more uniformity among state registration schemes, to avoid some of the confusion as to registration requirements when registrants moved to different states. However, since the Act does not limit the authority of states to go beyond federal law (see below), uniformity will still be elusive.

Moreover, the Act will preclude state officials from instituting registration laws they deem more reasonable or effective but which fall below the federal mandate.

In 1996 Congress authorized the creation of a national registry of offenders convicted of coercive, penetrative sex with anyone, sex with children under the age of 12, recidivists of any sexual offense, and sexually violent predators.104 In 2005 the national registry went online with links to state online registries.105 The Adam Walsh Act requires all states to upload their online sex offender database to the national database by 2009.106  

State Registration Laws

The only reason I am considered a sex offender is because I committed an offense that triggers registration. In any other context, my crime would never be considered a sex offense, and I would not be considered a threat to society.

—Trent B., a Pennsylvania registrant convicted of streaking107

While federal law requires states to register former offenders convicted of certain offenses, it does not limit states’ authority to increase the number of offenses that trigger registration or the duration of the requirement to register.

Expanding the Definition of Sex Offender

Most people assume that a registered sex offender is someone who has sexually abused a child or engaged in a violent sexual assault of an adult. A review of state sex offender registration laws by Human Rights Watch reveals that states require individuals to register as sex offenders even when their conduct did not involve coercion or violence, and may have had little or no connection to sex. For example:

  • At least five states require registration for adult prostitution-related offenses;108

  • At least 13 states require registration for public urination; of those, two limit registration to those who committed the act in view of a minor;109

  • At least 29 states require registration for consensual sex between teenagers;110 and

  • At least 32 states require registration for exposing genitals in public;111 of those, seven states require the victim to be a minor.112

  • Case study: Oklahoma

    Oklahoma law treats any type of public exposure as a sex offense that triggers 10 years on the sex offender registry, even if the offender had no sexual or lascivious motivation or intent at the time he or she exposed him- or herself.  According to a local newspaper, nearly 600 registrants appear on Oklahoma’s website for engaging in indecent exposure.113

    In 1999 a high school senior in Salina, Oklahoma was arrested for what his mother described to the local media as a “high school thing.”114 He reportedly exposed himself to a group of female freshman gym students on his way to the restroom. School officials notified the police, who took the young man away in handcuffs. He was incarcerated for four months pending trial, and pled guilty to indecent exposure. In addition to community service and a five-year suspended sentence, he was required to register as a sex offender. 

    According to his mother, the stigma of the label drove him out of his community and away from his family. He dropped out of high school and moved to Tulsa. He had a hard time finding and maintaining employment. “It seemed like after that happened, he didn’t care,” his mother told a local newspaper.115 The youth was found shot to death in November 2000 in what officials ruled a suicide. He was one month away from his 20th birthday. His mother now believes that some consideration should be given to sex offender registration requirements when the charge stems from a nonviolent act. “He was a pretty normal kid,” she said. The sex offender registration requirements “changed his life.”116

    Increasing the Length of Time of Registration

    No matter if I complete treatment, never reoffend, lead an exemplary life to the best of my ability, I will have to register as a sex offender for the rest of my life.

    —Jacob V., South Carolina registrant convicted of possessing child pornography117

    If the goal of sex offender registries is to enhance community safety, then the law should require registration for only so long as a former offender can reasonably be deemed to pose a meaningful risk of committing another sexually violent offense.  Yet federal and state registration laws often require individuals to register for far longer. 

    Federal law requires mandatory lifetime registration for some offenders, and some states require lifetime registration for all offenders, with the duration of the registration under both federal and most state laws keyed solely to the crime of conviction. Under the Adam Walsh Act, Tier I sex offenders are required to register for 15 years, Tier II sex offenders for 25 years, and Tier III offenders for life.118 

    The Act does acknowledge in a limited way the significance of living offense-free:  Tier I registrants can petition for removal from registration requirements if they maintain a clean record for 10 years. But Tier II offenders and Tier III offenders must register for 25 years or the rest of their lives, respectively, regardless of how long they live offense-free or present other evidence of rehabilitation.119 Under this law, for example, a man who sexually abused a child in his family but has been living in the community offense-free for 20 years would nonetheless be required to continue to register until he dies.120

    The Adam Walsh Act will extend the duration of registration for many offenders as states amend their laws to comply with it. But the law does not prevent states from setting longer registration requirements. Seventeen states currently require lifetime registration for all registrants—from the most minor offenders to the most serious.   Two of these states, Alabama and South Carolina, do not provide any means by which a registrant might secure release from the registry requirement.121 In Alabama, for example, a man convicted of soliciting an adult prostitute must register for life, with no way to obtain a release from the registration requirements. The other 15 states allow some registrants to petition a court for removal from registration requirements after living in the community offense-free for a specific number of years.122

    Thirty-three states require some, but not all, offenders to register for life.123 As best we can tell, lifetime registration in these states is typically reserved for more serious crimes.124 In 24 of these states, former offenders who had been convicted of more serious crimes will have to register until they die, no matter how unlikely the possibility of recidivism. Six of these states permit lifetime registrants to petition for early release of the registration requirements.125 The Adam Walsh Act may eliminate that option for most, if not all, of these registrants.

    How Bad Can Registration Be? Chris F.’s Story126

    I am 29 years old. I was adjudicated when I was 12 years old. I found some pornographic videos in my parents bedroom (they were well hidden but I was a kid and overturned everything) and invited some neighbor friends over to watch it while my parents were away. The neighbor I first invited was 12 years old. He told his friend who was 10 and that person told his friend who was 8. So there were 4 of us (all males) in a room watching these videos. What started off a little more as “you show me yours, I’ll show you mine” turned into a bit more. There was not any force.

    I was adjudicated and placed in the California Youth Authority (CYA). I was out in 1997. I enrolled in college to study criminal justice, then switched to pre-law. I dropped out of classes when I found out the registration laws changed to apply toward college campus police departments. I could not see myself going in to register with classmates that were working their work study jobs with the campus security department. 

    At age 23 I became Director of Security for a hotel. I got married at 25 and have a child now. 

    [Among the incidents he experienced because of his registration status:]

    1. When I was attending college, I lived in Sacramento, CA but my school was in Santa Rosa, which is about a 150 mile trip. I pulled over to sleep a bit during the commute in an empty parking lot. A city policy officer told me to move along, that it was illegal to sleep in a car. She knew that I was a registered sex offender and asked me about the crime I had committed. I told her about it, and she said she did not believe me. 

    2. I was pulled over for speeding for doing 80 mph in a 65 mph zone. Even though my crime and offender registration was supposed to remain confidential, the police officer announced that I was a registered sex offender to everyone in the car with me. That hurt my relationship with the people I was traveling with. 

    3. When I went to register at the police station, they had me wait in a busy hallway in a court building. I had to get a finger print and the officer doing it calls out my name in the hallway and then says, “step up for your sex offender registry finger print.” Then the whole hallway knew what I was there for.

    4. When I was working in Reno, doing security, my boss calls me into his office and lets me know I’m a registered sex offender based off the criminal check they did. He said “there must be some mistake. The date of the crime doesn’t match. You aren’t that old to be a sex offender.” He allowed me to return to work. I quit shortly after that to save face.

    5. I was fired from a job because I didn’t disclose the fact that I was a registered sex offender, and they did a background check.

    This last firing was the reason I started pursuing to get my name off the law enforcement registry. I had had enough. I was taken off the registry at age 28. I am 29, and feel like my life can start over again.

    Do Registries Help Law Enforcement?

    Police have used sex offender registries to identify potential suspects when a sex crime has been committed in their jurisdiction. Yet, given that most sex crimes are not committed by registered offenders (See Chapter IV above), the utility of the registries for law enforcement is limited. For example, a 1999 study about Massachusetts’ sex offender registry showed that of the 136 new sex crimes in a particular jurisdiction, only six were committed by individuals listed on a police registry.127 Human Rights Watch asked a state law enforcement official in Minnesota whether the sex offender registry changed the way he investigated new sex crimes.  He told us, “It gives us a place to start, but most suspects we arrest are not previously convicted sex offenders. Last year, Minnesota had 585 sex offender convictions, and only 58 of those individuals had a prior conviction for a sex offense.”128 

    With over 600,000 men and women listed on sex offender registries,129law enforcement cannot actively monitor all the registrants. Human Rights Watch spoke to a police officer who oversees the sex offender registry for his city. He told us, “To be honest, it would be hard to go out and patrol every registrant on the list. We don’t follow the guys around on the registry. We don’t really check in on them, unless they failed to register and we have to try to find them.”130 Another law enforcement official told Human Rights Watch, “The expansion of state sex offender registries to include more offenses and longer registration periods has really compromised our ability to monitor high-risk sex offenders.”131 The chief probation officer in an Arizona county told Human Rights Watch, “Lawmakers have no idea the kind of burden they put on law enforcement when they increase the number of offenders who must register.”132 

    The volume of registrants is such that law enforcement officials cannot even make sure that those who are supposed to register are doing so. In 2003, for example, the state of California admitted that it had lost track of 33,000 of the state’s convicted sex offenders—44 percent of the 76,350 who should have been registering but were not.133  As the lone officer responsible for tracking Sacramento’s 1,945 registered sex offenders put it, “We could definitely use some help … there is so many of them out there, it’s hard to keep track.”134 In 2005 a study of Florida’s sex offender registry found that over 7,000 registrants had run away or could not be found. “As a result, you have an excessively long list that does not generate enough accurate information to make registration useful to anyone,” noted a child safety advocate.135

    Rethinking Registration

    There is little public safety purpose served by imposing registration requirements on those who pose a minimal risk to the community. Legislators should replace one-size-fits-all registration with a system that limits registration to those who have been individually determined to pose a high or medium risk to the community. In determining that risk, states should take into consideration the offender’s prior record, the specific offense committed, the period of time he or she has lived in the community offense-free, and other factors that are statistically correlated with the likelihood of reoffending.  For example, the Center for Sex Offender Management advocates individualized risk assessment for sex offenders that takes into consideration “the complex and varying nature of sexual abuse and the individuals who perpetrate it.”136 States should also allow all registrants to periodically petition or appeal for review of their initial risk-level status.

    Carefully tailored, sensible registration is possible. For example, in Minnesota, a coalition of public officials, law enforcement personnel, and victims’ rights organizations have created reasonable registration laws (see text box on Minnesota at the end of Chapter VI, “Public Access to Information on Sex Offenders”). 

    88 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with Paul G., August 10, 2006.

    89 Richard Tewksbury, “Sex Offender Registries as a Tool for Public Safety: Views from Registered Offenders,” Western Criminology Review, vol. 7(1) (2006), pp. 1-8.

    90 Human Rights Watch interview with James T., who was convicted of rape in Idaho, June 30, 2006.

    91 California’s was established in 1947. California Research Bureau (CRB), “The Impact of Residency Restrictions on Sex Offenders and Correctional Management Practices: A Literature Review,” August 2006, (accessed January 21, 2007). Washington State established its police registry in 1990. Washington Institute for Public Policy, “Sex Offender Sentencing in Washington State: Has Community Notification Reduced Recidivism?” December 2005, (accessed August 24, 2007). The other states—except for Washington—created sex offender registries in the 1950s and 60s. Elizabeth Pearson, BJS, presentation at the National Conference on Sex Offender Registries, “Status and Latest Development in Sex Offender Registration and Notification,” April 1998, (accessed August 24, 2007). Washington created their registry in 1990. Ibid.

    92 Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, Pub. L. 103-322, Title XVII, Subtitle A, §170101, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2038, 42 USC. §14071. In October 1989, while riding his bike with his brother and a friend in St. Joseph, MN, 11-year-old Jacob Wetterling was abducted by an unknown male assailant. Few suspects were identified; to date, no arrest has been made in the case, and Jacob remains missing. Jacob’s parents became advocates for more effective laws to aid in the recovery of missing children and the prevention of sexual violence against children. For more information on Jacob’s abduction, see Jacob Wetterling Foundation, (accessed September 8, 2006).

    93 If states do not comply with federal registration and community notification laws, they lose 10 percent of their appropriation from the federal Edward Byrne Justice Assistance Grant Program, which provides funding for state and local crime prevention and control programs. Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, Pub. L. 103-322, Title XVII, Subtitle A, §170101, Sept. 13, 1994, 108 Stat. 2038, 42 USC. §14071.

    94 Those determined by a court to be “sexually violent predators” were required to register under the Wetterling Act until they were found by the state (using guidelines set forth by the Act) to be no longer dangerous.

    95 CSOM, “Sex Offender Registration Requirements,” April 2001.

    96 Department of Justice Office of the Attorney General, “Megan's Law; Final Guidelines for the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, as Amended,” December 17, 1998, (accessed August 24, 2007). An aggravated sexual act is defined as “(1) engaging in sexual acts involving penetration with victims of any age through the use of force or the threat of serious violence; and (2) engaging in sexual acts involving penetration with victims below the age of 12.”

    97 Ibid. Megan’s Law is most commonly associated, however, with its community notification provisions, discussed below.  

    98 The act is named after a six-year-old boy who was abducted and murdered in 1981. Adam’s severed head was found in a canal about 100 miles from his family home. The rest of his remains have never been found, nor has anyone been convicted of his murder. His father, John Walsh, is a prominent national victims’ rights advocate and the host of the television show America’s Most Wanted. “About John Walsh,” (accessed January 14, 2007). 

    99 Adam Walsh Act, Title I, Sec. 111(5)(A)(i). 

    100 Ibid., Sec. 111(5)(C). 

    101 Ibid., Sec. 111. Tier III registrants are those who committed a sex crime punishable by more than one year in prison and comparable or more severe than aggravated sexual abuse, abusive sexual contact with a child under 13, kidnapping of a child by someone other than the guardian, anysex crime occurring after the offender was a Tier II offender. Ibid., Sec. 111(4). Tier II registrants are “those who are not a Tier III offender” and whose offense is against a minor, is punishable by imprisonment of more than one year, and is comparable or more severe to sex trafficking, coercion and enticement, transportation with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity, abusive sexual contact, involves the use of a minor in a sexual performance, solicitation of a minor to practice prostitution, production or distribution of child pornography, or if the sex offense occurs after the offender becomes a Tier I sex offender. Ibid. Sec. 111(3). A Tier I sex offender is defined as “a sex offender other than a Tier II or Tier III sex offender.” Ibid. Sec. 111(2).

    102 Ibid. Sec. 113(a).

    103 Ibid. Sec. 141. Failure to register is also a deportable offense for non-citizens.

    104 The Pam Lyncher Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification Act of 1996, 42 USC. Sec. 14072. Pam Lyncher was a victim of sexual assault and the founder of Justice for All, a victims’ rights group. She died with her two daughters when TWA Flight 800 crashed in New York in July  1996. Justice for All, “In Memory,” (accessed September 8, 2006). The FBI maintains the registry. 42 USC. sec. 14072.

    105 Dru Sjodin National Sex Offender Public Website, (accessed March 16, 2007). 

    106 Ibid.

    107 Email communication from Trent B. to Human Rights Watch, January 11, 2007. 

    108 Alabama, Ala. Code §13A-200(b); Michigan, Mich. Comp. Laws §28.722 & §750.455; Oregon, Or. Rev. Stat. §181.594, 595; Tennessee, Tenn. Code Ann §40-39-202, 203; West Virginia, W. Va. Code §15-12-2, §61-8-6, §61-8-7. These provisions are distinct from prostitution-related offenses with children. At least 39 states require persons to register as sex offenders for prostitute-related offenses against children.

    109 Arizona, Ariz. Rev. Stat. §13-3821 (if the individual has more than one previous conviction for public urination—two if exposed to a person under 15; three if exposed to a person over 15); California, Cal. Penal Code §314(1)-(2), 290; Connecticut, Conn. Gen. Stat. §53a-186, §54-250, §54-251 (if the victim was under 18); Georgia, O.C.G.A. §42-1-12, 16-6-8 (if done in view of a minor); Idaho, Idaho Code Ann. §18-4116, 8306, 8304; Kentucky, Ky. Rev. Stat. Ann. §510.148, §17.520, 500, §510.150; Massachusetts, Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 272 §16, ALM GL ch. 6 §178G, 178C; Michigan, Mich. Comp. Laws §167(1)(f), §28.722, 723; New Hampshire, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §651-B:1, RSA 651-B:2, 645:1(II), (III); Oklahoma, 57 Okl.St. §582.21, §1021; South Carolina, S.C. Code Ann. §23-3-430; Utah, Utah Code Ann. §77-27-21.5, §76-9-702.5; Vermont, Vt. Stat. Ann. Tit. 13, §2601, §5407, 5401.

    110 Alabama, Ala. Code §13A-6-63, §13A-11-200; Alaska, Alaska Stat. S11.41.434, §12.63.010, 100; Arizona, A.R.S. §13-1405, 3821; Arkansas, Ark. Code Ann §12-12-903, 905, §5-14-110; Colorado, Colo. Rev. Stat. §16-22-103, §18-3-402, 411; Connecticut, Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-250, § 54-251, § 53a-70; Florida, Fla. Stat. Ann. §775.21, § 794.011; Indiana, Burns Ind. Code Ann § 11-8-8-7, § 11-8-8-5; Louisiana, La. R.S. 15:542, 15: 541, 14:92(A)(7); Maine, 34-A M.R.S. § 11222, 34-A M.R.S. § 11203, 17-A M.R.S. § 254; Maryland, Md. Criminal Procedure Code Ann. § 11-704, 11-701, 3-308; Massachusetts, ALM GL ch. 6, § 178C, 178D, ALM GL ch. 272, § 35A; Michigan, MCLS § 28.723, 28.722, 750.520e; Minnesota, Minn. Stat. § 243.166, Subd. 1b(a)(1)(iii), 609.345 (2006); Missouri, 589.400 R.S.Mo., § 566.032 R.S.Mo.; New Hampshire, N.H. Rev. Stat. Ann. §651-B:1, RSA 651-B:2, RSA 632-A:2; New Jersey, N.J. Stat. Ann. §2c 14-2,  § 2C:7-2, 2C:14-3b; North Carolina, N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.7, 14-208.6, 14-27.7A; North Dakota, N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-32-15, 12.1-20-07; Oklahoma, 57 Okl. St. § 582, 21 Okl. St. § 1123; Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws § 11-37.1-3, 11-37.1-2; South Carolina, S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-430, § 16-3-655; South Dakota, S.D. Codified Laws § 22-24B-2, 22-24B-1, 22-22-7; Tennessee, Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-202, 40-39-203, 39-13-506; Texas, Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 62.002, 62.001, Tex. Penal Code §21.11; Utah, Utah Code Ann. § 77-27-21.5, § 76-5-401, 76-5-401.2; Washington, Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) § 9A.44.130, § 9A.44.096; West Virginia, W.Va. Code § 15-12-2, § 61-8B-9; Wisconsin, Wis. Stat. §301.45, §948.02 (2006).

    111 Alabama: Code of Ala. § 13A-11-200, 13A-6-68; Arizona: A.R.S. § 13-3821, § 13-1402; Arkansas: A.C.A. § 12-12-905, § 12-12-903, § 5-14-112; California: Cal Pen Code § 290, § 314; Colorado: C.R.S. 16-22-103 (2006), 18-3-411 (2006), 18-7-302 (2006);Connecticut: Conn. Gen. Stat. § 54-250, 54-251, 53a-186; Idaho: Idaho Code § 18-8304, 18-4116 ;Illinois: 730 ILCS 150/3, 730 ILCS 150/2, 720 ILCS 5/11-9; Iowa: Iowa Code § 692A.2, 692A.1, 709.9 (2006); Kansas: K.S.A. § 22-4904, 22-4902, 21-3508 (2006); Kentucky: KRS §17.510, 17.500, 510.148, 510.150 (2006); Louisiana: La. R.S. 15:542, 15:541, 14:81; Massachusetts: ALM GL ch. 6, § 178E, 178C, ALM GL ch. 272, § 16; Michigan: MCLS § 28.723, 28.722, 750.335a; Minnesota: Minn. Stat. § 243.166, 617.23 (2006); Montana: Mont. Code Anno. § 46-23-504, 46-23-502, 45-5-504 (2005); Nevada: Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 179D.450, 179D.400, 179D.410, 201.220; New Mexico: N.M. Stat. Ann. § 29-11A-4, 29-11A-3, 30-9-14.3; North Dakota: N.D. Cent. Code § 12.1-32-15, 12.1-20-12.1; South Carolina: S.C. Code Ann. § 23-3-430, 16-15-130 (2006); South Dakota: S.D. Codified Laws § 22-24B-2, 22-24B-1, 22-24-1.2; Tennessee: Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-203, 40-39-202, 39-13-511; Texas: Tex. Code Crim. Proc. art. 62.051, 62.001, Tex. Penal Code § 21.08; Vermont: 13 V.S.A. § 5407, 5401, 2601; West Virginia: W.Va. Code § 15-12-2, 61-8-9.

    112 Alaska: Alaska Stat. § 12.63.100, § 11.41.460 (to anyone under 16 AND the offender has a prior conviction for the offense); Delaware: 11 Del. C. § 4120, 4121(a)(4), 765 (exposed to person under 16); Florida: Fla. Stat. § 775.21, 800.04 (exposed to anyone under 16 and must be in a lewd or lascivious manner); Georgia: O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12, 16-6-8; Missouri: § 589.400 R.S.Mo., § 566.083 R.S.Mo. (exposure to a child less than 14 years old); North Carolina: N.C. Gen. Stat. § 14-208.7, 14-208.6, 14-190.9 (exposure by anyone over 18 to anyone under 16; must be for the purpose of sexual arousal/gratification); Utah: Utah Code Ann. § 77-27-21.5, 76-9-702.5 (exposure to a child under age 14).

    113 Curtis Killman, “Sex Offenders Struggle to Find Jobs,” Tulsa World, July 10, 2005.

    114 Ibid. The paper did not report the name of the youth.

    115 Ibid.

    116 Ibid.

    117 Email communication from Jacob V. to Human Rights Watch, March 30, 2005.

    118 The Adam Walsh Act, Sec.115. 

    119 Tier III registrants adjudicated as juveniles, however, may petition to reduce their time on the registry by maintaining a clean record for a specified amount of time. Ibid. Sec. 115(b)(1)-(3).

    120 An estimated 4 percent of such offenders will recidivate after 20 years offense-free. Harris and Hansen, “Sex offender Recidivism: A Simple Question,” p. 7.

    121 AL St §15-20-33; S.C. Code Ann. §23-3-460.

    122 In these states, a registrant can only be taken off the sex offender registry if they petition, unless the reason for registration no longer exists (i.e. due to conviction reversal, a pardon, ect). California (Cal Pen Code § 290.5) (no relief for some offenses), Colorado (C.R.S. 16-22-113), Florida (Fla. Stat. § 943.0435(11)), Georgia (O.C.G.A. § 42-1-12(g)) (offender has to have been sentenced to less than the mandatory minimum due to certain mitigating factors in order to be eligible for petition for relief from registration), Hawaii (HRS § 846E-10), Idaho (Idaho Code § 18-8310) (those convicted of aggravated offenses or who have been designated violent sexual predators may not petition for relief from registration), Mississippi (Miss. Code Ann. § 45-33-47) (no relief for some offenses), Missouri (§ 589.400(3) R.S.Mo.) (no relief for some offenses), Montana (Mont. Code Anno. § 46-23-506(3)) (no relief for some offenses), Nevada (Nev. Rev. Stat. Ann. § 179D.270(2)) (no relief for some offenders), New Jersey (N.J. Stat. § 2C:7-2(f)) (no relief for some offenders), Oregon (ORS § 181.600) (no relief for some offenders), South Dakota (S.D. Codified Laws § 22-24B-19) (no relief for some offenses), Tennessee (Tenn. Code Ann. § 40-39-207) (no relief for some offenders), Virginia (Va. Code Ann. § 9.1-909) (relief only available to those who, due to a physical condition, are incapable of reoffending and reregistering).

    123 Alaska, Alaska Stat. §12.63.020; Arizona, A.R.S. §13-3821; Arkansas , A.C.A. §12-12-919; Connecticut, Conn. Gen. Stat. §54-251-254; Delaware, 11 Del. C. §4121; Illinois , 730 ILCS 150/7; Indiana, Burns Ind. Code Ann. §11-8-8-19; Iowa, Iowa Code § 692A.2; Kansas, K.S.A. §22-4906; Kentucky, KRS § 17.520; Louisiana, La.R.S. § 15:542.1; Maine, 34-A M.R.S. §11225-A, 34-A M.R.S. §11203; Maryland, Md. Criminal Procedure Code Ann. §11-707; Massachusetts, ALM GL ch.6, §178G; Michigan, MCLS §28.728c, 28.728d; Minnesota, Minn. Stat. §243.166; Nebraska, R.R.S. Neb. §29-4005; New Hampshire, RSA 651-B:6; New Mexico, N.M. Stat. Ann. §29-11A-4(L); New York, NY CLS Correc §168-h; North Carolina, N.C. Gen Stat. §14-208.23; North Dakota, N.D. Cent. Code §12.1-32-15(8); Ohio, ORC Ann. 2950.07(B); Oklahoma, 57 Okl. St. §583(B)(4); Pennsylvania, 42 Pa.C.S. §9795.1; Rhode Island, R.I. Gen. Laws §11-37.1-4; Texas, Tex. Code Crim. Proc. Art. 62.101; Utah, Utah Code Ann. §77-27-21.5(10); Vermont, 13 V.S.A. §5407(e)-(f); Washington, Rev. Code Wash. (ARCW) §9A.44.140; West Virginia, W.Va. Code §15-12-4; Wisconsin, Wis. Stat. §301.45(5); Wyoming, Wyo. Stat. §7-19-304.

    124 Ibid.

    125 Massachusetts, ALM GL ch.6, §178G; Michigan, MCLS §28.728c; New York, NY CLS Correc §168-0; Ohio, ORC Ann. 2950.07(E); Texas, Tex. Code Crim. Proc art. 62.404; Wyoming, Wyo. Stat. §7-19-304(d). 

    126 Email communication from Chris F. to Human Rights Watch, September 21, 2006.

    127 Anthony and Carolyn Petrosino, “The Public Safety Potential of Megan’s Law in Massachusetts: An Assessment from a Sample of Criminal Sexual Psychopaths,” Crime and Delinquency, vol. 45 (1999), pp. 140-158.

    128 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a Minnesota law enforcement official who requested anonymity, January 26, 2006.

    129 The exact number is 602,245. National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (NCMEC), “Registered Sex Offenders in the United States,” (accessed March 16, 2007).

    130 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a law enforcement officer who requested anonymity, January 25, 2006.

    131 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with two probation supervisors from Grand Rapids , MI who requested anonymity, December 6, 2006.

    132 Human Rights Watch telephone interview with a probation officer in Arizona who requested anonymity, August 11, 2006.

    133 “California Loses Track of 33,000 Sex Offenders: Overworked Police Unable to Enforce Megan’s Law,” Associated Press, January 8, 2003.

    134 Ibid.

    135 Melanie Payne and Jeff Cull, “Sex Offender Site Criticized Half on List Are Dead, Jailed or Missing,” News-Press (Florida), December 18, 2005.

    136 CSOM, “An Overview of Sex Offender Management,” July 2002, (accessed August 24, 2007), p. 5.