On October 21, 1995, Governor Tom Ridge signed into law Act 24 of 1995, commonly referred to as “Megan’s Law.” In essence, Megan’s Law was used to enhance public safety by making information about registered sexual offenders available to the public through the internet.
Under Megan’s Law, 42 Pa.C.S § 9799.32(1) and § 9799.67(1), the State Police must “maintain a registry of persons who reside, or is transient, work/carry on a vocation, or attend school in the Commonwealth and who have either been convicted of, entered a plea of guilty to, or have been adjudicated delinquent of Certain Sexual Offenses in Pennsylvania or another jurisdiction.”
Criminal Offenses Under Megan’s Law
Megan’s law requires the documentation of certain sexual offenses to be documented and available for public record and access. The crimes include inchoate crime, kidnapping, sexual offenses, offenses against the family, public indecency, crimes against minors, and out of state offenses.
Inchoate crimes are those where the crime may not have been completed but substantial steps towards committing a crime, preparing to commit a crime, or seeking to commit a crime have occurred.
- Criminal Attempt: Intent to commit a specific crime where a substantial step toward the commission of that crime occurs
- Criminal Solicitation: The intent of promoting or facilitating the commission of the crime where he or she commands, encourages, or requests another person to engage in specific conduct that would constitute such crime
- Criminal Conspiracy: A person is guilty of conspiracy with another person when he or she agrees with such other person to attempt or commit the crime or agrees to aid in the commission of the crime.
Under the Pennsylvania code, 18 Pa. C.S. § 2901, the kidnapping of a minor occurs when an individual “unlawfully removes a person under 18 years of age a substantial distance under the circumstances from the place where he is found, or if he unlawfully confines a person under 18 years of age for a substantial period in a place of isolation, with any of the following intentions:
- 1. To hold for ransom or reward, or as a shield or hostage;
- 2. To facilitate commission of any felony or flight thereafter;
- 3. To inflict bodily injury on or to terrorize the victim or another; or
- 4. To interfere with the performance by public officials of any governmental or political function.”
In addition to kidnapping a minor, other crimes under kidnapping include:
- Unlawful Restraint: A felony of the second degree, unlawful restraint occurs when a person unlawfully restrains another exposing the victim to the risk of serious bodily injury or holds him or her in another condition of involuntary servitude.
- False Imprisonment: A felony of the second degree, false imprisonment occurs when an individual knowingly restrains another to interfere with the victim’s liberty.
- Interference with Custody Of Children: If a person who is not the parent, guardian, or other lawful custodian of the child, knowingly or recklessly takes or entices any child under the age of 18 years from the custody of its parents, when he or she has no privilege to do so, interference with custody of children has occurred.
- Luring a Child into a Motor Vehicle or Structure: A person who lures or attempts to lure a child into a motor vehicle or structure without the consent of the child’s parent/guardian may be found guilty of a misdemeanor of the first degree.
The following constitute *sexual offenses of a minor under Megan’s Law.
- Rape: A felony of the first degree when the child is under 13 years of age, the crime of rape occurs when sexual intercourse is engaged in by force, the threat of force, against a victim who is unconscious or unaware the crime is happening, or when a victim has been impaired via drugs, alcohol, etc. by the defendant or the victim suffers from a mental disability where consent cannot be given.
- Rape of a child with serious bodily injury: A felony of the first degree, the person violates a complainant under 13 years of age resulting in serious bodily injury in the course of the offense.
- Statutory Sexual Assault: A felony of the second degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse with a complainant to whom the person is not married and who is under the age of 16 years and that perpetrator is less than 11 years older than the complainant. Or, it is a felony of the first degree when the person engages in intercourse with a victim under 16 years old and the individual is 11 or more years older than the victim.
- Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse: A felony of the first degree when the person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant by force, the threat of force, the victim is unconscious or impaired or the victim has a mental disability, or the victim is less than 16 years old, and the defendant is four or more years older.
- Sexual Assault: A person commits a felony of the second degree if found guilty of engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a complainant without the complainant’s consent.
- Aggravated Indecent Assault: A person who engages in penetration, with a part of the person’s body for any purpose other than good faith medical, hygienic, or law enforcement procedure, commits aggravated indecent assault.
Sexual assault can be broken down further into categories of institutional sexual assault where:
- 1. “A person who is an employee or agent of the Department of Corrections or a county correctional authority, youth development center, youth forestry camp, State or county juvenile detention facility, other licensed residential facility serving children and youth, or mental health or mental retardation facility or institution commits a felony of the third degree when that person engages in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with an inmate, detainee, patient or resident.”
- 2. In schools or child care, where the person has sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse or indecent contact with a student of the school or a child enrolled in the child care facility. This can include any employee, aid, independent contractor, etc.
*There are numerous other sexual offenses that may take place, depending on the facts of the case.
Offenses Against the Family
A person is guilty of incest, a felony of the second degree, if that person knowingly marries, cohabits, or has sexual intercourse with an ancestor or descendant, including a brother or sister of the whole or half-blood or an uncle, aunt, nephew, or niece of the whole blood. In addition, the victim is under 13 years old and the perpetrator is four or more years older than the complainant.
Crimes against minors in public indecency include:
- Prostitution: A person is found guilty of a felony of the third degree, when he or she grooms, solicits, or otherwise causes a minor to engage in prostitution.
- Obscenity: A person creates or distributes materials or performance of a minor in which an obscene act or image is depicted. This also includes the hiring of a minor to be used in such depictions.
- Trafficking: A felony of the second degree, trafficking occurs when a person recruits, entices, solicits, etc. a minor who will be subject to involuntary servitude and that person receives benefits as a result of the servitude of the minor. If sexual servitude occurs, the offense becomes a felony of the first degree.
Other Crimes Against Minors
Other crimes against minors that qualify for Megan’s List offenses include:
- Corruption of Minors: When the corruption or intent to corrupt a minor to engage in any acts of sexual nature.
- Photography, Videography, etc. of Minors: Should a minor engage in a sexual act in a photo, video, or video simulation as per the intent of the defendant, that individual is guilty of a felony of the second degree. This includes child pornography.
- Unlawful Contact With a Minor: If an individual intentionally comes in contact with a minor, or a law enforcement officer acting in the performance of his duties who has assumed the identity of a minor, for the purpose of engaging in any prohibited activity.
- Sexual Exploitation of Children: Occurs when an individual procures a child under the age of 18 for a sexual act.
- Invasion of Privacy: When a person invades the privacy or violates a child in an area that should be safe, for the purpose of arousal or gratification of sexual desire.
Out of State Offences and Failure to Comply
If the offense you have committed occurred outside the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania, you must contact the appropriate state registry to obtain information about this offense to register. In addition, the FBI maintains a list of all of the state’s sexual offender registries at http://www.fbi.gov/scams-safety/registry as well as the National Megan’s Law website.
Should you fail to comply with requirements and registration of sexual offender status in Pennsylvania, either by lack of notification or otherwise cannot be used as a potential defense should you not comply.
Being a Registered Sex Offender Can Impact Your Life
If you are convicted and charged with a crime that requires you to be placed on the Pennsylvania or national sex offender registry, know that it will impact many facets of life including:
- Housing limitations
- Employment issues
- Retaliation by those in the community and otherwise
While these are troubling consequences, it doesn’t have to be the end of your reputation. At Kalinoski Law Offices, we will review the facts of the case to try to minimize your penalties and save your reputation.
As your advocate, Craig Kalinoski is a criminal defense attorney who is committed to protecting you in and out of court using his knowledge of the community, extensive knowledge of the law, tenacious negotiation skills, and commitment to thorough trial preparation. He has a strong command of the local legal terrain, including how law enforcement and prosecutors pursue different types of charges.
Work with a firm that is committed to protecting you and your future. Call (570) 207-4000 or use our contact form today to schedule an appointment and discuss your case during a free consultation.