Pennsylvania Sex Offender Records

What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is a party who engages in any sexual activity against the state's laws. Sex offenses are variations of human sexual conduct which are grossly unacceptable and detrimental to society. What makes up a sex offense may vary by culture and legal authority. Most times, sex offenders in Pennsylvania are convicted for sex violations like rape, sexual assault, child sexual abuse, and incest. However, some have become sex offenders by simply urinating in public.

The judicial authority in Pennsylvania does not treat sex crimes with levity, and offenders usually face severe consequences. Typically, convicted sex abusers serve prison time, pay fines, and register as sex violators depending on the nature of the crime. Sexual crimes usually result in compulsory registration as a sex offender, including serious ones like rape, child molestation, sexual assault, and less serious ones like public urination and unlawful imprisonment of a minor.

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Pennsylvania?

A sex offender in Pennsylvania is any perpetrator of a criminal act that has a sexual element. Most of the sex crimes in Title 18, Chapter 31 of the statutes of Pennsylvania comprise non-consensual sexual activity. These forceful sexual actions consist of those involving minors, who cannot legally give consent to any form of sexual activity because of their age and immaturity, and adults who cannot consent to sexual intimacy due to a physical or mental incapacity.

However, some offenses do not feature sexual contact between the offender and the victim, but the motive behind the behavior is sexual. For example, an individual who is in possession of child pornography may not have direct contact with a minor, but having such material constitutes a sexual impulse that is not acceptable under the law. Suppose the court charges a party with a sex offense in Pennsylvania. In that case, a guilty verdict can imply years in prison, probation, fines, and a possible lifetime of mandatory registration as a sex offender after release from prison. Failing to abide by the registration requirement as a sex offender can lead to up to ten years prison term.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in Pennsylvania?

There are various types of sexual offenses specified under Pennsylvania law, including;

Rape (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3121)

Pennsylvania statute defines rape as engaging in sexual intercourse with another individual using coercion or the threat of force. Sexual intercourse in this context comprises genital, anal, and oral sex. The law also defines rape as sexual intercourse without consent. The lack of consent could be when a victim cannot agree to the sexual act due to unconsciousness if the victim was drugged by the offender or a physical disability or mental illness. It also pertains to any circumstance where the sufferer is not up to 13 years old.

Cases of rape involving a child come with more severe penalties than other cases. Prison terms may be up to 40 years and can go as high as life imprisonment if the child was seriously injured during the crime. For other scenarios, the incarceration period is 20 years, and the offender may have to pay a fine of $25,000.

Statutory Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3122.1)

An individual is guilty of a second-degree statutory sexual assault felony if such party engages in sexual intercourse with a person to whom the party is not married. The victim must be younger than 16 years, and the sex abuser must either be:

  • Four years older but not up to eight years older than the victim
  • Eight years older but not up to eleven years older than the victim.

An entity commits a first-degree felony statutory sexual assault when the individual performs sexual intercourse with a victim who has not attained 16 years, and such a person is 11 or more years older than the victim. Also, the sufferer and the individual are not legally wedded to each other.

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123)

An individual is guilty of a first-degree felony under this statute when such an individual involves another person in deviate sexual intercourse;

  • By coercive compulsion
  • By threat of coercion that would avert struggle by a person of reasonable resolve
  • Who is not conscious or where the individual is aware that the victim is not aware that the sexual intercourse is taking place
  • Where the individual has significantly lessened the victim’s ability to assess or regulate their conduct by giving or using, without the knowledge of the victim, drugs, intoxicants, or other things to avoid resistance
  • Who has a mental disability which makes the victim not capable of giving consent
  • Who has not reached the age of 16 years and the perpetrator is four or more years older than the victim, and the sex abuser and victim are not legally wedded to each other

Involuntary Deviate Sexual Intercourse with a Child (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123b)

An individual is guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, which is a first-degree felony when the person takes part in illicit sexual intercourse with a victim who is not up to 13 years of age.

Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child with serious physical injury (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123c)

A person can be charged with a first-degree felony under this section when such party is guilty of involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3123b), and the victim suffers severe physical injury during the crime.

Aggravated Indecent Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125)

An individual gets a second-degree felony for aggravated indecent assault when the entity, with any part of their body, carries out any degree of penetration of the genitals or anus of a victim for any reason aside from good faith, medical, hygienic, or law enforcement procedures. Other actions that may make a person culpable of aggravated indecent assault include;

  • The individual carries out the act by coercive compulsion.
  • The party does so by threat of coercive compulsion.
  • The victim is unconscious.
  • The act is aided by the use of drugs, intoxicants, or other means.
  • The victim has a mental disability.
  • The victim is not up to the age of 13 years.
  • The victim is not up to the age of 16 years, and the individual is older than the victim by four or more years, and the sufferer is not married to the perpetrator.

Aggravated Indecent Assault of a Child (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3125b)

The court charges a person with aggravated indecent assault of a child when the individual has sexual contact with another person;

  • Without consent
  • By forcible compulsion
  • By threat of forcible compulsion
  • When the victim is unconscious
  • Who is impaired
  • Who is suffering from mental disability
  • Who is younger than 13 years old or a minor less than 16 and the perpetrator is four or more years older than the victim.

In Pennsylvania, aggravated indecent assault of a child is a 1st-degree felony.

Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.1)

Sexual assault comprises any sexual contact without the victim’s consent that is not categorized under rape, involuntary deviate intercourse, or other sexual acts. For instance, if the victim claims to be too drunk to give consent, it might be sexual assault. Sexual assault is a second-degree felony.

Institutional Sexual Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3124.2)

An individual is charged with a third-degree felony when the person takes part in sexual intercourse, deviate sexual intercourse, or indecent contact with a prisoner, captive, patient, or resident when the offender is a member of staff or operative of any of the following:

  • The Department of Corrections
  • A county correctional body
  • The Youth Forestry Camp
  • The Youth Development Center
  • A state or county juvenile correctional facility
  • An approved residential facility handling children and youth
  • A mental health or mental illness facility (or institution)

Indecent Assault (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3126)

An entity is guilty of indecent assault if such an individual has indecent contact with the victim or deliberately makes the victim come into contact with urine, feces, or seminal fluid for the aim of arousing sexual desire in either party. Indecent assault is a second-degree misdemeanor if;

  • Perpetrator does so in the absence of the victim’s consent.
  • The victim is not up to 16 years old, and the offender is four years older than the sufferer, and the victim is not married to the offender.

Indecent assault is committed as a first-degree misdemeanor if a person has illicit contact with the victim, and;

  • The individual does so by coercive compulsion.
  • The party does the act by threat of coercive compulsion that would inhibit struggle from the victim.
  • The victim is not conscious, or the offender is aware that the victim is oblivious of the indecent contact.
  • The person has significantly reduced the victim’s capacity to judge or manage the victim’s conduct by using, without the victim’s knowledge, drugs, intoxicants, or other methods to avert the struggle.
  • The victim has a mental disability that makes the victim not capable of giving consent; or
  • The victim is not up to 13 years.

Indecent assault is a felony of the third degree if the actor has unlawful contact with the victim, and the sufferer is not up to 13 years, and;

  • It is a repeat offense.
  • There has been a history of indecent assault by the actor
  • Indecent assault occurs by bringing into contact the victim’s sexual parts and sexual parts of the perpetrator.

Indecent Exposure (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 3127)

Indecent exposure has to do with the accused revealing their sex organs in public or any location where it would likely cause offense or alarm to others. Indecent exposure is a second-degree misdemeanor unless the actor is aware or should have been aware that children not up to 16 years old would be present. In that case, it is a first-degree misdemeanor.

Sexual Abuse of Children (18 Pa. Cons. Stat. § 6312)

Sexual abuse of children is described as an intentional creation, sale, distribution, possession, or viewing of child pornography. Child pornography is any photograph, video, or computer-aided representation of individuals younger than 18 years participating in sexual acts or replications of sexual acts. Child sexual abuse is a second-degree felony, but a case of a first offense relating to the possession, controlling, or viewing of child pornography is a third-degree felony.

Potential Penalties for Pennsylvania Sexual Offenses

Sex crimes in Pennsylvania come with severe penalties, including a requirement to register as a sex offender after serving sentences. These sexual offenses are punishable based on whether the offense is a felony or misdemeanor, which determines the possible minimum and maximum penalties, including prison terms and fines. Pennsylvania also considers the gravity of the offense and criminal history of the accused before sentencing. Possible terms of imprisonment and fines for sex crimes in Pennsylvania include:

  • First-degree Felonies: Persons guilty are liable to be punished by a prison term of up to 20 years and a maximum fine of $25,000.
  • Second-degree Felonies: Penalties include at most ten years of prison term and fines up to a maximum of $25,000.
  • Third-degree Felonies: Punishments are up to seven years in prison and fines of about $15,000.
  • First-degree Misdemeanors: Punishable with at most five years of imprisonment and a $10,000 fine
  • Second-degree Misdemeanors: Culpable parties are reprimanded by up to two years in prison and a maximum fine of $5,000.
  • Third-degree Misdemeanors: Attracts up to one year in prison and a fine capped at $2,000.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Pennsylvania?

In Pennsylvania, all sex offenders do not get equal treatment in terms of classifying them. Nevertheless, all sex maniacs must register on the sex offender registry, which hosts three classes of sex violators, including;

Tier 1

Tier 1 offenders are persons charged with less severe sex crimes like institutional sexual assault, corruption of a minor, or unlawful restraint. The Pennsylvania State Police takes new photographs of parties in this category every year for fifteen years after release. Other sex-related offenses that can make persons Tier 1 violators include;

  • False imprisonment
  • Interfering with child custody (not by a parent or guardian)
  • Deceiving a child into an automobile or structure
  • Indecent assault
  • Corruption of minors
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Invasion of privacy
  • Video voyeurism
  • Actions linked to materials sexually exploitative of minors
  • Child pornography
  • Deceptive Domain Names on the Internet
  • Deceptive Words or Digital Images on the Internet
  • Coercion and Enticement
  • Transportation of Minors
  • Attempt, plot, or solicitation linked to any of the above offenses

Tier 2

Sex deviants in Tier 2 register two times a year in the sex offender registry for 25 years for committing the following crimes;

  • Sex trafficking
  • Statutory sexual assault
  • Institutional sexual assault
  • Indecent assault
  • Prostitution
  • Obscene sexual materials and performances
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Unlawful contact with minors
  • Sexual exploitation of children
  • Sex running of children by force or deceit
  • Abusive sexual contact with a minor
  • Creation of sexually explicit representations of a minor
  • Coercion and enticement
  • Transportation of Minors
  • Attempt, plot, or solicitation linked to any of the above offenses

Tier 3

Around 60 percent of Pennsylvania State's sex offender registry consists of Tier 3 sex offenders. Tier 3 sex maniacs stay on the registry for life and must update their information with the State Police four times a year. Usually, Tier 3 violators were proven guilty of the following violations;

  • Kidnapping
  • Rape
  • Sexual assault
  • Statutory sexual assault
  • Institutional sexual assault
  • Involuntary deviate sexual intercourse
  • Aggravated indecent assault
  • Indecent assault
  • Incest
  • Sexual abuse
  • Aggravated sexual abuse
  • Abusive sexual contact of a minor less than 13 years
  • Attempt, plot, or solicitation linked to any of the above offenses
  • Repeat convictions of Tier I or Tier II offenses

Apart from the tiered grouping, some sex offenders are further classified by the Pennsylvania Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB) as sexually violent predators. According to SOAB, a sexually violent predator is a sex offender deemed by the state to have a mental illness. Such sex deviant has a high likelihood of reoffending and is of grave danger to the state's residents.

Sexually violent predators must remain registered for a lifetime, and these individuals must report for verification in person four times each year. The local police send notifications to the community whenever sexually violent predators relocate into the area.

How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Pennsylvania

The State of Pennsylvania maintains a Sex Offenders Registry referred to as the Pennsylvania Megan's law website. The State Police are in charge of the registry, and the agency also updates the information there in real-time. Interested residents can visit the website to obtain information on sex criminals residing in the vicinity.

The Pennsylvania State Police also provide an Electronic Notification System that enables a user to register to receive a tailored email notification under the following options;

  • Update(s) on changes in residence, employment, or school information of sex offenders situated within a chosen radius of a recipient's address
  • Keep track of a particular sex offender and get an email notification(s) when some changes occur for the sexual deviant on the platform.

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Pennsylvania?

Registering as a sex offender comes with various restrictions that the offender must adhere to, including;

Community Notification: Sometimes, the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board (SOAB) concludes that an individual who is a sexually violent predator or a sexually violent delinquent child becomes subject to community notification. When the sex maniac relocates to a new community, all houses and businesses within 250 feet of the violator's residence receive sex offender alerts. The notice will include the individual's name, photograph, address, and crime committed to warrant a lifetime registration.

Living Arrangements: In Pennsylvania, there's no automatic embargo on where a sex deviant may reside within the state. However, the state may not permit a sex offender to live in proximity to a school, park, day-care facility, or other locations where minors gather. This restriction applies to sex violators whose victims were minors and are believed, based on risk assessment, to have the likelihood of repeating the crime if residing near children.

Employment Options: Depending on the nature of a sex offender's crime, the state may restrict the type of employment position such an individual can hold or the nature of business the party may do. This is to help keep the sex abuser away from vulnerable persons like senior citizens, persons living with disabilities, or persons similar to the offender's last victim(s).

Internet Usage: In Pennsylvania, there may be some limit to a sex offender's right to internet use. For instance, if the sex violator used the internet to commit the offense, a judge may add an internet use restriction to the sentence. Also, a parole board may add an internet ban as part of the conditions of parole.

No-Contact Orders: The state may restrict sex maniacs from making contact with certain persons like their past victims or victim type.

What is the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registry?

The Pennsylvania sex offender registry contains information on all convicted and registered sex offenders in the state. Pennsylvania ensures that the registry extensively describes all registered persons to keep the public informed about convictions for sex-related crimes. Available details on the registry include each offender's name, aliases, birth year, residential information, physical description, photograph, and other identifying information.

Under the Pennsylvania Megan's Law (42 PA Cons Stat, Ch. 97, Subchapters H and I), all sex offenders convicted after December 20, 2012, are registered for varying periods, from the 15-year minimum to lifetime registration. Upon conviction, sex offenders convicted in Pennsylvania and out-of-state offenders must register with the Pennsylvania State Police (PSP).

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

Who Runs the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Registry?

The Pennsylvania State Police maintains the state's sex offender registry. By law, Pennsylvania sex offenders must update the PSP whenever there is a change in their registered information. For instance, a sex offender who changes their residential address must notify the PSP within three business days of the change. Using the information received from compliant sex offenders, the PSP daily updates the online sex offender registry. Sex offenders registering for the first time or updating required information must appear in person at an approved registration/verification site.

What are the Sex Offender Laws in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania Megan's Law, also known as the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), is the sex offender law that governs the registration, tracking, and monitoring of convicted sex offenders. Pennsylvania initially enacted the law in 1995 but has modified it several times since then. The law requires convicted sex offenders to register with the Pennsylvania State Police and also requires the PSP to maintain a public record of all registered persons.

The SORNA also provides sex offender classifications depending on the grievousness of each crime in order of offense severity. Section 9799.16 of the Pennsylvania Consolidated Statutes establishes a statewide registry of sexual offenders in compliance with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The section also states that the PSP should create an electronic database with digitized records.

How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Pennsylvania?

Sex offender registration periods differ according to crime severity. The least grievous crimes are classified under Tier 1 offenses, which require convicted persons to register for 15 years. Sex offenders may also be required to register for 25 years or for life. Each classification also prescribes periodic in-person registration exercises until the total period elapses.

Pennsylvania's current minimum registration duration is 15 years. Before December 20, 2012, convicted offenders for certain crimes were required to register for ten years. Some of these crimes include:

  • Kidnapping a minor
  • Luring a child into a structure or a motor vehicle (for offenses that occurred before December 20, 2012, but after January 26, 2005)
  • Indecent assault if the offense is at least a first-degree misdemeanor
  • Incest if the victim is at least 12 years old but under 18
  • Sexual abuse of children
  • Unlawful contact with a minor

Regardless of Tier classification, Pennsylvania sex offenders who do not keep a place of residence for 30 consecutive days must visit a verification site every month to provide current information. These transient persons must provide details including the following:

  • A mailing address
  • Information on planned destinations, including locations outside Pennsylvania
  • Temporary habitat or place of dwelling, such as a park or homeless shelter
  • A list of places where the offender visits, such as restaurants and leisure locations

Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in Pennsylvania?

Sex offenders can live with their families in Pennsylvania. However, the law provides restrictions for Sexually Violent Predators and Sexually Violent Delinquent Children, which may prevent such persons from living with their families.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania sex offenders are not required to notify neighbors. Persons seeking information on nearby sex offenders may conduct a municipality, zip code, mile radius, or city search of the Pennsylvania sex offender registry.

While individuals are not required to notify neighbors, the Pennsylvania State Police sends notifications to persons living close to convicted Sexually Violent Predators and Sexually Violent Delinquent Children. Recipients of the notification include persons who live and work within 250 feet of the offender, or the 25 most immediate places of employment and residence in the offender's area, whichever is greater. This also applies if the Sexually Violent Predator or Sexually Violent Delinquent Child is transient. The PSP also notifies school district superintendents, children and youth service agencies, private and parochial schools, daycare centers, family day care homes, colleges, community colleges, and universities.

Sex offenders also sometimes lose their right to property ownership. Pennsylvania law states that a convicted sex offender may forfeit property rights in property or assets used to facilitate the commission of a sex crime.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put Up a Sign in Their Yard in Pennsylvania?

Sex offenders are not required to put up a yard sign in Pennsylvania. The PSP notifies certain eligible persons when a Sexually Violent Predator or Sexually Violent Delinquent Child is resident in close proximity. Other than this, members of the public are only informed about sex offenders when searching through the Pennsylvania sex offender registry.

Apart from the periodic registrations stipulated by law, Pennsylvania also does not track convicted sex offenders by default. However, the state's Megan's Law allows the use of global positioning system (GPS) devices to monitor some sex offenders where the need arises.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania's Megan's Law does not provide primary residency restrictions for sex offenders. Generally, all convicted persons may take up residence at any preferred locations. However, some exceptions may apply. In some cases, a Sexually Violent Predator or Sexually Violent Delinquent Child under federal, state, or county probation or parole may receive specific residency restrictions. Depending on case specifics, courts may also place residency and general contact restrictions on some offenders. For instance, probation or parole conditions may completely forbid a sex offender from interacting with children.

In addition to the above, 42 Pa.C.S. 9799.25 (f) and 9799.55 (d) disallow group-based homes from providing occupancy to more than five Sexually Violent Predators. Defaulters are liable to civil penalties up to $5,000.

Pennsylvania also has sex-offender-related child protection requirements. According to Pennsylvania's Child Protective Services Law, anyone who intentionally, knowingly, or recklessly leaves a child unsupervised with a registered Tier 2 or Tier 3 sex offender is liable to a child abuse charge, if the person knows or should have known about the sex offender status. This is enforceable for the following sex offenders:

  • Tier 2 or Tier 3 offenders where victims were younger than 18
  • Sexually Violent Predators and Sexually Violent Delinquent Children.

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania expungement laws are strict on sex offenses. In most cases, convicted sex offenders are ineligible for expungement. However, while chances are slim, Pennsylvania sex offenders may petition the court to expunge a nonviolent sex offense. Generally, violent sex offenses, such as rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, and aggravated indecent assault, among others, are ineligible. In addition, all sex offenses committed where the victim was a minor are also ineligible.

A sex offender may also petition a court for expungement from the state registry in the following instances:

  • The state has decriminalized the offense
  • The offender's probation period has ended
  • The offender has completed treatment or counseling
  • For some offenses, the offender was a minor at the time of conviction
  • The offender has convincing evidence that he or she is not a threat to public safety

How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Pennsylvania?

The Pennsylvania sex offender registry only contains information on currently registered sex offenders. Interested parties may find offender details using the following search options, depending on data available to the searcher.

  • Name Search
  • County Search
  • Municipality Search
  • City Search
  • Zip Code Search
  • Mile Radius Search

Users can also search specifically for transient offenders, non-compliant offenders, sexually violent predators, and sexually violent delinquent children.

Members of the public should note that the Pennsylvania State Police does not include certain information on the sex offender registry. For example, the registry may not contain information on currently imprisoned Sexually Violent Predators, Sexually Violent Delinquent Children, and some other sex offenders. Also, information on convicted persons who do not qualify for registration under Pennsylvania's Megan's Law may be unavailable on the registry. The registry may not include information on previous arrests, convictions, or sex offenders whose mandatory registration period has elapsed. Also, information on sex offenders who are deceased or no longer reside, work, or school in Pennsylvania, may not be obtainable from the registry.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Pennsylvania?

Although public urination is illegal, not all cases are considered sex offenses. In Pennsylvania, offenders could be charged with indecent exposure or open lewdness, depending on case specifics. While indecent exposure requires the offender to expose themselves in a public place, open lewdness may occur in a private place as long as it is a lewd act that could be observed by others. In some instances, these incidents may be considered sex offenses, especially if a minor witnessed the act or the offender had sexual intentions.

What is Indecent Exposure in Pennsylvania?

Pennsylvania law defines indecent exposure as revealing genitals in a public place or a place where others are present, and under circumstances where the offender knows or should have known that the act would offend persons present. Indecent exposure is a second-degree misdemeanor, or a first-degree misdemeanor if committed in the presence of someone younger than 16 years old.

How to Report a Sex Offender in Pennsylvania

All persons are encouraged to report erring sex offenders to the Pennsylvania State Police, police department, or sheriff's office. Any person who assists a non-compliant sex offender in eluding law enforcement commits a third-degree felony.