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4 Sex Offender Registration Acts in Pennsylvania You Should Know

Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. Feb. 14, 2020

With the increase in sexual abuse, rape, or sexual assault cases that occur each year, the State of Pennsylvania continues to enact tougher laws for individuals who are convicted of such crimes. Pennsylvania’s General Assembly has enacted multiple laws designed to make information about registered sexual offenders available for online public viewing. Having this knowledge can protect families from any further criminal sexual acts by registered offenders.

As such, if you have been accused of a sexual crime, you should know what you are up against and how a conviction can destroy your life if you are innocent. Below are four laws that are currently active in the state of Pennsylvania that you should know more about.

If you have any further questions or concerns, contact Allegheny Attorneys at Law, P.C. We are located in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania and are happy to answer your questions or provide legal representation.

Megan’s Law

Megan's Law, 42 Pa.C.S § 9799.32(1) and § 9799.67(1) require the Pennsylvania State Police to create and maintain a statewide registry of individuals who have been convicted of or confessed to sexual offenses in Pennsylvania or other specified jurisdictions. This law applies to any individual who resides, works, or attends school in Pennsylvania.

The law was enacted as a result of multiple cases where a sex offender committed one or more criminal acts in the state of Pennsylvania. Perhaps one of the most well-known of these acts was the rape and murder of Megan Kanka in 1994. Governor Tom Ridge then signed Megan’s Law into effect in 1995.

The Adam Walsh Act

In 2006, President George Bush signed the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006. The act extended Amber Alerts to all 50 states to quickly alert the public about missing victims or offenders. It also expanded the National Sex Offender Registry, ensuring that all law enforcement agencies have updated information about sex offenders.

Furthermore, the Adam Walsh Act imposes tougher minimum penalties for serious crimes against children. It also provides grants to states such as Pennsylvania to institutionalize repeat sex offenders who demonstrate consistent behavior or are released from prison. Last, the bill makes it more difficult for sexual predators to contact minors online.


The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) provides a comprehensive set of minimum standards for registration and notification of sex offenders in the U.S. SORNA identifies and closes gaps and loopholes in current sex offender laws to strengthen the program nationwide.

SORNA extends registration to all 50 states, the District of Columbia, and the outlying U.S. territories, including federally recognized reservations. Sex offenders must register and maintain updated information in each jurisdiction where they work, live, or go to school. They must also schedule in-person appearances to verify their registration information. SORNA also provides more information about each offender to the general public nationwide.

Act 10 of 2018

Govern Tom Wolf signed House Bill 631 into law in 2018. Also known as ACT 10 of 2018, the bill provides greater public safety by enforcing sex offenders to adhere to tougher registration laws. The legislation ensures that as many as 12,000 offenders remain on the online registry and are subject to regulations where they committed the crime.

More specifically, the bill imposes a 10-year or lifetime registration requirement for specified sex offenders. Act 10 of 2018 accomplishes two main things. First, it gets around the retroactive limitation in SORNA, requiring offenders not bound by that law due to previous offenses to adhere to the new state law. Second, the bill addresses any gaps or loopholes in existing state laws.

Don’t let a criminal charge negatively take over your life. After you’ve been charged, you need to contact a sex crime defense attorney that is well-versed with these laws to help you build a strong case.

Contact a Criminal Defense Attorney in Pittsburgh, PA

If you have been charged with a sexual offense, contact Allegheny Attorneys at law. We offer comprehensive legal services for sex offenses. Call 412-426-3321 for a free consultation with a criminal defense attorney in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. We proudly serve the surrounding communities, including Shaler Township, Ross Township, Fox Chapel, O’Hara Township, Penn Hills, and everywhere in between.