Most people have heard the term “registered sex offender.” A registered sex offender is someone who has been convicted of a sex offense or an offense against a child. After being convicted, the perpetrator’s name is included in a database called a sex offender registry. Every state has one, and these are all compiled into the National Sex Offender Public Registry.
Law enforcement uses these databases to track the whereabouts of sex offenders. Private citizens can also use the registries to see whether a sex offender lives nearby. What many people do not realize is that being convicted of a relatively minor sexual offense, even if they have no other criminal record, could land them on the sex offender registry.
Indiana requires four types of offenders to register with the database: Sexually violent predators, offenders against children, sex offenders and violent offenders. These categories encompass a wide variety of crimes, including:
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Lewd and lascivious acts
- Sexual assault
Indiana sex offenders
Sex offenders must register their name, social security number, address and vehicle information as well as other identifying details. In some cases, an offender may have to provide fingerprints and a DNA sample. Typically, offenders must re-register every year and every time they move; failing to re-register is a serious crime. Sexually violent predators will remain on the list for the rest of their lives; the other three types of offenders, 10 years. Once a perpetrator’s name is in the registry, it is available to the public through the U.S. Department of Justice.
Landing on the sex offender registry can follow you for life. Most convicted sex offenders have very limited choices about where they can live. They may be forbidden from living within a certain distance of schools or daycares. Sometimes, the state will commit sex offenders who are likely to reoffend to mental health facilities. And the vast majority of employers will not hire applicants who are registered sex offenders.