SORNA (Megan's Law)
Pennsylvania’s version of Megan’s Law was originally enacted in 1995. The law has been modified several times. The law requires the Pennsylvania State Police to maintain a registry of adult and juvenile sex offenders who have been convicted of certain offenses. Sex Offenders are required to register on regular basis and they must report any changes immediately. The length of time that they are required to register and the frequency is determined by the severity of the crimes they committed. The Pennsylvania State Police maintains the registry.
Prior to sentencing, all offenders convicted of one of the designated offenses are evaluated by the Pennsylvania Sex Offender Assessment Board to determine if the offender is a Sexually Violent Predator (SVP). The sentencing Court, after hearing argument, will make final determination if the offender is a SVP which will require the offender to register with the State Police and to attend treatment for their entire life. The SVP will also be subject to community (active) notification.
The majority of sex offenders on the State Police Registry are not Sexually Violent Predators and are only subject to passive notification. The offenders’ information is listed on the web site (www.pameganslaw. state.pa.us) and only specific agencies are notified such as the local police department and schools. Residents will generally only know about these offenders if they search the web site.
In cases where community notification (active) does occur (SVPs), the police department will notify all of the residents and the appropriate agencies in the immediate vicinity of the offender current whereabouts.
The following are some common myths about Megan’s Law:
• All sex offenders are on the Megan’s Law Site. The site only lists those offenders who were convicted of certain offenses and that are still required to register. There are many sex offenders, known and unknown, who are not listed.
• The community is notified when a sex offender moves into a neighborhood. Community notification only occurs with Sexually Violent Predators. Notification does not occur with the majority of the offenders.
• Megan’s Law offenders are restricted from living near certain locations. Megan’s Law generally only requires the offender to register. More information about Megan’s Law can be found at www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us