on the National Sex Offenders Registry
Our Crimes Against Children Unit at FBI Headquarters coordinated the development
of the National Sex Offenders Registry (NSOR) and continues to lead its implementation.
The Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking and Identification
Act of 1996 (Lychner Act) required the Attorney General to establish a national database
at the FBI to track the whereabouts and movements of certain convicted
sex offenders under Title 42 of the United States Code Section 14072.
The National Crime Information Center (NCIC) run by the FBI enables the
NSOR to retain the offender's current registered address and dates of
registration, conviction, and residence.
The Lychner Act imposed two major obligations on the FBI that became
effective October 3, 1997:
1. To establish a national database that tracks the location and movements
of each person who has been convicted of a criminal offense against a
victim who is a minor, has been convicted of a sexually violent offense,
or is a sexually violent predator.
2. To register and verify the addresses of sex offenders who reside
in states without a "minimally sufficient" sex offender registry
(SOR) program. Today, all 50 states have minimally sufficient SOR programs.
Under the Act, the FBI may release relevant information to federal,
state, and local criminal justice agencies for law enforcement purposes
only. Public notification will only be made if it is necessary to protect
the public. However, the Act specifically states that in no case shall
the FBI release the identity of any victim of an offense that required
registration of a sex offender.
The legislation also made it a criminal offense for a registered sex
offender to move to another state and knowingly fail to notify the FBI
and authorities in the new state. Notification to the FBI and state authorities
must be made within 10 days upon moving to a new state and/or establishing
residence following release from prison or placed on parole, supervised
release, or probation. Upon release, each sex offender is notified of
their lawful duty to register with the FBI and appropriate local authorities.
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexual Violent
Offender Registration Program, enacted in 1994, provides a financial incentive
for states to establish registration programs for persons who have been
convicted of certain sex crimes.
Megan's Law, enacted in May 1996, amended the Wetterling Program legislation
to give states broad discretion to determine to whom notification should
be made about offenders, under what circumstances, and about which offenders.
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