Megan’s Law Loophole

In Pennsylvania, defendants can become subject to lifetime Megan’s Law reporting requirements in two different ways.  The first is through conviction in the Pennsylvania court system.  In that case, as part of sentencing, the defendant will be subject to a SVP evaluation that determines if the defendant fits the profile of a sexually violent predator.  If the evaluation determines that it is appropriate, the defendant will be subject to a lifetime reporting requirement.  A lifetime reporting requirement also applies when convicted of certain more serious offenses (rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, and incest where the victim is under the age of twelve) or upon the second conviction for offenses that typically only have a ten year reporting requirement.

Additionally,  second group of offenders is also subject to a lifetime reporting requirement.  Defendants convicted outside of Pennsylvania of an offense similar to the more serious crimes (rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse, sexual assault, aggravated indecent assault, and incest where the victim is under the age of twelve) are also subject to a lifetime reporting requirement.

However, an interesting twist to the lifetime reporting requirement for out of state offenders is that there is no penalty in Pennsylvania for failure to register.  Although it is clear from 42 Pa. C.S. § 9795.1(b)(4) that these offenders are subject to a reporting requirement, the statute that makes it a crime to fail to register does not include this subsection in the group of offenders subject to penalty.  As recognized in Commonwealth v. Gordon, 2010 PA Super 49, 992 A.2d 204, 206 (Pa. Super. March 26, 2010), the penalty is

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