Tuesday, February 8, 2011

PA: Safehaven for Out-of-State Sex Offenders

Pennsylvania is a safe haven for out of state sex offenders. People convicted of some of the most heinous sex offenses can move to Pennsylvania and disappear and there's little police can do about it, according to the Pittsburgh Tribune-Review.

When offenders are sentenced for certain sex offenses, they are required to register an address with the state police pursuant to Megan's Law. If out-of-state offenders move into Pennsylvania, they are also required to register with the state police.

The state's Megan's Law left a loophole for out-of-state sex offenders who are lifetime registrants, those offenders must register annually, or whenever they move, with the state police for their entire life.

According to the Tribune-Review, the lack of a penalty for out-of-state violators of the law came to light through a Lancaster County case involving Gilbert Arroyo, who was convicted of rape in New York. When he moved to Pennsylvania, he was subject to lifetime registration. State police charged him with failure to update a change of address in February 2006.

He was convicted in 2009. On appeal, the state Superior Court found that the law does not criminalize the failure to comply with the registration for out-of-state, lifetime offenders, and dismissed the case in March of 2010.

A previous effort to close the loophole failed last year when Senator Richard Alloway attached the legislation closing the loop-hole to the Castle Doctrine bill. Governor Ed Rendell vetoed the bill.

Read more: http://www.pittsburghlive.com/x/pittsburghtrib/news/state/s_721504.html#ixzz1DHeYeNSo

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