From The Art and Popular Culture Encyclopedia
A sex offender is a person who has been criminally charged and convicted of, or has pled guilty to, or pled Nolo contendere to a sex crime. Crimes requiring mandatory sex offender registration may include child sexual abuse, downloading pornographic material of persons under the age of 18, (child pornography), rape, statutory rape and even non-sexual offenses such as kidnapping. The term sexual offender is a broad term, with sexual predator being used to describe a more severe physical or repeat sexual offense. Sexual offenders are also sometimes classified into levels, where the highest level offenders have the most aggravating crimes and thus, the most risk to the public and usually must register as a sex offender for their entire lives. Low level sexual offenders may serve only a probationary sentence and only register for 10 years as well as having less restrictions placed on them compared to higher level offenders. As a label of identity it is used in criminal psychology. Especially in the United States the person, if convicted, is most likely required to register with the respective jurisdiction's sex offender registry, a county- or statewide database that is often public and accessible to everyone through the internet.
- Child sexual abuse
- Day care sex abuse hysteria
- Sex and the law
- Sex offender registration
- Sexual predator
- United States National Sex Offenders Public Registry
- Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act
- Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act
- Jessica Lunsford Act
- Jessica's Law
- Megan's Law
Monitoring, assessment, other
- Ankle monitor
- Circles of Support and Accountability
- Civil confinement
- Global Positioning System (GPS)
- Penile plethysmograph
- Jeffrey Dahmer — American serial killer with 17 known victims. Many of his killings included sexual assaults.
- Richard Allen Davis — Convicted of kidnapping, committing a lewd act on, and murdering Polly Klaas (see "Victims" section).
- Josef Fritzl — An Austrian man who began sexually abusing his daughter Elisabeth in 1977 and kept her imprisoned in his home from 1984 until 2008. He repeatedly sexually abused and raped Elisabeth, resulting in the births of seven children and one miscarriage. One of the children died in infancy, and three were imprisoned along with Elisabeth until 2008.
- Jesse Timmendequas — A registered sex offender who lured Megan Kanka (see "Victims" section) to his house and then raped and murdered her.
- Peter Tobin — British criminal with a long record, including convictions for two rapes, who was convicted of the rape and murder of a female Polish student in 2007. After this conviction, he was found guilty of the murders of two teenage girls who disappeared in 1991, and has reportedly claimed to have killed more than 40 other people.
- Ottis Toole — Serial killer who confessed to multiple murders and rapes; believed to be the killer of Adam Walsh (see "Victims" section).
- Don Vito — American reality television personality convicted of groping two 12-year-old girls in 2007.
- Megan Kanka — Megan’s Law is a law based on the avoidable rape and murder of seven-year-old Megan Kanka. This California state law to make known the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders as public knowledge was passed in 1996. Unaware of the child molester moving in across the street from their home, the Kanka family was destroyed. Through the heartache of the tragedy, Megan’s family fought to make their story known in the hopes of providing awareness and precautionary opportunity to each and every family living among convicted sex offenders and working towards preventing their family’s circumstances from being repeated. Though offenders may view this public awareness through varying opinions, the Law is not a discriminatory practice, but instead, a public service and right to personal safety measures. Because of their efforts, each state can thank the Kankas for some form of Megan’s Law (State of California Department of Justice).
- Polly Klaas — Kidnapped at age 12 from her California home in 1993. Richard Allen Davis, who had a criminal record dating to the late 1960s that included some sex crimes, was convicted of her murder.
- Jessica Lunsford — Kidnapped at age 9 from her Florida home in 2005 and murdered by John Couey, a previously convicted sex offender. The Jessica's Laws passed in many U.S. states were inspired by her case.
- Dru Sjodin — University of North Dakota student kidnapped in 2003 and found dead five months later. A registered sex offender was convicted of her murder.
- Adam Walsh — On July 27, 1981, Adam Walsh’s abduction not only turned the lives of his parents upside down, but also every other home with small children across the country. At this point in time, it was deemed safe and acceptable to leave children in the car or toy section of a store unattended. Adam Walsh, only six-years-old, stayed playing video games with three other boys in the toy section of Sears while his mother shopped for lamps only a few feet away. When the four boys acted up, they were told to leave because the other boys informed security that their parents were not in the store. Returning to the video games, Adam’s mother searched frantically for her son who was nowhere to be found. Hours passed by before the police were called and Adam’s mother taken seriously by Authorities. Between the news casts, fliers, and alerts that were disbursed in Hollywood, Florida, and ultimately nationwide, Adam’s family and the parents of America grew weary of his chances of being alive. Two weeks later, a fisherman reported a severed head in an irrigation canal nearly one hundred miles away from the Sears department store that Authorities deciphered to be Adam Walsh by dental record and the verification of a family friend. Two years later, detained convicted felon and offender Otis Toole confessed to the kidnapping and murder of a young boy he picked up in a Hollywood, Florida Sears parking lot. Initially, Toole’s story was flawed with blame on a partner, followed by a confession of his solo action in the crime, and a description of events identical to Mrs. Walsh’s testimony. Yet, even after walking the police through each step and scenario that had taken place that summer day of 1981, Toole retracted his confession of ever committing the heinous crime. With this, Adam’s parents made it their mission to be activists for missing children, and never surrendered their son’s right to justice and their own peace of mind to finally receive closure to the case. Passing away in prison where he had resided for hundreds of other accounted for murders he had committed, Toole was finally to blame and announced as such by Authorities twenty-seven years later (Fox.com). This tragedy depicts the importance of public awareness of those specifically intending on harming children, however that may be. This repeat offender provided numerous instances and examples of which he should have been permanently incarcerated for, but he was not even under supervision or probation of any kind to manage his activities in the outside world, interaction with children, or chances of murdering again.
- Jacob Wetterling — Kidnapped at age 11 from his Minnesota hometown in 1989 and has not been seen since.
- John Walsh — Father of Adam Walsh and host of America's Most Wanted.
- Patty Wetterling — Mother of Jacob Wetterling. Notable for opposing very broad registration laws that classify minor offenders on the same scale as high-risk predators.
Shows & organizations
- America's Most Wanted
- Megan Nicole Kanka Foundation
- National Center for Missing and Exploited Children
- Polly Klaas Foundation
- To Catch a Predator