New law closes Pa. loopholes on sex-offender registration

    Gov. Tom Corbett signed a bill Tuesday that brings Pennsylvania into compliance with federal law on sex offender registration.

    The measure also fixes what some felt was a gap in existing state law.

    Surrounded by smiling district attorneys and law enforcement officers, Corbett signed the bill with two major components.

    It fixes a loophole in the state’s current Megan’s Law and brings the state into compliance with the national sex offender registry created by the federal Adam Walsh Law.

    • WHYY thanks our sponsors — become a WHYY sponsor

    “Megan’s Law is named for Megan Kanko, a New Jersey child who was murdered by a sexual predator. The Adam Walsh Law, the federal Adam Walsh Law, as most everyone knows, is named for a young Florida boy who was kidnapped at a department store and murdered,” Corbett said.

    An oversight in Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law made it impossible for district attorneys to prosecute certain sex offenders for not checking in with State Police–offenders from out-of-state or those without a fixed address.

    The Adam Walsh portion of the bill requires the state to start coordinating with the nationwide sex offender registry program by posting information on a shared Internet data base. 

    States had until this past summer to come into compliance with the new coordinated sex offender registration effort or risk losing more than $1 million in federal funding.

    Pennsylvania had gotten an extension.

    WHYY is your source for fact-based, in-depth journalism and information. As a nonprofit organization, we rely on financial support from readers like you. Please give today.

    Want a digest of WHYY’s programs, events & stories? Sign up for our weekly newsletter.

    Together we can reach 100% of WHYY’s fiscal year goal