Which actions might require a person to register as a Sex Offender?
- Mooning someone at a party.
- Forcibly raping someone.
- Urinating outdoors.
- Having consensual sex (between teenagers).
- Harming a child.
- Streaking on a dare.
- Sharing a nude photo (as/of a teen).
- Having sex while you and your partner are drunk.
There are many ways a person might end up on the sex offender registry. In fact, 23% of those on the registry were convicted as juveniles. Mooning someone at a party, streaking on a dare or urinating outdoors can all land you on the same registry as someone committing rape at knife point or harming a child. Teens engaged in consensual sex or sexting have also been required to register, especially when parents object to and report the relationship. If two adults meet at a bar, have a few drinks, and go home together, that can be considered rape, since parties cannot consent if they are inebriated.
Clearly, not all sex crimes are equal. Some are barley crimes at all but are, nevertheless, forbidden by statute.
AZRSOL believes only the most serious offenses should require a person to register and that children and teens should rarely, if ever, be registered.
The American Law Institute agrees and, after 30 years of data, is calling for changes. The institute is an independent organization of thousands of lawyers, judges, and scholars who published The Model Penal Code in 1962 to encourage states to standardize their criminal codes. Even though it is not legally binding, it proved to be influential as a majority of states adopted it, either in part or in whole. Their current revision to the sex offender codes has taken nearly a decade to complete and are intended to guide the states in updating their laws based on the empirical knowledge we have gained since 1962.
The changes recommended by the American Law Institute involve four areas:
- Limiting registerable offenses to the more dangerous ones.
- Providing registry access to law enforcement only.
- Modifying registration terms, especially abolishing lifetime registration and the ability to register children.
- Abolishing blanket restrictions that automatically curtail all registrants’ rights and freedoms.
These revised recommendations are based on 30 years of research and would make our laws more just regarding crimes of a sexual nature and those who commit them.
On May 18, 2022, the American Law Institute, at its annual meeting approved the changes and gave the project final approval. Arizonans for Rational Sex Offense Laws supports the American Law Institute’s revised Model Penal Code as it pertains to the management of sexual crimes and is calling upon the Arizona Legislature to enact laws that reflect the American Law Institute’s recommendations.