Megan’s Law:  Is it Harmful or Helpful to Juvenile Sex Offenders?[*]


Debby Cochrane, Graduate Student, Department of Criminal Justice, University of Nevada Las Vegas




Megan’s law is very controversial. Twenty-eight states have extended registration and community notification requirements to juveniles.  These states failed to look at the uniqueness of juvenile sex offending.  Juveniles have a very low recidivism rate and issues of culpability from age-of-consent laws.  By applying Megan’s Law to juveniles could have a considerable effect on the juveniles’ social development, because one of the main stipulations of the law requires the juvenile to notify their school.   School is an important part of a child’s development they experience social interaction as well as basic learning skills, this type of notification is damaging the juveniles’ chances to rehabilitate.  The follow paper will discuss which states require juvenile registration and their differences, effects of these laws on juveniles, if Megan’s Law is constitutional, and differences between juvenile and adult sex offenders. 



Before 1980 research on juvenile sex offenders was limited mostly because of cultural standards.  For example, “Boys will be boys” and the families of victims or offenders believed it was curiosity, experimentation, or just playing around (Smith et al., 2005).  However, some have questioned whether or not juveniles should be treated the same as adults. This question has gained increasing importance with the passage of Megan’s Law.  Many have suggested this law has a significant impact on a sex offenders’ life because one of the main components requires all convicted sex offenders to notify local law enforcement agency that they have arrived in the area.  

The purpose of this study is to find all information relating to the effects of Megan’s Law on the juvenile sex offenders and their treatment.  This research is important because it will bring attention to the treatment of juvenile sex offenders and why policies should be changed to help with rehabilitation (Becker & Johnson, 2001; Prentky & Knight, 1993; Sipe et al., 1998). 

Thus far, only twenty-eight states require juveniles to register as a sex offender (Hiller, 1998).  It will be argued here that the enforcement of Megan’s Law could result in more harm than good.  Rehabilitation is a key factor of the juvenile justice system and by applying Megan’s Law to juveniles it requires them to notify their school upon arrival, which adds to the juveniles’ stigma and causes social isolation (Lowe, 1997).  School is an important place for children to develop the social skills they need in life and by removing them from this environment may lead to loneliness, which could lead to recidivism.  Classmates harass offenders both physically and emotionally, thus hindering the juveniles' education.  In some cases these students were forced to transfer to another school or to be home schooled (Avila, 1998). 

            This paper will address the following questions:  

    What states require juvenile sex offender registration? 

    How does Megan’s Law affect juvenile sex offenders’? 

    Is Megan’s Law constitutional?

    How do juvenile sex offenders differ from adult offenders? 


What is Megan’s Law?


In October 1994 New Jersey passed the toughest sex offender registration act in the United States, which is known as Megan’s Law (Hindman, 1997).  The law was named after seven-year-old Megan Kanka who was raped and murdered by a paroled sex offender.  Her parents and the community were outraged that they were not informed that a twice-convicted sex offender was living in their neighborhood.  This started the movement that resulted in the passage of what came to be called “Megan’s Law” (Petrosino, 1999).  In 1994, President Clinton signed the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Registration Act requiring each state to establish a system for sex offender registration (Center for Sex Offender Management, 1997).  Megan’s Law was an amendment to this federal law allowing each state to make the guidelines for sex offender registration (Grubesic, 2007).

Megan’s Law requires all convicted sex offenders to register with local law enforcement agencies for the remainder of their lives.  All fifty states have sex offender registration but the standards vary from state to state.   Only twenty-eight states require juveniles adjudicated for a sex offense to register as sex offenders, while five states require juveniles tried as adults to register, and seventeen require all juvenile sex offenders to register.  Ohio is the only state that has not passed such a law because it goes against the purpose of the juvenile justice system in determining what is in the best interest of the child.  New Jersey on the other hand has the strictest standards for juveniles requiring all juvenile sex offenders from age 14 and older to register (Hiller, 1998).


State Megan’s Law Requirements for Juvenile Sex Offenders


After passing the federal version of Megan’s Law all states were encouraged by the federal government to implement a state version of the law.  Any states that hesitated to implement a notification and registration law in three years received 10% less from the federal crime control fund or anti-drug grant.  With federal financial incentives and the increase in community concern of sex offenders, all fifty states have implemented registration laws and forty-seven states have expanded to notification laws (Center for Sex Offender Management, 1997). 

Thus far, twenty-eight states require juveniles specifically in registration requirements, out of these sixteen states remain undecided in the judicial debate requiring juveniles adjudicated or convicted should trigger registration requirements.  Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, and Maine remain undecided in requirements for juvenile adjudicated but include juveniles convicted as an adult.[1]  New Mexico is the only state statute that specifically excluded juveniles from registration requirements.[2] Twenty-seven states include juvenile adjudication as a crime triggering registration laws, but each state statute requirements vary on registration guidelines (Garfinkle, 2003).  

Each of the following state statutes requires juveniles adjudicated to register with added stipulations. Alabama and Arizona give judicial discretion when applying registration requirements to juveniles.[3] Arkansas and California only include juveniles who have spent time in the Department of the Youth Authority.[4]  Colorado, Delaware, Idaho, Illinois, and Indiana have triggering guidelines for registration if the juvenile is over the age of fourteen.[5]  Iowa allows the judge to waive registration requirement.[6]   Kansas may force registration using a diversionary order depending on circumstance of the juvenile.[7]   Massachusetts, Michigan, Minnesota, Mississippi, and Montana allow judicial discretion in applying law to juveniles.[8]  Nevada and New Hampshire require juveniles to submit DNA.[9]  New Jersey and North Carolina allows judicial discretion to determine if juvenile is a threat to the community.[10]  Ohio only triggers registration if the juvenile is over the age of sixteen and allows judicial discretion if between the age of fourteen and seventeen.[11]   Oregon, Rhode Island, South Carolina, and South Dakota only include juveniles fifteen-years-old or older.[12]  Texas, Washington, and Wisconsin do not require juveniles to register if the victim is within four years of offender’s age.[13]  The District of Columbia remains undecided in the judicial debate for juveniles adjudicated but allows judicial discretion if offender was under the age of nineteen at time of offense.[14] Florida, Georgia, and Hawaii do not specifically state that juveniles adjudicated must register but if the offense is committed by individuals under the age eighteen they are only included because of the age of the victim.[15]  In Maryland, Missouri, Nebraska, New York, Pennsylvania, Oklahoma, and Tennessee registration is required for all people convicted of sex offenses.[16] Utah and Vermont does not include offenses that the age of victim makes the offense a crime if the offender is also under the age eighteen.[17]  West Virginia, Wyoming, Alaska, Kentucky, Louisiana, Maine, and Virginia statutes are unclear if juveniles adjudicated are required to register.[18]

Length of Registration by State: Several states have the same registration standards for juveniles and adults.  Others, such as Arizona, only require juveniles to register until the age of twenty-five, but adults must register up to ten years or life depending on offense.  Idaho conducts a hearing when the offender turns twenty-one determining if the juvenile is a threat to society.  If the juvenile is believed to be no threat they are removed from registration, but if they are deemed to be a threat they are required to register as an adult.  Some states allow offenders to petition for removal for both juveniles and adults. Washington allows juveniles over the age of fifteen to be removed at anytime by showing clear and convincing evidence of rehabilitation, under the age of fifteen can also be removed by showing only a preponderance of evidence, and adults can be removed after ten years without any convictions (Garfinkle, 2003). 

Type of Offenses by State:  Most states statutes do not list any specific offenses that trigger registration laws or determine individual guidelines for adults and juveniles.   Megan’s Law set a standard exception; several states integrated this into their statutes by specifying any offense committed by a juvenile that is only a crime because of the age of the victim will not trigger the registration requirement for the juvenile.  The states that do not use this standard exception follow the age-to-consent laws, which could require the offender to register.   The age-of-consent laws were based on adult opinion that minors under a certain age usually eighteen are not mature enough to give consent to sexual activity making these actions illegal.  Half of the states include sexual activity between peers also illegal (Garfinkle, 2003).  Over half the states have lewd conduct laws making all sexual activity illegal under the age of fourteen (Zimring, 2004).

Community Notification Requirements by State:  Many states require juveniles to register with local law enforcement excluding them from community notification.   Some states have limited access to juvenile registry; for example in Louisiana a juvenile must register with police but does not have to notify newspaper or post flyers in neighborhood. In Texas a juvenile must register with local police and send out residential mailings.  In South Carolina juveniles under the age of twelve are excluded from community notification but not from law enforcement notification as long as they do not re-offend.  States that use the tiered system for risk assessment have a set standard for community notification by risk group.  The states that use triggering offenses do not differ between adult and juveniles in community notification requirements (Garfinkle, 2003). 

Recent Changes in the Juvenile Sex Registration Laws: Recently three states changed their juvenile sex offender registration requirements (Moore, 2006).  Vermont excludes anyone fifteen to eighteen involved in consensual sex joining other states so-called “Romeo and Juliet Laws,” which keeps teenagers involved in consensual sex from having to register as sex offenders.  Kansas allows judicial discretion in juvenile registration and community notification requirements.   Missouri allows any teen convicted of consensual sex with another teen to appeal for removal from non-public registration, juveniles are not put on the public registry. 

Wisconsin’s Amie’s Law:  In July 2006 Wisconsin Governor Jim Doyle signed “Amie’s Law” into legislation.   This bill was named after Amie Zyla, now eighteen, who was sexually assaulted by fourteen-year-old Joshua Wade when she was eight.  Her case started the legislation for federal juvenile registration for life, based upon the belief that the public has a right to know if a sex offender is living in their community and that juveniles’ confidentiality right to keep court records sealed should be removed if they are convicted of sex offenses.  Amie’s Law is intended to eliminate this protection of juvenile court records and requiring juveniles to register as sex offenders for life.  Governor Doyle commented that “Under the new law, the protection of the public outweighs the protection of a juvenile's privacy for those sex offenders considered to be danger to the public. There could be "hundreds and hundreds" of juveniles in the state who would qualify” (Seibel, 2005).

Zyla’s goal is to go nationwide with the help of the Wisconsin Legislature. A version of “Amie’s Law” is being proposed to Congress requiring juveniles to register on a federal registry that is being created and by failing to register would be a felony offense.  There are two different versions of this proposal. The House of Representative version would list juveniles on national Internet registry for a minimum of twenty years, only offenders handled in the juvenile court system.  The Senate version would not include juveniles for any reason.  Both versions are being negotiated, but all differences will be worked out before the final vote (Moore, 2006).   On Thursday May 8th 2008, Amie Zyla will give a speech to convince Congress to change the national sex offender law to include juveniles.[19]

Oregon’s Measure 11 Law: [20] In November 1994, two-thirds of Oregon voters approved what was called Measure 11.  Replacing current sentencing guidelines, Measure 11 sets minimum mandatory sentences for the most serious violent crimes and sex offenses.  In 1997 the Senate Bill 1049 amended Measure 11adding a minimum mandatory sentence for other violent crimes and sex offenses, this allowing judges to not use Measure 11 requirements on less serious crime.

Professor William Brown of Western Oregon University talks about some unique Measure 11 cases in Oregon.  In one case a girl who spent the majority of her time in the Oregon Youth Authority (OYA) for minor theft, running away, and so on.  During her latest stay at Hillcrest (OYA) she declared herself to be a lesbian.  A member of the staff saw her putting her arm around another girl and for this simple action she was sent to the sex offender unit and for the remainder of her life she must register as a sex offender.  

Other cases of juveniles involved in sexual activity with another juvenile mostly males were charged with the criminal act of penetration and with Measure 11 must register as a sex offender for the rest of their lives.  Some cases involved males about eighteen who participated in sexual activity with their girlfriends who were under the age of consent.  For example, in one case the offender and victim dated for about two and half years. He was one year older than her and after he turned eighteen they remained together.   About a year later they decided to date other people; at this time she was also eighteen.  Her parents were outraged by the break up so they reported him to the authorities for statutory rape.  He was charged with a Measure 11 offense, was found guilty and spent seventy-two months in prison (W. Brown, personal communication, January 29, 2008).

Age-of-Consent Laws:  Even though childhood sex play is common all fifty state have age-of-consent laws making any sexual activity under a certain age a crime.  Zimring (2002) found in 50% of the states the age of consent is eighteen; these states have expanded the law to include sexual activity between peers under the age of consent.   Lewd conduct laws are enforced in 60% of the states, making any sexual activity illegal if under the age fourteen.  Every state has a minimum age of consent over the age of twelve making most children at risk of criminal charges or being a victim in a sexual offense even if it was consensual.

In many states a violation of the age-of-consent law triggers Megan’s Law registration.  Age-of-consent laws assume children are incapable of giving consent and hold only one minor legally responsible for making the decision to engage in  sexual activity while the other child is incapable of making the decision themselves setting a double standard (Garfinkle, 2003).  Davis and Leitenberg (1987) found that the majority of juveniles adjudicated of sexual conduct used no sign of force; from four to 31% of the offenders used force depending the age of their victim and used some type of weapon.

Megan’s Law and Effect on Juvenile Sex Offenders

Since the passing of Megan’s Law harassment of sex offenders has been a concern.  To prevent harassment all notification information comes with a warning label.  These warnings inform the community that any parties responsible for harassment of a sex offender will face legal action and could lead to the reversal of the law for vigilantism (Matson & Lieb, 1997). 

They also stated that only the offender has the ability to stop him or herself from committing another sex offense (Pawson, 2002).  Younglove and Vitello (2003) did a case study to determine the effectiveness of Megan’s Law by examining legal documents and media reports the authors came to the conclusion that Megan’s Law encourages panic and vigilantism.

There is no guaranteed to parents their children are safe, even with a list of any sex offenders that live in their neighborhood.  This list does not include sexual predators that fail to register, have no prior convictions, or the fact 93% of victims know their attacker, out of this 34.2% are a family member, and 58.7% are acquaintances of the victim or the family. Only 7% of the perpetrators are strangers to their victims (Bureau of Justice Statistics, 2000).  

According to Hiller’s (1998) study public notification of juvenile sex offenders hinders rehabilitation efforts in many ways.   By requiring notification to an offender’s school leads to peer harassment causing social isolation, emotional and physical harm (Lowe, 1997).  Parents of other students often complain about an offender attending the school and demanding that he or she be removal.  In this situation it disrupts the offenders’ rehabilitation and by being placed in an alternate setting may downgrade his level of education.  For example, a nine-year-old boy was convicted of raping a younger boy.  He was adjudicated and spent three years in a detention center. Seven years later the family moved to Missouri to get away from the constant public persecution.  The boy is now sixteen and has never committed another sex offense.   The residents of Missouri found out about the boy’s past criminal history.  Following the notification to the school he lost his privacy, all his friends, and his right to attend school.  The school claimed they feared for the safety of other students and suggested the family tutor him at home (Avilia, 1998).

Rasmussen (1999) found that the least restrictive treatment programs for juveniles were most successful.  These programs allowed juveniles to communicate with family and attend school.     Megan’s Law prevents juveniles from a normal school environment because one of the requirements is notification to the school the juvenile is attending.  This transforms the most needed resource of rehabilitation into a place of hostility, loneliness, and all types of abuse.   Some characteristics of a sex offender are poor social skills and feelings of isolation by alienating them from their peers and community, which could lead to recidivism (Barbaree et al., 1993). 

Leah DuBuc, now twenty-two, and a resident of Michigan, was adjudicated at the age of ten for sexual experimentation.   DuBuc and her two stepbrothers age eight and five were caught flashing each other and pretending to have sex with their clothes on.  Two years later DuBuc plead guilty to first and second degree sexual conduct and was sentenced to eighteen months in a residential treatment program and is required to register as sex offender for twenty-five years.  DuBuc’s youthful mistake has made it difficult for her to find or keep a reasonable job, she suffers from community harassment, and has been refused financial aid, thus limiting her education level.  DuBuc petitioned to be added to the non-public registry instead of the public registry but she was denied because she was more than five years older than one victim at the time of the offense.  DuBuc claimed the court had poor mathematical skills because her stepbrother was five and she was ten at the time of the offense (Moore, 2006). 

According to Zimring (2002) the states that require juvenile registration and community notification for life eliminate the safe guards that were made to protect children from public scrutiny.  In some cases juveniles avoid incarceration by plea bargaining and getting probation without realizing by pleading guilty triggers Megan’s Law registration requirements.

In re Registrant J.G. (1996)[21] is a case that involved a ten-year-old boy named J.G. who was caught by his sister exposing his penis to his eight-year-old cousin.  J.G. was convicted of first degree sexual conduct and under New Jersey’s Megan’s Law was required to register as a sex offender for life.   Concerned with the permanent affects of having to register for life the New Jersey Supreme Court held that J.G. would not have to register and recommended revising the tier classifications when applied to juveniles. J.G.’s case is a perfect example of how the New Jersey Supreme Court realized that juveniles shouldn’t be treated the same as adults.

How Juvenile Sex Offenders Differ from Adult Sex Offenders

    Approximately one-third of all sexual offenses against children are committed by teenage boys between the ages of twelve and fifteen (Davis and Leitenberg, 1987).  Research has suggested that juvenile sex offenders differ significantly from adult sex offenders in several ways.  Juveniles are a more diverse class showing differences in typology, etiology and patterns of sexual behavior (Hagan & Gust-Brey, 2000; Kahn & Chambers, 1991; Prentky et al., 2000; Rasmussen, 1999).  Juveniles are more responsive to treatment, and seldom re-offend when provided the proper treatment (Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers, 2000).

Schram and Milloy (1995) found that among adults 19% of registered sex offenders and 22% of unregistered sex offenders commit another sex offense, showing no significant difference between the two groups and notification laws.   Alexander (1999) found recidivism rates for juveniles that received treatment was relatively low at 7.1%, which does not support the effectiveness of Megan’s Law or any notification laws applied to juveniles.

According to the University of Oklahoma’s Director of the National Center on Sexual Behavior of Youth (2006) for juvenile sex offenders the recidivism rates range from 5% to 15%, compared to adult recidivism rates of 20% to 25%.  Further, if a juvenile is given the proper rehabilitation they are less likely to commit another sex offense (Moore, 2006).

Juvenile Sexual Behavior:  Alfred Kinsey shocked the nation over fifty years ago with his study on human sexual behavior when he found that childhood sexual activity is unusually common, that infants and toddlers showed signs of sexual response, and most children engage in some sort of sex play throughout childhood (Garfinkle, 2003). 

Kinsey’s (1953) results showed that before the age of thirteen 40% preadolescent boys admitted to engaging in heterosexual acts and 60% admitted to homosexual acts.    A more recent study by the University of California found that 46% of children engaged in some type of sex play and by adding masturbation the percentage went up to 77%.  Masters et. al. (1995) found that 61% of college students reported some sort of sexual experience by age thirteen, and 17% admitted to some sort of sex play with a sibling.   Alexander’s et. al. (1989) study of 758 eighth graders in Maryland found that 61% of the boys and 47% of the girls admitted to have experienced sexual intercourse.  Sonenstein et al. (1989) stated that in America the average sexually active fifteen-year-old has been with at least four different partners; in some states these acts are criminal under Megan’s Law.   

Megan’s Law in the Juvenile Justice System and Constitutional Challenges

The juvenile justice system is a separate court system established to protect the children.   The original goal of the juvenile court was to prevent children from being treated as criminals.  The juvenile court has changed and experienced many challenges over the past 100 years but the primary goal remains the same: to protect the children.  In order to achieve this goal the court has two key objectives: one is to redirect children from the harsh punitive criminal justice system as much as possible and secondly to step in as a mediator to establish what is in the best interest of the child.  Megan’s Law does not follow the standards set by the juvenile justice system (Garfinkle, 2003). 

Zimring (2004) argues that the purpose of the juvenile justice system is to protect, mediate on behalf of the child, intervene, and establish programs that provide safety to the community as well as the child during rehabilitation.  By applying Megan’s Law to juveniles goes against this purpose and has shown to be an ineffective way for deterrence when it comes to juveniles.  

Constitutionality of Megan’s Law and Juveniles:  Megan’s Law was designed to protect child victims from sexual predators limiting this protection to the victims not to the child offenders.   These landmark cases are paving the way for juveniles’ right, In re Gault (1967)[22] and In re Winship (1970)[23] applied due process protection to juvenile proceedings acknowledging the harsh affects of punitive consequences on a juvenile’s liberties and opportunities (Trivits and Reppucci, 2002).  In McKeiver v Pennsylvania (1971) the Supreme Court affirmed that juveniles are different from adults when it failed to extend the right to a trial by jury.[24]  In Schall v Martin (1984)[25] the court upheld preventive detention of juveniles is protecting both the juvenile and society from the hazards of pretrial crimes representing the best interest of the child (Worrell, 1985).

Thompson v Oklahoma (1988)[26] overturned the death sentence of a minor on grounds of "cruel and unusual punishment" declaring that a juvenile has less culpability even when being tried as an adult.  Megan’s Law brands juveniles as sexual predators exposing them to stigma, prejudice, and denial of opportunities causing “cruel and unusual punishment” (Earl-Hubbard, 1996). 

Due Process Challenges:  Several courts have added provisions to the community notification laws under the Fourteenth Amendment.  These states must provide minimum due process protection. In Doe v Department of Public Safety (2001) [27] the court ruled that the state must provide a hearing and present clear and convincing evidence before violating state privacy laws or the right not to be defamed by the government (Garfinkle, 2003).

Since juvenile court proceedings have different due-process standards than adult court and a juvenile is subjected to adult sanctions under Megan’s Law a juvenile should be provided with the same due process protections as adults (Garfinkle, 2003).  Minnesota’s court decision held In re C.D.N.[28] that the difference in due process between adults and juvenile proceedings meets the fundamental fairness standards and suggested that the legislature reassess the addition of juveniles under the statute. 

Right to Privacy Challenges:  Most states juvenile codes do not allow the public access to juvenile criminal records.  Some federal courts argue that offenders’ privacy is not an issue because criminal records are available to the public this statement is not true because juvenile records are not available to the public under state statutes.    Other states point out that Megan’s Law supersedes states juvenile codes because it is more specific and is a federal law (Garfinkle, 2003). In Doe v. Attorney General (1997)[29] the court ruled that community notification laws violate a juveniles’ right to privacy in their records. 

Defamation by the Government Challenges:  Several federal and state courts determined that by labeling all sex offenders as a future threat or a sexual predator without proper due process in determining the offenders’ future risk factors constitutes government defamation. Because the recidivism rate for juvenile offenders is low, defamation by the government is key constitutional issue for juveniles (Garfinkle, 2003).   

In Paul v Davis (1976)[30] the Supreme Court established the standard “stigma plus” test to determine defamation by the government. This test requires the government to issue a defamatory statement and proof that a burden or change in the plaintiff’s legal status is needed to establish government defamation. The court affirmed in Paul’s case defamation by the government occurred. This case met both standards of the “stigma plus” test:  First, being included in community notification implied the offender is a threat to the community when there is no guarantee of future danger showing the government issued a defamatory statement.  Second, informing the community of an offender’s crimes it altered their way of life and by imposing additional pressure to offenders who fail to register are subject to felony charges showing a burden or change in the plaintiff’s legal status.

When applying this “stigma plus” test to the average juvenile sex offender both standards can be established.  Including a juvenile offender in registration and community notification requirements implies he or she is a future threat to the community and by informing the community of the juvenile’s offense it alters his or her way of life by adding stigma or isolation hindering rehabilitation, therefore constituting defamation by the government. 

            Megan’s Law has been challenged several times in the legal system with no victory.  Issues covered have included violations against ex post facto punishment (Smith v. Doe, 2003)[31], retroactivity clause (Doe v. Poritz, 1995)[32], violation of the 14th Amendment (Connecticut of Public Safety v. Doe, 2003) [33] ,privacy of offenders, and cruel and unusual punishment by creating a stigma in society (Cohen, 1995).  

Suggestions for Amending Megan’s Law:  The juvenile justice system sets age limits on penalties and is aware that most juveniles outgrow their delinquent behavior. A fair federal standard should be implemented when it comes to applying Megan’s Law to juveniles. Some suggestions for amending Megan’s Law to include juvenile adjudications:  First, the statutes should retain the goals and procedures of the juvenile justice system.  Second, registration and notifications laws should keep in mind the diverse individuality of children and adolescents, and should only apply these laws to severe cases or juveniles who have been determined to be a danger to society (Garfinkle, 2003). 




Megan’s Law is a result of society’s demand for stricter laws to prevent sexual assault against children, but when it is a child that is committing the sexual assault, society needs to balance the needs of children on both sides.  Policies should look at the bigger picture and consider how to treat these young offenders instead of simply labeling them as a sexual predator for the rest of their life. 

Greenwood (2002) stated that the juvenile justice system was designed to protect the best interest of the child.  Juvenile proceedings were used to aid in treatment and help instead of punishment.  Community notification can deny a juvenile the opportunity to grow up in a normal environment by subjecting him to false labels of sexual dysfunction, isolation, limiting opportunities and all types of harassment causing more harm than good. 

            Zevitz and Farkas (2000) found that only a few sex offenders felt that Megan’s Law would discourage them from re-offending.  The majority of participates stated that if they wanted to re-offend it wouldn’t matter if they were on television, in the newspaper, or on a flyer, because if they decide to re-offend they would just do it no matter what. 

With the limited research on juvenile sex offenders it is hard to accurately determine the severity of the situation.  Hopefully this research and future research will open society’s eyes to treatment and rehabilitation of the juvenile sex offenders instead of condemning them forever.    The following statement is the foundation of why this topic is important “The dilemma regarding registration requirements of juvenile offenders involves valuing public safety and the protection of the vulnerable populations over rehabilitation and possibly individual rights” (Baranoski & Buchanan, 2003; Scott & Gerbasi, 2003, cited in Craun & Kernsmith, 2006).




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[*] This was a paper written for a graduate class at UNLV called Seminar in the Administration of Justice (spring of 2008.


[1] ALASKA STAT. § 12.63100 (Michie, 2000); KY. REV. STAT. ANN. § 17.510(6) (1996); LA. REV. STAT. ANN. § 542 (2001); 34 A ME. REV. STAT. ANN.TIT. 34-A §11203(5) (2001); VA. CODE ANN. §19.2-298.1 (2002).


[2] N.M. STAT.ANN. §29-11A-3.8 (2000).


[3] ALA. CODE § 15-20-21 (2001); AZ REV STAT § 13-3821(D) (2001).


[4] ARK. CODE. ANN § 12-12-905(a)(b) (1999); CAL. PENAL CODE § 290(d)(1) (1999).


[5] COLO. REV. STAT § 18-3-412.2(1)(a) (1999); DEL. CODE. ANN. 11, § 4121(a)(2) (2001);  IDAHO CODE § 18-8401 (2002); ILL. COMP. STAT. § 15012 (1997); IND. CODE ANN. § 5-2-12-4(b)(l) (2002).


[6] IOWA CODE 5 692A.2(4) (West Supp.2002).


[7] KAN. STAT. ANN. §22-4904(a)(7) (1995). 


[8] MASS. ANN. LAWS ch. 6, § 178C (1999): MICH. COMP. LAWS. ANN. § 28.728 (2001); MINN. STAT§ 243.166;  MISS. CODE ANN. § 45-33-25 (Supp. 2002): MONT. CODE ANN. § 41-5-1513 (2002).


[9] NEV. REV. 179D.400 (2001); N.H. REV STAT ANN.§ 632A:20 (2001).


[10] N.J. STAT ANN. § 2C:7-2 (West 2001): N.C. GEN. STAT §§14-208.6C. 14-208.26 (1999).


[11] OH. ST. § § 2950.03, 2952.83


[12] OR.REV.S TAT § 181.594(B) (2001); R.I. GEN.LAWS § 11-37.1-12(3)(D) (Supp 2001); S.C. CODE ANN.§23-3-490(D) (2001); S.D. CODIFIELD LAWS § 22-22-31 (2002).


[13]  TEX. CRIM. PROC.CODE ANN. § 62.01-2 (2002): WASH. REV. CODE § 9A.44.130(1) (2000); WIS. STAT. § 301.45 (1999).


[14] D.C. CODE3 22-3001 (2001); CONS. STAT ANN. §§ 54-250, 54-251 (West 2001).


[15] FLA. STAT. ANN. § 944.606(1)(B) (2001); G4. CODE ANN. §§ 3 42-1-12. 42-9-44.1(1998); HAW. REV. STAT. ANN. 846E-l(7) (1999).


[16] MD. CODE ANN., CRIM. PROC. § 11-708(a) (2001); MO. REV. STAT.§ 589.400 (2002); NEB.REV.STAT§. 29-4001 to 4013 (2000); N.Y. CORRECT LAW § 168-e (2001-02); N.D. CENT.CODE § 54-12-22 (2001); 57 OKLA STAT ANN. tit. 57, § 582(c) (West Supp, 2002): 42 PA. CONS. STAT. ANN. § 9795.1(a) (2001); TENN. CODE ANN. §§ 38-6-110, 40-39-102(1997).


[17] UT CODE ANN§ 77-27-21.5(2001); VT. STAT. ANN. tit. 13, §5401 (2001).


[18] W. VA. CODE ANN. § 15-12-1 (2001); WYO.STAT. ANN. § 7-19-301 (2001). ALASKA STAT.§ 12.63.100 (Michie 2000); KY. REV.STAT. ANN. § 17.510(6) (1996); LA. REV. ST.AT. ANN § 542 (2001); 34A ME. REV. STAT. ANN. tit. 34-A §11203(5) (2001); VA. CODE ANN§ 19.2-298.1(B) (2002).






[21] In re J.G., 777 A.2d at 891.


[22] Gault, 387 U.S. 1 (1967).


[23] Winship, 397 U.S. 358 (1970).


[24] McKeiver v Pennsylvania, 403 U.S. 528 (1971).


[25] Schall v. Martin, 467 U.S. 253 (1984).


[26] Thompson v. Oklahoma, 487 U.S. 815 (1988).


[27] Doe v. Department of Public Safety ex rel. Lee,. 271 F. 3d 38, 44, 46 (2001).


[28] In re C.D.N., 559 N.W.2D 431 (Minn, 1997).


[29] Doe v Attorney General., 680 N.E.2d 92 (Mass, 1997).


[30] Paul v. Davis, 424 U.S. 693 (1976)


[31] Smith v. Doe, 538 U.S. 84 (2003).


[32] Doe v. Poritz, 142 N.J. 1, 662 A.2d 367 (1995).


[33] Connecticut Dept. of Public Safety v. Doe, 538 U.S. 1 (2003).