Efforts to Close Loophole in Megan’s Law Underway in State Senate

(HARRISBURG) With strong bipartisan support, Senator Gene Yaw, R-Loyalsock, introduced Senate Bill 1231 which requires transient workers who have a record of sexual offenses to register with the State Police every 30 days.

“This legislation amending Megan’s Law which will address a problem noted in the Pennsylvania Superior Court’s holding in the case of Commonwealth v. Wilgus,” Yaw said. “In Wilgus, the Superior Court held that Megan’s Law did not apply to sexually violent predators and sexual offenders who are homeless, because the Registration of Sexual Offenders Act did not specifically address transients or homeless persons.”

“My legislation will overturn the court case by specifically including transients under Megan’s Law. Once the legislation is enacted, sexually violent predators and sexual offenders who must register under Megan’s Law will not be outside the law even if they are homeless,” he added.

According to Yaw, currently, eight states possess registration requirements for transients. Just as in California, this legislation will require transients who are sexually violent predators to register every 30 days at approved registration sites. The duty to register every 30 days remains until the sexually violent predator establishes a residence.

It also includes provisions for victim notification and notification to the public over the Internet if a sexually violent predator or sexual offender who is required to register under Megan’s Law becomes a transient or homeless person.

“In Lycoming County, an individual with a known record of sexual offenses in Ohio was recently released from prison because of this loophole,” Yaw said. “This individual had been a worker at the Lycoming County Fair, last July. He was arrested for public drunkenness and eventually charged with failing to register with local authorities as a sex offender.”

“I am extremely grateful for the support that I have received from my colleagues,” Yaw said. “Currently, this bill has been introduced with 22 cosponsors and I expect more to sign onto the bill before it is considered.

A companion piece of legislation has also been introduced into the State House.

Contact: Adam Pankake
(717) 787-3280