Crime

Megan’s Law offenders in state found mostly compliant, police say

A Friday news release from state police indicates that a majority of sexual offenders in the state are remaining compliant with the Megan’s Law requirements placed upon them.

The State Police Megan’s Law Section conducted 4,758 residence checks across 31 counties since February 2016, the release said, finding 4,291 offenders — 90 percent — were compliant. The checks resulted in 51 arrests for violations, while numerous investigations are still ongoing.

“Megan’s Law exists to protect the public, especially children, from victimization by repeat sexual offenders,” said section Commander Lt. Todd Harman. “Offenders are responsible for providing up-to-date information about where they live and work and face additional felony charges for violating the regulation.”

While a state police representative confirmed that Centre County was not one of the 31 counties checked, the county probation services office indicated that when an offender does not comply, police are quick to follow up on the problem.

“Normally, if someone is on probation for that type of thing, they would check in with their probation officer,” adult Supervisor Tom Weaver said. “Noncompliance is investigated by police as a new crime. If they find someone is not in compliance, they file it as new charges.”

It’s difficult to keep track of every offender in the county, he said, as some are handled on the county level, some state and some federal. The best way of keeping track, he said, is through the state Megan’s Law website, www.pameganslaw.state.pa.us.

According to the Megan’s Law website, there are 593 offenders in Centre County, with a total of 21,080 across the state. The highest number in the county, 346, are registered as Tier 3 offenders — the most serious offenses related to kidnapping, rape and statutory sexual assault and require a lifetime registration.

There are 121 registered as sexually violent predators, who also require a lifetime registration, according to the website.

Several individuals have been charged or convicted of Megan’s Law violations in Centre County in 2017.

Jeremy Hartley: 814-231-4616, @JJHartleyNews

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