Title I of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006, the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), requires that each jurisdiction's registry include "[t]he text of the provision of law defining a criminal offense for which the sex offender is registered" (see 34 U.S.C. § 20914 (b)(2)). The National Guidelines on Sex Offender Registration and Notification have since clarified this requirement, indicating that the text of the registration offense need not be included either in the jurisdiction's internal registry database or on the jurisdiction's public sex offender registry website. A jurisdiction may meet this SORNA requirement by ensuring that its internal registry database includes a link or citation to the statute defining the registration offense, so long as:
- such a link or citation provides online access to the linked or cited provision; and
- the link or citation will continue to provide access to the full text of the registration offense as formulated at the time that the registrant was convicted of it, even if the defining statute is subsequently amended.
As a result, on its public sex offender registry website, a jurisdiction needs only to include a citation to the statute under which the offender was convicted, along with the heading of that statute (e.g., 18 U.S.C. § 2241 – Aggravated sexual abuse), to satisfy the SORNA requirement. However, wherever possible, jurisdictions are encouraged to provide the text of the registration offense as well.
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