Sex Offender Registration
Chapter 589, 589.400-426
Establishment of The Sex Offender Registry
U.S. Department of Justice statistics show that 1 in 4 women and 1 in 6 men will experience some kind of sexual assault in their lifetime. Statistics also show that 67% of sexual assaults have victims under the age of 18.
Almost two-thirds of all sexual assaults are committed by someone known to the victim. (U.S. Department of Justice, Bureau of statistics. 2007)
Missouri implemented its own statewide Sex Offender Registration program in January 1995 in accordance to standards set by the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act.
Currently, all 50 states have a registration and tracking system in place. Missouri requirements allow for the collection of DNA samples from registered offenders and then stores this information in a DNA database. This collection is performed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Crime Lab.
Jacob Wetterling Act
In 1989, Jacob Wetterling, age 11, was riding his bike with friends when a masked man grabbed him and told his two friends to run toward the woods nearby. By the time the two friends turned around, Jacob and the man were gone.
Following Jacob's abduction, his mother, Patty, was appointed to a Governor's Task Force and became a strong voice for missing children. As a result of her efforts, Congress passed the first federal law in 1994 dealing with sex offender registration, known as the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act.
This law required states to put into operation a Crimes Against Children and Sex Offender Registry.
Jacob Wetterling has never been found.
In 1996, Megan's Law amended the Jacob Wetterling Act. Megan Kanka, age 7, was raped and murdered by a twice-convicted pedophile who was residing in her neighborhood. While this law gives states discretion as to the criteria of information available, it requires them to enact a community notification system.
Megan's Law allows states to make private and personal information available to the public.
Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking Law
Another amendment to the Wetterling Act came in 1996 with the Pam Lychner Sexual Offender Tracking Law. This law provided law enforcement the ability to track sex offenders from one location to another.
Initially, when a sex offender moved, there was no system in place to enable one law enforcement agency to notify another.
This law also added the length of time an offender was required to register from 10 years to life.
Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act
The last change to the Wetterling Act came in 2000 with the Campus Sex Crimes Prevention Act. This Act provided for the tracking of convicted, registered sex offenders enrolled as students at institutions of higher education, or working or volunteering on campus.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006
Adam Walsh was six years old when he was abducted from a Florida department store on July 27th, 1981. Sixteen days after Adam disappeared,he was found murdered. On December 16, 2008 Adam's case was closed. No new evidence was produced, but law enforcement authorities have confidence that convicted serial killer Ottis Toole was responsible for the crime. Toole confessed during the initial investigation but then later recanted his story. He was never charged. Toole later died while in custody for unrelated charges.
The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 was signed into law on July 27th, 2006. Title I of this Act, entitled the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), implements new strategies for expanding the National Sex Offender Registry, strengthening federal penalties for crimes against children and forms new regional Internet Crimes Against Children Taskforces. These taskforces will provide funding and training to help State and Local law enforcement combat crimes involving the exploitation of minors on the Internet.
Missouri's legislation has implemented a number of the measures as of June 2008 and expect to be compliant with SORNA guidelines in the timeframe established by the United States Department of Justice.
Opposition To Sex Offender Laws
With any newly enacted law, there is usually opposition and questions as to whether the laws are constitutional at the State and Federal Level. Some general questions raised are:
- Do the Sex Offender Registry laws violate due process of rights?
- Should the offender's punishment stop after their sentence has been served?
- Do sex offender laws involve possible violations of the Ex Post Facto Clause?
- Do sex offender laws create double jeopardy?
- Do they enact violations of the Eighth Amendment that prohibits cruel and unusual punishment?
Because sex offenders were more likely to re-offend (Bureau of Justice Statistics, NCJ 198281, 2003), lawmakers felt this constituted more regulation. However, critics of the law state it adds a penalty to the crime that was not there when the offender was sentenced and the laws inflict degrading and inhumane treatment of the offender.
2006 Missouri Supreme Court Ruling
On July 17, 2006 the Missouri Supreme Court invalidated the duty to register for convictions/pleas prior to January 1, 1995.. Since Missouri's sex offender registry was not in effect before January 1, 1995, the new law imposed a new obligation and violated Missouri's constitutional bar on laws retrospective in their operation. (MO Constitution Article I, section 13)
Offenders convicted, found guilty, or pled guilty prior to January 1, 1995 and not required to register in another state, federal or military jurisdiction, are no longer required to register with the Chief Law Enforcement Official.
This ruling upholds registration for sexually violent predators based on the findings that they are sexually violent predators and not merely on pre-Megan's Law criminal conduct.
All other aspects of 589.400-589.425 RSMo remain in effect.
*Superceded by Missouri Supreme Court Ruling SC89727
2007 Missouri Supreme Court Ruling
On June 12, 2007 the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that a law requiring registration as a sex offender whose conviction occurred prior to the offense's effective date, was retrospective in operation and in violation of MO Constitution Article I, section 13.
*Superceded by Missouri Supreme Court Ruling SC89727
2008 Missouri Supreme Court Ruling
On February 19, 2008 the Missouri Supreme court ruled the 1,000 ft. residential restriction did not apply to offenders who resided at their place of residence on or before the date that the restriction was signed into law - June 5, 2006. This decision was made on the same principle as the above retrospective rulings.
2009 Missouri Supreme Court Ruling
On June 16, 2009 the Missouri Supreme Court ruled that federally mandated registration requirements under the Sexual Offenders Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) applies to individuals who committed a sex offense prior to July 20, 2006. Therefore, SORNA imposes an independent obligation requiring respondents to register as sex offenders in Missouri. The independent registration requirement under SORNA operates irrespective of any allegedly retrospective state law that has been enacted and may be subject to the Article 1, Section 13 of the Missouri State Constitution.
2010 Missouri Supreme Court Rulings
On January 12, 2010 the Missouri Supreme Court held that Missouri Statute 566.147 does not apply to those whose convictions were before the statute's effective date of August 28, 2004. The ruling was based on Article I, section 13 of the Missouri constitution which forbids enactment of laws that are retrospective in operation.
On January 12, 2010 the Missouri Supreme Court held that Missouri Statute 589.426 does not apply to those whose convictions were before the statute's effective date of August 28, 2008. The ruling was based on Article I, section 13 of the Missouri constitution which forbids enactment of laws that are retrospective in operation.
Any felony offenses in Chapter 566, RSMo, Including attempts and conspiracies.
Any offense in Chapter 566, RSMo when the victim is a minor.
Offenses not under Chapter 566, RSMo that require registration are:
- Kidnapping when the victim was a child, pursuant to Section 565.110, RSMo - excluding kidnapping by parent/guardian.(589.400.6)
- Felonious restraint when the victim was a child- when not the parent or guardian
- Promoting prostitution in the first, second, and third degree
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Promoting child pornography in the first and second degree
- Possession of child pornography, furnishing pornographic material to minors
- Public display of explicit sexual material
- Coercing acceptance of obscene material
- Promoting obscenity in the first degree
- Promoting pornography for minors or obscenity in the second degree
- Use of a child in a sexual performance
- Promoting sexual performance by a child
- Endangering the welfare of a child, pursuant to 568.045, when endangerment is sexual in nature
- Sexual contact of sexual intercourse with a resident of a nursing home
- Genital mutilation of a female child
- Furnishing pornographic material to minors
- Abuse of a child when such abuse is sexual in nature
- Juvenile offenders, certified as adults, who have committed an offense comparable to or more severe than aggravated sexual abuse
- Juvenile offenders fourteen years of age of older who are adjudicated of an offense that is comparable to or more severe than aggravated sexual abuse
Any person who, since January 1, 1995, has been:
- Convicted of
- Found guilty of
- Pled guilty to committing
- Attempting to commit
- Conspiracy to commit (8-28-2008)
- Pled nolo contendere (8-28-2004)
- Who has been committed to the Department of Mental Health as a criminal sexual psychopath
- Who has been found not guilty as a result of mental disease or defect
- Has been or is required to register in another state or foreign country
- Has been or is required to register under federal law
- Has been or is required to register under military law
- Offenders who work or attend school or training on a full-time or part-time basis in Missouri
- Offenders who have committed comparable offenses under a tribal jurisdiction (8-28-2008)
Within three (3) days of conviction, release from incarceration, or placed on probation the offender must register in person with the chief law enforcement officer (CLEO)
Within three (3) days of moving into state
An offender must complete a statement of registration and submit fingerprints with the CLEO of the county of where they expect to reside. (Reside is defined by section 566.147 in RSMo as sleeps in a residence which may include more than one location and may be mobile on transitory)
- Within three (3) days of completing the offender registration card, the CLEO should submit the offender registration information to the Missouri State Highway Patrol's Criminal Records and Identification Division.
- The CLEO is responsible for informing any institution of higher education when an offender is employed, carries on a vocation, or is enrolled as a student there.
- The registration requirements of Section 589.400 through 589.425 are lifetime registration requirements unless all offenses requiring registration are reversed, vacated or set aside, the registrant is pardoned of the offenses requiring registration, or petitions are filed and granted with the court under the appropriate circumstances.
- For processing an initial sex offender registration, the chief law enforcement officer of the county may charge the offender registering a fee of up to ten ($10) dollars (589.400.4), and for any processing change pursuant to section 589.400.5, the CLEO of the county may charge the person changing their registration a fee of five ($5) dollars for each change made after the initial registration.
- Name, date of birth and SSN #
- Alias names and alias dates of birth
- Physical Description of offender (i.e. age, sex, race, height, and weight.)
- Addresses: home, work, school, temporary address
- Any photographs: required one per year
- Vehicle: year, make, model, color, license plate, license state of any vehicle owned or operated by the offender
- Nature and dates of offenses
- Release Date
- Photocopy of driver's license or nondriver's identification card
- Document verifying proof of residency
- Photocopy of vehicle registration for each of the offender's vehicles
- Any online identifying information he or she uses. *
- Palm prints and a DNA sample
* Such information shall be made available to the public on the sex offender registry website, but only through specific searches using the online identifier. The information will not be included in the general profile of the offender. (43.651)
Under Missouri law, any person who moves into Missouri from another state and is registered (or has ever registered) in that state or would be required to register under Missouri law if the offense had been committed in Missouri, must register as a sex offender.
Persons living out of state but who work or attend school or training on a full-time or part-time basis or has temporary residence must also register as a sex offender.
- Part-time is considered seven (7) days in a 12-month period, required upon arrival and also when the offender leaves, such as no longer working or visiting or living temporarilyin the state.
- If the time is less than seven (7) days per 12-month period, registration is not required in Missouri.
Registration in Missouri is in the same manner as the primary states requirement, (semi-annual, or 90-day registration).
Exception: If the offender moves to Missouri from a state where he/she was required to register annually for an offense and that same offense would require him/her to register every 90 days in Missouri, then the offender would be required to register every 90 days. Frequency of registration is based on the victim's age and different states vary regarding registration requirements.
Certain sexual offenders may not reside within 1,000 feet of any public or private school up to the 12th grade or childcare facility which is in existence at the time of the offender establishing his or her residency. If the offender has already established residence and a public or private school or childcare facility is built or placed within 1000 feet of the offender's residence, the offender should notify the county sheriff within one week of the facility being opened. The offender has the responsibility of providing proof he/she had residence established prior to the new facility opening. (566.147) *
Certain sexual offenders may not loiter within 500 feet of the real property of any school when a person younger than 18 is present without permission from the School Superintendent or School Board or Principal of a private school. (566.149)
Certain sexual offenders are prohibited from knowingly being physically present in or loitering with 500 feet of or approaching, contacting, or communicating with any child younger than 18 years of age in any child care facility building or the real property comprising any child care facility when children younger than 18 years of age are present in the building or on the grounds unless the offender is the parent, guardian, or custodian of the child in the building or on the grounds. (566.148)
Certain sexual offenders are prohibited from knowingly being present in or loitering within 500 feet of any real property comprising any public park with playground equipment or a public swimming pool. (566.150)
Certain sexual offenders are prohibited from knowingly serving as an athletic coach, manager, or trainer for any sports team in which a child younger than 17 years of age is a member. (566.155)
*Persons who commit comparable offenses in any other state or foreign country or under tribal, federal, or military jurisdiction shall be subject to the same restrictions as Missouri offenders.
Effective 8-28-2008: 589.426 restricts certain activities of sex offenders on Halloween:
- Avoid all Halloween-related contact with children
- Remain inside his/her residence between 5:00 and 10:30 p.m.(unless there is just cause to leave)
- Post a sign stating "No candy or treats at this residence"
- Leave all outside residential lighting off during the evening hours
For the first conviction of failing to register the offense is a class class D felony or it is a class C felony if the offense requiring registration was an unclassified felony, a class A or B felony, or a felony involving a child under the age of 14.
For a second conviction of failing to register the offense is a class D felony or a class C felony if the offense was an unclassified felony, a class A or B felony, or a felony involving a child under the age of 14.
For a third conviction of failing to register the offender will serve a term of imprisonment not less than 10 and not more than 30 years. After release following third conviction electronic monitoring based upon a global positioning system or other technology will be used.
- If an offender was required to register semi-annually and is convicted of failing to register they automatically become a 90-day registrant, this change in registration will remain in effect for life. It will not be changed back to semi-annual.
Semi Annual registration takes place with all offenders in the month of their birth and 6 months thereafter and must provide updated photograph of him/herself during month of their birth.
90-day registrations take place when:
- Offenders are predatory or persistent sexual offenders OR
- Offenders with victim(s) under the age of 18 OR
- When an offender has pled guilty or been found guilty of failing to register or submitting false information when registering.
When an offender changes any information after the initial registration statement, the person shall inform the CLEO of the county in person within three (3) business days of the change. (Examples are: name changes, address, telephone number, etc....)
When a registrant changes residence or address to a different county or state, the individual shall appear in person and inform both the CLEO of the previous jurisdiction and the officer having new jurisdiction within three (3) business days of the change.
When a registrant changes residence, the CLEO of the county where the person was previously registered shall promptly complete a "Change of Address/Statement" form and submit it to the Missouri State Highway Patrol.
When the registrant is changing their residence to a new state, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will inform the responsible official, via letter or electronic transmittal, in the new state of residence.
Juvenile Sex Offenders are required to register with the juvenile office in the county in which they reside.*
Any state agency having supervision or any court having jurisdiction over a juvenile who is required to register as a juvenile sex offender shall register with the juvenile office of the county within ten (10) days of moving into the county.
Juvenile officers shall maintain the registration forms on juvenile offenders in their jurisdiction.
Information shall be kept confidential and released only to those persons and agencies that are authorized to receive information from juvenile court records as provided by law.
The office of State Courts has a juvenile sex offender registration fingerprint card.
Upon the juvenile turning age 21, the requirement for him or her to register shall be terminated.
Exception: The juvenile is required to register as an adult offender, pursuant to section 589.400 RSMo, or if a juvenile has moved into Missouri from another state that requires registration in which the information would have been of public knowledge.
*SB714 adds juvenile offenders 14 and over who commit a crime comparable to or more severe than aggravated criminal sexual abuse to those required to register pursuant to 589.400.
Not all states have community notification. Community notification is generally addressed in state statute and may or may not be included in a state's sex offender registry requirements. For example, Missouri does not have community notification at this time.
Any person guilty of nonsexual child abuse, felonious restraint or kidnapping of a child victim and is the parent/guardian of the victim is removed from the offender registry. (589.400)
Any person seeking removal from the sex offender registry may file a petition after ten (10) years in the civil division of the circuit court in which the offender was convicted or found guilty of or pled guilty or nolo contendere to the offense and must notify the prosecutor in the court where the petition is filed. Failure to notify the prosecutor will result in an automatic denial of the petition. The offender must wait 12 months before re-petitioning if denied by the judge. The prosecutor is to make reasonable efforts to notify the victim of the offender's petition to remove name.
Only the offenses listed below apply to the petition for removal of a person's name from the registry and only if no physical force or threat of physical force was used in the commission of the crime*:
- Promoting prostitution in the second degree
- Promoting prostitution in the third degree
- Public display of explicit sexual material
- Statutory rape in the second degree
*This includes attempting to commit or conspiring to commit.
Exception: Any person under age 19 guilty of a sexual offense (under Chapter 566) with a victim 13 or older with no physical force or threat of physical force (statutory rape in second degree) can petition the court to have his/her name removed from the sex offender registry after two years from the required date of registration.
- Probation and Parole has access to home computer information for a registered sex offender. (589.042)
- DOC must notify MSHP of any offender requiring electronic monitoring.
- RSMo 559.106 passed in 2005 provides for lifetime supervision and electronic monitoring for sexual offenders who:
- Committed the act on or after August 28, 2005
- Had previously plead guilty or been found guilty of an offense in Chapter 566, RSMo
- Had plead guilty or has been found guilty of the following offense(s) where the victim is under 14:
- Statutory rape
- Statutory sodomy
- Child molestation
- Sexual misconduct involving a child
- Sexual abuse
- Enticement of a child
- Sexual trafficking of a child
- Child used in a sexual performance
- Promoting sexual performance by a child
When using a livescan device for taking fingerprints of an offender, the CLEO should retain a signed copy of the fingerprint card. This fingerprint card can be used if the offender fails to register.
Public Access / MSHP Website
The Missouri Sex Offender Registry can be accessed through the Missouri State Highway Patrol's website at http://www.mshp.dps.mo.gov. Information included on the website includes name, alias names, date of birth, alias dates of birth, physical description, all addresses, offense, vehicle information, picture of registered sex offenders and offense dates.
In August 2005, legislation was passed to give the counties the ability to post on their web sites pictures of all sex offenders registered within the county.
Effective October 1, 2006, the Missouri State Highway Patrol will operate a toll free number 888-SOR-MSHP (888-767-6747) to disseminate sex offender information. (43.533)
Sheriff's departments may publish sexual offender information in the newspaper.
Additional public access can be found by searching the National Sex Offender Public Website:
Compliance Status Definitions
Compliance status of offenders include:
- Compliant- the offender is registering as required.
- Non-Compliant- the offender has not completed or updated his/her information and is not compliant with the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the county in which they reside.
- Pending Registration- the offender has provided a change of address to another county within Missouri and has not registered with the Chief Law Enforcement Officer in the county in which they plan to reside OR the offender has provided an address to the Department of Corrections prior to release and they have not registered with the Chief Law Enforcement Officer of the county in which they plan to reside.
- Absconder- the offender's whereabouts are unknown to law enforcement officials.
- Previously Exempt / Registration Required - the offender was previously exempted from registration due to the Supreme Court rulings in 2006 (SC86573) and /or 2007 (SC87786), but is now required to register per the Supreme Court ruling in 2009 (SC89727). This offender has not re-registered with law enforcement officials and their whereabouts are currently unknown.
- Incarcerated-the offender's last known whereabouts is a county, city or state correctional facility.
- Moved Out of State-the offender is no longer living, working or going to school in the state of Missouri.