SEX OFFENDERS

Holmes County Sheriff's Office

Sheriff Timothy W. Zimmerly

8105 Twp. Rd. 574, P.O. Box 5000, Holmesville, Ohio  44633 

PHONE:  (330)674-1936     FAX:  (330)674-8504     EMERGENCY:  9-1-1

HISTORY OF MEGAN'S LAW

Ohio's Sex Offender Registration and Notification law (SORN) is also administered within the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation's (BCI&I) Identification Division.

"Megan's Law" was the first of these types of statutes.  It was passed by the New Jersey Legislature in 1994.  The law was named after 7-year-old Megan Kanka, who was abducted, raped, and murdered by an ex-convict who had two prior convictions for sex crimes against young girls.  All 50 states now have sex offender registration laws; 49 - including Ohio - require some form of notification.

The Ohio Version of Megan's Law (SORN) was passed as House Bill 180 in 1996, and went into effect in two stages in 1997.  Beginning January 1, 1997, all sex offenders, including those already incarcerated, were required to be classified by their individual sentencing judges into one of three categories, each of which dictates the registration and notification requirements to which the offender is subject.  From July 1 of that year forward, all convicted sex offenders are subject to the registration requirements of the law.  Sexual predators and some habitual sex offenders are subject to the notification aspects.

All sex offenders are required to register with the sheriff of the county in which they reside within seven days of release from prison or moving to a new county.

The law requires information about certain sexual offenders to be distributed to people who are potentially at risk.  Upon sentencing, the trial judge places sex offenders into one of three categories - sexual predator, habitual sex offender, of sexually oriented offender.  In the more serious circumstances, community notification is made.

Among the entities that are to be notified are:  school superintendents, police chiefs, neighbors (defined as those immediately adjacent to the offender's property, or in the case of apartment dwellers, neighbors sharing common hallway), as well as day care operators and others in the area.

Offenders must provide the county sheriff with their name and address, declare their classification, declare the offense(s) for which they were convicted, and be finger-printed.  A federal grant awarded in 1999 will create an electronic SORN network.  Workstations will be provided to each county sheriff and Ohio prison to facilitate the registration and notification of sex offenders.