A "sexual predator" or "sex offender" is an individual that has been convicted of sexual exploitation and violent crimes against another person, including children. Sex offenders are required to register with a national database. They must include where they are employed, where they live, as well as their vehicle and license plate information. The database is coordinated and maintained through the U.S. Department of Justice. Tier 3 offenders have been convicted of the most serious of sexual offenses.
Tier III Sex Offender
A sex offender is classified as tier 3 when the crimes they commit are likened to sexual trafficking, sexual abuse, coercion or kidnapping. Tier 3 sex offenders' crimes may also involve sex with a minor, solicitation of a minor, or production or distribution of child pornography. The crimes committed by a tier 3 sex offender are punishable by imprisonment for a year or more and are often severe, abusive and/or involve sexually abusive crimes against children less than 13 years old.
Other Tier Levels
Tier 1 offenses included sex crimes that are not classified as tier 2 or tier 3. Tier 2 sex offenders have committed crimes that are punishable by one year or more of imprisonment, sex crimes involving minors such as trafficking, coercion and enticement, and abusive sexual contact. If a tier 1 or tier 2 offender commits another sex crime, they are automatically designated as tier 3.
Sex offenders must register their tier classification at the time they register as an offender in the national database and with local governments. Information regarding a sex offender is available immediately online through the national registry. Upon being released from custody or upon sentencing, state officials are required to notify sex offenders of registry requirements. Individual states are required to maintain a statewide sex offender registry as well, a service usually provided by each county's sheriff.
Length of Required Registry
Depending on the offender's tier classification, he must appear in person every three months, six months or one year to verify his address and take updated photos. The length of time an offender must report to the registry also depends on their tier classification. Tier I offenders must register for 15 years; Tier II must register for 25 years; and Tier III are required to register for life.
State and federal governments are obligated to protect the public against sex offenders who are released from police custody. In addition to being required to maintain and make available a database of all offenders convicted of sex crimes, the government also is obligated to provide resources to victims and their families, as well as to individuals seeking information regarding sex offenders living in their neighborhoods or near schools. The Department of Justice also has created "child safe" programs to identify and prosecute sexual predators.