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 coordinated and maintained through the U.S. Department of Justice. The database categorizes offenders into one of three tiers based on his or her offenses. Tier 3 offenders have been convicted of the most serious of sexual crimes.
Tier 3 categorizes re-offenders and those who are considered to be the most dangerous sex offenders.
Tier 3 Sex Offenders
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 include 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.
Upon being released from custody or upon sentencing, state officials are required to notify sex offenders of registry requirements. A sex offenders' tier classification is registered at the time they are placed onto the national database. This information is available immediately online through the national registry. Individual states are required to maintain a statewide sex offender registry as well, a service usually provided by each county's sheriff. 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.