Spotlighted: Military Sex Offender Reporting Act | Law Offices of David P. Sheldon
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Spotlighted: Military Sex Offender Reporting Act

The focus of today's blog post is on federal legislation entitled the Military Sex Offender Reporting Act, a law that was recently signed by President Obama.

As a media article discussing the law notes, the legislation was ushered in "with little fanfare."

Notwithstanding any muted publicity that might have accompanied its passage, though, its ramifications are significant for many military members about to depart the service.

The select demographic that promises to be affected by the law encompasses all servicemembers convicted of a sexual crime while on active duty and adjudged as sex offenders by military officials.

Prior to the legislation's recent passing, common procedure dictated that registered military sex offenders report to civilian authorities and register in their local post-discharge communities.

Critics of that practice charged that it created a loophole and window of time during which a convicted offender would essentially be under the radar and more capable of reoffending in the civilian community. A review of the civilian registration process over one recent measuring period indicated that about 10 percent of military sex offenders failed to register following discharge.

One national legislator who supported the passage of the new law points to its goal as requiring all military sex offenders "to be fingerprinted, to have their DNA taken and to be identified as a sex predator." The new legislation mandates that those persons be registered in the national offender database before they are discharged.

Such legislation could of course have a salutary effect on public safety.

Concurrently, though, it comes with a heavy stigma for individuals required to register who will be perpetually deemed as sexual predators.

For obvious reasons, allegations of sexual misconduct are a serious matter, both for alleged victims and persons pointed to as being offenders.

Victims have an unquestioned right to justice. So, too, do persons charged with sexual assault and other sex-based offenses.

The stakes are high for everyone involved in a proceeding alleging criminal sexual conduct.

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