Sex Offenders: Definition, Types, Laws & Rights

Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Jessica Schubert

Jessica is a practicing attorney and has taught law and has a J.D. and LL.M.

Learn about sex offenders. Specifically, review the definition of a sex offender and the different types of offenses. Moreover, we'll also examine the laws on sex offenses and the rights of sex offenders. Then you can test your knowledge with a quiz.

Definition of Sex Offenders

Unfortunately, every evening news program usually contains a story involving sexual offenses. Moreover, the newspaper frequently features articles about sex offenders. Sex offenders are people who commit sexual offenses. While every state's laws are different, these offenses typically include the crimes of rape, child molestation, and abuse. Every state has sex offender statutes as well. These statutes apply to those individuals who have been convicted of certain statutorily described sex crimes. Typically these crimes have been identified as crimes which pose a threat of repetition and therefore of causing harm towards others.

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  • 0:00 Definition of Sex Offenders
  • 0:45 Types of Sex Offenses
  • 1:37 Sexual Offender Laws
  • 2:38 Sexual Offender Rights
  • 3:01 Lesson Summary
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Types of Sex Offenses

The following are various types of sexual offenses and a general description of each type.

1. Rape

Rapists are individuals who have committed rape. Generally, rape consists of forced sexual intercourse with another individual. In addition, rape can also occur when the victim was unable to give consent due to being a minor, due to a mental or physical disability, or due to some type of chemical impairment like alcohol and certain types of drugs.

2. Child Molestation

Child molestation is the sexual abuse of minors. It can include physical contact with a child, use of a child in a pornographic manner, or indecent exposure.

3. Sexual Abuse

Sexual abuse is a type of forceful sexual contact. It doesn't rise to the level of rape, but there is generally some sort of sexual touching that occurs. This can include unwanted groping or grabbing.

Sexual Offender Laws

All state laws vary in their description of sexual offense laws. Therefore, it's critical to check the law of the state in which you reside. Moreover, the federal, state, and local governments may have laws which apply to sexual offenders, so it's important to check every source.

Generally, sexual offense laws aim to regulate how the offenders integrate once they are returned back into society from prison. These laws are known as registration laws. Registration laws require sexual offenders to register with the local police department in the city or town where they reside. The offender typically must at least provide their current address. This information is then spread to a specific region within the offender's home address so neighbors can be aware.

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