Registration in the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry: Compliance and Consequence

New Jersey adopted the so-called Megan’s Law in 1997 as a reaction to the brutal sexual murder of a juvenile. The parents of seven-year-old Megan Kanka didn’t know that their next-door neighbor was a known sex offender and they allowed the girl to visit his home where he kidnapped and murdered her.  Megan’s Law required communities to be notified if a sex offender moved into their neighborhoods. Other states quickly adopted Megan’s Law. In 1996, under the influence of Mrs. Patty Wetterling, the mother of another victim of a horrendous juvenile sex crime in St. Joseph, Minnesota, President Bill Clinton signed a federal version of the law called the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act. The Jacob Wetterling law required all states to establish registries of sex offenders,

The registries grew over time. Gradually access to the registries went online. In 2006, the Adam Walsh Act of the federal government established federal standards for the registries and established a federal office to supervise the state registries.

The sex offender registry system has been at least partially successful in reducing the incidence of these crimes. According to Department of Health and Human Services records, from 88,000 in 1999 to 61,000 in 2013 (in spite of a 13 percent increase in population during that period).


Anyone convicted of a sex crime and residing in Minnesota is required to register as a sex offender in the Minnesota Sex Offender Registry. The life of someone listed on the registry is burdened by the requirement to inform police or other public-safety officials of their places of residence and work. Any failure to do so results in additional felony charges.

There are three levels of community notification for sex offenders in Minnesota. At the lowest risk level, the offender must notify local law enforcement when moving to a city and notify any victims within the city who request that information. At the moderate risk level, law enforcement is required to notify child-related service organizations that the offender has moved into the neighborhood. At the highest risk level, the entire community has to be notified in a publication that the offender has moved into the neighborhood.

Convictions Requiring Registration

Registration in the sex offender directory is required as part of the sentence for a wide range of sexual crimes in Minnesota. The registration takes place when the convicted sex offender is released on any supervised basis. Forms for the registration are provided by a designated registration agency in the state. The Minnesota Sex Offender Registry stores all information on sex offenders in the state. A registry agency collects and updates the state’s sex offender’s database. The public may access the database online by entering the resident zip code in the sex offender list web page. The current registry contains about 1,800 names.

These include people convicted of

  • Child pornography: If someone is proven to have representations that use of a minor (under 18) in a sexual performance or erotic behavior designed to arouse the viewer’s sexual interest.
  • Solicitation of a minor, include solicitation online: Engaging a minor for purposes of prostitution.
  • Kidnapping and false imprisonment: Kidnapping or holding a minor for sexual exploitation.
  • Criminal sexual conduct: A broad category including unwanted touching, or causing harm to another for purposes of sexual gratification.
  • Felony indecent exposure: Intentionally showing one’s sexual organs in public for purposes of sexual gratification.

Depending on the facts of the case, offenders may be required to register for different lengths of time, but all have to register for the duration of their probation or a minimum of 10 years. Those convicted of more serious sexual offenses are required to register for life. Those convicted of federal sexual offenses are generally required to register for life.

The Anderson Law Firm, PLLC has defended many people accused of serious felony crimes in Minnesota and Wisconsin. We have the have the knowledge, reliability, and skill essential to a successful criminal defense. Please contact us to learn more.

DISCLAIMER: The information contained in this article does not constitute an attorney-client relationship. Please contact attorney Kirk Anderson for an initial consultation.