Pennsylvania State Police have started the process for removing as many as 5,000 ex-offenders from the Megan’s Law registry under a state supreme court mandate and a new law.
Shaquana Green appeared at a Pennsylvania State Police barracks last month to update her information as a registered sex offender. It’s an annual chore she has done for the last five years, having landed on the Megan’s Law list after disappearing with her daughter for three hours in violation of a custody order.
As of this month, though, the name of the 26-year-old Northampton County resident no longer appears on the registry, under a state Supreme Court ruling and a new exemption for parents who had been charged with interfering with custody of children, but no sex crime.
“I get to have my life,” Green said last week. “This is more than a blessing.”
Last year, the state Supreme Court ruled retroactive application of the state’s version of the new, tougher Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act was unconstitutional. In response, state lawmakers passed House Bill 631, a stop-gap measure to keep up to 12,000 individuals on the registry, but that included an exemption for legal guardians charged with interference with custody of children. Gov. Tom Wolf signed the bill into law Feb. 21. The exemption applies to only legal guardians of children, though another bill in the state Senate would remove interference with custody of children as a Megan’s Law offense; Pennsylvania and Louisiana are the only states where the crime is considered a violent sex offense even when no sexual contact occurred.