Ohio law is slowly on its way to becoming more strict for convicted sex offenders.
Senate Bill 10, passed July 1, does not go into effect until Jan. 1, 2008, but sex offenders going through the legal system right now are being made aware of the changes, according to Mary Ann Barylski, Erie County assistant prosecutor.
The bill is a state compliance with the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a national law passed in July 2006 that requires stricter rules for sex offenders and child abductors.
"They want all the states to comply with some of the requirements," Barylski said, adding that states that do not comply risk losing some federal grant money.
The movement for the act was spearheaded by John and Reve Walsh, who lost their 6-year-old son 25 years ago when he was abducted and murdered. John Walsh hosts "America's Most Wanted," a TV program through which viewers have aided in the capture of the FBI's most wanted criminals since 1988.
The whereabouts of approximately 100,000 of the 500,000 national registered sex offenders are unknown, according to the "America's Most Wanted" Web site.
"We have to advise sex offenders of the new law and how it's going to change," Barylski said.
One change is a new classification system, a three-tier program based on the nature of the offense and the offender's prior convictions.
Reporting requirements based on these classifications will change as well, Barylski said. Tier one offenders must register for 15 years as sex offenders, tier two for 25 years and tier three for life.
Additionally, all registered sex offenders who would have completed their 10th year of registration in 2007 will now have to register for an additional five years, according to Capt. Steven Westcott, of the Erie County Sheriff's office.
These offenders are being notified of the changes via the Ohio Attorney General's office. In addition, numerous offenders currently serving prison time will be re-classified in January, Barylski said.
The new law also makes it a criminal offense for any sex offender to live within 1,000 feet of a school premises. This is currently only a civil offense. And the law will include day care and pre-school premises.
These changes are just the start with many areas of the bill still being reviewed by county prosecutors.
"There's still things out there that need to be worked out," Barylski said.
Also, classification of the offenders will now be determined by what they plea to, not based on plea bargains -- saving court costs.
"It's going to be more cost-effective, that's for sure," Barylski said.
The Adam Walsh Act also aims to ensure a national registry system for sex offenders to prevent them from evading law enforcement by moving to other states.
In addition, penalties for crimes against children are more severe, including for sex trafficking of children and child prostitution, and new Internet child crime task forces are being established to combat exploitation of children online.
Erie County Sex offenders who will be affected by new bill registration requirement to register for additional years.
Name / Age / Address / Nature of Offense
* Alan Stacy, 32, 5700 block of Susan Drive, Castalia, two counts of unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
* Clifton Jones, 51, 4200 block of Windham Place, unlawful sexual conduct with a minor
* Bradford Clark, 54, 1000 block of Second St., gross sexual imposition
* Jose Villarreal, 48, 3700 block of Old Railroad Road, gross sexual imposition
* Kenneth Cawthern, 51, 11700 block of Green Road, Wakeman, sexually oriented offender
Source: Erie County Sheriff's office