New York Sex Offender Records

What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is a person that commits a crime involving a sexual act. The State of New York provides for the different classes of offenses that can make a person a sex offender, and these offenses include rape, sexual misconduct, and other criminal sexual acts. New York State Courts have the responsibility to administer justice regarding these offenses. The courts also classify culprits of such crimes into different levels to protect the public.

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in New York?

Section 168-A of the New York Sex Offender Registration Act describes a ‘sex offender’ as a person convicted of a sex offense. Under Sec. 130.05 of the New York Penal Code, acts of this nature occur without the consent of the victim. Lack of consent may result from forcible compulsion or the inability of the victim to consent. It may also involve acts of sexual intercourse, oral sexual conduct, anal sexual conduct, or sexual contact with a non-consenting victim.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in New York?

The New York State Penal Code designates the following crimes as sex offenses in the state:

Sexual Misconduct: Sec. 130.20 of the New York Penal Code describes acts of sexual misconduct as where a person:

  • Engages in any kind of sexual intercourse with another person, and without the consent of that other person
  • Engages in any form of oral or anal sexual conduct with another person without the consent of the other person
  • Carries out acts of sexual conduct with a dead person or an animal

In the State of New York, sexual misconduct is a class A misdemeanor.

Rape in the 3rd Degree: Under sec. 130.25 of the New York Penal Code, a person commits this offense, where:

  • The culprit engages in any kind of sexual intercourse with a person that is incapable of consent for some reason other than because the victim is below 17
  • A culprit that is 21 or more engages in sexual intercourse with a victim that is below 17

In New York, rape in the 3rd degree is a class E felony.

Rape in the 2nd Degree: Sec. 130.30 of the New York Penal Code provides that a person may commit the offense of rape in the 2nd degree where:

  • The culprit is 18 or older and engages in acts of sexual intercourse with a victim that is below 15
  • A culprit engages in acts of sexual intercourse with a person that cannot consent because of a mental disability or incapacitation.

The State of New York classifies rape in the 3rd degree as a class D felony.

Rape in the 1st Degree: Sec. 130.35 of the New York Penal Code describes acts constituting rape in the 1st degree as to where a culprit engages in sexual intercourse with a victim:

  • By using forcible compulsion on that victim
  • Where the victim cannot consent because such a victim is helpless
  • Where the victim is below 11 years
  • Where the culprit is 18, and the victim is below 13

In New York City, rape in the 1st degree is a class B felony.

Criminal Sexual Acts in the 3rd Degree: Under sec. 130.40 of the New York Penal Code, a culprit commits an offense in this category where:

  • The culprit engages in any form of oral or anal sexual conduct with a person that is incapable of consent for some reason other than being under 17
  • The culprit is 21or more and engages in acts of oral or anal sexual conduct with a person below 17
  • The culprit engages in acts of oral or anal sexual conduct with another person without obtaining the consent of that other person, even where the victim is capable of consenting.

The State of New York classifies offenses in this category as class E felonies.

Criminal Sexual Acts in the 2nd Degree: A culprit is guilty of an offense in this category, under section 130.45 of the New York Penal Code where:

  • The culprit is 18 or more and engages in acts of oral or anal sexual conduct with a victim that is below 15
  • The culprit engages in oral or anal sexual conduct with a victim that cannot consent because such a victim is mentally incapacitated or disabled.

In New York, criminal sexual acts in the 2nd degree is a class D felony.

Criminal Sexual Acts in the 1st Degree: A culprit is guilty of committing a criminal act in the 1st degree, under sec. 130.50, where the culprit engages in acts of oral or anal sexual conduct where:

  • The victim of the act is not capable of consenting due to being in a state of physical helplessness.
  • The culprit uses forcible compulsion to carry out the crime
  • The victim is below 11
  • The culprit is 18 or more, and the victim is below 13

The State of New York classifies offenses under this category as class B felonies.

Forcible Touching: Section 130.52 of the New York Penal Code describes this offense as when a culprit intentionally and for no legitimate reason:

  • Forcibly touches the sexual or intimate parts of a victim to degrade or abuse the victim and gratify the culprit’s sexual desire.
  • Subjects a victim to sexual contact to gratify the culprit’s sexual desire and degrade or abuse a victim who is a passenger in a transport vehicle in New York

Forcible touching under New York law includes squeezing, pinching, and grabbing. The offense is a class A misdemeanor.

Persistent Sexual Abuse: Section 130.53 of the New York Penal Code covers this offense. It applies to circumstances where the culprit commits forcible touching under the New York Penal Code and sexual abuse in the 3rd degree, and within the previous ten years, the culprit has been convicted two or more times of similar offenses or any other sexual offense that amounts to a felony. Under New York law, persistent sexual abuse is a class E felony.

Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree: Section 130.55 of the New York Penal Code defines this offense as where a culprit subjects a victim to sexual contact without the consent of the victim. However, it is an affirmative defense that:

  • The victim’s lack of consent was not due to being below 17
  • The victim was older than 14 at the time of the crime
  • The culprit was less than five years older than the victim at the time

3rd-degree sexual abuse is a class B misdemeanor in New York.

Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree: Section 130.60 of the New York Penal Code defines sexual abuse in the 2nd degree as to where a culprit subjects a victim to sexual contact, and:

  • The victim is below 14
  • The victim cannot consent for some other factor than being below 17 years of age.

2nd-degree sexual abuse is a class A misdemeanor in the State of New York.

Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree: The offense of sexual abuse in the 1st degree is defined in section 130.65 of the New York Penal Code as where a culprit subjects a victim to acts of sexual contact where:

  • The culprit uses forcible compulsion to carry out the abuse
  • The victim is incapable of consenting because such victim is physically helpless
  • The victim is below the age of 11
  • The victim is below 13 years, and the culprit is at least 21 or older

In New York, this offense is a class D felony.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the 4th Degree: According to section 130.65-A of the New York Penal Code, this offense when:

  • A culprit inserts an object into the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum, or anus of the victim who cannot consent.
  • A culprit inserts a finger into the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum, or anus of a victim who cannot consent and causes physical injury to the victim.

An act of the above conduct done by a person for a valid medical purpose does not violate this section. Where a person commits this type of offense in New York, it is a class E felony.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the 3rd Degree: Under section 130.66 of the New York Penal Code, a person commits an offense in this category where the person inserts an object in the rectum, vagina, penis, anus, or urethra of a victim, and where:

  • The culprit uses forcible compulsion.
  • The victim is helpless physically and cannot consent
  • The victim was below 11 at the time of the offense
  • The act causes physical injury to the victim who is mentally disabled or incapable

Third-degree aggravated sexual abuse is a class D felony and does not include acts committed for valid medical purposes.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the 2nd Degree: Section 130.67 of the New York Penal Code defines this offense as where a culprit inserts a finger in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum, or anus of a victim, causing physical injury to the victim under the following circumstances:

  • Where the victim cannot consent to the act because such a victim is physically helpless
  • Where the victim is below 11
  • Where the culprit uses forcible compulsion to facilitate the offense

Second-degree aggravated sexual abuse is a class C felony in New York.

Aggravated Sexual Abuse in the 1st Degree: Under section 130.70 of the New York Penal Code, a culprit commits this offense where such a culprit inserts an object in the vagina, urethra, penis, rectum, or anus of a victim and causes physical injury to such person in the following circumstances:

  • Where the culprit employs forcible compulsion to commit the crime
  • Where the victim of the offense is under 11 years
  • Where the victim cannot consent to the act due to a physical helplessness

Aggravated sexual abuse in the State of New York is a class B felony and does not include acts done for valid medical purposes.

Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the 1st Degree: Section 130.75 of the New York Penal Code defines this offense as circumstances when a culprit, over some time, not less than three months, does the following:

  • Engages in more than one act of sexual conduct, with one of them being an act of sexual intercourse, oral or anal sexual conduct, or aggravated sexual contact with a child below 11
  • Where the culprit, being 18 or older, engages in two or more of the above acts with a minor below 13

In New York, a course of sexual conduct against a child in the 1st degree is a class B felony.

Course of Sexual Conduct Against a Child in the 2nd Degree: Under section 130.80 of the New York Penal Code, a culprit commits an offense in this category, where over a period not exceeding three months:

  • The culprit carries out two or more acts of sexual conduct with a minor below 11
  • The culprit is 18 or older, carries out two or more acts of sexual conduct with a minor below 13

In New York, a course of sexual conduct against a child in the 2nd degree is a class D felony.

Female Genital Mutilation (FGM): Under section 130.85 of the New York Penal Code, a culprit is guilty of FGM where:

  • The culprit knowingly circumcises, excises, or infibulates in whole or part, the labia majora or labia minora or clitoris of a victim that is not up to 18
  • The culprit is the parent or legal guardian of a person below 18 and knowingly consents to the FGM of the minor

In New York, FGM is a class E felony, and acts done for valid medical purposes do not classify as offenses under this section.

Facilitating a Sex Offense With a Controlled Substance: Under section 130.90 of the New York Penal Code, a person commits this offense where such person has, and uses a controlled substance on a victim, without the consent of the victim, to commit an act that amounts to a felony. It is a class D felony in the State of New York.

Sexually Motivated Felony: Under section 130.91 of the New York Penal Code, a culprit commits this type of offense where the culprit commits a specified offense under subsection 2 of section 130.91 for the direct sexual gratification of the culprit. These acts include stalking in the 1st degree, strangulation in the 2nd degree, assault in the 2nd degree, etc.

Predatory Sexual Assault: Section 130.95 of the New York Penal Code defines offenses in this category as acts that occur in the commission of rape in the 1st degree, a criminal sexual act in the 1st degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the 1st degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the 1st degree, and where:

  • Such an act causes physical injury to the victim of the crime
  • The culprit or offender uses or threatens to use a weapon
  • The culprit has committed or has a conviction for crimes in this category, including incest

Predatory sexual assault in the State of New York is a class A-II felony.

Predatory Sexual Assault Against a Child: Under section 130.96 of the New York Penal Code, a person commits this offense where being 18 or older, the culprit commits rape in the 1st degree, a criminal sexual act in the 1st degree, aggravated sexual abuse in the 1st degree, or course of sexual conduct against a child in the 1st degree to a victim who is a minor below the age of 13. The State of New York Recognizes this offense as a class A-II felony.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in New York?

Courts in New York, after examining the facts and circumstances of a case, will assess a culprit regarding whether the culprit is likely to repeat the same offense, commit a similar offense or pose a danger to the community. In New York, risk levels are unique to a culprit, and persons convicted of the same offense may receive different risk levels. These levels are:

Level 1 Risk Assessment: Courts in New York regard persons in this category as having low risks of reoffending. Culprits in this category must submit updated photos once every three years and must register for 20 years.

Level 2 Risk Assessment: Persons in this category show a moderate risk of repeating the offense, and the information on such culprits is available for public consumption. Factors that can influence designation in this category include the nature of previous crimes, alcohol and drug abuse, and other criminal activities of the culprit. Such a culprit must submit updated photos every three years and register as a sex offender for life.

Level 3 Risk Assessment: The law reserves this category for offenders with a high risk of repeating the offense. Such culprits also pose great danger to the public, and crimes in this category are often violent, or culprits have predatory tendencies. Also, it may apply in cases where the culprit failed to complete mandatory sex offender treatment programs. Culprits with level 3 risk assessments must carry out address verification with the police every 90 days and must register for life as sex offenders.

The court, in addition to the above risk levels, may also designate a culprit as a sexually violent offender, sexual predator, or predicate sex offender. Where this happens, such a culprit must register for life, despite the risk level.

How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in New York

The New York State Sex Offender Registration Act allows for the publicizing of the information of culprits. Interested persons may find such information through the following ways:

The DCJS has the responsibility to maintain information on sex offenders in New York. The division also maintains an online directory with an active alert system to notify interested persons whenever a culprit listed on the directory moves. Individuals who want information on level one culprits and other undetermined culprits may call (800) 262-3257 from 8 am and 4:30 pm on Mondays through Fridays, except on legal holidays. A caller must provide the name of the culprit and any of the following information to enable the division to find the culprit on the database:

  • The exact address of the culprit
  • The culprit’s date of birth
  • The culprit’s driver’s license number or
  • The social security number of the culprit

Individuals may also carry out direct searches on the New York State Sex Offender Registry. It is a public repository of information on culprits. Under relevant laws, this directory only provides information of culprits on risk levels 2 and 3. The website is not allowed to list information on culprits of risk level 1.

Local law enforcement agencies are also another way for individuals to find such information in the City of New York. Such law enforcement agencies must inform the members of a community about any sex offender living in the area. However, this information does not allow public members to harass the culprit or commit a crime against such a person.

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in New York?

After release from a correctional facility for a registrable sex offense, the law expects an offender to register with the DCJS. Such culprits must also pay certain sex offender registration fees and mandatory surcharges to the Clerk of the Court. Culprits with no prison time or who went to prison for less than 60 days must pay these fees within 60 days of the sentence. Failure to pay attracts a warrant of arrest, suspension of driver’s license, or a civil judgment. Convicted culprits must also provide DNA samples to be added to the New York State DNA Databank.

Upon registration, the division must create and maintain a file of these culprits, containing the following information:

  • The name of the culprit, including all known aliases
  • The date of birth of the culprit, sex, race, height, weight, color, and driver’s license number
  • The home address and/or any designated living place of the culprit
  • The social media accounts and other internet identifiers of the culprit
  • A photograph of the culprit, description of the offense, date of conviction, and sentence imposed
  • The name and address of any institution of higher learning where the culprit studies, plans to study, work or live
  • The employment address or expected place of employment of level 2 or 3 culprits

Before the release of the culprit, sec. 168-C of the Sex Offender Registration Act mandates the correctional facility or hospital to notify the division of the release. The notification must contain information on where the culprit is to live, work, or study. Local law enforcement agencies in the area where the culprit resides may release information on such sex offenders through community notification to establishments with a vulnerable population related to the offense. These include schools and other areas where vulnerable members of society may be.

What is the New York Sex Offender Registry?

The New York Sex Offender Registry is an online database that provides a listing of sex offenders residing within the state. It's maintained by the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS). New York laws mandate the compulsory registration of any individual convicted of felonies requiring registration in the jurisdiction of conviction, or any individual convicted of one or more federal or military offenses.

The State classifies sex offenders as either Level One, Level Two, or Level Three offenders. Level One sex offenders are considered as low-risk offenders, while Level Two and Three offenders are regarded as moderate-risk and high-risk offenders, respectively. The New York Sex Offender Registration Act (SORA) grants public access to the registry. However, only data on Levels Two and Three sex offenders are available on the public registry. Requesters can search for sex offenders on the registry using the offender's name, county, or zip code. The registry contains data on the locations, physical descriptions, and, where available, pictures of registered sex offenders. People can also sign up to receive alerts whenever a sex offender moves in or out of their neighborhood.

Sex offenders have to pay a sex offender registration fee of $50 and an additional sex offender victim fee of $20 to the State. They also have to provide DNA samples and pay fees of $50 for their DNA to be added to the New York State DNA Databank. The police use the DNA database to search for matches to the DNA gathered from crimes. The public cannot access the DNA Databank.

What are the Sex Offender Laws in New York?

The New York Sex Offender Registration Act, also known as the SORA or "Megan's Law," is the principal law regulating sex offenders' registration in the State. It mandates people convicted of sex crimes to register with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) for either a period of twenty years after conviction or for life. The SORA establishes a guide for determining sex offenders' risk levels. Offenders assessed to have a high likelihood for a re-offense are designated as Level Three, while those at moderate risk are termed Level Two sex offenders. Those at low risk are defined as Level One sex offenders.

After being convicted for a sex crime, all sex offenders are entitled to a hearing to assess their risk level. The different risk levels determine the duration of registration required from a sex offender. Level One offenders have to register for twenty years, unless they are designated as either sexual predators, or sexually violent offenders, or predicate sex offenders, in which case they have to register for life. Level Two and Level Three offenders are mandated to register for life.

Can Sex Offenders Live With Their Families in New York?

The New York Sex Offender Registration Act does not restrict where a registered sex offender may live. However, where other New York State laws prohibit offenders under parole or probation supervision from living within 1,000 feet of a school or other facilities caring for children, sex offenders may have to seek other accommodation alternatives if their family stays within such restricted areas.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in New York?

Sex offenders living, studying, or working in New York are not mandated to notify their neighbors of their sex offender status. However, they have to register with the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) or the local law enforcement authority of the county or city they reside in, not later than ten days after they arrive in that county or city. Basically,

Sex offenders have to do the following:

  • Provide the address of their employers at the point of registration.
  • Annually report where they live by signing and returning an annual verification form to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services within ten days after receiving it.
  • Send a written Notification of their new address to the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services not more than ten days after relocating.
  • Report in person every three years to a local police agency to have their current photograph taken for Level One and Two offenders or every year for Level Three offenders
  • Notify the DCJS in writing of any institution of higher education they either currently attend or are enrolled in, living, or employed. They have to report any change in status no later than ten days after the change.
  • Provide written notifications on their Internet service providers, email accounts, and Internet screen names.
  • Level Three offenders and offenders designated as sexual predators have to verify their addresses every 90 days with the relevant law enforcement agencies. Law enforcement agencies can take a photograph of a Level Three offender at the point of verification if there is a change in the offender's appearance.

Failure to perform any of the registration requirements is a felony. An initial conviction is punishable as a Class E felony, while a second or subsequent conviction is punishable as a Class D felony.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put a Sign in Their Yard in New York?

The law does not require sex offenders in New York to put up signs in their yards. However, there are other restrictions they may face, like having to stay certain distances from schools and other facilities that care for children. They may also be prohibited from taking up some employment like driving school buses or working in ice cream trucks.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in New York?

The New York Sex Offender Registration Act does not outrightly restrict the residency options of a registered sex offender. However, other New York State laws may limit offenders under parole or probation supervision from living within 1,000 feet from a school or other facilities caring for children.

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in New York?

No, generally, New York has no enactment on erasing or expunging criminal records except for some cases of marijuana-related crimes. Instead, the State may allow some criminal records to be sealed. Sealing a charge means that an offender's fingerprints, palmprint cards, booking photos, and DNA samples may be returned to the offender or destroyed concerning a crime; however, the offender's criminal record still exists. When a record is sealed, the documents held by the Department of Criminal Justice Services, the Police, Prosecutors, and in some instances, court records are hidden from the public but can still be seen by:

  • The offender, upon tendering an Identity Card
  • Anyone authorized by the offender to ask for the records upon tendering an Identity Card
  • Employers of offenders, if they are applying for jobs where they are required to carry a gun
  • An offenders' parole officer, if the offender was arrested while on parole or probation
  • Prosecutor if offenders move for an Adjournment in Contemplation of Dismissal (ACD) on a marijuana charge
  • A law enforcement agency, by order of the court

Sex crimes are not eligible for sealing. However, a sex offender can apply for the following:

1. Sex Offender Petition for Relief or Modification

The law permits sex offenders to apply to the court to be removed from the sex offenders' registry and be relieved from registration requirements. After filing a motion, sex offenders are entitled to court-appointed attorneys if they cannot afford one. This relief is open to Level Two sex offenders who, after 30 years of registration, have not been designated as sexual predators, sexually violent offenders, or predicate sex offenders. Eligible sex offenders can file this petition once every two years.

Registered sex offenders can also petition the sentencing court or the court which determined their risk level for a downward review of their risk level. They can file this petition once a year. They have to include the new level requested in their petition and why the court should grant their petition. A District Attorney can also ask the court to upwardly modify a sex offender's risk level where the sex offender has been convicted of a new sex crime or has contravened a condition that the District Attorney thinks increases the offender's re-offense risk.

2. Certificate of Relief from Disabilities

Sex offenders can also apply for a Certificate of Relief from Disabilities (CRD) to remove certain Collateral Consequences of a sex offense conviction. Sex offenders are not eligible to get a CRD if they have been convicted for two or more felonies, not at the same time). However, if they want to apply for a public office job, they cannot apply for a CRD. Obtaining a CRD can remove certain bars like bars on specific licenses, bars to apply for jobs, and public housing. People who apply for and receive a CRD can apply for jobs just like anyone without a conviction. However, despite having a CRD, offenders may still have to state that they have criminal convictions when they fill out job applications.

People can apply for CRD at the following instances:

  • At sentencing: sex offenders can apply to a judge for a CRD at sentencing if they are likely to lose an employment license or public housing due to their conviction.
  • After sentencing: sex offenders can apply for a CRD any time after sentencing except during the period they are in state prisons. They can apply to the court that sentenced them, as long as their conviction does not result in incarceration in a state prison.
  • After release from State Prison: after serving time in state prison, sex offenders, if eligible, can apply to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to obtain a CRD.

3. Certificate of Good Conduct

A Certificate of Good Conduct (CGC) legally certifies that a convict, including a sex offender, is reformed after a conviction. It removes some of the consequences and restrictions of a criminal conviction. It allows offenders to apply for specific jobs, licenses, public office, housing, or other rights that they may have lost due to conviction. However, people who have obtained a CGC may still have to state that they have previous criminal convictions when filling out job applications.

Sex offenders are eligible to apply for a CGC if they have been convicted of two or more separate felonies or if they want a job in a public office. When counting felony convictions to obtain a CGC, federal and out-of-state charges are considered. One CGC, if granted, covers all felony and misdemeanor convictions.

To apply for a CGC, offenders have to show that they have concluded a period of good conduct. People convicted of an A or B felony have to wait five years before getting a CGC, while those with C, D, or E felonies wait for three years before getting a CGC. For those convicted of misdemeanors, their wait period is one year. The waiting period commences from the last time an offender got out of prison or the date of their previous conviction if they were not sentenced to a jail term in state prison. Offenders have to apply to the Department of Corrections and Community Supervision to get a CGC, and not to the court.

How to Lookup Sex Offenders in New York

People can obtain Information on Level Two and Level Three offenders by checking the New York State Division of Criminal Justice Services (DCJS) website. The DCJS does not list Level One offenders on its website. However, anyone can call the Sex Offender Registry at (518) 457-5837 to get information about all levels of sex offenders. When calling, they may have to provide the offender's name and either the offender's date of birth, exact address, social security number, or driver's license number.

People can also register to receive notifications via email, text message, fax, or telephone whenever a Level Two or Level Three sex offender listed on the sex offender registry moves to, or from, a community of interest to them or their family. Furthermore, law enforcement agencies may notify the public about sex offenders living in a particular area. People who have information about sex offenders may tell others, but they are discouraged from using the information to harass or commit a crime against others.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in New York?

People who expose intimate or private parts of their bodies in public places may be accused of a lewd Act. The law defines a lewd act as any activity considered to be indecent when performed in public. The ‘public’ could mean a park, bus, subway platform, library, beach, theater, or public restroom. People can also be accused of lewd conduct in their houses or other private residences, which others can observe from a public place or other private places. However, in New York, being convicted of a lewd act amounts to a misdemeanor, not a felony.

How to Report a Sex Offender in New York

Sex offenders must register and provide written notifications on their new address to the DCJS or other relevant law enforcement agencies no later than ten days after moving. People who have information that sex offenders are not living at their reported address or who believe a sex offender is committing an offense can contact their local law enforcement agencies just as they would do in any case of suspected criminal activity. Also, people can report non-compliant or unregistered sex offenders at the federal level by contacting the United States Marshals Service (USMS) online.