Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act; offenses requiring registration. (HB2088)

Introduced By

Del. Vivian Watts (D-Annandale)


Passed Committee
Passed House
Passed Senate
Signed by Governor
Became Law


Offenses requiring registration under the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry Act; unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another. Adds a third or subsequent conviction of unlawful dissemination or sale of images of another to the list of offenses requiring registration under the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry. Read the Bill »


Bill Has Failed


01/07/2019Prefiled and ordered printed; offered 01/09/19 19101526D
01/07/2019Referred to Committee for Courts of Justice
01/08/2019Impact statement from VCSC (HB2088)
01/21/2019Impact statement from DPB (HB2088)
01/29/2019Assigned Courts sub: Subcommittee #1
02/05/2019Left in Courts of Justice


Mary D. Devoy writes:

This bill needs a start date of July 1, 2019. Why?

Because without that start date (per §9.1-901. Section C) if this becomes law it will be applied retroactively, This means the Virginia State Police will search all VA Court records for people who already have three convictions of Unlawful Dissemination and force those people to retroactively register as VSP Sex Offenders with ZERO due process all under the threat of a felony.

Be sure to read the number of convictions per the FIS in two-year period 61 people. Because no one knows if there have been any 3rd strikes the FIS is the very bottom dollar of $50,000 it could be MUCH more.

New criminal laws should ONLY be applied to new crimes committed AFTER the law went into effect, NOT after.

Ut Prosim writes:

Based on the evidence that public registration may actually increase recidivism, that registration makes reintegration into society more difficult, that registrant employer names and addresses are part of the public registry, that multiple deceased citizens are listed publicly by the Commonwealth as having committed sexual offenses, this bill is another in the long list of punishments the General Assembly has foisted on Virginia citizens. In the ivory tower courts, it may be an “administrative” action. From the citizen’s perspective, it’s public humiliation without public safety benefit.

Since there is no evidence that registration reduces recidivism or enhances public safety in any way, the bill can only be characterized as punishment. Does the Virginia taxpayer really need to pay $10 million per year for the Commonwealth to post personal information publicly about its citizens who committed a sex offense decades ago and have the information “managed” so poorly?

The wholesale failure of the General Assembly’s last public registration effort is evidenced at § 9.1-923. Supplement to the Sex Offender and Crimes Against Minors Registry established. When originally posted, the list had 5,604 records. With only 5,537 records now, only 67 names have been removed since created by a 2015 law.

The average age of those registrants is over 66 years with their last conviction over 30 years ago. That vindictive legislation created for Rob Buswell punishes numerous citizens, long since in the grave. Virginia State Police “manages” the registry just as required by law, removing information only by court order.

To confirm the ridiculousness of Robby’s Rule, aka Robby’s Revenge, consider supplement registrant Elmer S Baber, born in 1913, convicted on March 28, 1988 at the age of 74. Oh, but he died on May 27, 1996, nearly two decades before the punitive legislation passed with overwhelming bipartisan support. Yet the Commonwealth reaches into the grave to punish and accepts no responsibility for correcting its senseless passage of another ill-conceived law.

We find that notification may actually increase recidivism. This latter finding, consistent with the idea that notification imposes severe costs that offset the benefits to offenders of forgoing criminal activity, is significant, given that notification’s purpose is recidivism reduction.

…it is becoming increasingly clear from the growing body of research that registration and community notification laws are not an effective strategy for reducing sexual offenses. In fact, focusing attention and resources on the small number of known, registered sex offenders detracts attention from the more common types of sexual offenses that occur, leaving people vulnerable to sexual abuse and creating a false sense of security.
Furthermore, the results of this and previous studies indicate that sex offender legislation created without empirical research to support its ability (or possible ability) to reduce sexual offending can not only be ineffective and wasteful, but can also have unintended and often negative consequences. For example, community notification and residency restriction laws have been found to make it more difficult for released sex offenders to successfully integrate back into society (Levenson & Cotter, 2005b; Levenson, D’Amora, & Hern, 2007), thereby increasing their risk to re-offend (especially those subject to community notification; Freeman, 2008). Such findings are especially important in light of continuing legislative efforts directed at controlling convicted sex offenders such as the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act (2006), which lacks empirical research to support its effectiveness for increasing public safety.