Q: My son was convicted of rape and additional other charges back in 2002. He was 19 the alleged victim was 18. Both have Asperger’s, but he is on the higher end as he is educated. I had put him in several programs for him to reach his full potential. The court claimed the alleged victim to be unable to consent however the judge found her competent to testify. Her testimony didn’t indicate any acts of force or violence and only attempted oral sex. They prompted her with stuffed animals, crayons and coloring books so during the jury being taken to and from the courtroom the jurors could witness this crap. My son served 8 years in state prison and must now register. I would so like to have the truth revealed and his record cleared. I have letters and documents from that period from her father as well as family members who know she can consent and consented to whatever happened. She has since been arrested for solicitation in a public area. (New Stanton, PA)
A: As noted, the appeal deadlines have long passed. A direct appeal was due within 30 days of sentencing and a Post-Conviction Relief Act petition was due within one year of his conviction. As far as any Megan’s Law rules that he may be subject to, you should call his parole or probation officer to see what is required of him. If he would fail to register or report as required, he could be incarcerated again so it is very important that you and he know what is expected of him. It may be a long shot but there is a rule regarding after discovered evidence that will, in certain circumstances, allow a new trial. If you feel that recently discovered evidence would prove that she had capacity to consent back in 2002, and this evidence was not available to you until now, you may want to review that information with a criminal appeals attorney.
Q: My father is 73 in poor health and I am trying to find a way to get him to be able to live in his home with my mother. He has been out of jail for over 2 years with no issues. Is there anything I can do to modify his conditions, so he would be able to move back? (McKeesport, PA)
A: There is too little information here. If for whatever reason one of the terms or conditions of his parole or probation is that he cannot live with your mother, you will need to ask the judge whose probation he is on or the PA Board of Parole and Probation. He may be out of the time limits to file a modification of sentence. However, much more information is needed so I suggest you contact him or his attorney.
Q: My 12-year-old has a public defender. She is accused of felony indecent sexual assault and misdemeanor indecent assault against a 12-year-old peer. We believe it was consensual and the girl has “buyer’s remorse”. I would like to plead not guilty. She can plead to the misdemeanor, I don’t accept that. What do you think would be best? (Cranberry Township, PA)
Q: These cases require a great deal of preparation and attention. The penalties are drastic and unfair. Jail is unlikely but sexual offender registration could be, which is oppressive. I had a similar case between teenagers. We were in the middle of trial and because the judge sensed that it was consensual, the judge brokered a consent decree with no admission of guilt for my client. This seemed fair to me as it would help avoid any Megan’s law (SORA at the time) compliance or registration and a criminal/juvenile record. However, every fact pattern is different. You have an entirely different prosecutor and Judge. I am not sure what options are available to your child. Talk with her public defender and gauge how involved they are and how interested they are in defending your daughter. If you are not comfortable, you can always hire a private attorney.
Q: My fiancé and I want to get married but I recently got custody of my two granddaughters. Can he be able to stay in my home with me? He seems to like kids.
A: Your fiancé should know. If he doesn’t, that is a potential problem. When he entered his plea, he should have been given an explicit list of terms and conditions of his probation and Megan’s Law requirements. No one can answer this question without knowing these details or whether he was deemed a sexually violent predator. He may have been psychologically tested as part of his Megan’s Law requirement. If his story is that he lost his paperwork, or cannot remember such an important event in his life, he should get in contact with his former lawyer or probation officer to clarify. In addition, in the tragic event that something does happen, you may have criminal liability if you are aware of this past.
Q: I’m about to move to Pennsylvania to go to college and I’m a sexual offender that was adjudicated and not convicted. I was 17 dating a 13 year old and the courts charged me with rape because of age difference. I went to juvenile prison for 9 months what I’m wondering is Megan’s law states juvenile offenders registering is unconstitutional and I contacted them and they said they almost positive I won’t have to register anymore. (Leesburg, VA)
A: On December 29, 2014, In re: J.B., No.87 MAP 2014, the Pennsylvania Supreme Court struck down SORNA’s Juvenile Offender registration requirements as unconstitutional. Juveniles are no longer required to register in Pennsylvania, except if they are classified by the Court as a Sexually Violent Delinquent Child. This decision also includes Juveniles who are to register in another jurisdiction or foreign country.