Under new rules from the Justice Department, juvenile sex offenders may not have to appear on the public sex offender registry. States now have options to shield juveniles, according to Youth Today.
This shift in policy loosens up requirements of The Adam Walsh Act, which creates a national sex offender database. Originally the government mandated that all teens 14 or older, convicted of aggravated sexual assault, must appear on the registry. In May, the Justice Department gave states the choice to exempt children whose cases are handled in juvenile court. Georgia did not put juveniles on the sex offender registry before the Walsh Act. And now the new state sex offender law enacted May 29th says “conduct which is adjudicated in juvenile court shall not be considered a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor.”
Georgia is one of 47 states that have not officially complied with the Walsh Act. Some states are objecting because of the expense, others are raising ethical concerns about putting children on the public list.