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Big changes coming to Pennsylvania's sex offender registry

Gov. Tom Wolf is expected to sign a bill updating the state sex offender registry that will meet changes ordered by the state Supreme Court.

In July, the court ruled the Sex Offender Registry and Notification Act was unconstitutional, claiming it was used to punish offenders, not just monitor them.

11 investigates first reported in October that thousands of offenders would be removed from SORNA if legislators in Harrisburg didn't take action.

That forced legislators into action.


"No one wants to have a law that's ex post facto, that's clearly unconstitutional," Reschenthaler said. 
"But you have to balance that with the safety of the community and making sure that there aren't further victims."

The new version will remove non-sexual crimes involving parent custody and false imprisonment from the registry.

"We were looking at about 17,000 people being removed from the SORNA list," said state Sen. Guy Reschenthaler, R-Bethel Park. "Obviously, that puts the public at risk. By these changes, a lot of those more violent offenders will still be on the list."

Defense attorney Phil DiLucente said the updates will also make the legal system more fair for his clients.

"When persons were pleading guilty previous to 2012, they had no idea that they would ever, for a misdemeanor offense, be on a registry,” said defense attorney Phil DiLucente.

"I think that you'll still have challenges to it. But I think the big open trapdoor is shut."

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