Turns out that one Santa found himself on the naughty list. An Orlando man working as a Santa Claus-for hire was arrested last year after law enforcement officers found his ad on Craigslist.
There was one problem with the man’s Santa act. He was a registered sex offender. Even though he was convicted in 1993, he still had to report his occupation and the email that he used to communicate with clients.
A Cautionary Tale for All Registered Sex Offenders
The ad placed by the offender depicted him with a child sitting on his lap. The copy advertised his services for the Christmas season. Police arrested the Bad Santa during a sting operation where they hired him for a fake party.
The man said that he didn’t know the reporting requirements, but that didn’t stop officers from handcuffing him. Consider this a cautionary tale for anyone who has been convicted of a sex crime: Know your reporting requirements.
Crimes That Could Land You On the Texas Sex Offender Registry
Here in Texas, there are a handful of crimes that require sex offender registry upon conviction. The most common are:
- Sexual assault or battery
- Possession or distribution of child pornography
- Aggravated kidnapping with intent to commit sex crimes
- Sexual conduct with a victim younger than 17 years old
- Online solicitation of a minor
- Indecent exposure (second conviction)
- Some prostitution charges
If you are unsure whether you are required to register with the state, consult with an experienced Texas sex crimes defense attorney about how to confirm. You may have to register at both state and federal registry sites.
Crimes That Require Registration on the Federal Sex Offender List
Remember, sex offender registries don’t just exist at the state level. The following federal crimes could put you on the national sex offender registry, as well:
- Sex trafficking or engaging in the sale of children
- Trafficking someone across a state or national border in order to engage in illegal sexual activity, including sexual conduct with juveniles
- Distribution or production of child pornography
These are all serious crimes. In addition to reporting requirements, you will likely face years behind bars and could pay staggering fines.
Texas Sex Offender Reporting Requirements
The penalties for sex crimes go way beyond jail time, probation, or fines. If you are convicted of a sex crime, you will have to register as a sex offender in your state (or at the federal level.) Reporting requirements vary by state.
If you have been convicted of a sex crime in Texas, you will have to report to the sex offender registry with the following information:
- Address and up-to-date contact information
- Date of birth
- Height, weight, eye color, hair color, shoe size
- Sexual criminal history
You will also have to submit a current color photo of yourself, a set of fingerprints, and information about your employer.
If you are registered and travel outside of the state of Texas for a long period of time, you may be required to check in with the Department of Public Safety and notify them of your travel plans, as well.
Who Has Access, and for How Long
All of this information will be on display if someone searches for your name or address on the Texas Public Sex Offender Website.
The Department of Public Safety wants the most up-to-date information and may require that offenders check back in every year to verify their information.
For most crimes, offenders will have to stay on the registry until 10 years after their conviction. Offenders convicted of more serious crimes, like sexual assault, will have to register for the rest of their life.
Of course, you won’t have to meet reporting requirements if you are only charged with a sex crime in Texas. You are innocent until proven guilty. The sex offender registry only shows a list of convicted offenders.
Additionally, in most cases, those who successfully meet reporting requirements will be removed once their sentence is served and the required amount of time passes.
Consequences for Not Registering as Required
Failing to register is a felony crime in the state of Texas. Even if you move out of the state of Texas, you are required to register and your information will remain on the registry until it expires. Further note, you will also have to register as a sex offender in your new home state.
Otherwise, like our Orlando Bad Santa, you might end up behind bars. If you are convicted, you might end up back in jail. This conviction will also show up on the sex offender registry.
Avoid Sex Offender Registration by Fighting Your Sex Crime Charges
The best way to avoid failure to report charges is to avoid a sex crimes conviction. There are ways to fight back against sex crime charges, even the most serious ones.
Reach out to an experienced Texas sex crimes defense lawyer today for more information.