Ohio House Bill 180, now awaiting the Governor's signature, will significantly improve the existing sex offender registration laws. Any sex offender classified as a sexual predator will be required to register with the county sheriff as soon as the offender establishes a residence within the county. Then, the offender must periodically verify that residency with the county sheriff for a period of ten years, twenty years or the offender's lifetime, depending upon the determination of the court which sentenced that offender.
Prior to sentencing a sex offender, the court will be required to determine whether the offender is a sexual predator or an habitual sex offender. Sexual predators are subject to registration and notification requirements for life. Habitual sex offenders are subject to registration requirements for twenty years. All other sex offenders are subject to registration requirements for ten years with annual address verification.
Furthermore, the county sheriff will be required to notify the community of the registration of any offender who was determined to be a sexual predator or an habitual sex offender. Whenever a sexual predator or habitual sex offender has taken up residence in the county, the sheriff will be required to notify the victim of the offense, the offender's neighbors, children's service agencies, school superintendents, preschool directors, child day care centers, institutions of higher education and the chief of police of the municipal corporation in which the offender resides.
Generally, sex offenders will need to register with the county sheriff within seven days of establishing residence in the county. That registration will include the offender's name, address, employer and other information prescribed by the Bureau of Criminal Identification and Investigation (BCI&I). The offender is then required to appear in person and periodically verify his residence address with the county sheriff. The sheriff must forward both the registration and verification information to the state registry of sex offenders which will be maintained by BCI&I.
Pending signature by Governor Voinovich, House Bill 180 will take effect on January 1, 1997.