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Heard of the A List? This is Not It

These days, it seems everything is about getting on a list. If you land on the A List, your social status is assured. If you show up on a Short List, you may be in line for a presidential appointment. Angies List can bring you business, a Forbes list can give you status, and Craigslist can get you, well, just about anything. But there is one list you definitely do not want to be on: the registered sex offender list.

Technically, it is not a list but a registry — or you might say a list of registries. Every U.S. state, territory, and Indian tribe (and there are over 100 tribes on that list) maintains its own registry of individuals convicted of certain crimes, and these are compiled into a national registry coordinated by the U.S. Department of Justice. Registries include the name, home address, physical description, and photo of the offender, along with the specific crime committed. And thanks to the Internet, the list of websites from which the public can access this information is about as gigantic as the list itself.

In Ohio, the list is known as e-SORN, short for Electronic Sex Offender Registration and Notification System. It divides the registrants into three classes, based on the specific sex crime for which they were convicted, and sets out the requirements for registering with their county sheriff:

  • Tier 1 Offenders are required to register annually for 15 years following their conviction.
  • Tier 2 Offenders are required to register every six months for 25 years following their conviction.
  • Tier 3 Offenders must register every 90 days — for life.

Yes, every 90 days for life — and the sheriff is permitted to charge the registrant up to $25 per registration. So in addition to making you identifiable by all your neighbors as the sex offender down the street, being on the list can mean a lifelong, intimate, and somewhat costly relationship with the office of the Sheriff in your county. Definitely not the long-term relationship of your dreams.

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