Welcome to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry's Frequently Asked Questions Page.
Click a question to reveal the answer.
May a sex offender use a social networking website, email, internet chat room, or instant messaging?
Iowa Chapter 692A, Sex Offender Registry, does not prohibit registrants from having social networking, email, internet chat room, or instant messaging accounts; however, registrants are required to report any and all internet identifiers to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. You can search internet identifiers on our website to determine if it has been reported by a registered sex offender (http://www.iowasexoffender.com/online/). Specific websites may have their own policies regarding use by convicted sex offenders.
What agencies in Iowa register sex offenders?
The Iowa Department of Corrections completes registrations for offenders prior to their release from prison facilities. All other registrations are completed at Sheriff's Offices.
What does it mean when an offender is on the "Most Wanted" list?
The offenders listed on the Most Wanted page have been in a non-compliance status with the Iowa Sex Offender Registry and have active arrest warrants on file. The list contains informations about absconders. If you have information about any offender you should contact DPS or your local law enforcement officials.
Am I supposed to be notified by my Sheriff's Office or Police Department when a sex offender moves near my house?
No, this type of notification is not required under Iowa law. Instead, the email notification service on this website is provided to the public for that purpose. You can set up a "watch" using your address (or any other address that is important to you) and a specified distance around that address, and you will receive email notices each time a registered sex offender moves into or out of that area, or moves to a new location within that area. You may also create watches based on your city, county, zip code, or a specific registrant or group of registrants.
Do offenders who received a deferred judgment or sentence have to register?
Yes. For the Sex Offender Registry, convicted means found guilty of, pleads guilty to, or is sentenced or adjudicated delinquent for an act which is an indictable offense in this state or in another jurisdiction including in a federal, military, tribal, or foreign court, including but not limited to a juvenile who has been adjudicated delinquent, but whose juvenile court records have been sealed under section 232.150, and a person who has received a deferred sentence or a deferred judgment or has been acquitted by reason of insanity.
"Conviction" includes the conviction of a juvenile prosecuted as an adult. "Convicted" also includes a conviction for an attempt or conspiracy to commit an offense. "Convicted" does not mean a plea, sentence, adjudication, deferred sentence, or deferred judgment which has been reversed or otherwise set aside.
If a conviction is expunged, does that mean the person no longer has to register?
No. Even if an offender's conviction information is expunged, the offender still has to fulfill his/her obligation to register with the IA SOR.
How long does an offender have to register in Iowa?
Registration in Iowa is either for 10-years or for life, depending on the statute the offender is convicted of and if the offender has any prior convictions for qualifying offenses.
Do offenders visiting Iowa from other states have to register?
Yes. Offenders who reside in Iowa, whether moving in or visiting, have (5) days to register with the Sheriff's Office at the county where they have established residence.
Who is required to register?
Persons convicted of a qualifying offense and who were under supervision for that offense on or after 07/01/1995 are subject to registration as a sex offender in the State of Iowa.
Why isn't the person I'm looking for listed on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry website? He/she has committed a sex offense.
A person must be convicted of an offense defined in Iowa Code Chapter 692A as a "sex offense requiring registration" before they are required to register with the Iowa Sex Offender Registry.
A person who was previously listed on the Registry website but is no longer there was likely removed for one of the following reasons:
* the person successfully completed his/her required registration period.
* it has been determined that the person's offense does not require registration.
* the person is deceased.
* the person's conviction was "reversed or otherwise set aside" in a court of law.
* the person is no longer residing, working or attending school in Iowa and is compliant with the sex offender laws of his/her current jurisdiction / state of residence ("inactive status")
* the person has petitioned for modification and has been released from his/her registration requirement,
* the person was registered as a juvenile offender and his/her registration requirement was later waived/modified by the Juvenile Court as allowed under Iowa law.
* the person is currently incarcerated, which may include persons in city or county jails, persons in the custody of any state institution or any secure, long-term setting to treat offenders who have served prison terms and have been placed in a commitment under Iowa Code.
A person convicted or adjudicated for a sexual offense will NOT be found on the Registry website if any of the following applies:
* the person completed ("discharged") his/her sentence for the sex offense prior to July 1, 1995. Under Iowa law, these persons were never required to register as sex offenders.
* the person is registered, but is legally exempt from posting on the website because he/she was under the age of 20 at the time of offense and was convicted under Iowa Code Section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d) [prior to 7/1/13 was under Iowa Code Section 709.4(2)(c)(4)]. ONLY THIS SPECIFIC CODE SECTION QUALIFIES FOR THE EXEMPTION.
* the person was adjudicated in Juvenile Court and his/her registration requirement was immediately waived/modified by the Court as allowed under Iowa law.
* the person was immediately incarcerated upon conviction. Under Iowa law, this person will not be required to register until his/her release from incarceration. This exemption also applies to a juvenile offender who is placed by court order in a "juvenile facility", unless he/she attends school at a public or private educational institution outside the grounds of the facility or the Juvenile Court has otherwise waived/modified the registration requirement.
What is the definition of "residence"?
"Residence" means each dwelling or other place where a sex offender resides, sleeps, or habitually lives, or will reside, sleep, or habitually live, including a shelter or group home. If a sex offender does not reside, sleep, or habitually live in a fixed place, "residence" means a description of the locations where the offender is stationed regularly, including any mobile or transitory living quarters. "Residence" shall be construed to refer to the places where a sex offender resides, sleeps, habitually lives, or is stationed with regularity, regardless of whether the offender declares or characterizes such place as the residence of the offender.
Where are sex offender files maintained?
The county Sheriff's Offices maintain a file and forward information to the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation (DCI), Sex Offender Registry (SOR). The SOR maintains a central file and database.
Does Iowa require registration for any non-sex offense related convictions?
All convictions requiring sex offender registration in Iowa are either clearly of a sexual nature (Sexual Abuse, Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Abuse, etc.) or contain an element involving a sexual act, sexual contact, or sexual conduct EXCEPT False Imprisonment of a Minor in violation of Iowa Code Section 710.7, which requires sex offender registration even without a sexual element unless the convicted person is the victim's parent.
What do offenders have to do if they move within Iowa?
Offenders have (5) business days to report changes in residence. Offenders are required to appear in person at the Sheriff's Office within (5) business days to register the move, if the move is within the same county. Offenders moving from one county to another county must appear in person at each county Sheriff's Office within (5) business days to register the move.
What happens if an Iowa sex offender moves to another state?
Offenders have (5) business days to report changes in residence. Offenders moving out of state must appear in person at the Sheriff's Office in Iowa where they are moving from within (5) business days to report the move; offenders are also required to register with the registering agency in the other jurisdiction, if registration is required in that other jurisdiction. When the IA SOR confirms the offender's status in that other state, the offender's information is removed from the IA SOR public website. Offenders remain in the IA SOR database for the remainder of their registration period, but are not required to comply with Iowa's reporting duties unless they move back to Iowa, obtain employment in Iowa, or attend school in Iowa.
Does a misdemeanor conviction still require registration?
Yes. Persons convicted of a qualifying offense must register, regardless of whether the conviction was a misdemeanor or a felony.
How can I find out about a registered sex offender who no longer lives in Iowa?
Most other states have websites listing registered sex offenders within their state. A list of websites can be found at: http://www.fbi.gov/hq/cid/cac/registry.htm . In addition, the U. S. Department of Justice has a National Sex Offender Public Registry website at http://www.nsopr.gov, allowing for searches of the registries of participating states.
Do juvenile sex offenders have to register?
Yes. Iowa's requirement to register is based on the statute of conviction. Iowa law does allow a juvenile judge to modify or suspend the juvenile's requirement to register.
Are juvenile offenders exempt from the IA SOR website?
No. The only offenders exempted from the IA SOR website are those whose conviction was for Iowa Code Section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d) [prior to 7/1/13 was Iowa Code Section 709.4(2)(c)(4)], where the offender is less than 20 years old at the time of the offense.
Why aren't all registered sex offenders in Iowa shown on the IA SOR website?
Iowa law mandates that offenders who were less than 20 years old at the time of offense and whose conviction was for Iowa Code Section 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d) [prior to 7/1/13 was under Iowa Code Section 709.4(2)(c)(4)] shall not be displayed on the IA SOR website. ONLY THIS SPECIFIC CODE SECTION QUALIFIES FOR THE EXEMPTION.
Is there a residency restriction for sex offenders?
Yes; however, the restriction does not apply to all registered offenders. If an offender is 1) required to register in the State of Iowa and, 2) has been convicted of an "aggravated offense against a minor", he/she is prohibited from residing within 2,000 feet of the real property comprising a school or child care facility.
Iowa Code Section 692A.114(3) provides for some additional exemptions to the residency restriction.
What do the Tier levels mean?
Tier levels are based ONLY on the offense or offenses for which the person is currently registered and are used ONLY to establish how many times each year a registered sex offender is required to report IN PERSON to their Sheriff’s Office to update registration information. A person’s tier level does NOT have any effect on whether the person is subject to the 2,000 ft law, how long they are required to register, the results of any risk assessment or any other element of sex offender registration. It is used ONLY to determine how often the person must update registration information.
What does "Residency Restriction" mean?
For registrants with victims who were minors where the offense is an "aggravated offense against a minor" (convicted in Iowa for Sex Abuse 1, 2, 3 except for Sex Abuse 3rd under 709.4(1)(b)(3)(d) [prior to 7/1/13 was Iowa Code Section 709.4(2)(c)(4)], OR convicted for a comparable offense in another jurisdiction, meaning any state, U.S. territory, or federally recognized Indian Tribal Nation):
The sex offender shall not reside within two thousand feet of the real property comprising a school or a child care facility.
Registrants with adult victims are exempt from these restrictions. Also, Iowa Code Section 692A.114(3) provides for some additional exemptions to the residency restriction.
What does Employment Restricted mean?
For registrants with adult or minor victims, employment restrictions state:
The offender shall not be an employee of a facility providing services for dependent adults or at events where dependent adults participate in programming and shall not loiter on the premises or grounds of a facility or at an event providing such services or programming.
Additionally, registrants who are employment restricted with victims who were minors are further restricted as follows:
The offender may not operate, manage, be employed by, or act as a contractor or volunteer at any municipal, county, or state fair or carnival when a minor is present on the premises. The offender may not operate, manage, be employed by, or act as a contractor or volunteer on the premises of any children's arcade, an amusement center having coin or token operated devices for entertainment, or facilities providing programs or services intended primarily for minors, when a minor is present. The offender may not operate, manage, be employed by, or act as a contractor or volunteer at a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school, child care facility, or public library. The offender may not operate, manage, be employed by, or act as a contractor or volunteer at any place intended primarily for use by minors including but not limited to a playground, a children's play area, recreational or sport-related activity area, a swimming or wading pool, or a beach. The offender may not operate, manage, be employed by, or act as a contractor or volunteer at a business that operates a motor vehicle primarily marketing, from or near the motor vehicle, the sale and dispensing of ice cream or other food products to minors.
What does "Exclusion" or "Exclusion Zones" mean?
For registrants with victims who were minors:
The sex offender may not be present upon the real property of a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school without the written permission of the school administrator or school administrator's designee, unless enrolled as a student at the school. The offender is also prohibited from the following:
- Loiter within three hundred feet of the real property boundary of a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school, unless enrolled as a student at the school.
- Be present on or in any vehicle or other conveyance owned, leased, or contracted by a public or nonpublic elementary or secondary school without the written permission of the school administrator or school administrator's designee when the vehicle is in use to transport students to or from a school or school-related activities, unless enrolled as a student at the school or unless the vehicle is simultaneously made available to the public as a form of public transportation.
- Be present upon the real property of a child care facility without the written permission of the child care facility administrator.
- Loiter within three hundred feet of the real property boundary of a child care facility.
- Be present upon the real property of a public library without the written permission of the library administrator.
- Loiter within three hundred feet of the real property boundary of a public library.
- Loiter on or within three hundred feet of the premises of any place intended primarily for the use of minors including but not limited to a playground available to the public, a children's play area available to the public, recreational or sport-related activity area when in use by a minor, a swimming or wading pool available to the public when in use by a minor, or a beach available to the public when in use by a minor.
Registrants with adult victims are exempt from these restrictions.
Can a member of the general public report information about a registered sex offender to the Iowa Sex Offender Registry and have the website updated?
No. We encourage members of the general public to contact our agency to report discrepancies with website information or to report information about an offender; however, we update information on the IA SOR website only from information received from law enforcement agencies.
Is an offender with a conviction against a minor, but one that's not an "aggravated offense against a minor", subject to the residency restriction?
No. The residency restriction applies ONLY to the three (3) Iowa statutes listed in the definition of "aggravated offense against a minor", or an offense from another jurisdiction (meaning any state, U.S. territory, or federally recognized Indian Tribal Nation) that is comparable to one of those three Iowa offenses. Offenders convicted for any other offense, regardless of whether the victim was a minor, are exempt from the residency restriction.
Can sex offenders be around children?
There is nothing in Iowa Sex Offender law that prevents offenders from being around children other than the restrictions mandated by 692A.113, Exclusion Zones and Prohibition of Certain Employment-Related Activities. However, per Iowa Code 726.6 - Child Endangerment, a parent, guardian, or person having custody or control over a child or minor may be charged with child endangerment if they allow a registered sex offender to have custody or control over their child(ren):
726.6 Child Endangerment
1. A person who is the parent, guardian, or person having custody or control over a child or a minor under the age of eighteen with a mental or physical disability, or a person who is a member of the household in which a child or such a minor resides, commits child endangerment when the person does any of the following:
h. Knowingly allows a person custody or control of, or unsupervised access to a child or a minor after knowing the person is required to register or is on the sex offender registry as a sex offender under chapter 692A. However, this paragraph does not apply to a person who is a parent or guardian of a child or a minor, who is required to register as a sex offender, or to a person who is married to and living with a person required to register as a sex offender.
What is Loitering?
Iowa law defines loitering as remaining in a place or circulating around a place under circumstances that would warrant a reasonable person to believe that the purpose or effect of the behavior is to enable a sex offender to become familiar with a location where a potential victim may be found, or to satisfy an unlawful sexual desire, or to locate, lure, or harass a potential victim.
How often is the information on the IA SOR website updated?
The IA SOR website updates daily, as often as every 30 minutes Monday through Friday, excluding holidays.
What if I think an offender is not complying with sex offender laws?
You should contact your local law enforcement agency or you can submit a tip to the SOR from our website.
What is the process for registering a sex offender?
Offenders must appear in person within (5) business days to register with the sheriff of each county where he/she has a residence, maintains employment, or is in attendance as a student. If an offender has multiple residences in this state, he/she must appear in person to register with the Sheriff's Office of each county where a residence is maintained, and provide the dates he/she will reside at each residence, including the date when the offender will move from one residence to another residence.
How often do sex offenders have to verify their information?
Offenders are required to verify their information in person at the Sheriff's Office of their principal residence based on their assigned tier level. Tier I requires in person verification once per year, tier II requires in person verification every 6 months, and tier III requires in person verification every 3 months.
How do sex offenders verify their information?
Offenders must appear in person at the Sheriff's Office of their principal residence to verify their information.
Are there penalties for not complying with Iowa Sex Offender laws?
Yes. A first conviction for failing to comply is an aggravated misdemeanor; a second conviction for failing to comply is a class D felony. In addition, registrants convicted of failing to comply with the requirements of the IA SOR are subject to an additional 10 years of registration. If an offender is not complying with Iowa law and has moved to another jurisdiction and is not compliant in that jurisdiction, he/she may be subject to federal prosecution.
Can I request to be notified if a sex offender moves into my neighborhood?
Yes. You can sign up for emails notification on the IA SOR website and specify a watch by area. You will receive email notifications when there is activity within your defined watch area.
Will you notify me when a sex offender moves out of my neighborhood?
If you are signed up for email notifications and your watch is for a specific offender, you will receive notification when the offender's information has changed. If you are signed up for email notifications and your watch is by area, you will receive notification when there is activity within your defined watch area.
Can I share information from the IA SOR website?
Information found on the IA SOR website is public information and is provided for purposes of protecting the public, increasing awareness and keeping the public informed. However, use and/or misuse of this information to commit criminal acts against these individuals, including but not limited to, vandalism of property, verbal or written threats of harm, stalking, harassment, or physical assault against these subjects, their families or employers, can result in arrest and prosecution.
Can I download the entire list of sex offenders and their information from the IA SOR website?
No. You must limit your search by the available search options.
What does "whereabouts unconfirmed" mean?
This designation means law enforcement has confirmed the offender is no longer residing at his/her last registered address, and has failed to register a new address as required by Iowa law. The current location of the offender is unknown. This person would also be non-compliant with regards to Iowa law.
Can I obtain a sex offender's employment information?
Yes. Iowa law allows members of the public to obtain certain additional relevant information from their local sheriff's office:
692A.121 Availability of Records
5. a. A member of the public may contact a county sheriff's office to request relevant information from the registry regarding a specific sex offender. A person making a request for relevant information may make the request by telephone, in writing, or in person, and the request shall include the name of the person and at least one of the following identifiers pertaining to the sex offender about whom the information is sought:
(1) The date of birth of the person.
(2) The social security number of the person.
(3) The address of the person.
(4) Internet identifiers.
(5) Telephone numbers, including any landline or wireless numbers.
b. The relevant information made available to the general public pursuant to this subsection shall include all the relevant information provided to the general public on the internet site pursuant to subsection 2, and the following additional relevant information:
(1) Educational institutions attended as a student, including the name and address of such institution.
(2) Employment information including the name and address of employer.
(3) Temporary lodging information, including the dates when residing at the temporary lodging.
(4) Vehicle Information.
c. A county sheriff or police department shall not charge a fee relating to a request for relevant information.
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