Kentucky Court Records
Kentucky Sex Offenses and Why They are Different
Sex offenses committed in Kentucky are treated differently than other criminal offenses by the Kentucky Courts and criminal justice agencies. Although these offenses are categorized as felonies or misdemeanors like other crimes, perpetrators are subject to lengthier terms of imprisonment, considerable fines, and other court-imposed penalties (counseling, supervision, probation, community service, etc.). The most defining consequence of a sex offense conviction is having to register one’s identifying information on a public offender register, a feature typically reserved for the more violent offenses. A convicted person also has to contend with a loss of reputation and certain living privileges, as well as the associated social stigma because to the public, these offenses are more grievous than other crimes, especially when a child is a victim.
What is a Kentucky Sex Crime?
A sex crime is any criminal or illegal sexual act or behavior carried out against another person in Kentucky. A “sex crime” as defined under KRS 17.500(8) is:
- A felony crime: including human trafficking involving commercial sexual components, promoting a sexual performance by a minor, use of a minor in sexual performance, possession/viewing of matter portraying a sexual performance by a minor, unlawful transaction with a minor in the 1st degree, and any sex crime defined under KRS Chapter 510
- An attempt to commit any of the crimes listed above in (1)
- Any federal felony offense, a felony offense that can be court-martialed by the United States Armed Forces, or a comparable felony offense in another state or jurisdiction
These crimes are committed by adults or minors and involve acts of sexual contact or sexual intercourse, and most times, the use of force, weaponry, or coercion.
What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?
The different types of sex offenses in Kentucky, as well as the classification of these offenses, are as follows:
Rape in the 1st degree (KRS 510.040): Sexual intercourse with another individual by forcible compulsion or sexual intercourse with another individual who is incapable of consent because the person is physically helpless (as defined by KRS 510.010) or under 12 years of age. It is categorized as a Class B felony. If the victim is less than 12 years of age or sustained injury of the physical form in the perpetration of the crime, it is a Class A felony.
Rape in the 2nd degree (KRS 510.050): When a person who is 18 years old or above has sexual intercourse with an individual who is under 14 years of age, or when such person has sexual intercourse with an individual who has mentally incapacitated or who is unable to consent due to an intellectual disability (as defined by KRS 510.010).. It is a Class C felony.
Rape in the 3rd degree (KRS 510.060): Rape in the third degree occurs when:
- An individual who is 21 years old and above has sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age
- An individual (at least ten years older than the victim) has sexual intercourse with a person (victim) who is 16 or 17 years old at the time of the offense
- A person who is 21 years and above, and providing a foster family home (as defined by KRS 600.020), has sexual intercourse with an individual (foster child) under 18 years of age
- A person in a position of trust or authority has sexual intercourse with an individual under 18 years of age. An individual who that person meets because of such a position
- A jailer, employee, contractor, vendor, or volunteer of a correctional or detention facility (as described in KRS 520.010) or a contracting entity, responsible for the welfare, custody, monitoring, or assessment of offenders, knowingly has sexual intercourse with a person who is confined, treated, monitored, or assessed by such facility or entity
Rape in the 3rd degree is a Class D felony.
Sodomy in the 1st degree (KRS 510.070): Engaging in deviate sexual intercourse (as defined by KRS 510.010) with another person by forcible compulsion or with a person who cannot consent because of being helpless or less than 12 years old. It is a Class B felony. It is only a Class A felony when the victim is less than 12 years of age or sustained a serious physical injury.
Sodomy in the 2nd degree (KRS 510.080): When a person eighteen years of age or more has deviate sexual intercourse with an individual who is under 14 years of age, or an individual who is mentally incapacitated or unable to consent because of an intellectual disability. It is a Class C felony.
Sodomy in the 3rd degree (KRS 510.090): Deviate sexual intercourse with another person in the same circumstances outlined in “Rape in the 3rd degree”. Likewise, it is a Class D felony.
Sodomy in the 4th degree (KRS 510.100): When a person engages in deviate sexual intercourse with a second party of the same sex. It is categorized as a Class A misdemeanor.
Sexual abuse in the 1st degree (KRS 510.110): A person is prosecuted for this crime when:
- The person perpetrates an act of sexual contact on another person by forcible compulsion
- The person engages in sexual contact with another person who is unable to consent due to physical helplessness, mental incapacitation, intellectual disability, or because the victim is less than 12 years of age
- The person who is 21 years old or above:
- Has sexual contact with another person under 16 years of age
- Knowingly masturbates in view of a person who is under 16 years of age
- Masturbates while using an online or electronic communication/device to communicate with a minor under 16 years of age, and the minor can hear or see the person masturbate
- The person, being in a position of special trust or authority, subjects a minor under 18 years of age, who the person meets as a result of that position, to the following acts:
- Sexual contact
- Intentionally masturbating in the minor’s presence
- Knowingly masturbating via electronic/online communication while communicating with the minor who is under 16 years of age, and the minor can see or hear the act occur
If the victim is less than 12 years of age, sexual abuse in the 1st degree is a Class C felony. Otherwise, it is a Class D felony.
Sexual abuse in the 2nd degree (KRS 510.120): This crime occurs when:
- A person who is at least 18 years old but under 21 engages in sexual contact with a person who is less than 16 years of age
- A jailer, employee, contractor, vendor, or volunteer of a correctional or detention facility (as described in KRS 520.010) or a contracting entity responsible for the welfare, custody, monitoring, or assessment of offenders, intentionally engages in sexual contact with a person who is confined, treated, monitored, or assessed by such facility or entity
This crime is a Class A misdemeanor.
- Sexual abuse in the 3rd degree (KRS 510.130): Subjecting another person to sexual contact without the person’s consent. It is a Class B misdemeanor.
Sexual misconduct (KRS 510.140): Engaging in sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with another person without the person’s consent. It is a Class A misdemeanor.
Indecent exposure in the 1st degree (KRS 510.148): Intentional exposure of genitals while being aware that such exposure may cause alarm or offense to a person below 18 years of age. For a first offense, it is a Class B misdemeanor. For a second offense, it is a Class A misdemeanor if the crime occurred within three years of the first offense. It is a Class D felony for a third or subsequent offense committed within three years of a second or prior offense.
Indecent exposure in the 2nd degree (KRS 510.150): Intentional exposure of genitals while being aware that such exposure may cause alarm or offense to a person 18 years of age or above. It is a Class B misdemeanor.
Using electronic means originating or received within the Commonwealth to induce a minor to engage in sexual or other prohibited activities (KRS 510.155): Intentionally using a communications system such as a computer, the internet, telephone, or any other electronic communication or device to procure or promote the use of a minor, or peace officer posing as a minor, for any offense listed in KRS 510.040, 510.050, 510.060, 510.070, 510.080, 510.090, 510.110, 529.100 involving a commercial sexual activity, KRS 530.064(1)(a), or KRS Chapter 531. This crime is categorized as a Class D felony.
Unlawful transaction with a minor in the 1st degree (KRS 530.064(1)a): Knowingly inducing, assisting, or causing a minor to engage in any illegal sexual activity. It is a Class C felony if the minor is under 18 years of age, a Class B felony if the minor is under 16 years of age, and a Class A felony if the minor sustained physical injury.
Incest (KRS 530.020): Intentionally having sexual intercourse or deviate sexual intercourse with a full or half-blood relation, including an ancestor, uncle, aunt, brother, sister, descendant, stepchild, adopted child, stepparents, or step-grandparents). It is a Class C felony for consenting adults, and a Class B felony under the following circumstances:
- Forcible compulsion
- A victim who is less than 18 years of age or incapable of consent due to physical helplessness or mental incapacitation
It is a Class A felony when the victim is below 12 years of age or sustains a serious physical injury.
In the state, possible penalties for felony and misdemeanor sex crimes are considered under KRS Chapter 532.
Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Kentucky
Unlike most U.S states, the Commonwealth of Kentucky does not group sex offenders into classes, for instance, Class 1, 2, or 3. Instead, offenders are grouped into two categories under KRS 17.520:
- Lifetime registrants
- 20-year registrants
Sex offenders who are required to register for life are as follows:
- Individuals convicted of kidnapping a person who was under 18 years of age at the time of the offense, unless the offender is a parent
- Individuals convicted of unlawful imprisonment under KRS 509.020, where the victim was a minor (under age 18) at the time of the offense, except the offender is a parent
- Individuals convicted of sex offenses with one or more prior convictions of a felony criminal offense against a minor, or one or more prior sex offense convictions
- Persons convicted of two or more felony crimes against a minor
- Persons convicted of rape or sodomy in the first degrees
- Sexually violent predators (as defined by KRS 17.500 (10))
Any other registrant (as defined by KRS 17.500(5)) not listed above is required to register for 20 years after release from confinement or 20 years following the maximum date of discharge on probation, shock probation, conditional discharge, parole, or any other form of premature discharge, whichever is greater. When an offender is re-incarcerated, this time (lifetime or twenty years) is paused and resumes after the offender is released.
The Kentucky State Police verifies addresses of all registered lifetime offenders every 90 days and the addresses of twenty-year registrants every year. Persons who fail to register or verify their addresses are subject to additional legal consequences under KRS 17.510. For any first offense of a failure to verify an address or register, the offender is guilty of a Class D felony. It is a Class C felony for any subsequent offense. An offender’s duty to register is only terminated when a conviction is reversed or pardoned (KRS 17.578)..
In Kentucky, the Sex Offender Risk Assessment Advisory Board (SORAAB), an arm of the Department of Corrections, is responsible for categorizing sex offenders according to the risk posed to public safety, and also if the offender is amenable to a sex offender treatment program. Offenders are evaluated based on their criminal histories, types of offenses, psychological profiles, victim statement reviews, recent behaviors, threats, and gestures associated with recidivism, among other criteria.
How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Kentucky?
Interested persons may find sex offenders living close to their places of residence on the Kentucky Sex Offender Registry. This registry is maintained by the Kentucky State Police per KRS 17.580 to promote public safety and awareness. Also, members of the public can call the Sex offender Alert Line on 1–866–564–5652 (toll-free), provide a phone number and no more than three zip codes, to register and get alerts when an offender moves within those areas. The alert line is available to contact 24/7. Unlike the registry, persons do not need a computer to use the Sex Offender Alert Line.
Kentucky Sex Offender Registry
The Kentucky Sex Offender Registry provides information on registered sex offenders living within the state. To search the registry, an individual may enter an offender’s number or last name, street address, city, county, or zip code to get results. A neighborhood map can be viewed by entering a street address, city, county, zip code, or radius (1, 3, or 5 miles). Members of the public may also track offenders in or out of an area with a zip code. Available sex offender information includes identifying information and physical features of an offender and sex charges/convictions.
Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:
- The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
- The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.
Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.
What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Kentucky?
Kentucky’s sex offender restrictions, and penalties for non-compliant offenders, are established under KRS 17.545 and 17.546. These laws prohibit offenders who committed crimes against minors after July 14, 2018, from using social networks accessible by minors unless the registrant is a parent and not prohibited by court order or terms of early release. It is a Class A misdemeanor to violate this law.
Sex offenders, including those convicted of a sexual offense involving a minor and registrants under KRS 17.510, are also restricted from residing or being within 1,000 feet of certain areas where children regularly gather. These areas include schools, playgrounds (leased or public), or licensed child care facilities. Registrants under KRS 17.510 are only permitted to enter these premises with the advance written permission of the administration of a school or daycare center or county/local legislative body of a playground. Non-compliant sex offenders are guilty of a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense and a Class D felony for a subsequent offense. However, this restriction does not apply to a minor who was put on probation or parole while attending an elementary or secondary school program.