Walsh Act Watch: Florida Edition

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Florida became the third state to gain substantial compliance with the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act, part of the larger Adam Walsh Act. The Justice Department notified the state on June 19 that its compliance plan had been approved. It joins Ohio and Delaware as the only states to gain compliance.

Before compliance, Florida had 115 juvenile sex offenders on its registry, so expect that to go up. Naples News’ Elysa Batista reports that changes made to comply with the act mean the inclusion on its sex registry of juveniles above the age of 14 who are convicted of committing aggravated sexual assault.

The SORNA requirements are retroactive, too, so Florida will require any juvenile sex offender who fits that profile and who was convicted between 2007 and now to register.

Perhaps the most interesting nugget turned up by Batista, though, came from her interview with Ernie Allen, the CEO of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Allen, who likely tracks progress on the Walsh Act mandates closer than anyone, sounded optimistic that the trio of compliant states would soon have company.

“We think there are a significant number of states that will be coming shortly,” Allen said. “There is real momentum now.”