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House of Representatives
Session of 2023 - 2024 Regular Session


Posted: December 15, 2022 12:26 PM
From: Representative Robert W. Mercuri
To: All House members
Subject: Protecting Schools from Predators
In the near future, I intend to introduce legislation to protect children in schools and daycare center locations from assault by limiting the residency of sexually violent predators from moving next door to these locations. By prohibiting these dangerous offenders from residing within a certain distance of any school or daycare center in the Commonwealth, we can make it that much more difficult for these individuals to strike again.

While any individual convicted of a sexually violent offense in Pennsylvania is required to undergo an assessment conducted by the Sexual Offender Assessment Board prior to sentencing, only a fraction of these offenders are deemed to have a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the offender “likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses.” In other words, the sexually violent predator designation signifies that the offender is unable to control sexually violent impulses and behavior. Indeed, as a result of threats posed by sexually violent predators, current law requires the following: (1) lifetime sex offender registration; (2) mandatory, monthly sex offender counseling; and (3) active community notification of any change in residence or employment.

While residency restrictions can be imposed on sexually violent predators at sentencing, no such restrictions can be imposed following the conclusion of the sentence. Recently, in my district, a sexually violent predator moved into a residence located immediately adjacent to an elementary school’s playground that is used by children at recess. Many parents in this community are, understandably, concerned and outraged that current law permits such a dangerous individual to reside so close to a school and its playground facilities.

Clearly, those sex offenders who are recognized as being incapable of controlling their sexually violent impulses and behaviors pose a significant threat to our communities and our children.

Please join me in cosponsoring this important piece of legislation to better protect our residents.

Introduced as HB47