Frequently Asked Questions About Sex Crimes


Few crimes carry the harsh punishments and social stigma of sex crimes. If you are under investigation or facing charges for a sex crime, you likely have many questions. Below are common questions our lawyers at the Bellwoar Kelly, LLP answer during an initial consultation.

What Is The Difference Between Rape And Sexual Assault?

In Pennsylvania, rape is forced nonconsensual penetration of a body part or orifice, often accomplished through threats of violence or physical restraint. Sexual assault is nonconsensual unwanted sexual contact. The contact can be through clothing or skin to skin.

What Is Megan’s Law?

This Pennsylvania law requires a person convicted of certain sexual offenses to register at regular intervals with state police and local communities. The person’s photo and any other identifying information are also posted on the Megan’s Law website which allows the public to track the whereabouts of convicted sex offenders. Pennsylvania’s Act 10 of 2018 standardized the sex offender registration requirements throughout the state. Failure to register can lead to steep fines and incarceration.

What Is A Sexually Violent Predator (SVP)?

Pennsylvania law defines a sexually violent predator as a person convicted of a violent sexual offense who has “a mental abnormality or personality disorder that makes the person likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses”.

A person convicted of a violent sexual offense must undergo an SVP assessment by the Sexual Offenders Assessment Board followed by a hearing to decide if this label applies. If classified, the person must register with local law enforcement for life and attend monthly mandatory sex offender counseling for life. Local law enforcement will also actively notify the community of your offense and provide them with a photo to identify you. Juvenile sex offenders aging out of the juvenile justice system may go into an inpatient sex offender program until age 21 before being subject to SVP classification.

Do You Have Additional Questions?

Our attorneys offer free consultations at our Pottstown and West Chester offices. Learn more by calling 484-402-4500 or 610-314-7066.