Rhode Island Sex Offender Registration & Classification

Criminal Defense Lawyer John L. Calcagni, III

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Sex offender registration is a collateral consequence to a sex offense conviction.  

Convicted offenders must register with the police department in the city or town where they live and must comply with mandatory counseling or treatment requirements. 

Registered offenders may also have limits on their liberties such as:

  • travel out-of-state;
  • overnight stays in locations other than their registered addresses;
  • limits on where they may live or work;
  • limits of visiting schools,
  • parks or other places where children congregate;
  • and more.  

Registered sex offenders may also be required to give up certain rights to privacy by submitting to warrantless searches of their homes, persons, phones, computers, and other electronic devices.  

Some are also required to wear GPS monitoring devices so the government may track their locations and movements. 

In Rhode Island, a defendant who meets any of the following conditions is required to register as a sex offender:

  1. is convicted of a criminal offense against a minor victim;
  2. is convicted of a sexually violent offense;
  3. has been determined to be a sexually violent predator;
  4. has committed an aggravated offense;
  5. or is considered a recidivist or repeat offender.

Under Rhode Island criminal law, a criminal conviction to any of the following Rhode Island sex offenses requires mandatory sex offender registration.  These offenses may be found at Rhode Island General Law, Section 11-37.1-3.

  • Soliciting an Incompetent Person (RIGL § 11-1-10)
  • Assault with Intent to Commit Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-5-1)
  • Exploitation for Commercial or Immoral Purposes (RIGL § 11-9-1(b) and (c))
  • Child Pornography (RIGL § 11-9-1.3)
  • Electronically Disseminating Indecent Material to Minors (RIGL § 11-9-1.5)
  • Murder Committed During Kidnapping of Minor Victim, Rape, Sexual Assault, or Child Molestation (RIGL § 11-23-1)
  • Kidnapping of a Minor (RIGL § 11-26-1 and 11-26-1.4)
  • Kidnapping with Intent to Extort of Minor (RIGL § 11-26-2)
  • Enticement of Children (RIGL § 11-26-1.5)
  • Failure to Register as Sex Offender (RIGL § 11-37.1-10)
  • First Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-2)
  • Second Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-4)
  • Third Degree Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-6)
  • First Degree Child Molestation Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-8.1)
  • Second Degree Child Molestation Sexual Assault (RIGL § 11-37-8.3)
  • Indecent Solicitation of a Child (RIGL § 11-37-8.8)
  • Video Voyeurism of Minor (RIGL § 11-64-2)
  • Trafficking of a Minor (RIGL § 11-67.1-3(b))
  • Trafficking an Individual Subject to Sexual Servitude (RIGL § 11-67.1-3(c))
  • Forced Labor of a Minor (RIGL § 11-67.1-4(b))
  • Sexual Servitude of a Minor (RIGL § 11-67.1-5(c))
  • Sexual Servitude of an Adult (RIGL § 11-67.1-5(d))
  • Patronizing a Minor Victim of Sexual Servitude (RIGL § 11-67.1-6(b))
  • Patronizing a Victim of Sexual Servitude (RIGL § 11-67.1-6(b))
  • Patronizing a Minor for Commercial Sexual Activity (RIGL § 11-67.1-7)

Who Must Register as a Sex Offender?

  1. Any person who, in RI or any other jurisdiction:
  2. Has been convicted of a criminal offense against a victim who is a minor[1],
  3. Has been convicted of a sexually violent offense[2],
  4. Has been determined to be a sexually violent predator (one who has been convicted of a sexually violent offense and who has a mental abnormality[3] or personality disorder that makes them likely to engage in predatory sexually violent offenses),
  5. Has committed an aggravated offense (offenses involving sexual penetration of victims of any age through the use of force, or the threat of use of force, or offenses involving sexual penetration of victims who are age 14 or younger),
  6. Is a recidivist (one or more prior convictions[4])

Must register their current address with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction over the city or town in which they reside.

  • Any nonresident of RI who committed an offense that is subject to registration as a sex offender in the state of their residence who is:
  • Employed or carrying on a vocation in RI, or
  • Attending an educational institution in RI

Must register their current address and the address of their employment or school with the local law enforcement agency having jurisdiction of the city or town where their place of employment or school is located. 
Similarly, any person who is employed and/or attending an institution of higher education in RI, and meets the requirements for registration under section (1) above, has the additional duty to register with the local law enforcement agency in the city or town where their place of employment and/or primary campus is located (in addition to the jurisdiction in which they reside).

If a person is registered as a sex offender in another state for an offense which, if committed within RI, would require the person to register as a sex offender, then upon moving to RI, they must register as a sex offender in the same manner as if the offense were committed within RI.

Classification of Sex Offenders in Rhode Island

Sex Offenders are classified by the Sex Offender Board of Review based on the level of danger they present to the community. 

Level I:             Assessed as a low risk of re-offense

Level II:           Assessed as a moderate risk of re-offense

Level III:         Assessed as a high risk of re-offense

Some of the (15) factors used to determine an offender’s risk-level include:

  1. Degree of Violence Used During Offense (Ex: use of weapons; kidnapping; known HIV status)
  2. Other Significant Crime Considerations (Ex: presence of multiple offenders; videotaping/photographing the crime; animal abuse; humiliation)
  3. Victim Selection Characteristics (Ex: age of victim; developmental level)
  4. History of Sexual Aggressions & Other Criminal History
  5. Substance Abuse History
  6. Degree of Family Support or Offender Accountability & Safety
  7. Personal, Employment & Educational Stability
  8. External Controls (Ex: electronic Monitoring, group home placement)
  9. Participation in Sex Offender Specific Treatment & Admission of Guilt etc.

Regulations Pertaining to Community Notification in Rhode Island

The Sex Offender Board of Review shall determine the appropriate level of community notification required for each Offender.  Law enforcement will then establish a specific notification plan, designed to be consistent with the level of community notification established by the Board.

Part of the notification plan will include the preparation of an Offender Fact Sheet.  The fact sheet will include the Offender’s biographical information and photo; a description of the offense; the assigned risk level; the Offender’s intended address etc.

Community Notification Plan Guidelines

Distribution of the Offender Fact Sheet will be distributed as follows based on the assigned risk level (other necessary/relevant information, including the Offender’s criminal history records, may also be distributed where noted below):

Level I—Low-Risk Offenders

Mandatory Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to the victim (upon their request); to the Offender; and to any other law enforcement agency[5] where the Offender is likely to be encountered.[6]  Offenders’ criminal history records may be disclosed to other law enforcement agencies (in accordance with RIGL 11-37-1.1 et seq.)

Additional Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to witnesses (upon their request).

Level II—Moderate Risk Offenders Placed in Residential Facilities

Mandatory Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to all people/entities listed as Mandatory under Level 1. 

Additional Disclosure:

Additional disclosure may not be made until the head of the residential facility notifies law enforcement that the Offender’s placement in the facility is scheduled to end.  Upon receipt of that notification, law enforcement may make disclosures as set forth under Level II(1)—Moderate Risk Offenders Not Placed in Treatment Facility.

Level II(1)—Not Placed in a Treatment Facility

Mandatory Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to all people/entities listed as Mandatory under Level 1, including witnesses (upon their request).

Additional Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to the chief administrator of all Public & Private Education Institutions the Offender is likely to encounter (including Early Childhood Facilities, Elementary & Secondary Public & Private Schools).  And, at the beginning of every school year, law enforcement shall also notify the parents of all current students. 

Disclosure shall also be made to Post-Secondary Public & Private Educational Institutions the Offender is likely to encounter.  Specifically, the chief administrator and chief security officer of the school, who may then distribute the Fact Sheet to staff members and students.  

Disclosure shall also be made to the chief administrator of all Day Care Establishments the Offender is likely to encounter.  And, at the beginning of every school year, the parents of all children currently attending the establishment shall be notified.  Disclosure shall also be made to all Day Care Providers in the area where the Offender resides or expects to reside and/or where the Offender is likely to be encountered.  Those Day Care Providers shall notify the parents of every child under their care. 

Disclosure shall also be made to the Establishments & Organizations that primarily serve individuals the Offender is likely to encounter.  Examples include Little League, Boy Scouts, mall & department stores, bowling alleys, movie theaters, libraries, etc.  (Law enforcement will distribute the Fact Sheet to adult supervisors, coaches, security, or employees only.)   

In determining which of those Establishments & Organizations will be given a Fact Sheet, law enforcement may consider the Offender’s prior history; offense characteristics; employment history; recreational, social, and religious interests; and characteristics of likely victims.  (Establishments that are notified shall be advised on the limits of allowable distribution.)

The Law Enforcement Agency shall also provide the public with computerized access to the Fact Sheet.

Level III—High-Risk Offenders Placed in Residential Facilities

Mandatory Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to all people/entities listed as Mandatory under Level 1, including witnesses (upon their request).

Additional Disclosure:

Additional disclosure may not be made until the head of the residential facility notifies law enforcement that the Offender’s placement in the facility is scheduled to end.  Upon receipt of that notification, law enforcement may make disclosures as set forth under Level III(a)—High-Risk Offenders Not Placed in Treatment Facility.

Level III(a)—High-Risk Offenders Not Placed in Treatment Facility

Mandatory Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to all people/entities to whom Level I and Level II mandatory and additional disclosures would be made.

Additional Disclosure:

Disclosure shall be made to any individual members of the community that the offender is likely to encounter.  In determining which individual will be given a Fact Sheet, law enforcement may consider the Offender’s prior history; age; offense characteristics; employment; recreational, social, and religious interests; and characteristics of likely victims.

Law enforcement shall also make reasonable efforts to notify the community via public information resources.  Examples include news releases, fliers, creating a website and community educational meetings.

Re-Notification

Law enforcement may periodically review its Community Notification files to determine if re-notification of the community is appropriate due to changes in the make-up of the community.  Factors considered will be the nature and characteristics of the community and changes in population and membership.  If re-notification is necessary, law enforcement will use the same methods of notification employed originally (to the extent that it’s feasible).

When an Offender notifies authorities of their intention to move, law enforcement shall send the Offender’s new address to the corresponding jurisdiction.  That jurisdiction will then implement the Community Notification Plan based on the risk level assigned to the Offender.

Regulations Pertaining to Residency

All Level I and Level II Offenders are prohibited from living within 300 feet of a daycare establishment or public or private school property.  Level III Offenders are prohibited from living within a 1,000-foot radius.

If an Offender (of any level) is provided residence in a homeless shelter, they must inform the shelter of their status, name, and date of birth.  The Offender must provide this information on a continuing daily and nightly basis, regardless of the length of time spent at the shelter(s).

Under federal law, SO’s cannot live in federally subsidized housing.


[1] As defined under RIGL § 11-37.1-2(e)

[2] As defined under RIGL § 11-37.1-2(k)

[3] As defined under RIGL § 11-37.1-2(i)

[4] For offenses described within RIGL § 11-37.1-2

[5] For the purpose of community notification, “law enforcement” is defined as the agency having primary jurisdiction over the location where the Offender plans to reside, and/or where the Offender is likely to be encountered.

[6] “Likely to encounter” is defined as: (1) organizations that are in a location or in close proximity to a location where the Offender lives, is employed, attends school, or is likely to visit on a regular basis (other than the Offender’ outpatient treatment program).

If you have been charged or convicted of a Rhode Island sex crime, contact Rhode Island sex crime defense lawyer, John L. Calcagni III today for a free consultation.   You may call the Law Office of John L. Calcagni III at (401) 351-5100 or send an email.