Nebraska Sex Offenses and Why They are Different
In Nebraska, sex offenses are different from other crimes because they are controversial and nuanced, often making the cases difficult to prosecute. Penalties for sex-related crimes vary significantly and have long-lasting social and emotional effects on the victims. Nebraska statutes state that sex offenders pose a high risk to communities and often re-offend. To guarantee public safety, the Nebraska Judiciary works with local and state criminal justice agencies. Local law enforcement officials take initial statements and make arrests. The Nebraska Department of Corrections is responsible for ensuring the offender does not re-offend, either by incarceration or rehabilitation.
What is a Nebraska Sex Crime?
Nebraska state law dictates that a sexual offense occurs when a perpetrator subjects another person to sexual contact without the victim’s consent. Nebraska law does not necessarily define consent, but the law provides definitions for “without consent.” Without consent means that:
- The victim faced coercion by the perpetrator with the use of force or threat of force to either submit or give consent;
- The victim verbally or physically expressed a lack of consent;
- The perpetrator was aware of or had reason to know that the victim was incapable of giving consent due to intoxication, being unconscious, or having a mental or developmental disability;
- The consent, if the victim gave any, was a result of deception or fraud.
According to Nebraska Statute § 28–318(8), a victim does not need to resist an assault if doing so would be ineffective. The law also states that sexual assault of a minor is when a person under twelve years old is subjected to sexual penetration by a perpetrator who was over 19 years old; or when a person from 12–16 years of age is subjected to sexual penetration by someone aged 25 or older. Even if the underage party verbally consented, the law views the act as a sex crime. State law dictates that sexual assault can fall into one of three categories depending on both parties’ age, the details of the assault, and any injuries resulting from the assault.
What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?
There are various different types of sex offenses recognized in Nebraska. Each violation carries varying penalties depending on the severity and the age of the perpetrator and victim. Some categories of sex offenses are as follows:
- Molestation: sexual abuse or assault of a person, particularly women and children;
- Rape: intentional penetration of a vagina, mouth, or anus with a penis, without the opposite party’s consent to that action;
- Assault by penetration: similar to rape, except that the penetration of the vagina or anus occurs with a body part other than the penis, or a foreign object, without the opposite party’s consent to that action;
- Aggravated sexual assault: a form of sexual assault that “maims, wounds, or disfigures” the victim. This can also include an instance of sexual assault where the victim was physically or mentally unable to consent.
- A sexual assault that involves another party aiding and abetting or the use of a deadly weapon;
- Statutory rape: commonly used to refer to sexual penetration that is illegal because it involves a youth;
- Sexual assault or rape of a child: non-consensual sexual contact with a minor or child;
- Possession of child pornography: pornography that exploits children for sexual stimulation. Child pornography can be produced with the direct involvement or sexual assault of a child, but can also be simulated child pornography;
- Violating sex offender registration by breaking any rules associated;
- Attempted sexual assault;
- Internet sex crimes: examples include possession or distribution of child pornography, production of child pornography, sexual solicitations (online interactions with minors for sexual purposes, including plans to meet in person), and conspiracy crimes.
What are the Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Nebraska?
According to state law, there are first-degree, second-degree, and third-degree sexual assault classifications. These degrees also exist for the sexual assault of children and minors. First-degree sexual assault of any kind comes with the most severe penalties, while second and third are less severe. The definitions and penalties associated with sexual offenses are as follows:
- Nebraska Statute § 28–319 defines First-Degree Sexual Assault as specifically sexual penetration. It qualifies as first-degree as long as the victim hasn’t consented, the perpetrator knew or had reason to know that the victim was incapable of consenting, or the perpetrator is 19 years or older while the victim is 12–15 years old. The state laws define sexual assault in the first degree as a Class 2 felony, of which the penalties are 1–50 years in prison for a first offense and a minimum of 25 years in prison for the second offense.
- § 28–319.01 of the statute also provides a definition and penalty for the sexual assault of a child. Any person subject to sexual penetration under 12 years of age by someone 19 years of age or older is the victim of a first-degree sexual assault. If a person 25 years or older subjects a person from 12–16 years of age to sexual penetration, it is also a first-degree sexual assault. This charge carries penalties of a minimum of 15 years in prison for a first offense.
- Per Nebraska Statute § 28–320, Sexual Assault in the second or third degree is defined as any sexual contact if the victim hasn’t consented or if the perpetrator knew or should have known that the victim was incapable of consenting. If the perpetrator inflicted lasting injury on the victim, the assault is classified as second-degree and is a Class IIA felony. This conviction typically comes with a prison sentence of 0–4 years, a fine of up to $25,000, or both. If there is no lasting injury, it is sexual assault in the third-degree and a Class I misdemeanor. A Class I misdemeanor requires the defendant to serve 0–6 months in prison, pay a fine up to $1,000, or both.
- Nebraska Statute § 28–320.01 outlines and defines second and third-degree sexual assault of a child. Sexual assault of a child occurs when a perpetrator who is older than 19 years subjects a party who is 14 years or younger to sexual contact. The assault is considered sexual assault in the second degree if the perpetrator inflicts lasting injuries on the victim. Second-degree sexual assault of a child is a Class II felony for the first offense. The third-degree sexual assault of a child is defined almost the same as the second-degree. The main difference between the two is that there is no lasting injury to a victim of sexual assault in the third degree. Third-degree sexual assault of a child is a Class IIIA felony.
How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Nebraska?
Nebraska has one statewide database for members of the public to find sex offenders. The database is a portal known as the Nebraska Sex Offender Registry. Nebraska State Statute 29–4002 states that sex offenders are at high risk of re-offending. Thus, local law enforcement is responsible for conducting check-ups and investigations to protect the community at large. The Sex Offender Registration Act outlines the conditions and restrictions of those on the registry. Also, many counties in Nebraska have a local sex offender registry.
Nebraska Sex Offender Registry
The Nebraska Sex Offender Registry offers information regarding offenders who have pled guilty, been found guilty, or pled no contest to any of the following offenses:
- The kidnapping of a minor, unless the party is the minor’s parent and has not faced conviction of any other registrable offenses;
- False imprisonment of a minor
- Sexual assault defined by state legislation
- Sexual abuse by a school employee
- Sexual assault of a child in the first, second, or third-degree
- Sexual abuse of an elderly person
- Incest of a minor
- Child pornography
- Child enticement
- Debauching a child
The Sex Offender Registration Act applies to any individual who has ever pled guilty, been found guilty, or pled no contest to any of the following offenses:
- First-degree or second-degree murder
- First-degree, second-degree, or third-degree assault
- False imprisonment
- First or second-degree sexual abuse or assault of an inmate or parolee
- Sexual abuse of a protected individual
- Child abuse
Any member of the public can access the sex offender registry to find information about sex offenders in the area. Parties can search by the offender’s name, using the party’s county, city, zip code, or searching based on the requesting party’s exact address.
The requesting party can access the sex offender’s name, the physical description of the offender, all associated addresses, schools, vehicles, registration duration, and the specific registerable offense. Other information kept in the registry includes but is not limited to:
- All locations of employment
- All information regarding schools that the offender attends
- Documents related to travel, visas, and immigration
- All professional licenses or certificates
- All email addresses, chat room usernames, and pseudonyms associated with the offender
- DNA samples
- Fingerprints and palm prints
The duration of time offenders must remain registered varies depending on the details of the offense or offenses. Parties must be on the registry for 15 years if the offense committed does not carry penalties of imprisonment for over one year. Typically, this applies to misdemeanor sexual offenses. If the court convicts the offender of a crime that is punishable by over one year, the party must remain on the registry for 25 years. Offenses that carry a penalty of over a year are usually non-aggravated felony offenses. These penalties also include conspiracy crimes.
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 a 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 Nebraska?
The Sex Offender Registration Act does not place restrictions on activities or movements of registered sex offenders in Nebraska. The Sex Offender Registration Act does not have the authority or jurisdiction to prevent sexual offenders on the registry from taking part in events, restrict employment opportunities, limit the facilities that an offender can enter, or prevent the offenders from interacting with children or other vulnerable populations. The only required mandate is that the offender must register and provide the registry with the information required, mandated under 29–4004 and 29–4006. If the offender fails to provide this information at the local sheriff’s office within the required timeframe, the state issues penalties.
Although there are no statewide restrictions on registered sex offenders, Nebraska legislation adopted guidelines for cities that wish to enact offenders’ living regulations. Only the cities or counties that enact these guidelines and pass the ordinance can restrict where a party lives based on their sexual offense history. Typically, if a city or county adopts the guidelines, offenders will be restricted from living near school and daycares. Although the city implements the law, it is the local law enforcement’s responsibility to impose the rules. The ordinance does not apply to every sexual offender but to offenders who have moved to the report’s address after July of 2006. The state does not have a central database that keeps track of which cities or counties have adopted the ordinance. If members of the public wish to gain information about which cities utilize the ordinance, it is necessary to contact the city court, police department, or sheriff’s office in the city.