31 Harv. C.R.-C.L. L. Rev. 89 (1996)
The Jacob Wetterling Crimes against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act: An Unconstitutional Deprivation of the Right to Privacy and Substantive Due Process

handle is hein.journals/hcrcl31 and id is 95 raw text is: THE JACOB WETTERLING CRIMES AGAINST
CHILDREN AND SEXUALLY VIOLENT OFFENDER
REGISTRATION ACT: AN UNCONSTITUTIONAL
DEPRIVATION OF THE RIGHT TO PRIVACY AND
SUBSTANTIVE DUE PROCESS
Caroline Louise Lewis*
Introduction
A Mother's Story
Patty Wetterling last saw her eleven-year-old son, Jacob, six years
ago when he left her home in St. Joseph, Minnesota to rent a video from
a neighborhood store.1 Halfway home, Jacob was taken at gunpoint from
the area.2 His family has never seen him again.
Since Jacob's abduction, Mrs. Wetterling has searched tirelessly for
her son and has made it her personal mission to protect children and their
families from the horror of child abduction and sexual offense.3 Along
with her husband, she founded the Jacob Wetterling Foundation, a volun-
teer organization devoted to preventing child abductions and helping vic-
timized families as well as to finding Jacob.4 Mrs. Wetterling lobbied
Congress intensely to pass a federal sex offender law that would require
convicted sex offenders and offenders whose victims were children to
register with police and would allow police to publicize the presence of
offenders to the communities in which they live.5 Her efforts helped to
secure the enactment of the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and
Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act (Jacob Wetterling Act) as
part of the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act.6 The
* I would like to thank my advisor, Professor Charles Ogletree, for helping me develop
this piece.
I See 137 CONG. REC. S14,945 (daily ed. Oct. 22, 1991) (statement of Sen. Durenber-
ger).
2 See id.
3 There is evidence that two-thirds of reported nonfamily child abductions involve
sexual assault. See H.R. REP. No. 392, 103d Cong., 1st Sess. 4 (1993) (citing OFFICE OF
JUVENILE JUSTICE AND DELINQUENCY PREVENTION, U.S. DEP'T OF JUSTICE, MISSING,
ABDUCTED, RUNAWAY AND THROWNAWAY CHILDREN IN AMERICA 142 (National Incidence
Study, May 1990)).
4 See id.
5 See 139 CONG. REC. S6840 (daily ed. May 28, 1993) (statement of Sen. Durenber-
ger). The Act includes nonsexual offenses against children as well as sexual offenses
against children and adults generally. The Act focuses principally on sexual offenses,
however. See infra note 38.
Though sex offenses are committed by both males and females, for the sake of brevity
this Article will utilize the pronoun he when referring to sex offenders.
6 See id.

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