Iowa Sex Offender Records

What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is someone that has committed a sex-related crime, such as rape or child molestation. A sex offender can also be called a sexual offender, a sex abuser, or a sexual abuser, among other names. States in the United States have their definitions, classifications, and penalties for sexual offenses. Often, this is different from what the federal laws define as sex crimes.

Generally, being convicted as a sex offender causes drastic changes in someone's life. Other than the social stigma, the individual will likely need to register as a sex offender for some time or life. This may result in challenges in one's personal life and can affect the person's mental health.

Sex offenders convicted anywhere in the United States are often required to enroll on a Sex Offender Registry in the jurisdiction where the crime occured. For instance, once the courts in Iowa convict a person of a sex offense, such person must register within five days of sentencing and update that information as required or when certain changes (e.g., changes to residency) occur.

Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Iowa?

Anyone who commits any of the sex offenses listed in Iowa Code 692A.101 is a sex offender in Iowa. Some crimes that lead to a sex conviction in the state include rape, assault with intent to commit sexual abuse, lascivious acts with a child, continuous sexual abuse of a child, and so on.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in Iowa?

Iowa Code 692A.101 highlights the different types of sex offenses in Iowa, including:

Sexual abuse: Iowa Code 709 defines sexual abuse as any sexual act done by force or against a person's will, performed on a person who suffers a mental incapacity or defect that prevents them from giving consent, or on a child. In the state, "against the will" includes acts perpetrated while the victim is unconscious, incapacitated due to drugs or other intoxicants, or by the threat of violence. There are three degrees of sexual abuse in Iowa:

  • Sexual abuse in the first degree
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree, and
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree.
  • Sexual abuse in the first degree takes place when an individual causes another serious injury while committing sexual abuse. It is a Class A felony in Iowa. According to a Criminal Law Overview by the Iowa Legislative Services Agency, Class A felonies have the most severe punishments in the state. Anyone convicted as a Class A felon incurs a life sentence with no possibility of parole or probation.
  • Sexual abuse in the second degree takes place when someone threatens another with a dangerous weapon or applies or threatens to apply force to compel the victim's submission, which may result in death or serious injury. A person may also be accused of sexual abuse in the second degree if the victim is below the age of 12 or if the offender was assisted by one or more persons while committing the sex act against the victim's will. This offense is a Class B felony in Iowa, punishable by confinement for not more than 25 years.
  • Sexual abuse in the third degree takes place when the sexual act is done by force or against the victim's will, despite the parties being a couple or cohabitants. Also, a person is guilty of this crime when not living as husband and wife, but one of the following is true:
    • The victim has a mental defect or incapacity, which makes them incapable of consent.
    • The victim is 12 or 13 years old.
    • The victim is fourteen or fifteen years old, and both parties (offender and victim) belong to the same household.
    • The accused is related by blood or affinity to the fourth degree to the victim, and the victim is 14 or 15 years old.
    • The accused has authority over the victim and uses that authority to coerce the person to submit.

In Iowa, sexual abuse in the third degree is a Class C felony. It is punishable by confinement for no more than ten years and a minimum fine from $1,000 to $10,000.

Lascivious acts with a child: This involves touching or fondling the pubes or genitals of a child by anyone at least 16 years without the victim's consent. The term also includes incidents where someone causes a child to touch their genitals or pubes, or causes the touching of their genitals or pubes to any part of a child, without consent. This is a Class C felony in Iowa that attracts confinement for no more than ten years, including a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

Per Iowa Code 709.8, soliciting a child to engage in a sex act or soliciting someone to arrange a sex act with a child, or inflicting pain on a child or allowing a child to inflict pain or discomfort on a person, constitutes lascivious acts with a child. These acts are Class D felonies. A Class D felon must be confined for no more than 5 years and is liable to a minimum fine of $750 and a maximum of $7,500.

Assault with intent to commit sexual abuse: Anyone who commits an assault with the intent to commit sexual abuse on a person is guilty of a Class C felony if the victim sustains a serious injury in the process. Hence, the offender will be confined for no more than 10 years and pay a fine between $1,000 and $10,000.

An individual may also be accused of assault with intent to commit sexual abuse if the person causes anybody a bodily injury other than a serious injury. In this case, it is a Class D felony that results in confinement for 5 years or less and a fine between $750 and $7,500. If there is no injury, the offender is guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor instead.

Burglary in the first degree: This occurs when a person performs or participates in a sexual act that constitutes sexual abuse. As a Class B felony, offenders are liable to be confined for no more than 25 years.

Other sex offenses recognized in Iowa include:

  • Kidnapping, if sexual abuse is committed while committing the crime.
  • Murder, if sexual abuse is committed during the commission of the offense.
  • Continuous sexual abuse of a child.

What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Iowa?

According to Iowa Code 692A.102, sex offenders are classified into three tiers. Each tier represents the severity of the offense the offender committed. Also, each tier indicates the number of times annually that an offender is required to report in person to the sheriff's office to verify their registration information.

Tier I: Offenses here include sexual abuse in the second degree, indecent exposure, stalking, sexual abuse in the third degree, harassment, etc. However, a repeat offender will be reclassified as Tier II.

A Tier I offender must register for 15 years and verify their information with law enforcement every year.

Tier II: Offenders under Tier II must have been convicted of lascivious acts with a child, solicitation of a child to engage in an illegal act, invasion of privacy – nudity, sexual abuse with a corpse, and more. However, if the sex offender has a prior conviction for a Tier II offense, such a person will be reclassified as Tier III.

As a Tier II offender, the person must register for 25 years. Such offenders must present themselves at the sheriff's office every six months to verify their registration information.

Tier III: Anyone guilty of sexual abuse in the third degree, continuous sexual abuse of a child, lascivious acts with a child, and so on is considered a Tier III sex offender in Iowa. Under the law, such offenders must remain registered for life. These offenders are required to visit their sheriff's office every three months to verify the information they provided during registration.

Notably, a sheriff may demand that such an offender appear more frequently to verify relevant information if there is reasonable cause for it.

Also, regardless of classification, any offender classified as a sexually violent predator must be listed as a Tier III offender.

How To Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Iowa

Pursuant to Chapter 692A of the Iowa Code, a member of the public may request sex offender information from a county sheriff's office. Requests can be made in writing, by telephone, or in person. The requester will be asked to provide the name of the sex offender and at least one of the following:

  • Date of birth
  • Social security number
  • Address
  • Internet identifiers
  • Telephone numbers (This includes landline and wireless numbers.)

Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:

  • The full name on the record of choice
  • The last known or current address of the named individual
  • The address of the requestor

Iowa Sex Offender Registry

The Iowa Sex Offender Registry provides sex offender information to interested individuals. The registry offers several ways for these persons to obtain information on registered sex offenders in their environment:

  • Basic search: The basic search is the simplest way to obtain information on sex offenders. Using the option, the person looking for information will only need to search by inputting the offender's first name, last name, or postal code. It is also possible to search using the full name of a person.
  • Advanced search: The advanced search allows interested individuals to search using more criteria such as the registrant's race, eye color, height, victim's gender, and more. Using this feature leads to more effective results.
  • Map search: The map search tool makes it easy to locate registered sex offenders with geographical data. Anyone searching can find offenders within 1 to 10 miles of their address.
  • Email addresses, online identifiers, or nicknames
  • Telephone: This will not display the information about the registrant if a match is found. It will only indicate if the telephone number belongs to a registered sex offender.
  • Vehicle: Interested persons can also search the registry with a vehicle plate number to find a match.

When a person's search matches any registrant on the registry, the individual will have access to specific information of the registrant, such as:

  • Name
  • Address
  • Physical descriptors (tattoos, scars, marks)
  • Photograph

Anyone can access the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. Since the registry became effective on July 1, 1995, thousands of sex offenders across the state have registered on it. The database is updated hourly during working hours from Monday through Friday.

One of the goals of the Sex Offender Registry is to provide information that will enhance public protection. Anyone who takes action against offenders by destroying their properties or threatening them in any way may be arrested and prosecuted.

What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Iowa?

Being a registered sex offender in Iowa comes with a lot of changes in a person's lifestyle. As a result, a sex offender in Iowa cannot live a normal life like other residents. Firstly, the individual's information, such as their name, address, and photograph will be displayed to the public on the state's Sex Offender Registry. Secondly, a registered sex offender in Iowa must verify their information at their registering agencies when required, no matter how busy they may be. Failure to comply attracts further penalties.

Thirdly, registrants are subject to certain restrictions. During the Iowa 2002 Legislative Session, the government introduced residency restrictions. As such, registrants whose victims were children and who were convicted of an aggravated offense against a minor are prohibited from residing within 2,000 of the real property comprising a school or child care facility.

Furthermore, there are employment restrictions for certain registered sex offenders in Iowa. Sex offenders with minor or adult victims are forbidden from being employed at a facility providing services for dependent adults. If a minor was the victim, the offender is restricted from being present at any place where minors are present, including a municipal, county, or state fair or carnival, a school, child care facility, or public library.

What Is the Iowa Sex Offender Registry?

The Iowa Sex Offender Registry provides a public listing of registered sex offenders in the state. Anyone convicted or adjudicated of crimes against minors, sexual exploitation, or sexually violent offenses are required to register. It also includes offenders who were imprisoned, on probation, parole, or work release status, on or after July 1, 1995. The Iowa Department of Public Safety manages the Iowa Sex Offender Registry, and the following sex offenders' information is available to the public on the Registry according to the Iowa law:

  • Name, including aliases
  • Date of birth
  • Photographs
  • Physical description, including weight, height, scars, marks, or tattoos
  • Residence
  • Statutory citation and description of the offense committed
  • Indication as to whether a particular sex offender is subject to residency restrictions
  • Indication as to whether a specific sex offender is subject to exclusion zone restrictions

The Iowa Sex Offender Registry does not disclose the following:

  • Information on sex offenders who were below twenty years at the time of committing a crime of sexual abuse in the third degree where the victim is fourteen or fifteen years and the sex offender is four years older than the victim
  • The name, address, or location of a sex offender's employer
  • The name and address of any school where a sex offender attends or is enrolled
  • A sex offender's name protected under the law
  • The statutory citation and description of an incest conviction in violation of section 726.2. However, the Registry shall disclose these as a conviction of section 709.4 or 709.8.
  • Any other relevant information not stipulated to be made available under the law

The Iowa Department of Corrections registers sex offenders before their release from incarceration. All other registrations required by law are conducted at the sheriff's office where the sex offender resides.

What Are the Sex Offender Laws in Iowa?

Sex offender registration in Iowa is primarily regulated by the state's sex offender registry law. The Iowa Department of Public Safety administers the law. It mandates convicted sex offenders to register with the Iowa Department of Public Safety, county sheriff offices, and police departments where they reside. The law also requires the department to perform specific duties, some of which include:

  • Maintaining a public Sex Offender Registry containing the personal information of sex offenders like their age, physical description, and location;
  • Submitting sex offender registry data to the Federal Bureau of Investigation (FBI) for entry into the national sex offender registry;
  • Entering and maintaining fingerprints and palm prints of sex offenders in an automated fingerprint identification system made accessible to law enforcement agencies in Iowa, the federal government, or other jurisdictions.

How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Iowa?

Sex offenders in Iowa have to register for either ten years or for life, depending on the statute under which the sex offender is convicted and if the offender has any prior convictions for qualifying offenses. Sexually violent predators have to register for life. Sex offenders serving a special sentence for a sexual offense conviction have to register as sex offenders for a period equal to the length of their special sentence.

However, sex offenders serving a misdemeanor or class "D" felony special sentence for a sexual offense conviction must register for 10 years unless they are discharged earlier. Furthermore, sex offenders serving a class "C" felony or more severe felony special sentence for a sexual offense conviction have to register for the rest of their lives or until the sex offender is discharged from the special sentence.

Sex offenders are required to register in person with the sheriff's office of each county where they reside, work, or school within five business days of entering such county. Sex offenders who have multiple residences in Iowa have to appear in person to register with the Sheriff's Office of each county where they live and provide the dates they will stay at each residence, including the date when they will move from one place to another.

Sex offenders are also required to verify their information in person at the Sheriff's Office of their county of principal residence based on the tier level assigned to them. Tier One sex offenders require in-person verification once every year, while Tier Two sex offenders require in-person verification every six months. Tier Three sex offenders are required to verify their information in person every three months.

The various county sheriff's offices in Iowa are mandated to notify the Iowa Department of Public Safety of a sex offender's new address upon verification by such sex offender. Sex offenders are also required to annually verify their address with the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Sex offenders categorized as sexually violent predators must verify their address every three months with the Iowa Department of Public Safety. Sex offenders who no longer reside, work, or school in Iowa are not required to register. They would be placed on inactive status; their relevant information would be removed from the Iowa Sex Offender Registry after the Iowa Department of Public Safety verifies that they have complied with the registration requirements in another jurisdiction.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Iowa?

The law of Iowa does not require sex offenders to notify their neighbors of their sex offender status. However, people who set up a "watch" using their address, other important address, or a specified distance around an address will receive email notices each time a registered sex offender moves into or out of that area or moves to a new location within that area. People can also create "watches" based on their city, county, or zip code.

Note: Sex offenders have to appear in person at the Sheriff's Office within five business days to register any change in address.

Do Sex Offenders Have to Put a Sign in Their Yard in Iowa?

Under Iowa state laws, sex offenders are not mandated to put up signs in their yards.

How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Iowa?

Under the Iowa law, sex offenders required to register in Iowa, who have been convicted of aggravated offenses against a child below eighteen years old, or enrolled in a secondary school, cannot reside within two thousand feet of any school or childcare facility. However, a sex offender who lives within two thousand feet of a school or a child care facility is exempted from the above restriction if the sex offender:

a. Is required to serve a sentence at a jail, prison, juvenile facility, or other correctional institution or facility.

b. Is subject to an order of commitment under the law.

c. Has established a residence before July 1, 2002.

d. Has established a residence before the school or child care facility in the area where the sex offender resides.

e. Is a minor.

f. Is a patient or resident at a health care facility as defined under the law or a patient in a hospice program, and a district judge or associate probate judge grants such sex offender an exemption from the above residency restriction.

g. Is a ward in a guardianship, and a district judge or associate probate judge exempts the sex offender from the above residency restriction.

How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Iowa

Following the Iowa law, information on sex offenders is available to the public on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. Requesters can search for sex offenders on the Registry by conducting any of the following types of search:

  • Basic search: this is the simplest form of inquiry on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry, and it requires requesters to input either the first name, last name or postal code of the requested sex offender.
  • Advanced search: this type of search allows users to search using more criteria like name, age, location, physical description, and tier criteria.
  • Map search: a map search enables users to locate sex offenders by geographical data. This option is helpful to requesters who want to search a specific area for sex offenders. People using this option have to enter their zip code and choose a mile radius around the center of that zip code.

People can also search for sex offenders on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry using the email address, telephone number, or vehicle license plate number of the desired sex offender.

Anyone can also request relevant information on sex offenders from the county sheriff's office or local police department. People seeking relevant information from the county sheriff's office or local police department are required to include the name of the sex offender and at least any of the following identifiers:

  • The sex offenders date of birth,
  • The sex offender's social security number, or
  • The address of the sex offender.

Relevant information provided to the public by the county sheriff's office or local police department may include the sex offender's name, address, photograph, locations frequented by the sex offender, relevant criminal history, and any available risk assessment. However, requesters can not access the following information:

  • The identity of any victim of the sex offender's crime
  • Details of arrests not resulting in a conviction
  • Passport and immigration documents of sex offenders
  • Government-issued driver's license or identification cards of sex offenders
  • Sex offenders' DNA information, fingerprints, and palm prints
  • Sex offenders' professional licensing information and social security number
  • The real name of a sex offender that is protected under the law

Interested individuals can register to receive notifications via email whenever a sex offender moves in or out of their neighborhood by clicking on the "Notification/registrant watch" icon on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry. Users who click on the "Notification/registrant watch" icon on the Iowa Sex Offender Registry are redirected to a page where they can create their accounts and further input their contact details for receiving notifications.

Requesters can also search the U.S sex offender directory maintained by the U.S. Department of Justice for sex offenders in Iowa. Users can lookup sex offenders in the state of Iowa on the U.S sex offender directory by following the steps below:

  1. Visit the U.S sex offender directory.
  2. Accept the "Condition of Use" by clicking on the 'Continue' icon on the page.
  3. Input the required search parameters, like the name, zip code, or address radius.

The information of sex offenders displayed on the website is obtained from the law enforcement agencies in the jurisdiction where a sex offender is registered. Thus people with further questions on sex offenders living in Iowa can contact the local law enforcement agencies in the state of Iowa.

Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Iowa?

The law of the state of Iowa makes provisions for the expungement of offenders' criminal records within the state. However, people convicted of registerable sex offenses cannot have their records expunged.

Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Iowa?

The law of the state of Iowa does not expressly pronounce public urination as a sex offense. However, people who urinate in public may be charged for indecent exposure and required to register as sex offenders if they expose their genitals in public places or in the presence of another who is not their spouse.

How to Report a Sex Offender in Iowa

Sex offenders who fail to comply with the law regulating registration and verification of sex offenders in Iowa are guilty of an aggravated misdemeanor; for a first conviction. A second conviction for failure to comply with the law regulating registration and verification of sex offenders in Iowa is a class D felony. Sex offenders convicted of failing to comply with the requirements of sex offender registration and verification are subject to an additional ten years of registration. Furthermore, a non-compliant sex offender in the state of Iowa who moves to another jurisdiction and is not compliant in that jurisdiction may be subject to federal prosecution.

People can report non-compliant sex offenders by email or by contacting the local law enforcement agency in their neighborhood or community. They can also click the "support contact" button located on the Sex offender registry website or contact the Iowa Division of Criminal Investigation to make reports at:

Department of Public Safety Building
215 East 7th Street
Des Moines, IA 50319
Phone: (515) 725-6050
Fax: (515) 725-6040

Interested individuals can also report non-compliant or unregistered sex offenders at the federal level by contacting the United States Marshals Service (USMS) online. However, people whose cases require urgent attention can call 911.