Sex Offender Information is public to an extent. If I become aware of a sexual offender in an area and simply post a link to the registry with the intent to merely inform others and not harass nor hinder this person in any way. Is there any way my actions could be perceived as illegal? When I made the post I made it clear that my intent was to merely inform and nothing more, yet some users claim I could be sued for slander even though there is evidence to support my claims.

  • Of course you can't be sued for slander. Slander is spoken, in print it's libel! (J.Johan Jamerson is the best part about any Spider-man movie, fight me!)
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 20:40
  • @hszmv Mary Jane will always be the best part of any Spider man movie.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Jan 30, 2020 at 21:43
  • @ohwilleke: Debatable... two Spider-man films went with Gwen and never said anything about MJ and one decided to hide her as a new character for much of the film. I'll grant you "Iconic Upsidedown kiss" but Toby really never went anywhere special with the relationship beyond that (their a couple... they're not a couple... their a couple again... their not a couple again... they're still not a couple but at least don't hate each other anymore but it's rather unclear and this was the emo Spider-man film so lets pretend it didn't happen at all.)
    – hszmv
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 13:21

2 Answers 2


You can always be sued, but truth is an absolute defense to libel.

Your actions could be perceived in any way imaginable. What usually matters for legal purposes is how a "reasonable person" would perceive them.

As an example, Pennsylvania's Megan's Law Website warns:

Any person who uses the information contained herein to threaten, intimidate, or harass the registrant or their family, or who otherwise misuses this information, may be subject to criminal prosecution or civil liability.

It further clarifies:

Public access to information about registered sexual offenders is intended solely as a means of public protection, any other use prohibited.

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    @JesseElser regardless of your real intentions, it's possible that your actions could be construed as harassment, intimidation, threatening, or "other" misuse. Unlike defamation, you can't defend against these by showing that the information is true.
    – phoog
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:51
  • 1
    @JesseElser - Fortunately you can buy insurance against civil liability (usually in the form of "umbrella" insurance policies). And crimes have to be proven beyond a reasonable doubt, and almost always brought by the state, if that's any comfort.
    – feetwet
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:58
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    Excellent "you can always be sued" point, I have to make that distinction with clients at least a couple of times every single month and it isn't just pedantic. Most people who hear that are genuinely surprised by that fact, even though they quickly agree that it makes total sense. I suspect that "threaten, intimidate, or harass" would be interpreted pretty narrowly in this circumstance particularly if a clarification of purpose was posted together with the information.
    – ohwilleke
    Commented Oct 24, 2016 at 16:58
  • 1
    "truth is an absolute defense to libel" - depending on jurisdiction, there can be exceptions to that. Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:11
  • 1
    @MartinBonner – indeed, but I assume you mean jurisdictions outside the United States? (The question was not explicitly limited to the United States, but my answer is, in part because I'm not aware of other jurisdictions in which "sex offenders" per se are required by law to register their place of residence with the government.)
    – feetwet
    Commented Oct 17, 2017 at 14:14

It is public information so it is legal to let others know BUT you have to consider the risks still. Example, if you posted pics on telephone poles and get caught, you could get some form of charge for damaged to private property. Another one is if someone used that information to attack the offender and they learned it came from your source, you could also suffer some consequences for possibly being an assailant.

Now chances are people may turn a blind eye and allow whatever to happen to a sex offender because, well, if anyone should get their rights violated and be acceptable, it be them. However, the law just doesn't work that way.

  • Downvoters, please leave a comment to indicate what problem you found with this answer. Commented Oct 30, 2018 at 23:54
  • I didn't downvote this, but the shoddy reasoning and unnecessary bit about who should have their rights violated should be rather obvious.
    – A.fm.
    Commented Jan 31, 2020 at 0:52

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