In much of society, sex crimes are considered both morally and legally unacceptable. In many cases, those who commit such crimes are punished with both time in prison and a requirement to register as a sex offender. 

Although the sex offender registry is meant to keep the public informed about harmful individuals, a person’s name can end up there without them ever having touched anyone physically. Sometimes, they may not even know they were committing a crime. Below are five ways someone can become a sex offender that may surprise you.

Public Urination

If you have ever found yourself in the unfortunate position of needing to relieve yourself but not finding a nearby restroom, you may have been tempted to go outside. Unfortunately, this action does have the potential to land you on the sex offender registry. 

You can be charged with indecent exposure for exposing your genitals in public. The charge escalates if there are minors present. For this reason, those needing to go to the restroom when out in public are much better off just trying to hold it until they find a private facility.


As a joke, some people may be tempted to remove their clothing and undergarments and run through a public place. While this may seem funny at first, that likely won’t be the case if minors are exposed to that person’s private body parts, and someone decides to report it.

Streaking is illegal and considered indecent exposure in Kentucky. Just like public urination, the charge carries with it the potential that someone will have to register as a sex offender for the next few decades.

Assisting Minors With Sex

It is illegal for an adult to have sex with a minor in Kentucky, as it’s considered statutory rape. The age of consent is 16 in Kentucky. However, it is illegal to have sex with a 16 or 17-year-old if the adult is more than 10 years older than the minor. If caught, the adult may have to register as a sex offender. 

If you knowingly assist a minor in partaking in sexual activity, you may also have to register as a sex offender in Kentucky. This behavior can be considered an unlawful transaction with a minor in the first degree. 


Having sexual relations with an ancestor or descendant, even when those engaged in the activity are consenting adults, is illegal in Kentucky

According to state law, this covers sexual activity between those sharing whole or half-blood ancestry without regard to legitimacy, adoption, or “step” relationships (such as a step-parent). The charge carries possible jail time and requires sex offender registration for 20 years. 

Sexting Between Minors

The law in Kentucky is clear — it is illegal to produce, promote, or distribute any material that depicts minors engaged in sexual conduct or performance — even if that minor is yourself. 

State law does not differentiate between adults committing these acts and minors doing the same. This means that even if two minors consent to sending explicit pictures of themselves to each other, it is still considered child pornography. Anyone who distributes child pornography may have to register as a sex offender for the next two decades.

Knowing the Law Is Key

Becoming a registered sex offender is no light consequence. Not only can it bring shame and embarrassment to the perpetrator and their families, but it can prevent a person from being able to find housing or live an everyday life.

If you’re unsure whether your behavior might be offensive or unlawful, it’s best to know the law surrounding it before you engage. Having a clear understanding of the law and what actions can land you on the sex offender registry — and steering clear of those behaviors — is the key. Doing so can help to maintain your own safety and that of the people around you.

Contact the Lexington Criminal Defense Attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers For Help Today

For more information, contact the criminal defense attorneys at Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers give us a call today at (859) 569-4014 or visit us at our Lexington law office.

Suhre & Associates DUI and Criminal Defense Lawyers – Lexington
333 West Vine Street #212
Lexington, KY 40507