A criminal conviction can completely change a person’s life with negative consequences for many years. Perhaps the most significant challenge comes in finding a job after a sex conviction.
This blog post will address the issue of what jobs are available for sex offenders.
- Sex Offense
- Effects of a Sex Conviction on a Career
- Careers that May Be Challenging to Enter
- Careers that May Be Easier to Enter
- How to Deal with a Sex Offense on a Job Application
- Making a Case for Employment
A sex offender is a person who has been convicted of certain criminal offenses, including:
- Sexual conduct with a minor
- Sexual assault
- Molestation of the child
- Indecent exposure
- Sexual exploitation of a minor
- Kidnapping, aggravated assault, murder, unlawful imprisonment, and burglary when there is a sexual motivation
Most offenses involving criminal sexual conduct fall under the jurisdiction of state law.
Federal sexual offenses include:
- Selling or buying children
- Sexual exploitation of minors
- Certain activities involving child pornography
- Transporting an individual in interstate or foreign commerce with the intention of illegal sexual activity
- Transportation of minors in interstate or foreign commerce with intent to engage in criminal sexual activity
Someone who has been convicted of any of the following offenses must register as a sex offender:
- Aggravated kidnapping with sexual battery
- Aggravated sexual assault
- Burglary with sexual assault
- Continuous sexual abuse of children
- Indecency with a child
- Indecent exposure (more than one offense)
- Possession or promotion of child pornography
- Prohibited sexual content sexual assault
- Sexual performance by a child
A sex felony is a serious criminal offense involving a sentence of at least one year in prison. The consequences for a felony sex conviction are similar, including:
- Prison time
- Probation or parole
- Fines or restitution
- Job loss
- Loss of civil rights like voting or owning a gun
- Damage to someone’s reputation
Even after the terms of any sentence have been completed, there will still be a criminal record for the remainder of a person’s life along with continuous registration as a sex offender.
Typically, a misdemeanor conviction will remain on someone’s record and be available for public viewing for three years before it can be expunged. A felony conviction will generally remain on a person’s record and be available to the public for five years before it can be expunged.
Effects of a Sex Conviction on a Career
A sex conviction will not absolutely prevent a felon from finding a job, but it certainly makes it much more difficult. Employers are already reluctant to hire anyone with a criminal record, that this is especially true if it is a sexual offense.
One of the difficulties in being hired for a position with any type of conviction is that an employer tends to see all crimes as being of equal severity. With any offense, many employers have the view that a felon is dangerous regardless of the type of crime. If it is a sex crime, the fear becomes even greater.
Sex offenses tend to be viewed as a drastic violation of an individual’s rights and boundaries, resulting in the victim’s loss of self-esteem and trust in others. There will be drastic effects on job opportunities for a felon with a sex offense. There are a number of reasons why it is challenging to get a job with a sex conviction.
Prospective employers will usually ask about a criminal record and conduct a background investigation because they want to hire someone they can trust. An employer will review someone’s criminal record to determine if the type of crime involved in the conviction has any bearing on the particular job position.
Those who have been convicted of a sex crime may have more restrictions on their rights than those convicted of a non-sex crime. One of the major restrictions is on where they can live. Most state laws prohibit registered sex offenders from living or visiting a residence that is within 500 feet of a child safety zone.
A child safety zone may include:
- Youth centers
- Athletic centers
- Daycare centers
Those who have been convicted of a sex crime are also typically prohibited from seeking employment in a business located in any of those areas.
Typically, sex offenders have certain restrictions:
- Limited or no internet access
- Having movement restricted to a certain area
- Restricted contact with minors or a victim
- Being unable to own or purchase firearms
- Regular drug and alcohol screening
Employers want to protect employees and customers from any type of harm, which includes keeping them away from people who have committed sex offenses.
Megan’s Law was enacted in 1996 as a response to the death of a child by a sex offender. Megan’s Law requires states to enact laws and have registration of convicted sex offenders so communities can be informed of the presence of these offenders.
In most states, Megan’s Law makes it illegal for employers to use any information for purposes relating to employment or health insurance. Megan’s Law will be upheld for any job that involves children or another vulnerable group.
When deciding on whether or not the job involves a degree of risk, employers may take into account the following:
- State’s public policy to encourage employment of felons
- Duties and responsibilities of the job
- Extent that the crime would affect a felon’s fitness for ability to perform
- Time elapsed since the offense
- Person’s age when the crime was committed
- Seriousness of the offense
- Information demonstrating rehabilitation and good conduct
Careers that May Be Challenging to Enter
To be eligible for employment with many federal agencies, an applicant must meet certain standards. Situations that may disqualify a candidate for a federal position include conviction of a felony whether it is a sex crime or not.
Most state laws don’t specifically prohibit registered sex offenders from holding certain occupations. However, licensing agencies may deny professional licenses to sex offenders in certain occupations. For sex offenders, this may include:
- Daycare workers or operators
- Physicians or other healthcare providers
Careers that May Be Easier to Enter
It’s easy to become frustrated and discouraged when applying for jobs even under the best circumstances. Having a sex conviction makes this even more challenging.
However, there are a number of areas in which a sex offender can find work. Each of these involves some education and training specific to that field.
Some areas that sex offenders may be able to get a job include:
A felon with a sex conviction can pursue any degree he or she wants. Although 60% of colleges consider criminal history in their admissions process, there is no standard policy regarding a background check.
Any felon that wants to get a degree can find a college that will accept him or her. The challenge may be in obtaining a job after graduating, but this can be accomplished with perseverance.
There are a number of truck driving jobs available with companies that are willing to hire felons with a sex offense. It’s generally recommended to attend a school to obtain a Commercial Driver’s License (CDL) first, which is required for most truck driving jobs.
There are many opportunities in the construction industry. Smaller companies are more willing to allow a sex offender to demonstrate his or her skills in a particular trade within the construction field.
There are various trades within the construction industry, including:
There are a number of restaurants, especially fast food restaurants, that hire sex offenders. Some of these include:
Animal shelters are known to hire sex offenders since there is typically little contact with the public.
Temp agencies are another good choice for felons even with a sex offense. Since they work with a variety of employers, it can be easier to find one that’s willing to give a sex offender an opportunity.
Sometimes these temporary positions can turn into full-time positions.
There are many opportunities for felons who want to start their own business. Being an independent contractor can offer those with a sex offense a chance to work for themselves and utilize their skills.
There are many opportunities for sex offenders to work online. Those positions that directly employ individuals for a W-2 job often conduct a background check. However, those that create contracts for an independent 1099 position typically do not complete a background check.
How to Deal with a Sex Offense on a Job Application
Many states allow felony convictions to be expunged from a record. If this is available, it would certainly be helpful to clean up a criminal record. The report from court where the charges were filed can be helpful. Checking with county, state, and federal courts is recommended.
When applying for a job, a question of a sex criminal conviction needs to be answered truthfully. Someone may be automatically disqualified if there is a lie that is discovered by a potential employer.
Questions about criminal history may only ask for information regarding felonies. If the question does not ask for misdemeanor convictions, these do not have to be disclosed.
Specific information regarding a criminal record should be clearly stated to a potential employer:
- Briefly describe what happened with an acceptance of responsibility
- State what a person did while incarcerated to better him or herself
- Explain what someone is doing now to move past the conviction
- Demonstrate having learned from one’s mistake
Making a Case for Employment
A sex conviction should be explained briefly and accurately. Take ownership for the mistake and state what that experience taught, and how he or she has changed since then.
When asked about a sex conviction, it’s important to answer the question directly and honestly. The employer knows that you are aware of what is on your record. Attempts to pretend that you do not know makes you appear dishonest.
Making mistakes is part of life. Showing that he or she is qualified and honest will give the best chance to find employment.
What do you think about this blog post? Have you or someone you know been in the situation of trying to get hired with a sex offense on his or her record? What was that like for him or her, and how did he or she achieve success? Please tell us in the comments below.