Juveniles convicted of felony sex crimes are automatically classified as a “juvenile sexual offenders,” pursuant to KRS 635.510(1).  When charged as a juvenile sexual offender the child will be committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for treatment. This means your child will be removed from his home.  The status of juvenile sex offender will guarantee the child will be removed from his home and placed in a juvenile detention facility.  If a child is convicted of a misdemeanor sex offense, it is not automatic that he is classified as a juvenile sex offender.  However, at his disposition hearing, (basically his sentencing hearing), the judge has the authority to classify him as a sex offender and place him/her in Department of Juvenile Justice for the duration of his sex offender treatment.

Kids and their parents must realize juvenile court does not provide the same constitutional protection as adult criminal court.  First and foremost, juveniles do not have the right to a trial by jury.  Kids  can be placed in a child jail without a jury trial. Secondly, juvenile court proceedings are confidential. Adult criminal court is public.  Outside the context of youthful offender proceedings (KRS Chapter 640), juveniles do not actually enter guilty pleas.  Juveniles admit to the allegations in the petition and  are subject to the consequences imposed by the juvenile court judge. This process is called the disposition. .  Once an admission to the petition is entered, the juvenile court judge enters an adjudication.  Juvenile courts do not enter judgments of conviction.

The main purpose of the juvenile court system is to guide young offenders out of the error of their ways and onto the solid road to responsibility and law abiding citizenship.  The success of these attempts depends a great deal on instilling respect in these young minds for themselves and others.

The trial judge will order a juvenile sexual offender assessment.  A study of the child’s background, including his/her social development, medical history, educational history, legal history, family history, substance abuse treatment, sexual treatment and recent behavior will be prepared for the court to determine if the juvenile shall be declared a juvenile sex offender.   A child declared a juvenile sex offender is committed to the Department of Juvenile Justice for up to 3 years.  However, the committed can extend an additional year if a motion by the Department of Juvenile Justice is sustained by the sentencing court.  A child can be forcibly placed in the Department of Juvenile Justice until he/she is 21 years old.

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