Hearing Aid Dealer, Motorcycle Instructor, Funeral Limo Driver, and Other Jobs Sex Offenders Are Forbidden to Take

The law, lawyers, and the court.
Aug. 14 2014 12:34 PM

Not Wanted: Sex Offenders

Several states ban people in the registry from a bizarre list of jobs.

Hearing aid dealers
Alaska forbids felony sex offenders from being hearing aid dealers within five years of an offense.

Photo illustration by Slate. Photo by iStock/Thinkstock.

Depending on where you live, committing a sex offense can trigger any number of sanctions and restrictions in addition to prison time and probation. To get a handle of these consequences, we searched the American Bar Association’s National Inventory of Collateral Consequences of Conviction for all the punishments for sex offenses.

Many of the penalties make sense. For instance, almost every state restricts sex offenders from working with vulnerable people such as children and the elderly. It’s easy to see why legislators would be wary of a sex offender working as a janitor in an elementary school, or a nurse in a retirement home.

Other penalties range a bit further afield. For instance, Massachusetts forbids sex offenders from being ice cream truck vendors. Maybe legislators imagine the drivers tossing their child customers in the back of the trucks and speeding away. Delaware doesn’t allow felony sex offenders to be plumbers. OK, showing caution about giving, say, a rapist free access to someone’s house is defensible.

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But then there’s the chaotic mess of penalties that just seem crazy and random, as the quiz below is meant to illustrate. Examples: Alaska forbids felony sex offenders from being hearing aid dealers within five years of an offense. In Kentucky, for 10 years after a felony sex offense, an offender can’t be a land surveyor. And for certain sexual offenses, New Hampshire forbids working at an “end stage renal disease dialysis center.” Why those industries in particular? We’re not sure: Tell us if you have an idea.

Read the first, second, third, and fifth parts of this series on sex offender laws.

Matt Mellema is a student at Yale Law School.

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