Orlando P. Duarte, the Harrisburg resident charged with Saturday’s shooting death of 16-year-old Kyan King, had been on the state’s public registry of sex offenders since November 2015.
But that Megan’s Law listing – meant primarily as a way for the public to keep track of convicted sex offenders – wasn’t the only law enforcement tail on Duarte since he served time in state prison for sexually assaulting a 6-year-old girl who had been left in his care on several occasions more than a decade ago.
Back in 2012, when Duarte was sentenced to four-to-eight years in state prison for that sexual assault, Dauphin County Judge Scott Evans also placed a 10-year term of probation on Duarte that would not start until he was out of prison.
Duarte remained on that probation term – filled with rules on how live his daily life – as of Saturday, when he was arrested on charges that he shot King in broad daylight on a Harrisburg street, and the terms of that probation may explain why, according to arrest records, the only thing that he told police after they sought to interview him after his arrest was that he thought the boy was 18.
See, the terms of Duarte’s parole from state prison contained a battery of conditions that were designed to keep Duarte separate and apart from anyone under age 18.
Aside from not being able to live with anyone under 18, an October 2017 Board of Probation and Parole decision reads, Duarte was barred from maintaining any kind of relationship with a youth that wasn’t expressly approved in writing by his parole officer, including talking, writing letters, buying presents, emailing or texting, right on down to making physical gestures like waving or winking.
He was barred from participating, attending or even loitering around places or events that are known to draw youth, including playgrounds, schools and school bus stops, amusement parks, community fairs and carnivals. The rules also barred Duarte from buying things “designed to appeal primarily” to children, like toys, stuffed animals or videos.
The prohibitions even included entering into a romantic or intimate relationship with anyone who had full or partial custody of a child under 18, and he was ordered – upon his anticipated release from prison in May 2018 on a parole violation, to continue in out-patient sex offender treatment until treatment staff and / or his parole officer deemed it was no longer needed.
Duarte had violated his parole in 2017. The state board found in its October ruling that he had changed his residence without permission, failed to successfully complete sex offender treatment, and failed to comply with the rules of an electronic monitoring system he was on. He was ordered back to prison for nine months.
The state parole terms, however, were all to remain in effect through at least the end of 2018; it was not immediately clear Monday if they all continued as Duarte’s case moved from state parole to the follow-up term of 10 years county-ordered probation as his maximum state sentence expired that December.
PennLive was not able to get information Monday on Duarte’s level of compliance as probationer since his latest release.
But clearly, one of Duarte’s first concerns about his connection to King, as reported by police, was the shooting victim’s age.
Harrisburg Police said King was shot shortly before 1 p.m Saturday near 18th and Forster streets. Witnesses told PennLive that King was running away from Duarte and shouting for help moments before gunshots rang out.
Avon Burton told police she was walking home from a store when she heard a loud yell for help. She could not tell where the shouting was coming from at first but could tell someone was in trouble. She soon heard gunshots. She told police she looked to her right and saw the boy on the ground and Duarte over him. Kyan said “help” again, but this time it was fainter, and Duarte shot him two more times, she told police.
Duarte was taken into custody shortly thereafter. Police tried to interview Duarte, but he would only tell them that he thought the boy was 18, court records state.
Duarte, whose most recent address was in the 600 block of North 17th Street in Harrisburg, had been charged in two sexual assault cases more than a decade ago in Dauphin County.
According to court records, in 2007, the Dauphin County District Attorney’s Criminal Investigation Division filed charges against Duarte. They said Duarte told a 7-year-old boy to come into the bedroom of his home on the 500 block of Forrest Street in Harrisburg on March 13, 2005. That’s when investigators say Duarte sexually assaulted the boy.
In that case, Duarte was sentenced in 2008 to six to 23 months of confinement and probation after pleading no contest to charges of simple assault, recklessly endangering another person, indecent assault of a person less than 16 and disorderly conduct, court records indicate.
Then in 2010, Harrisburg police filed more charges against Duarte. They say he repeatedly sexually assaulted a girl who was left in his care over the course of three years. The girl was 6 years old when the assaults began, investigators said.
Duarte was sentenced in 2012 to four to eight years in prison and 10 years of probation on those charges, which included involuntary deviate sexual intercourse with a child, aggravated indecent assault of a child, aggravated indecent assault without consent, indecent assault of a person less than 13, unlawful contact with a minor and corruption of minors.
It was the latter crime that landed Duarte a spot as a lifetime registrant on Pennsylvania’s Megan’s Law.
Because Duarte’s triggering offense occurred before December 2012, he was required to verify his address and other information at least annually, but also report any changes of address, employment or enrollment as a student within three business days. Harrisburg Police Sgt. Kyle Gautsch said Monday that the department believes Duarte – who’d lived in Harrisburg for the last two years – was current on all of his verifications.
But the homicide suspect avoided a second designation that year, as a sexually violent predator, that would have put the onus on police to share his whereabouts with neighbors.
According to court records, Evans did order Duarte to be evaluated by the state’s Sexual Offenders Assessment Board, and the board submitted its finding in July 2012. The board’s evaluations are not made public, but we do know from his filing status that Duarte was, in the end, not deemed to be a predator.
If he had been judged a sexually violent predator, local police would have been mandated to make one “active community notification,” during which officers are required to distribute flyers with the offender’s name, address, a current photo and qualifying offenses to all buildings within 250 feet of the person’s new residence.
The same notification is also required to go to the home school district and any child care centers in the city.
It’s not clear whether that one-time notice would have had any direct impact on Saturday’s case, though in the aftermath of King’s death, there have been some community calls for heightened awareness about sex offenders and their presence in the city.
There are 878 persons currently listed on the registry who either live or work in Dauphin County, a search Monday showed. That more than any other county in south central Pennsylvania; 466 of those offenders live in Harrisburg.
Here’s a little more about how Megan’s Law works today, how it applies to Duarte’s case, and how you might make it work best for you.
What is it?
Megan’s Law is named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and murdered in 1994 by a man who had been convicted of sex crimes twice before. Her family said they could have protected her if they’d known about her killer’s history.
Controversial from its start, it is currently the subject of several cases before the Pennsylvania Supreme Court in which defendants argue that the law’s policy underpinning that people convicted of certain sexual offenses cannot change and therefore are prone to reoffending is flawed and a violation of registrants’ Constitutional right to reputation.
Attorneys for offenders are arguing that only a small number of offenders fit that bill, while the rest get lumped into that group, suffering a lifetime of harm.
Who goes on it?
People convicted of any one of several dozen enumerated offenses are required to be placed on the Megan’s Law registry of sex offenders, which is maintained and posted online by the Pennsylvania State Police. According to the most current data, there are 21,554 offenders on Pennsylvania’s registry.
Duarte, because of the severity of crimes he was convicted of in 2012, was required to go on the list for the rest of his life.
That listing, in his case, includes his current home address, the make, model and license plate of any vehicles he owns, updated photographs, a physical description including height, weight and identifying marks like tattoos, and a list of the offenses on his criminal record. The registry also provides, by municipality, any places where the person works or attends school.
Who gets this information?
The primary function of the registry to make this information available online, to the public.
At the state’s Website, anyone can search for offenders by city, down to within a half-mile of a given address. But the onus, in most cases, is one the searcher to look first. And, according to state police numbers, many people do: The agency’s Megan’s Law annual report shows that nearly 2.7 million people visited the Web site in 2018.
In addition, any member of the public can register with the state for email alerts about registered offenders moving in within up to five miles of a designated address, be it your home or your child’s school or day care, for example.
In cases where the person has been identified by the state as a sexually violent predator, however, there is also that separate “active community notification” requirement under which the police department with local jurisdiction is required to distribute flyers with his name, address, photo and qualifying offenses to all buildings within 250 feet of the person’s residence.
The same notification is also required to go to the home school district.
How current is the Megan’s Law Website?
Because Duarte’s triggering offense occurred before December 2012, he was required to verify all of their information at least annually, but also report any changes of address, employment or enrollment as a student within three business days. Subsequent changes to the law force some offenders to verify their information in person as many as four times a year, in addition to reporting any changes in real time.
The Megan’s Law registry is updated daily.
Are there requirements on where Megan’s Law registrants can live?
Not specific to this law. However, sometimes judges or probation departments can impose such restrictions in sentencing orders or as a condition of parole or probation.
Does the registry list a person’s specific residential address?
The Web site shows specific street addresses for all registrants who have one.