On Tuesday, May 9, former President Donald Trump was found liable by a jury in New York for sexually abusing and defaming advice columnist E. Jean Carroll in 1996. Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million.
In 2019, Carroll went public in a New York Magazine memoir with claims Trump raped her in 1996 in the dressing room of a Manhattan department store. After Trump denied the allegations, calling her a liar, she sued for defamation.
The jury on May 9 rendered a split verdict – they rejected claims Carroll was raped, but did find Trump responsible for a lesser degree of sexual abuse. Jurors also found Trump liable for defaming Carroll over her allegations.
After the verdict was announced, several VERIFY viewers messaged us, asking if the former president has to register as a sex offender as a result of this case. People online have also wondered if Trump will have to register.
Is former President Donald Trump required to register as a sex offender?
No, Donald Trump isn’t required to register as a sex offender. Trump was found liable in a civil case, not convicted of a crime. Only people convicted of sexual crimes must register.
WHAT WE FOUND
Trump isn’t required to register as a sex offender because he wasn’t convicted by a jury in criminal court. He was not charged with or convicted of sexual assault.
Carroll was suing Trump in civil court for defamation, claiming her reputation was ruined after he denied claims she was a victim of his sexual assault.
The state of New York, where Trump’s alleged assault of Carroll occurred, has specific rules about who has to register as a sex offender.
According to the New York Division of Criminal Justice Services, anyone convicted of a criminal sex offense or sentenced to probation or jail time must register with the state’s sex offender registry upon returning to the community. The sex offender registry rules are standard across the U.S.
The verdict in the civil case against Trump determined liability, not guilt. According to Cornell Law School, there is a significant difference between liability and guilt.
“A party is liable when they are held legally responsible for something. Unlike in criminal cases, where a defendant could be found guilty, a defendant in a civil case risks only liability,” the Cornell website says.
The liable party typically has to pay monetary damages and criminal penalties don’t apply in civil cases. Trump was ordered to pay Carroll $5 million in damages, but wasn’t ordered to serve any penalties criminally.
So, we can VERIFY Trump is not required to register as a sex offender.