Office of Justice Programs

Lori McPherson, Senior Policy Advisor

Lori McPherson is a senior policy advisor for the Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Tracking, Apprehending, Monitoring, and Tracking (SMART) in the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. She is the primary advisor regarding SORNA implementation for 11 states and territories, including all of the U.S. territories covered by the Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA), as well as approximately 20 federally recognized Indian tribes in Alaska, Florida, New Mexico and Oregon. In addition, she is the team lead of the International Tracking of Sex Offenders Working Group, which is creating a system to track registered sex offenders who travel internationally. She also follows case law and legislative developments that affect sex offender registration and writes periodic case law updates, which are available to practitioners and the general public. Most recently, she wrote a law review article on the history of SORNA and sex offender registration and notification in the U.S. — "The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act (SORNA) at 10 Years: History, Implementation and the Future" — published by Drake University.

Prior to joining the SMART Office in 2008, she served as a senior attorney at the National District Attorneys’ Association’s (NDAA) National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse in Alexandria, Va. While there, she was the child sexual exploitation program manager and focused her work on issues involving online crimes against children.

Prior to her employment at NDAA, she was an assistant Commonwealth’s attorney in Fredericksburg, Va., for five years. There, she handled a general docket that included cases ranging from driving while intoxicated to murder. She specialized in prosecuting crimes against children and domestic violence offenses, and was a founding member of Fredericksburg’s Sexual Assault Response Team and the Domestic Violence Coordinating Council.

Before joining the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, she served for nearly five years at the Office of the Public Defender in Fredericksburg, where she handled a wide variety of cases. She had a regular weekly docket in juvenile court and handled serious adult cases such as carjacking, robbery, rape, child sexual abuse and murder, rising to the rank of senior assistant public defender.

Lori McPherson received her B.A. in political science and sociology from Clemson University and her J.D., cum laude, from the T.C. Williams School of Law at the University of Richmond, where she was also a member of the Law Review. She received her M.Div., magna cum laude, from Wesley Theological Seminary. She is a member of the Virginia State Bar.

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