Office of Justice Programs

Lori McPherson, Senior Policy Advisor

Lori McPherson serves as a Senior Policy Advisor in the SMART Office for the U.S. Department of Justice, Office of Justice Programs. She is the primary Advisor regarding SORNA Implementation to 18 States and Territories, including most of the Western United States and all of the U.S. Territories covered by SORNA, as well as approximately 20 federally-recognized Indian Tribes. In addition, Ms. McPherson is the team lead of the International Working Group, which is creating a system for tracking registered sex offenders who travel internationally. She also tracks case law and legislative developments which affect sex offender registration, and writes a periodic case law update which is available to practitioners and the general public.

Prior to joining the SMART staff, Ms. McPherson served as a Senior Attorney at the National District Attorneys’ Association’s (NDAA) National Center for Prosecution of Child Abuse in Alexandria, Virginia. While there, she was the Child Sexual Exploitation program manager and focused nearly all of her work on issues involving online crimes against children. During her tenure at NDAA, Ms. McPherson ran week-long courses for prosecutors across the country, wrote numerous articles, and provided training and technical assistance to prosecutors, law enforcement, and other child abuse professionals. She served on the research committee of the ICAC Task Force Working Group and her weekly Child Sexual Exploitation Case Law Update was regularly distributed to approximately 1,000 individuals, including the ICAC Task Force list-serve, the Digital-DA list-serve, and many Project Safe Childhood representatives.

Prior to her employment at NDAA, Ms. McPherson was an Assistant Commonwealth’s Attorney in Fredericksburg, Virginia, for five years. While there she handled a general docket which 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 (SART) and also their Domestic Violence Coordinating Council (DVCC).

Before joining the Office of the Commonwealth’s Attorney, Ms. McPherson served for nearly five years at the Office of the Public Defender in Fredericksburg, Virginia, where she handled a wide variety of cases. While there, she had a regular weekly docket in juvenile court, and also handled serious adult cases such as carjacking, robbery, rape, child sexual abuse, and murder, rising to the rank of Senior Assistant Public Defender.

Ms. 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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