Megan’s Law

Across the street from where 7 year old Megan Kanka lived, now stands a memorial: A small angel surrounded by pink flowers. This children’s park named after the little girl, was the lot where Jesse Timmendequas the rapist and murderer who took away the little girl’s life lived. This happened in July 1994 in the Hamilton township of New Jersey.

In 1995, Timmendequas, a convicted child molester was arrested for the murder and rape of Megan in the New Jersey suburb where she lived. The offender lived right across the street from the Kanka residence, however the Police Department was prohibited from disclosing the presence of this child molester because at the time the law did not allow the release of sex offender information to the public. The law was subsequently changed to permit the release of this information to the public and in May 1996, President Clinton signed the Federal Law, dubbed “Megan’s Law” in remembrance of little Megan Kanka. This law was implemented to allow potential victims to protect themselves and allow parents to protect their children and “required the release of relevant information to protect the public from sexually violent offenders.”

The parent’s of the little girl did not know that the man who moved to the house across the street from their family was a known child molester with two previous convictions for sexual offences. Had they known this they would have been able to protect their daughter from such an untimely death.

Versions of “Megan’s Law” were passed in Georgia and other states. In all 50 states, a paroled sex offender must register his residency with local authorities, and all but five states require some form of notification when a convicted sex offender moves into a neighborhood.

The law takes different forms in different states.

In Louisiana, the public has complete access to information on offenders and their movements. One company offers email alerts to families warning of sex offenders moving to homes near them.

In Washington, law enforcement officers can call at every house in the neighborhood to warn people about an offender moving in. Sex offenders in Oregon can be forced to display a sign in their windows.

Under Megan’s Law, convicted sex offenders are required to register with their local Sheriff Department. The Sheriff Department maintains a yearly registration for the duration of the period the person is mandated to register.