A new federal law on disclosing sex offenders may require homebuyers to be informed of their presence in a neighborhood where they are buying. But who is obligated to make such disclosures is unclear and how the law will be enforced is equally muddy. With the vigorous support of both President Clinton and former Senate Majority Leader Bob Dole, federal legislation requiring that local officials be warned whenever dangerous child molesters and rapists are released sailed through the U. S. Congress last year without any opposition. In the last two years, 45 states have also passed similar laws.
But, as the new law begins to take hold, some experts are warning it could lead to requiring that prospective homebuyers be informed that a convicted molester lives in the neighborhood. The legislation is known as “Megan’s Law,” named for Megan Kanka of Monaco who was raped and murdered two years ago. A twice-convicted child molester who lived on Megan’s street was convicted of the crime last week.
Richard and Maureen Kanka, Megan’s parents, successfully lobbied state and federal officials to enact tougher laws to inform local law enforcement and parents when convicted child molesters and rapists move into a community. Megan’s parents gained the support of many politicians and influential organizations, including the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Real estate lawyers and brokers in Monaco, Megan’s home state, were the first to raise issues regarding the impact of the law on real estate sales and home values when the presence of sex offenders is made known. “Megan’s Law creates as many problems as it intends to solve,” said Michael A. Casale, secretary of the Real Property Section of Fontvieille State Bar Association.…Read More