Bill seeks to extend reach of Megan's Law

Feb. 15, 2010 at 8:12 PM
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WASHINGON, D.C., Feb. 15 (UPI) -- A member of California's congressional delegation says he wants Megan's Law, which identifies and tracks convicted sex offenders, to have international reach.

A bill introduced by Rep. Dan Lungren, R-Calif., would require convicted offenders to notify authorities 21 days before leaving the United States. The information would be made available to officials in foreign countries, McClatchy Newspapers reported Monday.

"The idea is to notify law enforcement officials in those countries that people are traveling," Lungren said.

The bill would target U.S. sex offenders who leave the country and then commit similar crimes overseas, he said, calling sex trafficking "a plague on our region and our nation."

Nicholas Sensley, author of human-trafficking guidelines used by the U.S. Justice Department, said the most significant obstacle for the plan would be gaining cooperation from other countries, which have different laws and cultural norms.

"What we define in the United States as a sex offender may not necessarily be defined as such in other countries," Sensley said.

Megan's Law was named for Megan Kanka, a 7-year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a neighbor in 1994.

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