Family sues for sex offender to buy home

March 18, 2013 at 2:32 PM
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ALLENTOWN, Pa., March 18 (UPI) -- The parents of a Pennsylvania child molested by a neighbor say they want to force him to buy their property so they can escape his presence.

The unidentified couple filed a lawsuit in Lehigh County Court, asking a judge to demand convicted sex offender Oliver Larry Beck, his wife and mother to buy their Upper Milford Township property, which they value at $235,000, The (Allentown) Morning Call reported Monday.

Beck, 65, pleaded guilty in 2011 to indecent assault of a child under 13, and was imprisoned. The girl was 7 at the time she was molested.

With Beck now out of prison and back in the neighborhood, the family is "under duress to move from their current residence" and away from him, the lawsuit states, noting they also seek moving costs, punitive damages for the child's pain and for economic damages.

The suit is unprecedented, some lawyers said.

"I have never heard of that, and a court may say it has no authority to order that, University of Virginia law Professor Douglas Laycock said. "Selling the house to the offender might be a sensible part of a settlement but it would be odd as a court-ordered remedy."

Jennifer Storm, executive director of the Victim/Witness Assistance Program in Harrisburg, called it a creative and legitimate case, saying, "I applaud any effort that a victim can take to endure their well-being. I think this could be a good case to potentially set precedent."

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