The international version of Megan’s Law, the sex offender notification law named for a Hamilton girl who was raped and murdered by a sexual predator living on her street, has passed in the House.
The bill, sponsored by U.S. Rep. Chris Smith (R-Hamilton) seeks to protect children from known child sexual predators seeking to travel abroad. The legislation establishes a framework for international law enforcement notifications when convicted child sex offenders pose a threat to children while traveling.
“Child predators thrive on secrecy, a secrecy that allows them to commit heinous crimes against children with impunity and without any meaningful accountability,” said Smith, who serves on the Foreign Affairs Committee. “Megan’s Law – with its emphasis on notification – must go global, to protect American children and children worldwide.”
According to a release from Smith, the bill will work in several ways to protect children from predators:
First, it will create a mechanism for US officials to notify other countries when Americans convicted of child sex crimes seek to travel; Second, the bill calls on other countries to notify our law enforcement agencies when sex offenders seek to travel to the United States; and third, it establishes registration requirements at U.S. Embassies for child sex offenders convicted in the U.S. but residing abroad so that U.S. law enforcement can be notified when a registered offender enters or re-enters the United States.
Smith has been a champion of the Megan’s parents, Maureen and Richard Kanka since the tragedy that took their daughters life in 1994. Tuesday, the congressman had special words for the family.
“We all owe an enormous debt to Maureen and Richard for taking a horrific tragedy that is unbearable and turning it into the noble cause of protecting children in the U.S. and now internationally,” Smith said.
A corresponding bill has yet to be introduced in the senate.