ALBANY, N.Y. – The woman who spurred most states to track sex offenders after her 7-year-old daughter was raped and killed by a convicted child molester living across the street wants a tougher federal law to monitor pedophiles.
Maureen Kanka's (search) daughter, Megan, was lured into a neighbor's house in 1994 with the promise of seeing a puppy. Authorities soon learned that the New Jersey man had a prison record for assaulting another child.
After her daughter's death, New Jersey enacted what came to be known as "Megan's Law (search)," and other states followed suit. In 1996, President Bill Clinton signed a federal version of the law, requiring states to notify communities when convicted sex offenders live in the area.
"Unfortunately, because of tragedy and trauma to other families and other children, there's a need for it to be changed," Kanka said Tuesday while in Albany to testify in favor of proposals to toughen New York's law.
Kanka has said that she was horrified to learn that pedophiles often research which states have the weaker laws.
A federal measure could create a nationwide registry to track offenders across states, Kanka said. She also wants schools to be required to teach children how to protect themselves against sexual predators.
About 3,000 New York offenders will be dropped from the registry this year when they hit the 10-year window prescribed under current state law. Kanka said she supports state Senate proposals requiring offenders to register for life.
Florida lawmakers on Monday adopted a law imposing tougher penalties on child molesters and requiring many of those released from prison to wear satellite tracking devices for the rest of their lives.