Pub. date: 2005 | Online Pub. Date: September 15, 2007 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412952514 | Print ISBN: 9780761927310 | Online ISBN: 9781412952514| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Kristen Marie Zgoba
Megan's Law is an attempt by state and federal legislatures to notify the public about and protect them from recently released sexual offenders. The legislation was named in commemoration of seven-year-old Megan Kanka of Hamilton Township, New Jersey, who was sexually assaulted and strangled to death by a former sex offender, Jesse Timmendequas. After the police found Kanka's body in a nearby park, neighbors and community members held vigil and petitioned for legislation that would notify community members of a sexual offender's location. “Megan's Law” resulted from this community action. In 1994, then-Governor Christine Todd-Whitman signed Megan's Law into New Jersey legislation, only two months after the untimely death of Kanka. In 1996, Republican presidential candidate Bob Dole proposed national legislation providing states with two years to enact their own state version of Megan's Law or risk the loss of their state funding. Then President Bill Clinton subsequently signed the ...