LAW & PUBLIC SAFETY

International Megan’s Law updated to include passports

BY Leah Mishkin, Correspondent |

It’s been 23 years since Megan Kanka was sexually assaulted and killed by her neighbor, Jesse Timmendequas, a previously convicted sex offender. He was sentenced to the death penalty for Kanka’s murder.

“I remember that night. I remember me and my cousin, Steven, were searching the power lines behind our house,” said Richard Kanka, Megan’s father. “He told them where her body was at.”

Her family worked to get Megan’s Law passed. It requires convicted sex offenders like the man who killed their daughter to register in a database and notify the public where they live. The family’s fight to help children has not stopped.

“I’m here and I’m not going anywhere and the Congress is not going anywhere and we’ll get it done no matter what,” said Megan’s father.

Megan’s Law is now in all 50 States and all U.S. territories. Now, with the help of Rep. Chris Smith, it’s global. At a press conference, Megan’s father and brother stood alongside the congressman as they spoke of International Megan’s Law.

“Sex offenders are going abroad to harm children and child predators are coming here to the United States to abuse our children,” said Smith.

A 2010 report by the Government Accountability Office found that 4,500 U.S. passports were issued to registered sex offenders in fiscal year 2008 alone.

“Richard brought this up right from the start. Passports, he kept saying passports, what are you doing about the passports? Well, we did something about the passports,” said the congressman.

On Friday, Smith announced the words “the bearer was convicted of a sex offense against a minor” will now appear in a convicted sex offender’s passport.

“So when he travels everyone is noticed. This is the second layer of protection,” Smith said.

Megan’s brother and father are thankful their little girl’s name is helping people around the world. Her older brother says she’s his guardian angel who appears in the form of a white butterfly.

“I was working at a customer’s house doing some landscape work and the customer came up to me after paying me and said, ‘I have to get an exterminator out here.’  I said, ‘What are you taking about?’ He said, ‘When you were out laying the mulch around the flower beds, you had nothing but white butterflies flourishing around you.’ She’s always looking over me and I can honestly say that I’m very fortunate she looks over all of us,” Megan’s brother Jeremy said.

Megan would have been 31-years-old in December.