October 2, 2011 |
When 7-year-old Megan Kanka was raped and murdered by a neighbor, a twice-convicted child sex offender, the reaction in communities large and small was: God forbid something like that should happen here. Bolstered by online registries of convicted sex offenders, towns enacted laws to keep such criminals from living near schools, parks, day-care centers, and bus stops. But many of the estimated 150 Pennsylvania cities and towns with such laws are repealing or reconsidering them after a state Supreme Court ruling in May invalidated one statute.
November 29, 2004 |
Before Kira Donnachie-Walden was killed Oct. 24, there were already signs the little girl from Clementon was in trouble. She had unexplained bruises. Her pediatrician asked Kira's mother over the summer whether someone tried to choke the 11-month-old. Her 28-year-old father, David Christopher Walden, had a violent criminal past. Individually, these incidents never raised suspicions among Kira's extended family. But taken together after her death, the incidents drew a very clear picture that Kira was in danger, national child-welfare experts say. That no one recognized the signs is not unusual, experts say. Abusers use charm, deception and fear to keep family members from reporting abuse.
November 20, 1998 |
An 18-year-old Cherry Hill high school student pleaded guilty yesterday to violating his probation for a 1997 attempted sexual assault and could serve as many as five years at the New Jersey Training School for Boys at Jamesburg. The teenager said through his attorney, Scott R. Cohen of Haddon Heights, that he was admitting to delinquent behavior and two violations of Megan's Law - failing twice to register with local authorities - during his three-year probation. The admission of delinquent behavior stemmed from a charge of criminal sexual contact leveled against him about three weeks ago, for which he faces trial as an adult.
September 20, 2010 |
LEON DICKSON raped a 12-year-old girl on her way to school. Jerry Barker assaulted a woman with Down syndrome. And Malik Torian molested a 5-year-old boy. The three convicted sex offenders served time behind bars. After their release from prison, they were required to report their whereabouts to state police at least once a year under Megan's Law - for the rest of their lives . They failed to do so. Now, the U.S. Marshals Service is aggressively seeking the fugitives under Operation Guardian, a national effort to capture the 500 most-dangerous unregistered sex offenders in the country.
June 27, 1997 |
A federal judge, who during the last three years presided over the sentencing of a group of pedophiles with international contacts, yesterday firmly turned aside the latest challenge to Megan's Law. U.S. District Judge Joseph E. Irenas ended a six-hour hearing in Camden by ruling that Megan's Law was constitutional and saying that the country needed it. "The problem of the sexual predator is a serious one," Irenas said. "It is not only a serious problem in New Jersey. It is a serious problem all over the United States.
December 13, 2002 |
A 17-year-old Honey Brook girl with a blond ponytail, a shy smile, and a low I.Q. made the perfect rape victim for Paul Dennis Bryson, the prosecutor said yesterday. Deputy District Attorney Elizabeth Pitts told a jury that Bryson, 51, of Honey Brook, made a calculated selection on Jan. 12, when he lured the girl into his car, drove into a wooded area, had sex with her, and kept her with him until the next morning. After three and a half hours of deliberations, the jury found Bryson guilty of all the charges he faced, which included rape, involuntary deviate sexual intercourse and kidnapping.
August 17, 2004 |
A West Grove man will spend nine to 18 years in prison for molesting two young girls, a judge ordered yesterday. After concluding that Carlos Rentas met the definition of a sexually violent predator, Chester County Court Judge William P. Mahon imposed the sentence on the 50 year old. The prison term will be followed by five years' probation. Under the terms of Megan's Law, Rentas must register his address with authorities for the rest of his life. He will also be required to comply with the provisions of community notification.
August 2, 1995 |
The home of a township man jailed on a sexual-assault charge was recently spray painted with references to "Megan's Law" and words accusing the man of being a sex offender. Thomas Giordano, 36, a resident of the 1900 block of Graydon Drive, was arrested June 2 and charged with sexually assaulting a 16-year-old girl from South Philadelphia. He remains in Camden County Jail on $20,000 bail. The girl's family had complained to authorities that Giordano assaulted her several times during the last two years, said Detective Lt. Richard Tomlinson of the Cherry Hill Police Department.
July 6, 1996 |
New Jersey's public defenders have again asked the courts to block the state from implementing a part of Megan's Law that requires community notification about where convicted sex offenders live and work. The state had received the go-ahead from a U.S. district judge to start the notification process at noon Tuesday - if the defender's office did not appeal. And the attorney general's office was prepared to begin community notification on as many as several hundred convicted sex offenders.
December 1, 1995 |
He's a free man now, and he's trying to get used to it. Harvey I. Hahn was released yesterday morning from Northern State Prison in Newark and picked up by his lawyer, Leon Martelli, then driven to his parole officer. "It's like, how do you explain it? Freedom," Hahn said in a telephone interview. "I'm ready for it, though. As I was telling Leon (Martelli) coming down from highway, I'm able to look at cars, see people, see trees, things that people take for granted - just the little things.