Gordon Wants To Close Loophole In Sex Offender Registration

January 23, 2008

U.S. Rep. Bart Gordon is supporting legislation to close a loophole in a federal law requiring convicted child predators to register as sex offenders.

"As a parent, I take the job of protecting children against sex offenders and online predators very seriously," said Gordon. "When Congress passed a law requiring a national sex offender registry, we wanted to give law enforcement agencies and parents the tools they need
to safeguard children against these criminals."

Gordon is co-sponsoring the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act to make technical corrections that would close a loophole in the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, which became law in 2006.

While the intent of Congress was to require all sex offenders to register with authorities, the loophole resulted in the release of a man who failed to register as a sex offender when he moved
from Iowa to Missouri. The loophole led a federal judge to rule in favor of the man, who had been convicted on seven accounts of acting as a sexual predator.

"This loophole shouldn't be allowed to jeopardize the safety of one more young person in America," said Gordon. "Congress should act swiftly to close it and make our original intentions clear."

The Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act is named after a six-year old boy who was abducted in 1981 and later found murdered. Adam was the son of Reva and John Walsh, who became a victims' rights advocate and host of the "America's Most Wanted"
television show.

The law established a National Sex Offender Registry, increased penalties for crimes against children and allowed the Department of Justice to provide background checks to screen teachers, employees and prospective foster or adoptive parents. It also authorized grants to promote Internet safety and to help local law enforcement agencies integrate their sex offender registry systems.

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