Most states have not adopted sex offender rules
ATLANTA (AP) – More than three years after Congress ordered stepped-up monitoring of sex offenders, only one state has adopted the government’s strict new requirements, and some others are weighing whether to ignore the law and just pay a penalty.
So far, Ohio is the lone state to meet the new federal standards. Elsewhere, efforts have been hampered by high costs and legal challenges from the nation’s 686,000 registered sex offenders.
“This means more of the same – that we’re losing sex offenders when they cross state lines and disappear,” said Erin Runnion, who lobbied for the law after her 5-year-old daughter, Samantha, was kidnapped and killed in 2002.
The initial deadline for states to comply was in July. Then the deadline was extended to July 2010, although several states have signaled they may still be unable to meet it. States that do not adopt the mandates risk losing millions of dollars in federal grants.
The law was designed to keep closer tabs on sex offenders, including an estimated 100,000 who are not living where they are supposed to be. It would create a national sex offender registry and toughen penalties for those who fail to register.
The president of the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children said states need more money to adopt the law.
Last year, a federal judge in Nevada declared the law unconstitutional because it would subject offenders to additional penalties after they have served their time.