• Brooke Ruhl

Megan’s Law: Protecting kids from sexual exploitation

Nearly 26 years ago, seven year old Megan Kanka went missing from her New Jersey neighborhood. Less than 24 hours later, Megan’s body was found in a park, down the street from her home. New Jersey authorities were able to find her killer, a convicted sex offender that lived right across the street from the Kanka family home, Jesse Timmendequas. But could her death have been prevented? Her family, friends, and lawmakers agree yes. And thus Megan’s Law was created.

Photo from Murderpedia

The Kanka family felt that if they had known that such a dangerous sex offender had moved across the street, they would have been better prepared and could have protected their sweet daughter. Up to that point in 1994, the law only required that there be a sexual offender registry. But unless you knew who and what to look for, it wasn’t very helpful. That is where Megan’s Law came in to play.

Named after Megan, who’s life was cut so short, Megan’s Law was federally signed, and requires that residents of neighborhoods are informed when a registered sex offender moves nearby. This law is adopted by both the federal government, as well as multiple state governments. Federally, it requires that child sex offenders notify authorities with any change of address or change of employment. But most states have taken it a step further, requiring that all sex offenders, not just child sex offenders be held to the same requirements. This undoubtedly has saved many lives nationwide, and helps bring down the threat of sex trafficking within our borders.

While Megan Kanka’s death was an unimaginable tragedy, the Kanka family alongside Congressman Smith turned her story into her legacy. The Kanka family hopes Megan’s Law not only keeps Megan in their memories, but also helps protect other children just like her.

Read all about Kanka's Murder Trial Here.

Tweet me! @Brooke_Ruhl and use the hashtag #BRuhly_Trafficked


Brooke Ruhl

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Brooke Ruhl

University of Nevada Reno

2020 by Brooke Ruhl.