Despite registration that is required annually nationwide, the whereabouts of more than 77,000 convicted sex offenders are unknown in 32 states, according to a survey conducted recently by Parents for Megan’s Law, a nonprofit advocacy group. Moreover, officials in the remaining 18 states and the District of Columbia were unable to calculate how many convicted sex offenders are unaccounted for, the Associated Press reports.
All 50 states in the US have a version of Megan’s Law – the 1996 law named after Megan Kanka, a 7 year-old New Jersey girl who was raped and killed by a known child molester who had moved in across the street – that requires the addresses of convicted sex offenders be verified once a year and made available to the public. However, as this study found, state law enforcement officials are not being given the tools to follow through on these mandates.
“They’re implementing Megan’s Law, then turning their backs on it,” Laura Ahearn, executive director of Parents for Megan’s Law, told AP. “They need the technology and the staff to track down their sex offenders.”
Parents for Megan’s Law launched the survey last month after an AP investigation found that California had lost track of 33,296 sex offenders, or 44 percent of the 76,350 who registered with the state at least once. The survey found that Oklahoma and Tennessee had the highest rates of noncompliance – with 50 percent of all known offenders unaccounted for, according to AP.
“It is alarming there are those who slipped through the cracks but the majority are still accounted for,” Maureen Kanka, Megan’s mother who has been a leading advocate on the issue, told AP. “Now we have to stand back and say, ‘How do we make this more effective for those who have slipped through the cracks?”
10/31/2014 Federal Judge Exempts Another Catholic University from Birth Control Coverage - A federal judge ruled Tuesday that Ave Maria University, a Catholic university in Florida, does not have to comply with federal rules meant to ensure that covered employees can exercise their right to obtain birth control at no cost.
The Affordable Care Act requires all new health insurance plans to cover all FDA-approved contraceptives - such as the pill, emergency contraceptives, and IUDs - without charging co-pays, deductibles or co-insurance. . . .
10/31/2014 Women of Color in Tennessee Are United in Opposition to Amendment 1 - Just days before the general election in Tennessee, a coalition of community leaders, clergy, and advocates led a press conference encouraging women of color to vote no on Amendment 1, a dangerous and far-reaching measure on the state's ballot.
SisterReach, a grassroots organization focused on "empowering, organizing, and mobilizing women and girls in the community around their reproductive and sexual health to make informed decisions about themselves," organized the press conference "to call attention to the unique concerns Black and poor communities throughout Shelby County and across the state of Tennessee face on a daily basis" and to emphasize how the upcoming election "could further limit [black women's] reproductive, economic, political, and social autonomy."
"We assemble today to impress upon black women and women of color, many of whom are heads of households, to get out and vote," said SisterReacher Founder and CEO Cherisse Scott at the event.
SisterReach has been educating voters about the particularly dangerous impact of Amendment 1 on women of color. . . .
10/30/2014 Medication Abortion Access Threatened by Oklahoma Court Ruling - An Oklahoma state district court judge has refused to block a state law restricting medication abortion, clearing the way for the law to go into affect on November 1.
The Oklahoma Coalition for Reproductive Justice, together with a local abortion clinic in Tulsa, challenged HB 2684 in September, arguing that the law was an unconstitutional restriction on non-surgical abortion in the earliest weeks of pregnancy. . . .