U.S. Representatives Judy Biggert (R-IL-13) and Dennis Moore (D-KS-03) today introduced the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act, which will close a loophole in federal law that has allowed convicted sex offenders to avoid registering with the appropriate authorities.
"We can't allow technicalities to let sex offenders prey on our children," said Biggert, Co-chair of the Congressional Caucus on Missing and Exploited Children. "This bill will help to restore confidence in the registry system and better protect children nationwide."
Biggert joined as lead Republican cosponsor of the bill after a federal judge in Kansas City ordered the release of a 59-year-old man convicted of multiple counts of sexual abuse, molestation and kidnapping of children and young women. Although the man failed to notify local officials of his move from Iowa to Kansas City, the judge ruled in his favor because he had moved prior to enactment of the national sex offender registry.
"There are an estimated 100,000 sex offenders who aren't properly registered," said Biggert. "We need to make the law clear so that our courts and law enforcement personnel can work together to put behind bars those who fail to register."
In order to close the loophole, the Sex Offender Mandatory Registration Act clarifies current law to ensure that all convicted sex offenders are required to register with the appropriate state and local authorities -- regardless of when they crossed state lines.
"It's unfortunate that this technical deficiency exists," Moore said. "Congress never intended to exclude any sex offenders from the registration requirements. I am confident that Congress will make the necessary change to ensure that all sex offenders comply with the law."
A long-time advocate for homeless, runaway, and other vulnerable youth, Biggert also is the lead Republican cosponsor of H.R. 4120, the Effective Child Pornography Prosecution Act, and H.R. 2517, the Protecting Our Children Comes First Act. H.R. 4120 will enable prosecutors to crack down on those using the internet to send and receive sexually graphic images of children and H.R. 2517 will reauthorize the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children. Both bills won passage in the House last year and await Senate consideration.