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Parents' protests, new laws keep sex offenders on move

protesters

May 6, 1997
Web posted at: 5:04 a.m. EDT (0904 GMT)

In this story:

From Correspondent Charles Feldman

LOS ANGELES (CNN) -- Few people seem to know exactly what to do with a growing army of so-called moveable molesters.

In July, states will begin losing federal funding if they fail to enact laws notifying communities when a convicted sex offender moves in. But what happens when the outcry leaves sex offenders with no place to go?

Until three years ago, sex offenders could come and go from neighborhoods without anyone knowing of their past. But when 7-year-old Megan Kanka was sexually assaulted and murdered by a convicted sex offender living across the street from her New Jersey home, a cause was born.

Megan Kanka

Megan's mother maintained if she had known a convicted sex offender lived in the neighborhood, her daughter would be alive today. Her voice, along with Megan's death, have led to 43 states adopting laws mandating the disclosure of the whereabouts of such offenders.

What next?

But once those whereabouts are known, there's no standard for what happens next.

Sid Landau, for one, may be an indication of what to expect in the future.

The twice-convicted child molester was forced to move repeatedly following protests from neighbors who did not want him nearby.

"He needs to be in a psycho ward (or) a mental hospital because pedophiles aren't curable," said neighbor Stacy Schanhals.

"Would you want your children living next door to him?" asks another neighbor.

Right to choose

Landau's lawyer understands the communities' reactions, but says his client has a right to live where he chooses.

Sid Landau

"Would I want a convicted sex offender living next door to me? The answer would be probably not. But the truth of the matter is that you don't get to choose who lives next door unless of course, you own the property next door," says T. Matthew Phillips, Landau's attorney.

Real estate agents fear the disclosure of a child molester moving into the neighborhood will drive down property values.

"There does not appear to be any mechanism to document when (sex offenders) leave the community, which leaves the stigma on the properties with no way to prove that it should no longer be there," said Richard Rosenthal of the National Association of Realtors.

Landau did finally find a place to live that nobody is complaining about.

Landau's assault on a TV cameraman

He's back behind bars after allegedly attacking a television news cameraman who was recording his whereabouts.

 
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