Penalties for violating New Jersey's sex offender registration law would be toughened under legislation approved Monday December 11 by the Assembly.
The Assembly voted 80-0 to approve the bill, which had previously been approved by the Senate.
The registration law, known as Megan's Law, was enacted after a 7-year-old Hamilton Township girl was killed in 1994 by a sex offender who lived in her neighborhood. It requires convicted sex offenders to tell authorities of their whereabouts so residents can be notified when a sex offender lives nearby.
The bill would increase the penalty for failing to register as a sex offender to three to five years in jail and a fine of up to $15,000. Current law requires 18 months in jail and a fine of up to $10,000
Locally Gloucester City Council is also getting strict with sex offenders living near places were children gathered. The law, which was adopted on second reading Thursday night December 7 pertains to how close a sex offender may reside in proximity to areas where children meet and congregate.
Under the City's new law a convicted sex offender will be restricted from living within 500 feet of any school, Public Park, and tot lot or child care center. A convicted sex offender who resides or lives within 500 feet of the places mention shall have 60 days from receipt of written notice of the prohibition set forth herein to move. Failure to move to a location, which is in compliance with this section within the time period, shall constitute a violation of the ordinance.
This section shall not apply to a person who has established a residence prior to enactment of the ordinance. According to the New Jersey Sex Offenders Registry there are 13 convicted sex offenders residing in Gloucester City. To view the site enter the link in your browser http://www.njsp.org/info/reg_sexoffend.html