When a New Jersey teenager admitted endangering his 6-year-old half sister, a judge sentenced him to three years probation and said the boy must tell the parents of any girl he dates that he is a registered sex offender. The Newark Star-Ledger says a state appeals court ruled that judges have the power to impose such conditions, even though they go beyond the warnings provided to the public under Megan’s Law. The case involves conflicting state policies. State law protects the confidentiality of juvenile delinquents. Since the 1994 rape and murder of Megan Kanka, the state has developed an elaborate system for warning schools and neighbors about sex offenders in their midst.
Lawyer Jack Furlong, co-author of a guidebook to Megan’s Law, said it was the first time he had heard of a teenager being ordered to disclose his sex offense to a date’s parents. “As a practical proposition, this kid doesn’t date for three years,” said Furlong, a long-time critic of Megan’s Law. “It’s another example of judges being hyper-cautious whenever dealing with sex offenses for fear that something, hypothetically, could happen in the future and were it to happen the judge would be called to account.”