Megan’s Law is a federal law named after Megan Kanka, who was abducted and murdered by a neighbor. On October 19, 1994, the neighbor, Jesse Timmendequas, was convicted of the crime and sentenced to death. As a result of this tragic event, the Kankas family was determined to create a system to notify the public with information about the residential locations of sex offenders.
Under Colorado law, sex offenders have the right to live in any location they wish as long as they are properly registered. There is no authority granted by a police department or city government to control these circumstances. However, there is a duty for local law enforcement to alert the public to the availability of sex offender registration lists, and to maintain reasonable accuracy of the list.
Megan’s Law requires identified sex offenders to register with local law enforcement officials and the federal law requires states to establish a list of convicted sex offenders. In Colorado, C.R.S. 18-3-412.5 requires the Colorado Bureau of Investigation to post on the Internet identifying information including photos of sex offenders sentenced as sexually violent predators or convicted of a sexual offense involving children.
CRS 16-22-112(5) states: “The Colorado sex offender registry includes only those persons who have been required by law to register and who are in compliance with the sex offender registration laws. Persons should not rely solely on the sex offender registry as a safeguard against perpetrators of sexual assault in their communities. The crime for which a person is convicted may not accurately reflect the level of risk.”
All states have now adopted some form of Megan’s Law. There are some states requiring real estate licensees to disclose that a known sex offender lives in the neighborhood. Currently in Colorado, there is no requirement for a seller or a real estate licensee to disclose the presence of a registered sex offender living in a neighborhood. Colorado’s legislation places the duty of releasing the information on the local law enforcement agency. However, a position statement CP-29, issued by the Colorado Real Estate Commission states, “It is the position of the Real Estate Commission that all real estate licensees should inform a potential buyer to contact local law enforcement officials for further information if the presence of a registered sex offender is a matter of concern to the Buyer.”
At the state level, state law limits which sex offenders are allowed to be posted by the police department. Misdemeanor convictions or juveniles adjudicated for sex crimes are not allowed to be on the list. This list is maintained by the Colorado Bureau of Investigation.
At the county level, the Boulder County’s Sheriff’s Department registers sex offenders that are located in unincorporated Boulder County, Lyons, and Superior. In other areas, such as Longmont and Boulder, your will need to contact that particular law enforcement agency.
In the city of Boulder, the Boulder Police Department can provide a copy of the city’s sex offender list to anyone inquiring about the document. The department allows it to be viewed for free and there is a small charge if you would like to take home a copy.
For additional information and safety tips visit apps.colorado.gov/apps/dps/sor/info-prevention.jsf.
Duane Duggan has been a Realtor for RE/MAX of Boulder in Colorado since 1982 and has facilitated over 2,500 transactions over his career, the vast majority from repeat and referred clients. He has been awarded two of the highest honors bestowed by RE/MAX International: The Lifetime Achievement Award and the Circle of Legends Award. Living the life of a Realtor and being immersed in real estate led to the inception of his book, Realtor for Life.