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Real Estate & Property Law

Family’s lawsuit seeks to force sex-offender neighbor to buy their home

Posted Mar 25, 2013 6:14 AM CDT
By Debra Cassens Weiss

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A Pennsylvania couple claims in a lawsuit that a neighbor who was convicted of sexually assaulting their daughter should be forced to buy their home.

The neighbor, 65-year-old Oliver Larry Beck, has been released from prison after pleading guilty in 2011 to indecent assault of a child under the age of 13, report ABC News and the Morning Call. The suit also seeks moving costs and punitive damages for the assault of the couple's daughter.

The family’s lawyer, Diane Sodano, told ABC her clients are “trapped” in their home. The family says the residence is “"virtually unmarketable” because it is located next to a sex offender.

The Morning Call interviewed University of Virginia law professor Douglas Laycock, who said he has never heard of such a suit. “If the house, in fact, lost value, and if the owners are entitled to recover for that, that value can be awarded in damages without transferring ownership of the house,” he said. "Selling the house to the offender might be a sensible part of a settlement, but it would be odd as a court-ordered remedy."

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