Upper Milford Township, PA – Oliver Larry Beck, 65, his wife, and mother are being sued by his neighbors. The lawsuit is demanding they purchase a nearby $235,000 home as well as cover moving costs, remit punitive damages, and pay for suffering.
Beck’s neighbors claim his mere existence in the neighborhood has made their property impossible to sell. The unnamed couple is incapable of moving away and holds Beck and his family responsible.
The contention stems from Beck being arrested and found guilty of molesting the couple’s daughter in 2011. Beck spent 23 months in jail for sexual abusing the child, whom he had spent time with between 2009 and 2011.
According to investigators, Beck lured the child into his basement where he assaulted her. Once the girl’s father found out, he contacted authorities.
The lawsuit, filed in Lehigh County Court, is the first of its kind in Pennsylvania. Beck’s wife and mother are accused of negligence in the document, with the family claiming they knew or should have known of Beck’s attraction to children and the risk he posed to their young neighbors.
The family states they are under duress now that Beck is out of jail and living back in the neighborhood. Along with property and moving costs, the victimized family insists on being compensated for damages and suffering as their daughter has required recuperative therapy from the molestation.
Some legal experts speculate, if the home has lost value as a result of Beck, the family may be entitled to recover some of the loss without having to transfer ownership. Others don’t seem to think the court will be able to award a forced purchase, as the Eighth Amendment may technically forbid it.
Crime inflicts the worst possible stigma on any neighborhood. Just the perception of danger is sometimes enough to damage a community’s credibility with home buyers. When it comes to sex offenders living nearby, disclosure requirements of real estate agents and current home owners vary from state-to-state.
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