Massachusetts Senate Votes To Dramatically Increase Restrictions On Level 2 Sex Offenders

Multiple news outlets are reporting that the Massachusetts State Senate has passed a host of new changes to the Sex Offender Registration Law that would severely ratchet up the registration and public notification requirements for individuals classified as Level 2 or 3 sex offenders. In part, the law would greatly expand the community notification requirements for Level 2 sex offenders in Massachusetts.

The Massachusetts Senate backed a plan Thursday to overhaul the state’s procedures for classifying convicted sex offenders in response to the arrest last year of a registered sex offender on charges that he sexually abused infants and small children at his wife’s unlicensed day care.

The proposal is an amendment to the Senate version of the state budget, and designed to strengthen information sharing between the Sex Offender Registry Board and other state agencies. It goes to a conference committee as part of the budget legislation.

Senate President Therese Murray said the Senate decided to take action after the arrest of John Burbine of Wakefield for allegedly sexually abusing children, ranging from 8-days-old to 3 ½ years and recording the assaults.

Burbine was registered as a Level 1 sex offender, a classification given those least likely to re-offend. He has pleaded not guilty to the charges, and is being held on $1 million bail.

‘‘I promised at the start of this session that the Senate would re-examine the criteria for sex offender registration,’’ Murray, D-Plymouth, said in a statement.

The Senate amendment allows the registry board to reclassify a sex offender without a new conviction and authorizes the release of information on Level 1 sex offenders to the Department of Early Education and Care. Police also would be allowed to provide information to the Sex Offender Registry Board that is relevant to the assessment of a sex offender’s dangerousness or risk to re-offend.

Under the amendment, Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders would be required to register within two days of being released from custody. Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders are currently required to register annually in person but the law does not specify when they must first appear after being released.

The proposal also creates a commission to develop risk assessment protocols for sexual offenders.

Prosecutors allege that between August 2010 and August 2012, Burbine molested children at his wife’s day care, which authorities say didn’t have a state license.

Expanding the dissemination of information of Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders would be devastating for many registered offenders. It would vastly expand the number of Massachusetts sex offenders whose home, work, and educational information is splashed across the Internet and will reduce the utility of the site run by the Sex Offender Registry Board, which presently only lists the highest risk Massachusetts Level 3 sex offenders.

If you are a Level 2 sex offender in Massachusetts and have questions regarding your Massachusetts sex offender classification or wants assistance in reviewing or seeking sex offender reclassification, you need a Boston sex offender attorney. Please contact Attorney Crouch at (617) 441-5111 or email him to set up a free, initial consultation. To request further information please contact us.