Jul
03

Massachusetts Legislature Passes Sex Offender Reforms For Level 2 Offenders

Multiple news outlets are reporting the news that both the Massachusetts House and Senate have agreed to language substantially changing sex offender laws in Massachusetts. The changes will impact all registered offenders. The reports provide:

Sen. Katherine Clark, D-Melrose, Chair of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, recently announced that the Massachusetts legislature has enacted important measures to protect children and our communities from sex offenders. The reforms, sponsored by Senator Clark, were included in the Commonwealth’s fiscal year 2014 budget, passed today by both the Senate and the House of Representatives.

“Today the legislature took action to protect our children, and I am proud that these important public safety measures will, with the Governor’s signature, become law,” Clark said. “These critical reforms will strengthen our laws, allow for the reclassification of sex offenders, and provide more information to parents, caregivers and the agencies we depend on to keep our kids and communities safe.”

This set of reforms will allow the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) to reclassify offenders if new information becomes available and will establish tools for better communication with law enforcement so that such information is accessible and necessary adjustments on an offender’s level of dangerousness can be made.

“I am particularly pleased that SORB will have the opportunity to reclassify offenders in light of new information,” said Rep. Paul Brodeur, D-Melrose. “These reforms will go a long way towards making the system as effective as possible.”

The most dangerous sex offenders will be required to register within two days of being released from custody. The law currently requires Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders to annually register in person, but does not specify when they must first appear after being released from custody.

Also included are new information sharing procedures for the determination or reevaluation of a sex offender’s designation within the Sex Offender Registry Board and with other state agencies, as well as a commission to develop risk assessment protocols for sexual offenders.

“This legislation does several very important things to clarify and strengthen the sex offender registry laws resulting in better information being available to the public and the enhancement of child protection and public safety,” said Middlesex District Attorney Marian Ryan. “I am thankful to Senator Clark and the legislature for moving this important bill forward. As District Attorney, I am committed to doing all that I can to protect children, engage in prevention efforts, and punish those who abuse or exploit children. This bill will give us additional tools in that effort.”

The final budget, which includes these public safety provisions, now goes to Governor Deval Patrick for his consideration.

Level 2 offenders will also find their registration information placed on-line, as is presently done for Level 3 offenders. The Lowell Sun reports.

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.

Jun
09

Attorney Crouch Secures Reversal Of Client’s Failure To Register Conviction

In the recent case of Commonwealth v. Loring, 463 Mass. 1012 (2012), Attorney Crouch argued that a client’s conviction for failing to register as a sex offender should be reversed and the Supreme Judicial Court agreed, reversing his client’s conviction.

In Loring, the defendant was classified by the Sex Offender Registry Board as a level two sex offender. Defendant subsequently registered with the police department. When the defendant failed to register again a few months later during the month of his birth, he was charged with a single count of failing to register as a sex offender in violation of Mass. Gen. Laws ch. 6, 178F 1/2. Defendant pleaded guilty to the offense and Attorney Crouch later filed a motion to withdraw the guilty plea on his client’s behalf. His motion was denied by the trial court. Attorney Crouch appealed the case and the Supreme Judicial Court reversed, holding (1) although the defendant admitted during the plea hearing that he did not register in his birth month, the statute did not require him to do so; and (2) being under no obligation to register in his birth month, the defendant could not be convicted of the offense of failure to register.

If you have questions regarding your Massachusetts criminal appeal or Massachusetts sex offender registration case or to request further information, you need a Boston criminal appeals 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.

Jun
09

Massachusetts Legislators Propose Allowing Limited Public Access To Level 1 Sex Offender Information

Legislators from around the state are proposing new legislation in the wake of the arrest of a Level 1 offender on multiple charges of child molestation.

State lawmakers from both political parties are lining up behind a bill to allow limited public access to information on Level 1 sex offenders and give the state Sex Offender Registry Board new power to update risk levels assigned to such convicts.

The proposed changes are driven by the case of John Burbine, a Wakefield man and Level 1 sex offender who was charged late last year with sexually abusing more than a dozen children at his wife’s unlicensed daycare business.

“What happened recently at an unlicensed day care in Wakefield was horrific and caused us to ask ourselves if there is more the law can do to protect the most innocent among us,” said Marblehead state Rep. Lori Ehrlich.

A reform bill introduced by Sen. Katherine Clark, Senate chairwoman of the Joint Committee on the Judiciary, and Rep. Paul Brodeur, both D-Melrose, has garnered support from 27 bipartisan cosponsors, and leaders of both the House and Senate have said amending the state’s Sex Offender Registry is a top priority this legislative session.

Ehrlich, while not a cosponsor of the bill, has thoroughly reviewed its contents and supports it.

“The bill seeks to protect children by closing some loopholes in the law,” explained Ehrlich. “Specifically, it strengthens our system of oversight of convicted sex offenders and ensures that citizens, local law enforcement and relevant state agencies have the information they need to do all they can to keep our kids safe.”

She believes the bill, with its strong bipartisan support, would further help accomplish that goal because it has been crafted “effectively, fairly and responsibly.”

If the bill becomes law, people could ask police if a specific person is listed on the Sex Offender Registry and obtain information about Level 1 offenders’ classification and conviction. According to Clark, the changes would allow people to check before hiring a babysitter or caregiver to see if the applicant is a sex offender.

“The worst feeling in the world as a parent is that you can’t protect your children,” she said.

Right now, no information on Level 1 offenders, such as Burbine, is publicly available.

Clark wants to allow limited public access to information on Level 1 offenders, whom the Sex Offender Registry Board has deemed to present the lowest risk of reoffending under the state’s three-tiered classification system.

Currently, if a civilian were to suspect that someone was a Level 1 offender and inquired about that person to the Marblehead Police Department, police would not, under state law, be able to hand that information over, according to Marblehead Police Department Chief Robert Picariello

“The department follows the law, and the law only allows us to disseminate information on Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders,” explained Picariello. “So we follow what the law says and guidelines set forth by the Sex Offender Registry Board.”

While not offering up an opinion on the bill, Picariello said, “The more information we can give people to make them feel safe, the better.”

Clark’s potential legislation would also establish the presumption that any sex offender convicted of a crime involving a child should be classified at least at Level 2, unless he or she can present evidence otherwise.

Her proposed bill would also address a court decision that stopped the Sex Offender Registry Board from reclassifying sex offenders based on new information. While the board had done this in the past, a 2012 court ruling, John Doe vs. Sex Offender Registry Board, established that state law does not give it the authority to do so.

Proposed legislation would explicitly spell out that the board does indeed have the power to reclassify.

“If we have information that the person is a greater threat or, for that matter, a lesser threat, then [the board] ought to be able to take into account,” Clark said. “Otherwise, we’ve frozen the system at a moment in time that may not be accurate.”

Parts of the bill seek to open up lines of communication among police, prosecutors and the Sex Offender Registry Board to share new information on offenders. Clark said she wants to give agencies responsible for child safety direct access to the Sex Offender Registry.

“I’m all for [lawmakers] looking at it and seeing if we can make people feel more safe, especially if this law would allow me and the department to make Marblehead safer,” said Picariello. “But, at this time, we comply with the [current] law.”

After a May 7 hearing on the proposed bill, Clark said the judiciary committee would likely take a few weeks to decide what action to recommend to the full Legislature.

Meanwhile, Ehrlich has already made up her mind on the bill, saying, “If it comes to the floor, I will be happy to vote for it.”

Expanding the dissemination of information of Massachusetts Level 1 and 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 would be available on the Internet or to the public 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 1 or 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.

Jun
09

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.

Nov
06

Sex Offender Fined For Groping Cardboard Cut-out

The Berkshire Eagle is reporting an unusual case involving a Level 3 sex offender.

PITTSFIELD — A convicted sex offender admitted he kissed and fondled a cardboard cutout of a woman, which was part of a North Street pharmacy’s advertising display.

Charlie J. Price, 57, of Pittsfield, pleaded guilty to a single count of disturbing the peace, subsequent offense, and was ordered to pay a $200 fine by Central Berkshire District Court Judge Fredric D. Rutberg.

Saturday around 5 p.m., Price, who was allegedly intoxicated, walked into the Rite Aid pharmacy, “grabbed hold of the sunglass display, hugged it tightly and then began to lick and kiss the face of the female party on the display,” according to a Pittsfield Police report.

This behavior lasted about a minute, according to police, and ended when Price fell to the floor. He eventually got back on his feet and began yelling and screaming, according to the police report. Meanwhile, Price’s behavior apparently scared customers who “actively” tried to get away from the area. Price was arrested by the Pittsfield Police.

Price is a level 3 sex offender, and therefore is considered to be at a high risk for reoffending. In 1991, he was convicted of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. Last year, he was convicted of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, according to the Sex Offender Registry Board.

This decision demonstrates the low threshold that society has for those convicted of a sexual offense, regardless of the nature of the conviction. For individuals facing sex offender classification in Massachusetts, it is crucial to have legal counsel. If you are a facing sex offender classification in Massachusetts and have questions regarding your Massachusetts sex offender classification or want 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.

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