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Legislator: Auditor Report 'Unfortunate Example' of Why Sex Offender Bill Should Pass

Three bills seeks now in the Joint Committee on the Judiciary would make public the names of lower-level sex offenders.

This week's state auditor report that a large number of sex offenders live at addresses registered as childcare facilities has only fueled the effort on Beacon Hill to publicize the names of all those who've committed sex crimes.

"The auditor's recent findings should serve as a catalyst to pass targeted legislation which protects the Commonwealth's citizens from dangerous sex offenders," House Minority Leader Brad Jones Jr. (R-North Reading) said in a statement Wednesday. "The report published today is an unfortunate example of why comprehensive sex offender legislation I filed will, in part, open the lines of communication between the Department of Early Education and Care and the Sex Offender Registry Board."  

Jones' bill is one of three now in the House that propose changing state law to make the names of lower-level offenders available either online or at a police department. Currently, only the names of Level 3 offenders, who are deemed by the registry board to be the most likely to reoffend, are public information.

Jones' bill, "An Act relative to protecting the citizens of the Commonwealth from sex offenders," would make information about both Level 2 and 3 sex offenders available online and a list of Level 1 sex offenders available at police departments. It also restricts who can be classified as a Level 1 sex offender. Those who commit crimes against children or "other particularly violent sexually based crimes" would not be able to receive a Level 1 designation. Some exceptions exist for people who committed their crime when they were younger than 14.

Currently, the power to classify each offender lies with the registry board, which considers a number of factors related to the crime. These may include the offender's criminal history, the circumstances of the crime, the degree of harm caused and other considerations. For more, see the board's guidelines

The two other bills, "An Act relative to public access to sex offender registration information" by Rep. Shaunna O'Connell (R-Taunton) and Rep. James Dwyer (D-Woburn), and "An Act relative to the Sex Offender Registry Board" by Rep. James Arciero (D-Westford) both aim to make information regarding all sex offenders available online. Such information includes the nature of the offense and the offender's name, address, age, employer, race, height, hair and eye colors and photo.

All three bills are scheduled for a Joint Committee on the Judiciary hearing on May 7.

The three bills were filed in January, a month after a Level 1 sex offender, John Burbine of Wakefield, was charged with 100 counts of child sex abuse involving 13 infants and toddlers at the illegal daycare service he ran.

Jessica Leitz, a spokeswoman for State Senator Katherine Clark, told Patch.com Thursday that senator will make sex offender registry reform a top priority for the current session.

State Auditor Suzanne Bump released findings Wednesday that suggest Burbine is far from being the only sex offender who has access to children. Bump's audit found that 119 Level 2 and 3 sex offenders living at addresses that were also registered with the state as child care providers. The audit took place over 15 months from July 2010 through September 2011.

"It just highlights the urgency we've felt all along," said Leitz in regard to the auditor's report.

ltm March 30, 2013 at 09:04 AM
Well, Mr. Jones, how about some audit statistics to evidence your claim of "Dangerous sex offenders" who give addresses of child care facilities (probably a hoax)? You make it sound as though armies of registered sex offenders are roaming the streets in pursuit of children to offend like zombies in heat. That is totally asinine posturing to make you look like the man in the know. Frankly, you don't know much about sex offenses, which not only involve children but adults, as well. If your state follows SORNA (Sex Offender Notification Act) guidelines I assure you that the offender is well accounted for if authorities are doing their jobs. A level 3 sex offender means they are registered sex offenders and the worst of the worse. Penalties regarding residency at a childcare facility in any state means a great deal of time to be spent in prison as a recurring sex offender. Perhaps 15 to 25 years if not a lifetime behind bars depending on your statutes penalties. Fortunately, the DOJ (Dept. of Justice) indicates recidivism rates to repeat offenders are minimal, especially for levels 1st. and 2nd. level offenders. Actually, a level 3 offender could end up in a psychiatric facility for life which is the general trend for repeat level 3 offenders. As for levels 1 and 2; group sex offender registry therapy has been known to be extremely successful in reducing recidivism. It would be, by far, wiser to put your states money in sex offender therapy and counseling.
ltm March 30, 2013 at 09:04 AM
To continue: Studies have not been able to establish whether sex offender registries have reduced or increased sex crimes due to the sex offender registry and in no way indicates your constituents are more or less safe from registered sex offenders. Furthermore, it is a well known fact that the sex offender registry is punitive in nature and considered to be cruel and unusual punishment. I think Suzanne Bump’s audit numbers are speculative and ambiguous and don’t add up other than try to give an inaccurate statistical profile of registered sex offenders to Mr. Jones to make his case. Mr. Burbine is an isolated incident that should never have gone unnoticed. What is the real story there? Your states law enforcement should have kept an eye on Burbine. I feel the screw up here is your authorities and perhaps your legislation may hide that information. I can only speculate. Personally I feel that the real monsters in these issues are legislators who think they know all about sex offenders, the registry and use the registry as an act to further political interests. There is much more I could write but I will stop here. I quote Elvis “Thank you very much”.

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