Wakefield Police Chief Richard Smith told Fox 25 in Boston this week that of 17 Level 1 sex offenders in Wakefield, 16 committed their crimes against children.
The Boston TV station added that Smith said he was shocked to learn that some of these Level 1 offenders had charges on their records that include child pornography, rape of a child with force, and rape and abuse of a child. Fox Undercover cited a past report it did which found that about half of Level 1 offenders have committed a crime against a child.
Earlier this month, Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone announced nearly 100 counts of child sex abuse involving 13 victims under age 4 against Burbine, 49. His wife, Marian, 46, remains under home confinement in Wakefield and made her own short court appearance this week on charges of reckless endangerment of a child and running an illegal day care business.
A Level 1 sex offender is deemed the lowest category of risk to re-offend, an information about them is not readily available to the public. John Burbine was classified as a Level 1 sex offender back in 1989 despite a case that involved the abuse of several young children. Allegations were also made against him in 2005 and 2009 that were deemed not prosecutable at the time.
Wakefield's lawmakers and other officials were quick to begin looking at ways to reform the reporting system for sex offenders in light of the Burbine case. For example, State Senator Katherine Clark has raised the possibility that the classification level can be somehow raised for offenders who have numerous reports filed against them but which are not prosecuted. All officials who have spoken with this website have emphasized that reforms will take time. However, a new legislative session gets underway in just a few weeks and Senate Republicans have already offered a preview of what their legislation could look like.
A story that ran on Wakefield Patch the week the Burbine charges were announced quoted one Wakefield mother as saying that she was particularly disturbed that Burbine had been grouped in with people who urinate in public. This woman had actually tried to look up Burbine's background a couple of years ago when her son went to the former Waterfall Education Center for tutoring, but because of his Level 1 status, she found nothing.
For complete coverage of the Burbine case, visit this topic page on Wakefield Patch.