The following information is provided to summarize and answer some of the recurring questions asked of the police concerning the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Law, which is contained within Sections 178C to 178P, of Chapter 6 of The Massachusetts General Laws.
Sex Offender Registry Board
The Sex Offender Registry Board is a state agency consisting of a seven-member board that, (except for the Chairman who serves at the pleasure of the Governor) shall be appointed by the governor for terms of six years.
It shall be the responsibility of the Board to promulgate guidelines for determining the level of risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by a sex offender. This Board is also responsible for relieving a person from their obligation to register as a sex offender if they consider the person not to be a danger or an offender.
The Board shall also provide for three levels of notification depending on such risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by sex offenders.
Who is a sex offender?
A sex offender is any person who resides or works in the Commonwealth and who has been convicted of a sex offense, or who has been adjudicated as a youthful offender or as a delinquent juvenile by reason of a sex offense, or a person released from incarceration or parole or probation supervision or custody with the department of youth services for such a conviction or adjudication, or a person who has been adjudicated a sexually dangerous person or a person released from civil commitment on or after August 1, 1981.
Who must register as a sex offender?
Pursuant to Chapter 6, section 178C of the Massachusetts General Laws, a person is required to register as a sex offender if he/she lives or works in the Commonwealth and was:
- convicted on or after August 1, 1981;
- adjudicated a delinquent juvenile on or after August 1, 1981;
- adjudicated a youthful offender on or after August 1, 1981;
- released from incarceration on or after August 1, 1981;
- released from parole or probation supervision on or after August 1, 1981;
- released from the Department of Youth Services on or after August 1, 1981;
- adjudicated a sexually dangerous person on or after August 1, 1981; or
- released from civil commitment on or after August 1, 1981.
- For one or more of the following crimes:
Sex Offenders Moving within Massachusetts from One Address to Another
All sex offenders must register by notifying the Board of their current and new address by mail at least 10 days prior to:
- Moving to a different city or town in the Commonwealth; or
- Moving within the same city or town in the Commonwealth.
Changes of Work Addresses for All Sex Offenders
Sex offenders must register by notifying the Board of their current and new work address by mail at least 10 days prior to changing a place of employment.
Sex Offenders Moving into Massachusetts
All sex offenders must register with the Board by mail within 2 days of moving into the Commonwealth from another jurisdiction
Homeless Sex Offenders
All sex offenders residing at a homeless shelter must verify registration data every 90 days by mail to the Board. The penalties for failure to register, verify registration information, provide notice of change of address or employment, or provide false information are:
Out of State Sex Offenders Working in Massachusetts
Sex offenders residing in locations outside of Massachusetts, but who are employed in the Commonwealth, must register with the Board by mail within 2 days of beginning employment.
Sex Offenders Moving Out of Massachusetts
Sex offenders must notify the Board of their new address by mail at least 10 days prior to moving out of the Commonwealth.
Penalties for failure to comply with G.L. c. 6, §§ 178C to 178P
Sex offenders will be prosecuted for violating the law if they knowingly:
- Fail to register;
- Fail to verify registration information;
- Fail to provide notice of change of address or place of employment; or
- Provide false information.
The penalties for the above-referenced violations are:
- First conviction: imprisonment for not less than 6 months and not more than 2 1/2 years in a house of correction nor more than 5 years in state prison or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both.
- Second and subsequent conviction: imprisonment in state prison for not less than 5 years.
LEVELS OF CLASSIFICATION
Sex offenders are classified into one of the following categories:
Level 1 Sex Offenders
Where the Sex Offender Registry Board determines that the risk of reoffense by an offender is low and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by that offender is not such that a public safety interest is served by public availability, the Board shall give that offender a Level 1 designation.
Information on Level 1 offenders will not be available to the public. Neither the police nor the Board has authority to disseminate information to the general public identifying a Level 1 offender.
Information identifying Level 1 offenders may only be given to the department of correction, any county correctional facility, the department of youth services, the department of social services, the parole Board, the department of probation and the department of mental health, all city and town police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for law enforcement purposes.
Level 2 Sex Offenders
Where the Board determines that the risk of reoffense is moderate and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a public safety interest is served by public availability of registration information, it shall give a level 2 designation to the sex offender.
The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 2 offender through the Local Police Departments and through the Sex Offender Registry Board.
Level 3 Sex Offenders
Where the Board determines that the risk of reoffense is high and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is such that a substantial public safety interest is served by active dissemination, it shall give a level 3 designation to the sex offender.
The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 3 offender through the Local Police Departments and through the Sex Offender Registry Board.
Sexually Violent Predators
If the Board, in finally giving an offender a level 3 classification, also concludes that such sex offender should be designated a sexually violent predator, the Board shall transmit a report to the sentencing court explaining the Board's reasons for so recommending, including specific identification of the sexually violent offense committed by such sex offender and the mental abnormality from which he suffers. The sentencing court at that point may determine by a preponderance of the evidence, whether such sex offender is a Sexually Violent Predator.
INFORMATION CONCERNING SEX OFFENDERS
How to Obtain Information About Sex Offenders Living/Working In the Community
Any member of the public who is at least 18 years of age or older may request sex offender information for level 2 and level 3 offenders. The information will be provided to any person who is seeking the information for his/her own protection or for the protection of a child under the age of 18 or for the protection of another person whom the requesting person has responsibility, care, or custody.
A person may request sex offender information by going to his/her local city or town police station. After presenting proper identification, the requester must fill out a sex offender request form containing:
The name and address of the requester.
Information may be requested in the following manners:
The requestor may then inquire
- Whether a specifically named individual or a person described by sufficient identifying information to allow the police to identify the individual is a sex offender; or
- Whether any sex offenders live or work within the same city or town of a specific address, including, but not limited to, a residential address, business address, school, after school program, day care center, playground, recreational area or other identified address; or
- Whether any sex offenders live or work at a specific street address within the city or town where the person is requesting sex offender information; or
- Where the police department is located in a city or town with more than one zip code area, the inquiry may ask whether any sex offenders live or work within a specified zip code. In Boston such inquiry may be made by specified police district.
The reason for the request.
The date and time of the request.
If the request results in the identification of a sex offender, the police will distribute the offender’s name, home address, work address, age, sex, height, weight, eye and hair color, the sex offenses committed and the dates of conviction and/or adjudication and a photo of the offender, if available.
The information will be provided free of charge.
All information provided to the public will include language prohibiting the misuse of sex offender information for harassment or discriminatory purposes.
Penalties For Improper Use Of Sex Offender Registry Information
Information contained in the Sex Offender Registry shall not be used to commit a crime against an offender or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of an offender. Any person who improperly uses Sex Offender Registry information shall be punished by not more than two and one-half years in the house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.
All records of inquiry will be kept confidential, except to assist or defend in a criminal prosecution.
The police will not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the offender.
Duty to Verify Your Registration Information
Sex offenders are required to verify that their registration information is accurate and up-to-date. Until further notice, they must annually verify their registration data, by mail, to the Board.
For more information concerning the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry system you can visit the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board website at www.state.ma.us/sorb/ or you can write the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry PO Box 4547 Salem, MA 01970, call (978) 740-6400 or the FAQ line @ 800 - 93MEGAN.
HOW DO I OBTAIN INFORMATION ABOUT SEX OFFENDERS WHO
LIVE OR WORK IN DENNIS
For more information concerning sex offenders living within the community contact the Dennis Police - Detective Division Monday through Friday 7:30a.m. – 4:p.m., in person or by calling 508-394-1315.