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Bill to Publicize Sex Offenders to Be Revisited

If passed, the law would allow the public to access information about Level 1 sex offenders.

In the wake of last week's horrific news of a Wakefield man arrested on charges that he raped infants and toddlers, House Speaker Robert DeLeo said he will take another look at legislation to publicize names of low-level sex offenders, according to a Boston Herald report

The proposed law, filed by Gov. Deval Patrick last year but stalled in the Legislature, would add Massachusetts to the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act and allow the public to see which Level 1 offenders, deemed the least likely to reoffend by the Sex Offender Registry Board, live or work in their neighborhoods. Currently, the police are required to publicize the names of Level 3 offenders, who are consider the most likely to reoffend. 

The issue is being revisited in light of the fact that John Burbine of Wakefield, the man who was charged last week with 100 child sex abuse charges involving 13 infants and toddlers, was a Level 1 sex offender. Burbine was convicted in 1989 of indecent assault and battery on a child. 

The proposed bill would have made information of Burbine's previous conviction public. 

“In the coming days, Speaker DeLeo will meet with law enforcement from the affected communities and give serious consideration to the bill in question as well as other options to address these types of sickening crimes,” DeLeo spokesman Seth Gitell told the Herald.

A South End man was also recently charged and plead guilty to charges that he sexually assaulted three members of his extended family. He will serve up to nine years in court then ten eyars of probation where he will be forced to register as a sex offender, according to the Suffolk County District Attorney's Office. 

BarT December 12, 2012 at 02:59 PM
So you are going to punish EVERYONE who is trying to live a law abiding life because one person made a mistake?
JJ December 12, 2012 at 03:05 PM
What I don't understand is why this guy was a Level 1. I thought Level 1 was for offenses such as public urination, exposure etc. not child molestation. The entire Registry needs to be overhauled.
Sara Jacobi December 12, 2012 at 03:23 PM
That's a good point, JJ. Maybe there needs to be more differentiation in the system.
JMc December 12, 2012 at 04:11 PM
Wow - I agree with both. To Bart - the news reported he had more than one incident in his past. The 2nd incident should have bumped up to level 2 automatically - why didn't that happen? To JJ - correct - most people don't know that harmless crimes like peeing in public are technically sexual offenses. How would you like to be on a Sex Offender registry because you peed in an alleyway at 3am after a bit of a night out. Looking at the state definition - the levels only address the likeliness to re-offend. It does not address the type of crime at all. http://www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-personal-sfty/sex-offenders/levels-of-sex-offenders.html Rather than notify the publicof a level 1 offender, maybe we should see why several level 1 offenses doesn't bop you up to level 2. Or maybe anything involving children should be level 2 automatically?
Elizabeth Cahill December 12, 2012 at 05:42 PM
BEFORE the state(s) starts creating new laws, they really need to look at existing laws for sex offenders - which are ineffective and incomplete at best. At present, Level 2 and 3 sex offenders are pretty much dumped on the streets with no support systems and no place to go when they are released. And while the idea of having to register *appears* to be a good one in theory, there is no back-up and support. Once released, where do most of these folks end up - at your neighborhood homeless shelter, with little to no supervision and remedial support. And if you check, even though registered at a shelter, are they really staying there? Who's checking? Please, don't add insult to injury for both the law-abiding and the law breakers. Make a law that *works* and solves problems not one that creates more problems, whether it be Level 1, 2 or 3.

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