If you have been convicted of one or more of the following offenses after 1981 and either live, work, or attend college in Massachusetts, you will most likely be required to register as a sex offender for at least 20 years (and for some offenses, for life):
1. A “like violation” of any of the following crimes committed in any other state in the U.S.
2. Aggravated rape – MGLA c. 277 § 39
3. Assault of a child with intent to commit rape – MGLA c. 265 § 24B
4. Assault with intent to commit rape – MGLA c. 265 § 24
5. Attempt to commit a sex crime – MGLA c. 274 § 6
6. Disseminating to a minor matter harmful to a minor – MGLA c. 272 § 28
7. Dissemination of visual material of a child in a state of nudity or sexual conduct – MGLA c. 272 § 29B
8. Drugging persons for sexual intercourse – MGLA c. 272 § 3
9. Enticing a child under the age of 16 for purposes of committing a crime – MGLA c. 265 § 26C
10. Enticing away a person for prostitution or sexual intercourse – MGLA c. 272 § 2
11. Incestuous marriage or intercourse – MGLA c. 272 § 17
12. Indecent A&B on a child under 14 – MGLA c. 265 § 13B
13. Indecent A&B on a mentally retarded person – MGLA c. 265 § 13F
14. Indecent A&B on a person age 14 or over – MGLA c. 265 § 13H
15. Inducing a minor into prostitution – MGLA c. 272 § 4A
16. Kidnapping of a child – MGLA c. 265 § 26
17. Living off or sharing earnings of a minor prostitute – MGLA c. 272 § 4B
18. Posing or exhibiting a child in a state of nudity – MGLA c. 272 § 29A
19. Possession of child pornography – MGLA c. 272 § 29C
20. Rape – MGLA c. 265 § 22
21. Rape and abuse of a child – MGLA c. 265 § 23
22. Rape of a child under 16 with force – MGLA c. 265 § 22A
23. Second and subsequent adjudication or conviction for open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior (unless it’s a first/single adjudication as a delinquent juvenile before August 1, 1992) – MGLA c. 272 § 16
24. Unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under 16 – MGLA c. 272 § 35A
Before an offender receives his initial classification from the Sex Offender Registry Board (“SORB”), he will receive a letter from SORB allowing him to provide the Board with relevant information regarding the classification. It is advisable that the offender consult with an attorney before submitting any information to the Board during this initial period, because providing certain information may allow SORB to access other confidential records which may be harmful to the offender’s case.
The offender will then receive a “preliminary classification level” of 1, 2 or 3, and will then receive another letter telling him that he has 20 days to request a hearing on his classification level. If the offender does not request a hearing within those 20 days, the preliminary classification level becomes final and the opportunity for a hearing is deemed waived. See MGLA c. 6 § 178L.
The requirements for pre-hearing motions, discovery and selection of experts are subject to specific time-constraints and certain regulatory limitations. It is important that the offender abide by the requirements in order to be prevented from presenting the most helpful evidence and arguments at the hearing. At the hearing, the offender and SORB are both provided the opportunity to present witnesses and evidence relevant to the classification level.
Following the hearing, the SORB Hearing Examiner will issue a decision, classifying the offender as a Level 1, Level 2 or Level 3. In doing so, the Hearing Examiner will consider 24 “factors” relevant to the offender’s risk of re-offending. The higher the classification level, the more public dissemination of the offender’s personal information will take place.
The offender then has 30 days after receiving the decision to file a civil complaint in Superior Court that challenges the Hearing Examiner’s decision. If the decision is affirmed in Superior Court, the offender has the opportunity to appeal the Superior Court decision with the Massachusetts Appeals Court.
Being classified as a sex offender and subjected to public dissemination of your personal information and criminal history can obviously have devastating effects on your work life, your personal life, and your family and friend’s lives. Indeed, failing to register, providing false information or failing to notify SORB of a change in address can result in between 6 months and 5 years imprisonment for a first offense (as well as up to a $1,000 fine), at least 5 years imprisonment for a second or subsequent conviction, and possibly a requirement of lifetime community parole supervision. MGLA c. 6 § 178H.
If you receive notice that you are going to be required to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts, you should not waste the opportunity to challenge your classification level and possibly reduce the intrusion of privacy caused by these regulations.
Don’t wait until your deadline to file has passed. If you are in need of representation at a SORB Hearing, 30A Motion in Superior Court or Appeal, feel free to call Attorney Kate Godin at (401) 274-2423 (or send an email by filling out our Contact Form) to discuss your case. You can also visit our Massachusetts Sex Crimes Defense website here.