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General Laws

  Section 178K. (1) There shall be, in the executive office of public safety and security, a sex offender registry board which shall consist of seven members who shall be appointed by the governor for terms of six years, with the exception of the chairman, and who shall devote their full time during business hours to their official duties. The board shall include one person with experience and knowledge in the field of criminal justice who shall act as chairman; at least two licensed psychologists or psychiatrists with special expertise in the assessment and evaluation of sex offenders and who have knowledge of the forensic mental health system; at least one licensed psychologist or psychiatrist with special expertise in the assessment and evaluation of sex offenders, including juvenile sex offenders and who has knowledge of the forensic mental health system; at least two persons who have at least five years of training and experience in probation, parole or corrections; and at least one person who has expertise or experience with victims of sexual abuse. Members shall be compensated at a reasonable rate subject to approval of the secretary of administration and finance.

  The chairman shall be appointed by and serve at the pleasure of the governor and shall be the executive and administrative head of the sex offender registry board, shall have the authority and responsibility for directing assignments of members of said board and shall be the appointing and removing authority for members of said board's staff. In the case of the absence or disability of the chairman, the governor may designate one of the members to act as chairman during such absence or disability. The chairman shall, subject to appropriation, establish such staff positions and employ such administrative, research, technical, legal, clerical and other personnel and consultants as may be necessary to perform the duties of said board. Such staff positions shall not be subject to section 9A of chapter 30 or chapter 31.

  The governor shall fill any vacancy for the unexpired term. As long as there are four sitting members, a vacancy shall not impair the right of the remaining members to exercise the powers of the board.

  The sex offender registry board shall promulgate guidelines for determining the level of risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public or for relief from the obligation to register and shall provide for three levels of notification depending on such risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public; apply the guidelines to assess the risk level of particular offenders; develop guidelines for use by city and town police departments in disseminating sex offender registry information; devise a plan, in cooperation with state and local law enforcement authorities and other appropriate agencies, to locate and verify the current addresses of sex offenders including, subject to appropriation, entering into contracts or interagency agreements for such purposes; and conduct hearings as provided in section 178L. The attorney general and the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services, or their designees, shall assist in the development of such guidelines. Factors relevant to the risk of reoffense shall include, but not be limited to, the following:

  (a) criminal history factors indicative of a high risk of reoffense and degree of dangerousness posed to the public, including:

  (i) whether the sex offender has a mental abnormality;

  (ii) whether the sex offender's conduct is characterized by repetitive and compulsive behavior;

  (iii) whether the sex offender was an adult who committed a sex offense on a child;

  (iv) the age of the sex offender at the time of the commission of the first sex offense;

  (v) whether the sex offender has been adjudicated to be a sexually dangerous person pursuant to section 14 of chapter 123A or is a person released from civil commitment pursuant to section 9 of said chapter 123A; and

  (vi) whether the sex offender served the maximum term of incarceration;

  (b) other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk and degree of dangerousness, including:

  (i) the relationship between the sex offender and the victim;

  (ii) whether the offense involved the use of a weapon, violence or infliction of bodily injury;

  (iii) the number, date and nature of prior offenses;

  (c) conditions of release that minimize risk of reoffense and degree of dangerousness posed to the public, including whether the sex offender is under probation or parole supervision, whether such sex offender is receiving counseling, therapy or treatment and whether such sex offender is residing in a home situation that provides guidance and supervision, including sex offender-specific treatment in a community-based residential program;

  (d) physical conditions that minimize risk of reoffense including, but not limited to, debilitating illness;

  (e) whether the sex offender was a juvenile when he committed the offense, his response to treatment and subsequent criminal history;

  (f) whether psychological or psychiatric profiles indicate a risk of recidivism;

  (g) the sex offender's history of alcohol or substance abuse;

  (h) the sex offender's participation in sex offender treatment and counseling while incarcerated or while on probation or parole and his response to such treatment or counseling;

  (i) recent behavior, including behavior while incarcerated or while supervised on probation or parole;

  (j) recent threats against persons or expressions of intent to commit additional offenses;

  (k) review of any victim impact statement; and

  (l) review of any materials submitted by the sex offender, his attorney or others on behalf of such offender.

  (2) The guidelines shall provide for three levels of notification depending on the degree of risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by the sex offender or for relief from the obligation to register:

  (a) Where the board determines that the risk of reoffense is low and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public is not such that a public safety interest is served by public availability, it shall give a level 1 designation to the sex offender. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data and designation to the police departments in the municipalities where such sex offender lives and works and attends an institution of higher learning or, if in custody, intends to live and work and attend an institution of higher learning upon release and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The police shall not disseminate information to the general public identifying the sex offender where the board has classified the individual as a level 1 sex offender. The police and the board may, however, release such information identifying such sex offender to the department of correction, any county correctional facility, the department of youth services, the department of children and families, 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.

[ Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) effective until July 1, 2013. For text effective July 1, 2013, see below.]

  (b) 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. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data and designation to the police departments in the municipalities where the sex offender lives, has a secondary address and works and attends an institution of higher learning or, if in custody, intends to live and work and attend an institution of higher learning upon release and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 2 offender in accordance with the provisions of sections 178I and 178J. The sex offender shall be required to register and to verify registration information pursuant to section 178F1/2.

[ Paragraph (b) of subsection (2) as amended by 2013, 38, Sec. 9 effective July 1, 2013. See 2013, 38, Sec. 219. For text effective until July 1, 2013, see above.]

  (b) 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. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data and designation to the police departments in the municipalities where the sex offender lives, has a secondary address and works and attends an institution of higher learning or, if in custody, intends to live and work and attend an institution of higher learning upon release and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 2 offender in accordance with the provisions of sections 178D, 178I and 178J. The sex offender shall be required to register and to verify registration information pursuant to section 178F1/2.

  (c) 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. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data and designation to the police departments in the municipalities where the sex offender lives, has a secondary address and works and attends an institution of higher learning or, if in custody, intends to live and work and attend an institution of higher learning upon release and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A level 3 community notification plan shall require the police department to notify organizations in the community which are likely to encounter such sex offender and individual members of the public who are likely to encounter such sex offender. The sex offender shall be required to register and to verify registration information pursuant to sections 178F1/2. Neighboring police districts shall share sex offender registration information of level 3 offenders and may inform the residents of their municipality of a sex offender they are likely to encounter who resides in an adjacent city or town. The police or the board shall actively disseminate in such time and manner as such police department or board deems reasonably necessary the following information:

  (i) the name of the sex offender;

  (ii) the offender's home address and any secondary address;

  (iii) the offender's work address;

  (iv) the offense for which the offender was convicted or adjudicated and the date of the conviction or adjudication;

  (v) the sex offender's age, sex, race, height, weight, eye and hair color; and

  (vi) a photograph of the sex offender, if available; provided, that such active dissemination may include publication of such information on the internet by the police department at such time and in such manner as the police or the board deem reasonably necessary; and provided further, that the police or the board shall not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the sex offender. All notices to the community shall include a warning regarding the criminal penalties for use of sex offender registry information to commit a crime or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of an offender and the punishment for threatening to commit a crime under section 4 of chapter 275.

  (vii) the name and address of the institution of higher learning that the sex offender is attending.

  The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 3 offender in accordance with sections 178D, 178I and 178J.

  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 report shall not be subject to judicial review under section 178M. Upon receipt from the board of a report recommending that a sex offender be designated a sexually violent predator, the sentencing court, after giving such sex offender an opportunity to be heard and informing the sex offender of his right to have counsel appointed, if he is deemed to be indigent in accordance with section 2 of chapter 211D, shall determine, by a preponderance of the evidence, whether such sex offender is a sexually violent predator. An attorney employed or retained by the board may make an appearance, subject to section 3 of chapter 12, to defend the board's recommendation. The board shall be notified of the determination. A determination that a sex offender should not be designated a sexually violent predator shall not invalidate such sex offender's classification. Where the sentencing court determines that such sex offender is a sexually violent predator, dissemination of the sexually violent predator's registration data shall be in accordance with a level 3 community notification plan; provided, however, that such dissemination shall include such sex offender's designation as a sexually violent predator.

  (d) The board may, upon making specific written findings that the circumstances of the offense in conjunction with the offender's criminal history do not indicate a risk of reoffense or a danger to the public and the reasons therefor, relieve such sex offender of any further obligation to register, shall remove such sex offender's registration information from the registry and shall so notify the police departments where said sex offender lives and works or if in custody intends to live and work upon release, and where the offense was committed and the Federal Bureau of Investigation. In making such determination the board shall consider factors, including but not limited to, the presence or absence of any physical harm caused by the offense and whether the offense involved consensual conduct between adults. The burden of proof shall be on the offender to prove he comes within the provisions of this subsection. The provisions of this subsection shall not apply if a sex offender has been determined to be a sexually violent predator; has been convicted of two or more sex offenses defined as sex offenses pursuant to the Jacob Wetterling Crimes Against Children and Sexually Violent Offender Registration Act, 42 U.S.C. section 14071, committed on different occasions; or has been convicted of a sexually violent offense. The provisions of this subsection shall also not apply if a sex offender has been convicted of a sex offense involving a child or a sexually violent offense, and such offender has not already registered pursuant to this chapter for at least ten years, or if the sex offender is otherwise subject to lifetime or minimum registration requirements as determined by the board pursuant to section 178D.

  (e) No sex offender classified as a level 3 offender shall knowingly and willingly establish living conditions within, move to, or transfer to any convalescent or nursing home, infirmary maintained in a town, rest home, charitable home for the aged or intermediate care facility for the mentally retarded which meets the requirements of the department of public health under section 71 of chapter 111. Any sex offender who violates this paragraph shall, for a first conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not more than 30 days in a jail or house of correction; for a second conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not more than 21/2 years in a jail or house of correction nor more than 5 years in a state prison or by a fine of not more than $1,000, or by both such fine and imprisonment; and for a third and subsequent conviction, be punished by imprisonment in a state prison for not less than 5 years; provided, however, that the sentence imposed for such third or subsequent conviction shall not be reduced to less than 5 years, nor suspended, nor shall any person sentenced herein be eligible for probation, parole, work release or furlough, or receive any deduction from his sentence for good conduct until he shall have served 5 years. Prosecutions commenced hereunder shall neither be continued without a finding nor placed on file.

  (3) The sex offender registry board shall make a determination regarding the level of risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public of each sex offender listed in said sex offender registry and shall give immediate priority to those offenders who have been convicted of a sex offense involving a child or convicted or adjudicated as a delinquent juvenile or as a youthful offender by reason of a sexually violent offense or of a sex offense of indecent assault and battery upon a mentally retarded person pursuant to section 13F of chapter 265, and who have not been sentenced to incarceration for at least 90 days, followed, in order of priority, by those sex offenders who (1) have been released from incarceration within the past 12 months, (2) are currently on parole or probation supervision, and (3) are scheduled to be released from incarceration within six months. All agencies shall cooperate in providing files to the sex offender registry board and any information the sex offender registry board deems useful in providing notice under sections 178C to 178P, inclusive, and in assessing the risk of reoffense and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by the sex offender. All agencies from which registration data, including data within the control of providers under contract to such agencies, is requested by the sex offender registry board shall make such data available to said board immediately upon request. Failure to comply in good faith with such a request within 30 days shall be punishable by a fine of not more than $1,000 per day.

[ Subsections (4) and (5) added by 2013, 38, Sec. 10 effective July 1, 2013. See 2013, 38, Sec. 219.]

  (4) The sex offender registry board, in cooperation with the executive office of public safety and security, and with the consultation of the offices of the district attorneys, the department of probation, the department of children and families and the Massachusetts Chiefs of Police Association Incorporated, shall establish and maintain a system of procedures for the ongoing sharing of information that may be relevant to the board's determination or reevaluation of a sex offender's level designation among the board, the offices of the district attorneys and any department, agency or office of the commonwealth that reports, investigates or otherwise has access to potentially relevant information, including, but not limited to, the department of youth services, the department of children and families, the department of mental health, the department of developmental services, the department of correction, the department of probation, the department of early education and care, the department of public health and the office of the child advocate, .

  The board shall promulgate any rules or regulations necessary to establish, update and maintain this system including, but not limited to, the frequency of updates, measures to ensure the comprehensiveness, clarity and effectiveness of information, and metrics to determine what information may be relevant. When sharing information through this system, all members shall have discretion to delay sharing information where it is reasonably believed that disclosure would compromise or impede an investigation or prosecution or would cause harm to a victim.

  (5) The sex offender registry board shall have access to any information that is determined to be relevant to the board's determination or reevaluation of a sex offender's level designation, as defined in subsection (4), through the system of procedures established in said subsection (4).

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