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MASSACHUSETTS LAW REQUIRING
SEX OFFENDER REGISTRATION

GENERAL LAWS OF MASSACHUSETTS
Chapter 6: Section 178C. Definitions.


Section 178C. As used in sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive, the following words shall have the following meanings:--

"Agency", 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, or the department of mental health when the department of mental health is acting for persons who have been classified pursuant to the provisions of section fifteen, sixteen, seventeen or eighteen of chapter one hundred and twenty-three at any time during the term of hospitalization.

"Sex offense", an indecent assault and battery on a child under fourteen under the provisions of section thirteen B of chapter two hundred and sixty-five; indecent assault and battery on a mentally retarded person under the provisions of section thirteen F of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; indecent assault and battery on a person who has obtained the age of fourteen under the provisions of section thirteen H of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; rape under the provisions of section twenty-two of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; rape of a child under sixteen with force under the provisions of section twenty-two A of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; rape and abuse of a child under the provisions of section twenty-three of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; assault with intent to commit rape under the provisions of section twenty-four of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; assault of a child under sixteen with intent to commit rape under the provisions of section twenty-four B of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five; kidnapping of a child under the age of sixteen under the provisions of section twenty-six of said chapter two hundred and sixty-five;
open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior under the provisions of section sixteen of chapter two hundred and seventy-two; unnatural and lascivious acts with a child under sixteen under the provisions of section thirty-five A of said chapter two hundred and seventy-two; including an attempt to commit a violation of any of those sections pursuant to section six of chapter two hundred and seventy-four, or a like violation of the law of another state.

"Sex offender", a person 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 for such a conviction or adjudication, whichever last occurs, on or after August first, nineteen hundred and eighty-one.

Chapter 6: Section 178D. Sex offender registry.

Section 178D. The criminal history systems board known as the board in this section and sections one hundred and seventy-eight E to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive, shall establish and maintain a central computerized registry of all sex offenders known as the sex offender registry. The sex offender registry shall be updated based on information made available to the board, including information acquired pursuant to the registration provisions of sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive. The file on each sex offender shall include the following information, hereinafter referred to as registration data:

(a) the sex offender's name, aliases used, date and place of birth, sex, race, height, weight, eye and hair color, social security number, home address and work address;

(b) a photograph and set of fingerprints;

(c) a description of the offense for which the sex offender was convicted or adjudicated, the city or town where the offense occurred, the date of conviction or adjudication and the sentence imposed;

(d) any other information which may be useful in assessing the risk of the sex offender to reoffend; and

(e) any other information which may be useful in identifying the sex offender.

The board shall develop a standardized registration form, which shall include all registration data. The board shall make blank copies of said form available to all agencies having custody of sex offenders and all city and town police departments; provided, however, that the board shall determine the format for the collection and dissemination of registration data, which may include the electronic transmission of data. Records maintained in the sex offender registry shall be open to any law enforcement agency in the commonwealth, the United States or any other state. The board may promulgate rules and regulations to implement the provisions of sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive.

Chapter 6: Section 178E. Transmission of registration data to criminal history systems board, police departments and FBI.


Section 178E. (a) Not less than thirty days prior to the release of any sex offender from custody, the agency which has custody of the sex offender shall transmit his registration data to the board. The board shall promptly transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency which has custody of the sex offender shall notify the sex offender in writing of the duty to register and shall require the sex offender to acknowledge in writing that he has been advised of his duty to register. Within two days of his release from custody, the sex offender shall register in person at the police department in the city or town where he resides.

(b) Any agency that has supervision of a sex offender on probation or parole shall transmit the sex offender's registration data to the board within five days of assuming supervision of the offender, or by October first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, whichever is later. The agency shall also report any changes of address of any sex offender within its jurisdiction to the board. The board shall promptly transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The agency that has supervision of the sex offender shall also notify the sex offender in writing of his duty to register and shall require the sex offender to acknowledge in writing that he has been advised of his duty to register. Any sex offender who is under supervision on October first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six shall, within two days of said October first, register in person at the police department in the city or town where he resides. Failure to register may be grounds for revocation of probation or parole.

(c) Any court which enters a conviction or adjudication for a sex offense but does not impose a sentence of confinement to be served immediately shall inform the sex offender in writing of the duty to register and shall require the sex offender to acknowledge in writing that he has been advised of his duty to register. The court shall cause the sex offender's registration data to be transmitted to the board within five days of sentencing. The board shall promptly transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. Any sex offender who is convicted or adjudicated delinquent of a sex offense but who is not sentenced to serve a term of confinement immediately upon sentencing, shall, within two days of being sentenced, register in person at the police department in the city or town where he resides. Failure to register may be grounds for revocation of probation.

(d) Any sex offender who moves into the commonwealth from another jurisdiction shall, within two days of moving into the commonwealth, register in person at the police department in the city or town where he resides. The police department shall transmit the registration data to the police department where the offender works and to the board and the board shall transmit the same to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(e) Any sex offender who intends to move to a different city or town within the commonwealth must register in person at the police department where he intends to reside five days prior to establishing the new residence. The sex offender shall also send written notice within five days of the change of address to the police department where he last registered. Each such police department shall transmit notice of the change of address to the board and the board shall transmit the same to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Any sex offender who intends to change his address within a city or town shall notify the police department in writing five days prior to establishing the new residence. The police department shall transmit notice of the change of address to the board and the board shall transmit the same to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

Any sex offender who intends to move out of the commonwealth shall notify the police department where he last registered not later than five days before leaving the commonwealth. The police department shall transmit notice of the change to the board and the board shall transmit the same to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The board shall notify the offender of the duty to register in the new jurisdiction and shall forward a copy of his registration data to the appropriate law enforcement agency in the new jurisdiction.

(f) Any sex offender who intends to change his work address shall notify the police department where he resides in writing five days prior to establishing the new work address. Such police department shall transmit notice of the change of address to the police department where the offender previously worked and to the police department where the offender intends to work and to the board. The board shall transmit the same to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.

(g) The registrar of motor vehicles shall inform all persons applying for or renewing a license to operate a motor vehicle in the commonwealth that they have a duty to register at their local police department if they have ever been convicted of a sex offense as defined in this section in the commonwealth or in any other jurisdiction.

(h) Except as provided above, any sex offender residing in the commonwealth shall, on or before October first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, register in person at the police department in the city or town where he resides. The police department shall promptly transmit the registration data to the board. The board shall promptly transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender works and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The board shall send written notification of the requirements of this act to the last known address of all sex offenders residing in the commonwealth who, on or before October first, nineteen hundred and ninety-six, have been released from all custody and supervision.


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Chapter 6: Section 178F. Yearly personal appearance to verify data.


Section 178F. Every sex offender shall appear in person at least one time per year at the local police department to verify that the registration data on file remains true and accurate. In addition, on each anniversary of the sex offender's initial registration date, the board shall mail, by certified mail, a nonforwardable verification form to the last reported address of each sex offender. The sex offender shall, within five days of receipt, sign the verification form under the penalties of perjury and mail it back to the board.

Chapter 6: Section 178G. Termination of obligation to register.


Section 178G. The duty of a sex offender to comply with the requirements of sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive, shall end twenty years after the sex offender has been convicted or adjudicated or has been released from all custody or supervision, whichever last occurs, unless the sex offender was convicted of two or more sex offenses committed on different occasions, in which case the duty to register shall last for the offender's life. A person required to register with the sex offender registry board may make an application to said board to terminate the obligation upon proof, by clear and convincing evidence, that the person has not committed a sex offense within fifteen years following conviction, adjudication or release from all custody or supervision, whichever is later, and is not likely to pose a threat to the safety of others. The board shall notify the victim and the district attorney in the county where the offender resides and give the victim and district attorney the opportunity to respond to such application.

Chapter 6: Section 178H. Failure to register or verify information; penalties.


Section 178H. A sex offender who knowingly fails to register or verify registration information as required by law shall, upon a first conviction, be punished by imprisonment for not more than two and one-half years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars, or by both a fine and imprisonment. Upon a second and subsequent conviction for failure to register or verify registration information, the offender shall be sentenced to the house of correction for not less than ninety days nor more than two and one-half years and shall pay a fine of not more than five thousand dollars.

Chapter 6: Section 178I. Provision of information in response to inquiry.


Section 178I. Any person who is eighteen years of age or older, upon the verification of his age and identity, shall receive at no cost from the board a report which indicates whether an individual identified by name, date of birth or sufficient personal identifying characteristics is a sex offender as defined in section one hundred and seventy-eight C, the offenses for which he or she was convicted or adjudicated, and the dates of said convictions or adjudications. Any records of inquiry shall be kept confidential; provided, however, that the records may be disseminated to assist any criminal prosecution.

All reports to persons making inquiries 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 the provisions of section four of chapter two hundred and seventy-five.

Chapter 6: Section 178J. Form of inquiry; notice of penalties for misuse of information; information provided.


Section 178J. (a) A person who requests sex offender registry information shall:

(i) be eighteen years of age or older;

(ii) appear in person at a city or town police station and present proper identification;

(iii) state that he requests sex offender registry information for his own protection or for the protection of a child under the age of eighteen or another person for whom said inquirer has responsibility, care or custody; and

(iv) complete and sign a record of inquiry, designed by the board, which includes the following information: the name and address of the person making the inquiry; the person or geographic area or street which is the subject of the inquiry; the reason for the inquiry; and the date and time of the inquiry.

Said records of inquiries 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 the provisions of section four of chapter two hundred and seventy-five. Said records of inquiries shall state, before the signature of the inquirer: "I understand that the sex offender registry information disclosed to me is intended for my own protection or for the protection of a child under the age of eighteen or another person for whom I have responsibility, care or custody." Said records of inquiries shall be kept confidential; provided, however, that the records may be disseminated to assist any criminal prosecution.

(b) The person making the inquiry may either:

(i) identify a specific individual by name or provide personal identifying information sufficient to allow the police to identify the subject of the inquiry; or

(ii) inquire whether any sex offenders live or work within a one mile radius of a specific address, including, but not limited to, a residential address, a business address, school, after-school program, day care center, playground, recreational area, or other identified address; or

(iii) inquire whether any sex offenders live or work on a specific street.

(c) If the search of the sex offender registry results in an identification of a sex offender as defined in section one hundred and seventy-eight C, the police shall disseminate to the person making the inquiry:

(i) the name of the offender;

(ii) the home address; if located in the areas described in clause (ii) or (iii) of paragraph (b);

(iii) work address, if located in the areas described in said clause (ii) or (iii);

(iv) the offense for which he was convicted or adjudicated, and the dates of such conviction or adjudication;

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

(vi) a photograph of the offender, if available.

The police shall not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the offender.

Chapter 6: Section 178K. Sex offender registry board; guidelines to assess risk of reoffense; notification.


Section 178K. (1) There shall be a sex offender registry board which shall exist as a subdivision of the board and shall share staff and resources with board. The sex offender registry board shall promulgate guidelines for determining the level of risk of reoffense of sex offenders, 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, and make recommendations to the superior court regarding risk levels and community notification plans in the cases where the offender has a right to judicial review and has requested a hearing as provided in section one hundred and seventy-eight L.

The sex offender registry board shall consist of five members appointed by the governor: one of whom shall be the secretary of the executive office of public safety or his designee, who shall also act as chair of the board; one of whom shall be a licensed psychologist or psychiatrist with special expertise in the assessment and evaluation of sex offenders and who has knowledge of the forensic mental health system; one of whom shall be a 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; one of whom shall be a person who has at least five years of training and experience in probation, parole or corrections; and one of whom shall be a person who has expertise or experience with victims of sexual abuse. The term of office of each member of the sex offender registry board shall be for six years.

The sex offender registry board shall develop guidelines to assess the risk of reoffense by a sex offender and shall provide for three levels of notification depending on the degree of the risk of reoffense. The attorney general and the chief counsel of the committee for public counsel services or their designees, shall assist in the development of said 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, 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 offender 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; and

(v) whether the sex offender served the maximum term of incarceration.

(b) other criminal history factors to be considered in determining risk, 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, including whether the sex offender is under probation or parole supervision; whether the offender is receiving counseling, therapy or treatment; whether the 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 the such offender.

(2) The guidelines shall provide for three levels of notification depending on the degree of risk of reoffense by the sex offender:

(a) If the risk of reoffense is low, a level one designation shall be given to the sex offender. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. The public shall have access to information regarding a level one offender in accordance with the provisions of sections one hundred and seventy-eight I and one hundred and seventy-eight J.

(b) If the risk of reoffense is moderate, a level two designation shall be given to the sex offender. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A level two community notification plan shall require the police department to notify organizations in the community which are likely to encounter the offender including, but not limited to, schools, day care centers, religious and youth organizations, and sports leagues. The police shall disseminate: (i) the name of the offender; (ii) home address; (iii) work address; (iv) the offense for which he was convicted or adjudicated, and the date of the conviction or adjudication; (v) the offender's age, sex, race, height, weight, eye and hair color; and (vi) a photograph of the offender, if available; provided, however, that the police shall not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the 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 the provisions of section four of chapter two hundred and seventy-five.

(c) If the risk of reoffense is high, a level three designation shall be given to the sex offender. In such case, the board shall transmit the registration data to the police departments where the sex offender intends to live and work and where the offense was committed and to the Federal Bureau of Investigation. A level three community notification plan shall require the police department to notify organizations in the community which are likely to encounter the offender and individual members of the public which are likely to encounter the offender. The police shall disseminate: (i) the name of the offender; (ii) home address; (iii) work address; (iv) the offense for which he was convicted or adjudicated, and the date of the conviction or adjudication; (v) the offender's age, sex, race, height, weight, eye and hair color; and (vi) a photograph of the offender, if available; provided, however, that the police shall not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the 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 the provisions of section four of chapter two hundred and seventy-five.

(3) The sex offender registry board shall make a determination regarding the level of risk of reoffense of each sex offender listed in the sex offender registry, beginning with offenders who have been released from incarceration within the past twelve months, are currently on parole or probation supervision or are scheduled to be released from incarceration within six months. All criminal justice agencies and the department of mental health shall cooperate in providing files to the sex offender registry board and any information the sex offender registry board deems useful in assessing the risk of reoffense by the sex offender. If the sex offender registry board gives an offender a level one designation, the determination shall be final and there shall be no judicial review of its decision.

Chapter 6: Section 178L. [ There is no Chapter 6: Section 178L.]



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Chapter 6: Section 178M. Challenge to risk designation.


Section 178M. An offender who has been given a level two or level three designation may petition the superior court where the offender resides or intends to reside to challenge his risk designation. Such offender may request an opportunity to appear and be heard. At such hearing, the rules of evidence shall not apply and the court may review any materials described in the guidelines. The court shall, if requested, appoint counsel to represent the sex offender in the proceedings if the offender is deemed indigent in accordance with section two of chapter two hundred and eleven D. An attorney employed by the board may make an appearance to defend the risk designation given by the sex offender registry board and to represent the public interest. The court may modify the risk designation given by the sex offender registry board only if such designation is arbitrary and capricious, an abuse of discretion, or otherwise not in accordance with law. The court shall reach its final decision within sixty days of the offender's petition for review. The court shall keep proceedings conducted pursuant to this paragraph and records from such proceedings confidential.


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Chapter 6: Section 178N. Misuse of information; penalties.


Section 178N. Information contained in the sex offender registry shall not be used to commit any crime against any sex offender or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of an offender. Any person who uses information disclosed pursuant to the provisions of sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive, to commit a crime shall be punished by not more than two and one-half years in a house of correction or by a fine of not more than one thousand dollars or by both such fine and imprisonment.


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Chapter 6: Section 178O. Liability of police officials and public employees.


Section 178O. Police officials and other public employees acting in good faith shall not be liable in any civil or criminal proceeding for providing or failing to provide sex offender registry information pursuant to provisions of sections one hundred and seventy-eight C to one hundred and seventy-eight O, inclusive.

Chapter 6: Section 178P. Failure to comply with registration requirements of secs. 178C 178 O.


Section 178P. Whenever a police officer has probable cause to believe that a sex offender has failed to comply with the registration requirements of sections 178C to 178 O, inclusive, such officer shall have the right to arrest such sex offender.