I was pretty disgusted last week when I heard about the story of the latest sex RE-offender on Cape Cod. Yes, RE-OFFENDER!! He was classified as only a level 2, guess the risk should have been put much higher before he was let out, especially since he reoffended with a child! I immediately checked the stats in my local town, saw the latest additions as well as noted that my town on Cape got a big THUMBS DOWN from Family Watchdog in terms of forcible rape. I was very disappointed to see this stat. I also noticed we had an awful lot of offenders who has done their act on minor children. This got me thinking.......
In Massachusetts, Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are only required to register with the local police department and those individuals' names, addresses and pictures are then made available to the public. Only Level 3 Offenders are available to view online. To see Level 2 offenders, you will have to contact your local PD Department. Any restrictive conditions placed upon sex offenders are imposed by a judge under terms of probation or by the parole board.
Massachusetts currently has fairly skimpy laws when it comes to sex offenders. Some states like California, bar the offenders from surfing at piers, visiting parks, or even casting fishing lines. These are called Child Safety Zones and in effect, ban sex offenders from being anywhere near where children congregate. They are barred from libraries in only half a dozen Massachusetts cities. Half a dozen?!?!?! How about the hundreds of others across the Commonwealth????
After further research I discovered that a just small number of cities and towns actually have local ordinances in place to restrict sex offenders from schools, parks, children's camps, elderly faciities, etc. Currently, only about 20 cities and towns in the Bay State have enacted "sex offender-free zones" or "child safety zones" or otherwise placed restrictions on where convicted Level 3 sex offenders can live in a community. And many of those laws have been challenged in the court system on constitutional grounds.
Massachusetts has not joined the approximately two dozen states that have adopted similar statewide laws since 1996, according to information from the Council of State Governments, thereby leaving that work to local officials.
Opponents have dismissed “child safety zones” as unenforceable, saying they are designed to make politicians look tough on crime and drive sex offenders from the area, not make children safer. “These are cheap laws that can be passed to make people feel good,” said Charles P. Ewing, author of “Justice Perverted: Sex Offense Law, Psychology, and Public Policy.” Personally I disagree!!! As parents of course we knonw that an ordinace or law is NOT a guarantee of our children's safety however if there is no rule, regulation or law then what happens when they target a child in that area! At least then they can get an added charge of violating another law! At the very least mandate Child Safety Zones for level 2 and 3's!!! I understand many Level 1's may have urinated in public or just made a stupid mistake versus torturing a small child/raping someone, etc. Discretion would obviously have to be used.
The most recent battle over this issue has taken place in the city of Lynn, which is home to 64 registered Level 3 sex offenders, according to the state registry board. Lynn officials had discussed adopting an ordinance since at least 2009. After implementing the law, five Level 3 offenders filed suit and are being represented by the American Civil Liberties Union of Massachusetts, according to the Daily Item of Lynn.
The most recent iteration of the law prohibits Level 2 and 3 sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, daycare centers, parks or playgrounds. Those who live within the "exclusion zones" are required to move or else face a fine of $300 per day.
Part of the plaintiffs' argument in that case is that the "exclusion zones" cover most of the geographic area of the city and nearly all its available housing. THEN MOVE!!!!! Don't we as parents have the RIGHT to raise our children in a safe community?!?!?! Why should they get to decide, they broke the law!!!! And after the whole Massachusetts Parole Board issue (5 Parole Board Members Resign), I don't trust any of those people to make sound judgements went it comes to my child. At least Meliss'a Bill was finally passed this summer though, so we are making baby steps forward!
Google has finally got on board with a Sex Offender App! Way to go Google! Now we can see where offenders are located! It is for for anyone with an Android or IPHONE. It uses your GPS to show you not only which offenders are in your immiditae area, but also pops up a picture and offense history! I have only used it for the past few days and it is a useful app to have, though some reviews of the app said it does not locate all offenders.
There is also a Cape Cod Mother's Protection Group on Facebook! It is newly formed and it is an online venue for moms on Cape to help create change in terms of the laws here in the Commonwealth! Visit their group for more details! https://www.facebook.com/groups/273027046136268/
What do YOU think about this controversial topic? We want our readers to sound off below! Share your thoughts an opinions on the subject, we welcome them all, all we ask is that you please just be respectful of all views :)
Cape Cod Moms