Massachusetts Sex Offender Records
What is a Sex Offender?
In Massachusetts, a sex offender is an adult or juvenile who lives, works, or attends school in the state and has been convicted of a sexual offense. Sex crimes are among the most serious violations that a person can be charged within the state. These cases are rigorously prosecuted by the district attorneys' offices and, like other state courts in the US, the Massachusetts courts imposes harsh penalties on sex offenders.
In addition to stiff sentences and punishments, any individual sentenced because of a sex offense in Massachusetts will likely suffer life-altering consequences and restrictions. For example, sex convictions can result in up to 20 years in state prison, as well as extended probation, GPS monitoring, and court-ordered counseling. Also, the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) requires individuals convicted of sexual crimes to register as sex offenders for a set period—sometimes for the rest of their lives.
Who is Considered a Sex Offender in Massachusetts?
In general, any individual found guilty of unlawful sexual conduct with another individual, especially minors, is considered a sex offender in Massachusetts. Although the state statute does not clearly define who a sex offender is, it highlights actions resulting in a sex conviction and, ultimately, registration as a sex offender. Some of these actions include:
- Forced or aggravated rape of a minor or a mentally challenged person
- Battery and assault
- Kidnapping a child or minor
- Drugging a person with the intent of performing unlawful sexual activities
- Incestuous relationship or intercourse
- Creation, distribution, or possession of child pornography
- Child prostitution and sex trafficking
- Inappropriate and immoral actions with a minor, etc.
A sex offender who lives or works within the state will usually be mandated to register as a sex offender with the SORB.
The state also defines who is "sexually dangerous." According to state law, persons who have been convicted or adjudicated for a sexual offense may be considered sexually dangerous if:
- They have been charged with a sexual offense, but a mental condition or personality disorder makes them likely to commit future sexual offenses and incompetent to stand trial. These offenders are usually confined to a secure facility. If not, their mental or personality disorders may make them re-engage in sexual offenses.
- They have been convicted for a sexual offense but cannot manage their sexual impulses in general. The court determines this condition through evidence of persistent or obsessive sexual misconduct such as aggression against any victim or hostility toward any victim under 16. These individuals are more likely to assault or injure such victims as a result of their unrestrained impulses.
What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses in Massachusetts?
Sexual acts or behaviors that are prohibited by Massachusetts' laws are classified as sex crimes. These offenses are defined in Section 1 of MGL c.123A, and include:
Rape: This is defined as sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual relations with an individual. It usually results in serious bodily injury because it involves causing the victim to submit by force or against their will or by the threat of physical harm.
This offense is punishable by incarceration in state prison for no more than 20 years. A second or subsequent offense will lead to imprisonment for life. If the perpetrator was armed with a firearm or assault weapon, the offense is punishable by a minimum of ten years in prison. A repeat offense is punishable by life in prison or a sentence not less than 15 years.
Rape and abuse of a minor under 16: The punishment for any individual who engages in illicit sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual relations with a minor under 16 years of age and who abuses that child will face life imprisonment in state prison.
Assault with intent to rape: Any individual who assaults another with the intent to rape shall be punished by a maximum sentence of 20 years in prison. A life sentence may apply to punish anyone who commits a second or subsequent offense. If the offense is committed with a weapon, the perpetrator risks a minimum penalty of five years in state prison. A second/subsequent offense will result in either a life sentence in prison or a term of at least 20 years in prison.
Aggravated rape: This generally involves engaging in unlawful sexual relations with a minor. However, in this case, the offender and the victim are either more than 5 years apart in age, and the victim is under the age of 12; or more than 10 years apart in age, and the victim is between the ages of 12 and 16 years. The offense is penalized by imprisonment in the state prison for life or a term not less than 10 years.
Indecent assault & battery on a minor under the age of 14: When this crime results in serious physical injury to the child, it is punishable by a maximum prison term of 10 years or 2 1/2 years in the house of correction.
Indecent assault & battery on an individual with intellectual disability: A first offense of indecent assault and battery on a mentally disabled person is punishable by at least 5 years and at most 10 years in prison. A second/subsequent violation carries a minimum sentence of 10 years in state prison.
Indecent assault & battery on an individual aged 14 and above: Any individual who conducts an indecent assault and battery on a person above 14 will receive a maximum sentence of 5 years in the state prison or 2 1/2 years in jail or a house of correction. If the victim was a disabled or elderly person, the incarceration penalty is 10 years in the state prison or 2 1/2 years in jail or a house of correction.
Kidnapping a minor below the age of 16: A kidnapping occurs when one person restrains or detains another individual without their consent or legal authority. If the crime was committed to extort money or other possessions, the offender risks facing life in prison or a lengthy sentence. If the victim is under 16, the perpetrator will be sentenced to a maximum of 15 years in state prison.
If the perpetrator was armed with a firearm or assault weapon, the criminal faces up to 10 years in state prison and 2 1/2 years in a house of correction. Suppose the criminal performs the crimes while equipped with a dangerous weapon and causes significant bodily harm (permanent disfigurement, loss of a bodily function, or a significant risk of death). In that case, they will be punished with at least 25 years in state prison.
Luring a minor below the age of 16 to commit a sexual crime: This offense constitutes luring, urging, persuading, or inducing a child under the age of 16 to enter, exit, or stay in a confined space, such as vehicle or home, to engage in sexual acts or relations with them. This offense is punishable by 5 years or less in prison, up to 2 1/2 years in the house of correction, or both, and a fine of up to $5,000.
Luring an individual away for prostitution or sexual intercourse: This comprises fraudulently recruiting or abducting a person for prostitution or unlawful sexual relations. A person who aids and assists in any abduction for this purpose will be sentenced to 3 years in state prison.
Drugging an individual for sexual intercourse: In this context, drugging refers to applying or administering any drug or substance to overpower another individual to engage in sexual intercourse or unnatural sexual relations with them. This offense is punishable by life in state prison or a lengthy sentence of not less than 10 years.
Enticing a minor to prostitution: Individuals who induce minors under 18 to engage in unlawful sexual intercourse risk facing a maximum of 3 years in state prison, 2 1/2 years in jail, a fine of $1,000, or a combined sentence.
Pooling and relying on the earnings of a minor prostitute: This crime occurs when a person knowingly supports and sustains their lifestyle from the profits of prostitution committed by a minor or shares in such earnings. Such a person is subject to a 5-year prison sentence and a $5,000 fine.
2nd or subsequent conviction for open & gross indecency or lewdness: Individuals who participate in public or flagrant lewdness and indecent behavior risk up to 3 years in state prison or 2 years in jail, as well as a $300 fine.
Incestuous union or sexual relations: Persons within degrees of kinship that are outlawed or ruled as incestuous and void by law shall be penalized by imprisonment in state prison for not more than 20 years if they marry or engage in sexual activities with each other.
Distribution of material harmful to a minor: Anyone who willfully distributes any material harmful to minors, as defined in Section 31, faces a maximum sentence of 5 years in state prison. If it is their first crime, they might face a fine of at least $1,000 and not more than $10,000. For a second violation, the punishment is a fine of at least $5,000 and not more than $20,000. For a third/subsequent violation, the penalty is a fine of at least $10,000 and not more than $30,000. They may also be imprisoned.
Owning or possessing child pornography materials: Any person who knowingly obtains or possesses a visual reproduction, or a computer portrayal, in which a child under the age of 18 is engaged in any sexual activity with any person or animal, any act of sexual contact involving the minor's sex organs, or any act of masturbation, either physically or virtually, will be sentenced to state prison. They will face a maximum sentence of 5 years in state prison as well as a fine of $1,000 to $10,000.
For repeated violations, the sentence and penalty may be increased. For example, the offender can incur a sentence not less than 5 years, a fine from $5,000 to $20,000, or both, for a second offense. For third and subsequent offenses, the offender will be sentenced to no less than 10 years in state prison, with a fine ranging from $10,000 to $30,000, or both.
Unnatural and indecent acts with a minor under the age of 16: Any person who engages in any unnatural or sexually suggestive act with a child under the age of 16 is subject to a fine not below $100 or above $1,000 or incarceration for not more than five years.
What Types of Sex Offenders Exist in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Sex Offenders Law classifies sex offenders in Massachusetts into three levels, depending on the degree of danger they pose to residents and their likelihood to re-offend. When classifying sex offenders, the law also analyzes the offender's criminal history, type of the crime, degree of abuse, victim's age, and other information surrounding the conviction. The following are the classifications of sex offenders in Massachusetts:
- Level one sex offenders
- Level two sex offenders
- Level three sex offenders
The least severe classification in Massachusetts is level one. This category is made up of sex offenders who offer a low public safety concern. When an individual is identified as a level one offender, the Sex Offender Registry Board believes that the risk of re-offending is low and that there is a low level of danger to the public.
Level two offenders have a moderate likelihood of re-offending and present a threat to public safety. As a result, public disclosure of their registration information is in the public's interest. The Sex Offender Registry Board and police departments provide information on level two offenders to the general public. Every year, offenders in this category must re-register at local police stations to keep their information current.
Individuals who commit serious sex offenses in the state have the level three classification. To be classified as a level three sex offender in Massachusetts, the Sex Offender Registry Board must believe that an individual’s probability of re-offending is high and that they pose a significant risk to the public. Any local law enforcement agency or online registry can provide information on this type of offender.
How to Find a Sex Offender Near Me in Massachusetts
In Massachusetts, local law enforcement agencies and the Sex Offender Registry Board collect and maintain information regarding sex offenders convicted and living in the state. Therefore, individuals aged 18 and above can check with their local police departments to see who is listed as a sex offender.
They can also query the Sex Offender Registry Board for a more thorough search. The board aims to deliver accurate information about sex offenders to the public and prevent reoccurrences of sexual crimes. As such, it provides the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry to enable interested persons to conduct sex offender searches from any location. Inquirers can also submit public record requests to the board to obtain sex offender information.
Note that the police department and the board are only allowed to release information on level two and three sex offenders. Level one sex offender information is not available to the public. Only relevant authorities have access to their information, including the Department of Correction, any county jail facility, the Departments of Probation, Social Services, Youth Services, the FBI, and the Parole Board.
Interested members of the public may also obtain public record information from third-party websites. These privately owned sites typically host data culled from public databases and repositories. However, the information available on third-party sites may vary since they are independent of government sources. In order to use a third-party site, record seekers may be required to provide all or some of the following information:
- The full name on the record of choice
- The last known or current address of the named individual
- The address of the requestor
What Happens When You Register as a Sex Offender in Massachusetts?
The period during which an offender must register with the Sex Offender Registry Board after being convicted of a sex crime is generally determined by the offender's crime. For instance, adults and adolescents convicted of single-sex offenses must typically register for 20 years from the conviction date or date when released imprisonment or supervision. In contrast, lifelong registration becomes necessary if the offender is an adult or adolescent fits the following categories:
- Guilty of two or more sexual offenses on different occasions
- Convicted of a sexually violent offense
- Considered to be a sexually violent predator
- Deemed a lifetime registrant by the Sex Offender Registry Board
Apart from the mandatory registration, sex offenders must periodically update their information with state authorities. Failing to register or update one's data as required is a criminal offense that carries serious consequences, including incarceration.
Unlike some US states, Massachusetts does not impose employment or housing restrictions on registered sex offenders. However, sex offenders may be shunned and denied access to housing opportunities and work within the community, even though no law imposes these limits.
Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry
The Sex Offender Registry in Massachusetts contains all convicted sex offenders in the state. The Sex Offender Registry Board is in charge of this database. The board seeks to enhance public safety by educating and informing the public about sex offenders to prevent further victimization. As such, members of the public can look up level two and three sex offenders who live, work, or school in Massachusetts on the registry. Information on these offenders can also be obtained via a local police department or directly contacting the board.
How the Information on the Registry is Compiled
The sex offender registry's information is gathered during the mandatory sex offender registration. According to state law, anyone convicted of specific sex crimes (or similar convictions from another state) must register with the board. Massachusetts General Laws, Chapter 6, Section 178D, requires individuals found guilty of sex crimes to provide the following during registration:
- Full names and aliases
- Date and place of birth
- Height and weight
- Hair and eye color
- Identifying marks
- Social security number
- Home and work address
- Photograph and fingerprints
- A detailed description of the crime for which they were convicted or adjudicated
- The city or town where the crime took place
- The date of conviction or adjudication, as well as the punishment
- Other information that may be useful in predicting the probability of the sex offender to re-offend.
How to Search the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry
Users can search for sex offenders using three criteria:
- Last name
- City, county, or zip code
For example, the inquirer may provide a last name or a partial last name and select "Registered" from the registration status drop-down menu to see a list of level two and three sex offenders who have met their registration requirements.
Suppose the search subject is a level two or three sex offender who has not met the registration requirements. In that case, the user can select "Violation" from the registration status drop-down menu to see a list of offenders in that category. If the user selects "Incarcerated" from the same menu, the system will display a list of currently incarcerated level two and level three sex offenders. (This list will not include information about criminals held temporarily.) On rare occasions, searches may yield incorrect or outdated information. In this event, the inquirer is advised to contact the local police department or the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board at (978) 740-6400.
Who Can View the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry?
Any interested member of the public may view the Massachusetts sex offender registry. This is in line with Megan’s Law that requires local law enforcement agencies to maintain and provide public access to sex offender information. However, the Massachusetts sex offender registry only provides data on level 2 and 3 offenders. The level 1 offenders’ information is not available to the public.
What are the Sex Offender Laws in Massachusetts?
Several Massachusetts sex laws explain the registration, apprehension, right, and punishment of sex offenders in the state. These include:
- Sex Offender Registry Law
- Megan’s Law
- Jessica’s Law
- Law Against Sexually Dangerous Persons
- Law Prohibiting Ice Cream Vending
Sex Offender Registry Law
The Massachusetts sex offender registry law comprises different laws that discuss the registration, classification, and verification of sex offenders. The registry law also makes provision for the termination of the obligation to register, penalties for misuse of information, failure to comply with registration requirements, and more.
Megan’s Law is a federal law that requires all states to disclose information about sex offenders to the public. Like most states, Massachusetts operates its version of Megan’s Law. The law is named after Megan Kanka, the seven-year-old who was abducted and murdered by a registered sex offender in 1994.
Therefore, members of the public who are 18 years or above may access sex offender information as provided by the Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB). Access to sex offenders information can be obtained online or by contacting the SORB address:
85 Rangeway Road
P.O. Box 392
North Billerica, MA 01862
Phone: (978) 740-6400
Office Hours: 8:00 a.m. to 5:00 p.m. - Monday through Friday.
Massachusetts version of Jessica’s Law provides mandatory sentences for certain sex crimes against children. Individuals who commit indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14 will be charged according to the provisions in Massachusetts General Law c.265, §§ 13B, 13B-1/2, and 13B-3/4. The law ensures harsher penalties for whoever commits indecent assault and battery against a child while committing other crimes such as robbery, burglary, kidnapping, etc. The penalties also apply to repeated offenders of the same crime.
Law Against Sexually Dangerous Persons
This law ensures that sex offenders who meet the criteria for sexually dangerous persons are confined to the Massachusetts Treatment Center. The Center, also known as Nemansket Correctional Center, is run by the Department of Correction and allows for the treatment and rehabilitation of sex offenders. This is in line with the provisions of the Massachusetts General Law, chapter 123A.
Law Prohibiting Ice Cream Truck Vending
The law prohibits sex offenders from engaging in ice cream truck vending, as established under the Massachusetts General Law, chapter 265, Section 48. Sex offenders who engage in such activity shall be punished by imprisonment for not more than two and half years in the house of correction, pay a fine of $1000, or both.
How Long Do Sex Offenders Have to Register in Massachusetts?
There is no specific length of registration for sex offenders in Massachusetts. The length of registration varies for different sex offenders depending on the severity of the crime committed. This can be a lifetime or 20 tear sex offender registration requirement.
Can a Sex Offender Live With Their Family in Massachusetts?
Yes, sex offenders in Massachusetts can live with their family members. No Massachusetts law prohibits sex offenders from living with their family members. However, a sex offender who poses a high degree of danger may be prohibited depending on a court order with justification.
Do Sex Offenders Have to Notify Neighbors in Massachusetts?
No. Sex offenders, whether living, working, or schooling in Massachusetts, do not have to notify neighbors of their sex offender status. However, convicted persons are required to inform local authorities of any address change. Sex offenders must update their information with the Massachusetts sex offender registry if they:
- Have secondary addresses in Massachusetts.
- Are moving in or out of Massachusetts.
- Become homeless.
- Are working in Massachusetts.
- School in Massachusetts but live in another state.
A secondary address is described as anywhere a sex offender lives or stays for at least 14 days in a year or four days in a month. It is also not the offender’s primary address and may include out-of-state addresses. Sex offenders moving to Massachusetts must register within two days of moving, while sex offenders moving out must notify the SORB at least ten days before moving and register as sex offenders in the new state.
Sex offenders working in Massachusetts but living in another state must register themselves within two days of starting the job and register their work address within ten days of starting the job. Also, sex offenders who school in Massachusetts but live outside the state must register within ten days of starting school. Homeless sex offenders are required to verify their information with the registry every 30 days. Sex offenders who knowingly fail to comply or provide false information will be punished for first-time or repeat violations. The punishment for first-time violation include:
- Between 6 months and 2.5 years in a house of correction
- Maximum of 5 years in state prison, maximum of $1000 fine, or both
On the other hand, the punishment for repeat violation is a minimum of 5 years in state prison.
Do Sex Offenders Have to Put Up a Sign in Their Yard in Massachusetts?
No, sex offenders in Massachusetts do not have to put up a sign in their yard. Although, the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 265, Section 47 requires that an adult who is convicted of a sex crime and on probation must wear a GPS device at all times for the period of their probation. Some of the offenses that might require an offender to wear a GPS device include rape, Indecent assault and battery on a minor, kidnapping, drugging persons for sexual intercourse, and more.
How Close Can a Sex Offender Live to a School in Massachusetts?
Sex offenders in Massachusetts are not restricted to live near schools, daycare, playgrounds, or other public spaces. According to Doe v. City of Lynn, 472 Mass. 521 (2015), the city ordinance that limited where sex offenders could live is considered inconsistent with the state laws. However, every sex offender living, working, or schooling in Massachusetts is required to register with the sex offender registry board. Sex offenders who intentionally fail to comply risk being fined, jail time, or both. Members of the public can access both level 2 and 3 sex offenders’ information through the local police department or the sex offender registry.
Can You Expunge a Sex Offender Charge in Massachusetts?
The Massachusetts Law allows sex offenders to expunge certain sex offenses or crimes as long as they meet its requirements. Nevertheless, sex offenders cannot expunge sex offenses involving a child that may include but are not limited to:
- Rape and abuse of a child
- Indecent assault and battery on a child
- Inducing a minor into prostitution
- Possession of child pornography
- Unnatural and lascivious acts with a child
There are two categories of expungement available to offenders in the state: the juvenile and under age 21 expungement of a first and only case and Section 100k expungement. The juvenile and under age 21 expungement permits the expunction of juvenile court cases and adult cases ( as long as it occurred before the offender turned 21). A sex offender is eligible for this type of expungement if:
- It is the first and only case.
- They are not subject of an active crime investigation
- They have fulfilled the terms of their sentencing
- It is not a sex offense involving a child
However, Section 100k expungement is available to both juvenile and adult cases where a person is innocent and misidentified, the offense is no longer a crime, the case is a result of mistakes from the police or others, or there were other miscarriages of justice. To be eligible for this type of expungement, the court must decide that the evidence provided is clear and convincing.
How to Look Up Sex Offenders in Massachusetts
The Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) maintains a public website that provides information on sex offenders in the state. The SORB public website compiles all records of sex offenders across the state. Members of the public can access information on both level 2 and level 3 sex offenders. Interested persons can access sex offender information by using the offender details or geographical search options.
Using the Offender Details Search option, interested persons can obtain sex offender information using the offender’s name, registration status, and level. The offender name requires users to input the last name and first name, while the registration status includes the following: in violation, incarcerated, or registered.
The geographical search option allows interested persons to search the public website using city or town, county, and zip code. Another option available under the geographical search is street number and street name, city, address radius, and zip code.
Note: The SORB website provides information on sex offenders in violation to the public. Also, the website only maintains and provides information on level 2 and level 3 sex offenders. Information on level 1 sex offenders is not accessible by the public.
Is Public Urination a Sex Offense in Massachusetts?
No, public urination is not a sex offense in Massachusetts. However, the Massachusetts General Laws Chapter 272, Section 53 prohibits acts classified under disorderly conduct, indecent exposure, and prostitution. Public urination is considered indecent exposure and is punishable by imprisonment in a jail or house of correction for a maximum of 6 months, by a fine of not exceeding $200, or by both.
How to Report a Sex Offender in Massachusetts
Members of the public who believe a sex offender is in violation of registration obligations or may be a threat to another person are encouraged to contact the local police department or state police. The Massachusetts State Police, through its Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section, is charged with identifying, tracking, and apprehending sexual predators. Residents are required to contact the police department:
Massachusetts State Police
Violent Fugitive Apprehension Section
450 Worcester Road
Framingham, MA 01702
Phone: (800) 527-8873
Phone: (508) 820-2121
Also, residents can search the sex offenders registry to confirm if a suspected person is a sex offender or not. Sex Offenders who violate the registration obligations may face jail time or a fine depending on whether they are first-time or repeated offenders.