Exactly one month ago today, Massachusetts' highest court issued a ruling ordering that a higher standard of proof be used when classifying someone as a level 2 (moderate risk) or level 3 (high risk) of reoffending. As the Herald first reportedlast week, that means hundreds of people will be taken off the registry, and information not available to the public while their status is re-determined. Due to this decision, Massachusetts residents can be living next to a level 3 sex offender for years, without the right to know it.
Kevin Hayden is the head of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry board. He joined Jim on Greater Boston to discuss the concerns while these statuses are re-determined.
Hayden said that "about 500 sex offenders are impacted by the decision," and "all of them have been classified at this point." "If you've been classified as a 1, 2 or a 3 and you're appealing your decision...you're affected by this decision."
"Once they request a new hearing and are granted that new hearing, they will enter an unclassified status and whatever level of dissemination that is being visited upon them at this particular point, will discontinue until the final decision."
Braude clarified that this was not the fault of the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry but it was up to the Supreme Judicial Court to make this decision.
Hayden and the Registry reached out to victims about this decision. "Some are very upset, there's weeping and mashing of teeth. And others understand and seem to be unaffected."
To people concerned about this, Hayden offered, "We're going to move with deliberate speed to get these decisions done. We're as disappointed by the decision as anybody. We have no choice but to honor it and we will."
So how long will it take to make these decisions and get through this backlog? Hayden says, "We don't really know for sure." But his best guess, "a couple years."