Sex Offenders

What is a sex offender?

A sex offender is any person who resides or works in the Commonwealth and who has been 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 or custody with the department of youth services for such a conviction or adjudication, or a person who has been adjudicated a sexually dangerous person or a person released from civil commitment on or after August 1, 1981.

For a listing of crimes that require registration as a sex offender please review “Who Has to Register.”

Who Has to Register

The information contained below sets forth a person’s registration requirements under the law. Please be advised, however, that on November 5, 1999, a Superior Court judge issued a court order that prohibits the Sex Offender Registry Board from requiring an offender to register until the Board offers him/her the opportunity for a hearing to determine whether he/she poses a current danger to children or other vulnerable persons.

The Sex Offender Registry Board has appealed this decision to the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court (SJC). In the meantime, the Board is in the process of contacting offenders to offer evidentiary hearings to determine registration obligations and final classification decisions. While the SJC decision is pending, offenders are not required to register until they have been offered the opportunity for a hearing. Please note that although an offender is not required to register or comply with the law’s requirements as set forth below, an offender may do so voluntarily to ensure that the Board has an up-to-date address to mail a hearing notice.

Pursuant to Chapter 6, section 178C of the Massachusetts General Laws, a person is required to register as a sex offender if he/she lives or works in the Commonwealth and was:

  • convicted on or after August 1, 1981;
  • adjudicated a delinquent juvenile on or after August 1, 1981;
  • adjudicated a youthful offender on or after August 1, 1981;
  • released from incarceration on or after August 1, 1981;
  • released from parole or probation supervision on or after August 1, 1981;
  • released from the Department of Youth Services on or after August 1, 1981;
  • adjudicated a sexually dangerous person on or after August 1, 1981; or
  • released from civil commitment on or after August 1, 1981.

For one or more of the following crimes:

Sex offenders will be classified according to the degree of dangerousness they pose to the public and their likelihood for reoffense. An offender’s classification will be:

Level 1 or Low Risk Offender

Where the Sex Offender Registry Board determines that the risk of reoffense by an offender is low and the degree of dangerousness posed to the public by that offender is not such that a public safety interest is served by public availability, the Board shall give that offender a Level 1 designation.

Information on Level 1 offenders will not be available to the public. Neither the police nor the Board have authority to disseminate information to the general public identifying a Level 1 offender.

Information identifying Level 1 offenders may only be given to 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 and the department of mental health, all city and town police departments and the Federal Bureau of Investigation for law enforcement purposes.

Level 2 or Moderate Risk Offender

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.

The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 2 offender through the Rockland Police Department.

Level 3 or High Risk Offender

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.

The public shall have access to the information regarding a level 3 offender through the Rockland Police Department and through the Sex Offender Registry Board.

Sexually Violent Predator

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 sentencing court at that point may determine by a preponderance of the evidence, whether such sex offender is a Sexually Violent Predator.

The public shall have access to the information regarding a Sexually Violent Predator through the Rockland Police Department and through the Sex Offender Registry Board.

Obtaining Information About Sex Offenders Living/Working In Rockland

Any member of the public who is at least 18 years of age or older may request sex offender information. The information will be provided to any person who is seeking the information for his/her own protection or for the protection of a child under the age of 18 or for the protection of another person whom the requesting person has responsibility, care, or custody.

You may request sex offender information at the Rockland Police Department or through the Sex Offender Registry Board directly.

Sex Offender Information Available at Local Police Departments

PLEASE NOTE:  Information about a sex offender is available to the public only if he/she has a duty to register and he/she has been finally classified by the Board as a Level 2 or a Level 3 Offender. Before an offender can be finally classified, he/she must be offered the opportunity for an administrative, evidentiary hearing to determine his/her degree of dangerousness and likelihood for reoffense. As a result, information pertaining to a sex offender will not be available to the public unless and until he/she has been given the opportunity for a hearing. The Board is currently contacting offenders to offer them the opportunity to have a hearing. Once an offender is finally classified as a Level 2 or a Level 3 Offender, his/her sex offender registry information will be available to the public. Registry information will be updated regularly. You may obtain registry information by appearing in person at your local police department or by requesting information from the Board by mail. Please check this website often for updates.

A person may request sex offender information by going to his/her local city or town police station. After presenting proper identification, the requester must fill out a sex offender request form containing:

  1. The name and address of the requester.
  2. Information may be requested in the following manners:
    • Inquire whether a specifically named individual or a person described by sufficient identifying information to allow the police to identify the individual is a sex offender; or
    • The requester may inquire whether any sex offenders live or work within the same city or town of a specific address, including, but not limited to, a residential address, business address, school, after school program, day care center, playground, recreational area or other identified address; or
    • The requester may inquire whether any sex offenders live or work at a specific street address within the city or town where the person is requesting sex offender information; or
    • Where the police department is located in a city or town with more than one zip code area, the inquiry may ask whether any sex offenders live or work within a specified zip code. In Boston such inquiry may be made by specified police district.
  3. The reason for the request.
  4. The date and time of the request.

If the request results in the identification of a sex offender, the police will distribute the offender’s name, home address, work address, age, sex, height, weight, eye and hair color, the sex offenses committed and the dates of conviction and/or adjudication and a photo of the offender, if available.

The information will be provided free of charge.

All information provided to the public will include language prohibiting the misuse of sex offender information for harassment or discriminatory purposes.

All records of inquiry will be kept confidential, except to assist or defend in a criminal prosecution.

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

For copies of the form to request sex offender information from the Rockland Police Department. Please visit the Forms and Publications page.

NOTE: Any information provided by either the police or the Sex Offender Registry Board will be limited only to offenders who have been finally classified by the Board Level 2 or Level 3 offenders or Sexually Violent Predators. The law prohibits the Board and police departments from disseminating any information on a sex offender who has not been finally classified by the Board or who has been finally classified as a Level 1 offender.

Penalties For Improper Use Of Sex Offender Registry Information

Information contained in the Sex Offender Registry shall not be used to commit a crime against an offender or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of an offender.Any person who improperly uses Sex Offender Registry information shall be punished by not more than two and one-half years in the house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.