October 31, 2015

Changes to sex offender rules up for discussion at Rehoboth Town Meeting

UPDATE 11-3: Rehoboth Town Meeting approves bylaw restricting registered sex offenders
10-31-15 Massachusetts:

REHOBOTH — The laws regulating where a person convicted of being a sex offender can live or spend time will be strengthened within the town’s bylaws if voters approve Article 8 at Monday night’s special Town Meeting.

Article 8, one of 13 total articles up for discussion at the 7 p.m. meeting on Nov. 2, calls for adding Section 29 — a new section — to the town’s current general bylaws. Section 29 will be added to regulations under Chapter B, Article VI.

“We had become aware of several other communities that had adopted bylaws where registered sex offenders can and cannot be,” Rehoboth Police Chief James Trombetta said.

Somerset is one of those communities, he added.

The language of Rehoboth’s proposed bylaw is modeled after nearby towns. Trombetta and the police department worked with the attorney for the town to craft the article.

If voters approve the bylaw, Rehoboth will join the list of other southeastern Massachusetts towns updating and tightening regulations where a registered sex offender can, or cannot, be. Level 2 and 3 sex offenders are considered the most dangerous by authorities in terms of reoffending.

The article requires a two-thirds majority of registered voters at Town Meeting to pass.

A person convicted as a Level 2 or 3 sex offender under state law cannot live either permanently or temporarily “within 500 feet of any school, day care center, part of recreational facility, facility for the elderly, facility for the mentally impaired, or public library.”

According to the warrant article, children are defined as being any person under 18 years old. A day care center, whether public or private, is defined as being registered with the state by the Office of Child Care Services. An elder or elderly person is defined as someone who is 55 or over.

Further, a written list describing the areas where a registered sex offender cannot live, either permanently or temporarily, would be found at the town clerk’s office and police department. Updates to the list will be made by the police department. Schools and day care centers throughout Rehoboth also are kept on file by two state departments, the Department of Early Education and Care and the Department of Elementary and Secondary Education.

Monday night’s meeting will be held at the Dighton Rehoboth Regional High School. ..Source.. by Lisa D. Connell Taunton

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