Selectman: Mistakes were made in case of registered sex offender

by susan on October 2, 2012

When the Southborough Police Department announced the arrest of a registered sex offender on child pornography charges earlier this week, it came to light that the suspect lived on East Main Street in close proximity to one of the town’s preschools. Many of you have asked how that could happen when the town enacted a bylaw in 2008 to prohibit sex offenders from living within 1,000 feet of schools, day cares, and other facilities.

Chairman of the Board of Selectman John Rooney wondered the same thing, and along with his fellow selectmen, initiated an internal review of police department policies. In a comment on this blog, Rooney acknowledged mistakes were made when the sex offender registered with police, but said selectmen and the police department are committed to making sure it never happens again.

Rooney posted his comment on this thread, but I’ve reprinted it below in its entirety.

Good afternoon,

After being alerted to this situation through this indispensable medium, I began asking some of the same questions that have been posited on this site. As one of your elected leaders in Town, I am able to provide the following information.

Consistent with state law, this individual registered as a Level 2 Offender and notified our police department of his address within the thirty days required by statute. Under our Town by-law, this individual should have been prohibited from living within 1000 feet of any school, day-care center, park, recreational facility, or elderly housing facility. He was not and no excuse has any efficacy.

The information was taken from the individual manually by the police department. It was not entered into any database because the department does not have that technology. The manual information should have been evaluated with a map of our Town to determine if any of the safety zones were impacted. It was not.

We have immediately commenced a review of the internal policies of the police department. The Chief of Police has confirmed that all other registered sex offenders in Town are in compliance with the Town’s by-law. I have requested that the Chief of Police provide the Board of Selectmen with a process moving forward to guarantee to the Board and to the residents that such a thing will not happen in the future. I have also called for a complete report on the police department’s outdated technology and the costs associated with bringing that technology into compliance with contemporary police operations.

I can think of no higher priority than the protection of our Town’s children. While mistakes may happen, they should rarely be tolerated. This is especially the case when the resultant cost of such mistakes could be borne by our most prized possessions. Failure to enforce our Town’s sex offender by-law should be a “never event,” because it should be a preventable mistake that should never happen, such as operating on a wrong body part or giving an infant to the wrong person. And while it would be easy to adorn ourselves in Teflon suits and simply point the finger at the police department, I would caution against that simplistic viewpoint. The police department can only operate with the tools they are given, and we are all working together to make sure this type of thing never happens again.

I can guarantee the residents of Town that the Board of Selectmen will not let this issue rest until we are completely satisfied that such an event can never happen again. Your rage is our rage and the Board of Selectmen are committed to keeping everyone updated and I welcome the public’s input at every juncture.

John Rooney

{ 78 comments }

1 Carol Willoughby October 2, 2012 at 6:32 PM

I am the resident that worked directly with Chief Webber passing the Sex Offender Bylaw. John Rooney’s statement sums it up very well and i agree completely. Funds for the proper technology is not available and needs to be. It’s a shame this man’s residence was overlooked regarding proximity to the preschool, but lesson learned. Quick thinking by the Southborough PD got this offender arrested.

The children can only be protected with the tools that are available. Disappointed with this case, yes, let’s move forward and find the solution to rectify the problem.

2 concerned residence October 2, 2012 at 6:56 PM

The chief Jane Moran should get in trouble on this, this is terrible, she should resign.

3 Mark October 2, 2012 at 7:41 PM

Mr. Goichman is apparently quite the advocate. I am surprised he even registered. Who knew we had such a patriot in our midst?

http://framingham.patch.com/users/daniel-goichman/comments
http://www.change.org/members/1013975
http://shamwa00.com/2012/03/26/unprecedented-how-sex-offender-laws-are-impacting-our-nation/
http://burneylawfirm.com/blog/2011/01/03/registering-the-wrong-people/

To quote him:
“Flaw #1 – All sex offenders re-offend. The actual rate of re-offense is 5.3% which is the lowest recidivism rate for any type of criminal in the country. So that premise is clearly false.
Flaw #2 – Knowing where sex offenders live prevents crime. Most crimes are committed by new sex offenders, so Megan’s Law doesn’t actually prevent crimes or lower occurrences of new crimes.”

Enter ‘daniel goichman sex offender’ into google when you have a spare hour or two.. Hardly difficult to find out all about him.

4 DLD October 2, 2012 at 8:17 PM

I appreciate Mr. Rooney’s posting and the selectman’s quick response to this matter. It helps to know that the outrage is shared.
However, I find it hard to understand how this particular case is evidence of a lack of resources. No Southborough police officer, fireman or public safety professional should have to consult a map or a database to know that there is a large preschool on East Main street. It’s been there 40+ years. This is not a little neighborhood tucked away on the outskirts of town. It is a well-traveled thoroughfare directly adjacent to our town center, and to Main Street where there are at least two other childcare facilities. By all means, let’s make sure the police have all the tools they need to keep us safe. If there’s a system or technology they need to ensure this doesn’t happen again, they will have my vote. But I don’t think that’s the problem here. Whoever accepted this man’s registration to live at that address displayed straight up incompetence.

5 resident2 October 2, 2012 at 8:41 PM

Perhaps that person needs disciplinary action. There is no beproof Jane was the chief at the time of registration. No lynch mob needed just some clarification. Lets also keep in mind this person who took the report could have been new AND lives out of town. I think the situation should be looked at but reasonably. Thank goodness nobody was hurt fix the problem move on.

6 John Kendall October 2, 2012 at 8:46 PM

Don’t throw stones at the police. It doesn’t help the situation. The Selectmen are on it, so let’s allow them to fix things.

7 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 12:09 AM

I want to know the relationship between an offender living within the arbitrary distance that the town determined and community safety.

You have someone busted for child pornography. You are somehow drawing the conclusion that those in a child care facility were somehow in more danger because this person lived within this arbitrary distance and THAT had a direct impact on community safety.

Is that true?

If this person lived 1001 feet from the day care center, can anyone THEN draw the conclusion of more public safety?

Or are you just limiting the housing options of a whole group of people you don’t like regardless of whether there is any actual danger in the hopes that they will just go away?

Residency restrictions are not rational. They just sound good. That is no basis to restrict people without a court and outside of a sentence.

The uses of the registry to take away freedom are unlimited. Laws and policies, both overt and covert that are applied by legislatures and the community are inherently unjust and illegal.

Your registry doesn’t protect children. Anecdotal evidence ESPECIALLY that contradicts peer reviewed research by universities does not make the protection of children factual.

The idea that legal protection is being stripped from a group of people IS factual and easily documented. That is done just by viewing ONE days worth of articles throughout the U.S. of where the public is not shy about making comments of death threats to those on a registry.

That registry, how it is applied, how it is used, and how it forces people to choose between their own safety and/or security and following the law or going to jail IS illegal.

Follow some basic process of a court with a hearing in front of a non-biased person whose job it is to protect the rights of the individual and balance them against the rights of the community.

Those REQUIREMENTS are not met in a political discussion at a town hall meeting to determine who gets to live where.

8 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 7:59 AM

So, according to your understandably anonymous post, we’re “limiting the housing options of a whole group of people” (registered sex offenders) through Megan’s Law/ Sex Offender Bylaws. . . . (??? !!!)

Gee. I’m all tears.

[Redacted] It is common sense that one would not seek to encourage recidivism by allowing a child sex offender live within a stone’s throw of a child day care center.

Respective to your bizarre claims that “residency restrictions are not rational”, I question your fundamental precepts on crime and punishment. It is reasonable and rational to expect that people LOSE some of their freedoms when they are convicted for violating public laws. Megan’s Law and Sex Offender bylaws protect those who have the least ability to protect themselves: children.

[Redacted]

9 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 9:41 AM

What freedoms are you talking about? Any freedom you want, whenever you want?

You made the assertion that sex offender by laws protect children. Can you back that up with ANY evidence?

You can’t. But you will feel comfortable making broad assertions about taking freedom and protection without any processes and without any evidence you protect children.

You think you are rational? What other freedoms do you have plans to take? You don’t know yet? You’ll get around to it whenever you feel like it?

What public laws have you violated? Ever get a speeding ticket? You don’t think speeding tickets are serious when over 40,000 people are killed on highways every year and 100′s of thousands are injured in the most profound ways you can’t even think of?

Could they pass a law tomorrow making it a felony for all speeders to have a child in their car? Can they do it 10 years AFTER a speeding fine has been paid?

See the problem with your argument? Just about everyone has a conviction for violating public laws. All it seems to take is outrage to systematically banish a population from where ever you want, under any theory you want, any time you want.

A question: In the history of the State has there EVER been a case of a child being taken from a child care center by a sex offender? ANY?

[Redacted]

10 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 10:54 AM

Rudy101,

I presume you are remaining anonymous because you can’t sell the public on the idea that convicted sex offenders should have unrestricted access to live anywhere and anyhow they choose.

You refer to Sex Offender Bylaws a as a violation of “freedom”. I refer to it as imminent common sense and self-preservation of child rights against those who are disgustingly predatory and dangerous.

Also, I question an earlier writer’s claim that child sex offenders have a recidivism rate in the 5% neighborhood. Though I am certainly not an expert in this area, I have always read that the recidivism rate among child sex offenders is in the 30% – 35% range . . . clearly and purely unacceptable under any circumstances.

11 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 11:29 AM

No, I stay anonymous to protect MY RIGHT to live however I want, where ever I want and however I want.

Those rights are not popularity contests.

You still have only empty rhetoric about how children are protected. You have the theory but refuse to draw the line between your theory and public safety. You simply fall back on the standby that need no explanation or proof is need and that it is just, “commone sense.”.

Is that your test? The test is if a majority holds the view, then the view is held, “in common” and seems to make, “sense.” by the majority.

I have the evidence a residency restrictcion doesn’t protect children. This comes from the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a Colorado study. Their studies were conclusive in that they could find not ONE case of where the residency of an offender was related to where they offended.

If a person has to choose between following your residency restriction and being homeless does he still have to follow it? Can you say, with a straight face, that your law forcing a person homeless protects the community? Or children?

You can call your residency restriction whatever you like, you just can’t enforce it upon ME. The reason is, is because you can’t make the connection between the residency restriction (or any registry law) apply it to me and show public safety.

It is about being an individual before the law. It is so fundamental to a free society, you can’t call yourself free, when you lack those aspects.

THEY, THEM, and THOSE are just pronouns. They have no meaning when legislatures are looking to restrict groups of people without a court. 230 years of utter scew-ups by legislatures should convince you why legislatures are limited in their power to regulate and control the freedom of citizens.

12 concerned resident October 3, 2012 at 11:56 AM

I typically do not post. But, I feel the need to in light of the data suppositions. I support residential restrictions.

What is below comes from the CDC and the DOJ:

As with any data set, especially when dealing with criminal justice related statistics, one has to take into account that most crime data reports are based on conviction rates, not on report rates. This is a massive distinction. So yes, one can reasonably speculate that data is high.

The national average of recidivism for sex offenses is in the 10% range; Michigan specifically noted a 3.5% data set. However, the national average is approximately 9% – 10% within the country for sex offenses. Massachusetts, 10% of reported REGISTERED offenders equates to approximately 350 people. Certainly, 350 people I prefer not live near my children’s schools.

Older children tend to be at greater risk for sexual abuse, but young children are not immune:

• 0-3 year olds: 10% of victims
• 4-7 year olds: 28.4% of victims
• 8-11 year olds: 25% of victims
• 12 and older: 35.9% of victims

Further, national data reflects that sex offenses are grossly under-reported by victims. It is estimated that 1 in 4 young women will be the victim of sexual assault in her lifetime; 1 in 6 young men. This data is further consistent with data in post-secondary age set. (I encourage you to read the Cleary Act- you’ll see how data has transformed safety policies at the college level.)

Recidivism rates or not, we have a societal obligation to put safeguards in place to prevent crime, and mitigate the occurrence of it.

So yes, safeguards in school zones are valid. Just as are CORI checks, DESE regulations, and other safeguards that are in place to protect children.

To the anonymous poster- I encourage you to research various child protection laws in the United States. You will see, in fact, that several states employ laws that make it a felony to have a child present in multiple circumstances that present danger. ie, Oregan, California off the top of my head.

13 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 12:04 PM

[redacted]

Here’s a bread crumb trail for you . . . you DO NOT have, NEVER DID have, and imho, NEVER SHOULD have an unrestricted “RIGHT” to live however (you) want, where ever (you) want and however (you) want. Infantile environments like this are referred to as “anarchy” . . . or, perhaps the Jerry Springer show.

How many children have been saved from sexual predators by child sexual offender / registry bylaws? How can we ever know? How many motorists have been saved by laws banning texting or cell-phone usage, or by seat-belt laws?

14 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 12:24 PM

You have a societal obligation to prevent crime. Does a residency restriction prevent crime? Or does it exasperate crime?

That is where you are sitting.

You have a theory and a law that impacts a person’s freedom to move within the community. Does your theory hold up? DRAW THE LINE BETWEEN PUBLIC SAFETY AND A RESIDENCY RESTRICTION.

Statistics are all fine and good. They lead to understanding of problems. However, you don’t get to use those statistics in order to bypass due process when those statistics are going to be used to limit or take freedom from individuals.

And you forget, you have to ESTABLISH a person dangerous. An executive board, OR a legisltive body can’t do that AND a conviction standing by itself doesn’t do that either.

You don’t get to presume dangerousness. You get to have a FINDING of dangerousness through a court of law and THEN restrict based upon a rational basis.

So, the answer is, NO, you don’t get to make people homeless and call it public safety. You don’t get to make assertions of dangerousness without challenge, and you don’t get to have feel good popular laws that put people into danger while calling it public safety.

Ask the police, 95% of all sexual crimes are by people NOT on the registry. Also ask them this, WHY are there between 50 and 75% of ALL (no matter where you go in the U.S.) accusations of sexual abuse that are NOT pursued in court?

You can’t ask someone to defend themsleves in a court of law for the “crime” of living too close to a day care center, and THEN tell a jury that the person has a “presumption of innocense.” You can’t ask them to defend themselves, BECAUSE a person is being charged with that so-called, crime BECAUSE he has no presumption of innosence upon entering the courtroom.

You can’t take away that presumption by legislative fiat.

The answers are so simple. If you have room in a court to try and convict someone of the “crime” of living too close to a day care center, then there is plenty of room to actually determine if not living too close to a day care center is appropriate.

15 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 3:54 PM

Hey Mathew: I am not talking about anarchy at all. I am talking about EQUAL PROTECTION UNDER THE LAW. In other words, I can live anywhere I want, do whatever I want and find my happiness in whatevrer space that I want that is EQUAL to everyone else UNLESS a court says otherwise.

Do you know how many children were victimized by sex offender registration laws? Do you know how you find out?

What you do is take the number of re-offenses BEFORE the public registry and take the number of re-offenses AFTER the public registry and then make adjustments for differing factors (like a general rising crime rate or falling rate, change in environments, etc).

And what they found is NOBODY is protected by a sex offender registry, or a residency restriction.

16 Pat Q. October 3, 2012 at 2:59 PM

We have the responsibility to insure our children and schools are a safe and sacred place with zero threat of a harmful person within a reasonable distance. You site “from the Minnesota Department of Corrections and a Colorado study. Their studies were conclusive in that they could find not ONE case of where the residency of an offender was related to where they offended.”; not a very strong case AT ALL for not having the law in place, in my opinion.

Because of their conviction history and their level of sex offender status they are considered a “threat” and should not be allowed to be near a school……..period.

(http://legaldictionary.thefreedictionary.com/Child+Molestation)
“Recidivism rates are affected by a number of factors, including differences in legal guidelines and statutes in the states; opportunities to re-offend; characteristics of the offender; treatment availabilities; and post-treatment supervision. Child molesters have been known to re-offend as late as 20 years following release into the community ”

**Note the phrase, “opportunities to re-offend”. Children who cannot protect themselves have the right to be protected by restrictive residence laws (in addition to many other avenues of protection) more than the rights of a level 2 or 3 sex offender. In addition, how are we to know that a level 2 or 3 sex offender has undergone sufficient post-treatment supervision? People fall through the cracks of monitoring systems set up by the courts all the time.

(http://www.mass.gov/eopss/crime-prev-personal-sfty/sex-offenders/levels-of-sex-offenders.html)
“Level 2 Sex Offenders
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.”

“Level 3 Sex Offenders
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.”

** “risk of reoffense is moderate to high” ……good enough reason for me to risk taking away a sex offenders freedom by restricting them from living too close to a school. False protection or not…it is one more tool for society to use to protect it’s children. Should we wait for a child molester who lives close to a school to make a child their victim before we do anything?

I challenge you to present your argument, face to face, to the parents of a child who has been sexually abused or to a victim themselves, and explain to them why society didn’t do everything in its power to keep a KNOWN and CONVICTED level 2 or 3 sex offender from living near their school.

17 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 6:04 PM

Pat -

Excellent post.

18 susan October 3, 2012 at 8:12 AM

Now seems like a good time to remind folks about a provision in the My Southborough comment policy:

2. Be respectful. It’s okay to criticize ideas and opinions, but it’s not okay to criticize the people who shared them. Stick to what you think about the issues, not what you think about other commenters (that includes harping on spelling or grammatical mistakes — just let it go). Comments intended mainly to inflame will be deleted. Offensive language won’t be tolerated.

You’re free to share your opinions about issues, but I’m taking a tough line on criticisms of other commenters on this and other posts. Conversations can be civil even when the topics are challenging.

19 concerned resident October 3, 2012 at 12:14 PM

Typo from my comment:

So yes, one can reasonably speculate that data is high.

This should read:

So yes, one can reasonably speculate that data is highER. Meaning, that these are under-reported crimes and there are more victims than we may realize.

20 Southside October 3, 2012 at 1:30 AM

Are you kidding me, we have a Police department consisting of 9 patrol Officers, 4 Sgt’s and 1 Lt. We have at best 2 or 3 cars on the road with a Sgt and a dispatcher in the office. Do you all have any idea how much goes on in a PD at any given moment? Say this guy registered at the window with the Sgt while the north side car was at an alarm and the south car had a traffic stop. Do you realy expect them to have all the time in the world to sit down with a paper map and a compas an draw a circle around the guys house looking for schools, parks, and retirement homes. The PD needs money for updated equipment to help them help us. Have you ever been in the PD? It’s a joke, rundown old recycled building. if you want top quality police you have to pay for it. We have an outstanding force with good leadership but out dated equipment. If you want the top quality services and protection you have to put money into the PD. This department under Chief Moran is the strongest it has ever been.

21 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 8:06 AM

The child day care center has been on East Main St for what ???? 40 years????
Anyone with a PULSE who can cloud a chilled mirror should have caught this one.

To blame this screw-up on on lack of funding or technology is imbecilic.

Take some responsibility and GET BETTER.

22 gjs October 3, 2012 at 9:32 AM

” Do you realy expect them to have all the time in the world to sit down with a paper map and a compas an draw a circle around the guys house looking for schools, parks, and retirement homes.”

Yes, I do.
As soon as he registered his address it should be automatic that the location was checked. Are you telling me there is not a single computer at the police station? In less than 5 minutes the address could have been checked with google maps.

23 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 11:00 AM

Exactly.

The child day care center is a 2-minute walk down Main St. from the police station (?!)

Hellooooo? Bueller? Bueller?

24 Carol Willoughby October 3, 2012 at 10:31 AM

Southside -
You are absolutely right in your comment. The Southborough PD needs more resources and updated technology. The members of the force are strong and with Chief Moran’s guidance and leadership, will continue to be exceptional. No force is 100% perfect. They are only human. I must reiterate, lesson learned. Instead of being hot-headed, whining about the issue and throwing stones at the PD, let’s move on and find a solution to the problem.

25 SB Resident October 3, 2012 at 11:07 AM

No I don’t know what goes on at the PD at any given moment, but I think the number of officers you state that our town has is an incredible number of people to protect our small relatively quiet and safe town. I read the police log and it’s pretty tame.

“Do you really expect them to have all the time in the world to sit down with a paper map and a compass an draw a circle around the guys house looking for schools, parks, and retirement homes?”

Ummm, yes I do! and I’m baffled that someone would even suggest that they shouldn’t. I expect that every officer knows of every registered offender in the town. There are only 9. I even expect them to know of every resident with any serious criminal record. (especially any with burglary) I would expect that when a sex offender registers, that this is brought up at the weekly staff meeting, and/or email goes out to all, etc. Someone should have clearly recognized hey East Main St, that’s a short street with a preschool on it, map and compass not even needed. I thought that in line one of the original post. Taking the time each time an offender registers to see just where this house is easy and not very time consuming and doesn’t require expensive resources, I expect every officer to be that familiar with our town.

The PD facility may be run down, but I have to imagine they have computers and that they have heard of the fancy new map tool in google. To complain about money in an issue like this is outrageous.

This was a big error in my opinion. The law was passed very recently so it’s not some obscure thing that might not have been known.

26 jill October 3, 2012 at 2:56 PM

I agree, I thought that was their job…???

27 Pat Q. October 3, 2012 at 3:09 PM

It only takes a map and a few seconds to look up this address. It’s not like there were dozens of level 2 sex offenders registering that week. One guy, one address,
one map. Done. No excuses when it comes to protecting children.

I am all for funding our police department more….but lack of funding is no excuse for not picking this up.

28 Ken October 3, 2012 at 7:48 AM

Rudy,
thats nice you support the rights of the sex offender… [redacted] Step back for a minute and try not to put everything in a legal aspect… think about perception, think about the community… think about our children. As much as you may be correct about this individuals legal rights, its irrelevant and I could care less. He choose his actions and should live without the all the freedoms the rest of us enjoy. Its obvious you dont have children.

29 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 9:44 AM

…Why should I think about children, when you fail to do so?

Your registry isn’t protecting. You could have a registry that does protect, but that would require courts to determine a person dangerous and then the proper restriction would then apply to individuals on a case-by-case basis.

You would rather have false perceptions than legal protections.

30 Preschool Mom October 3, 2012 at 9:16 AM

I too thank Mr. Rooney for his prompt action and explanation to the community – it is much appreciated. However, for me there are key pieces of that explanation missing. Once the registration was taken, is that piece of paper put in a file never to be seen again? Were other members of the department, including the Chief, informed that we now had a new registered sex offender in town? If so, the fact that no eyebrows raised when the phrases “sex offender” and “East Main Street” were mentioned is astonishing. If no other department members were notified, to me that is astonishing as well.

The State Police were given a tip in February 2012 alleging that a registered sex offender was soliciting minors online (wickedlocal.com). The Southborough Police report stated that the ongoing investigation involved both the State Police and the Southborough Police Department. Why wasn’t the residency issue addressed at the outset of this investigation (8 months ago)? Perhaps that would have compromised the investigation, I don’t know.

The more I read online about this individual the more sickening this case has become. Images found on his computer included children as young as 4 as well as images from the National Center for Missing and Exploited Children (according to the Worcester Telegram & Gazette and The Southborough Daily Voice respectively). You can hear how angry he is in his online rants.

I do not wish to throw stones at anyone. I am honestly just sick to my stomach that my children have been in such close proximity to this person for so long. If that could have been avoided, I would like answers as to what happened.

31 Momof3 October 3, 2012 at 9:22 AM

Rudy,

You sound a lot like the posts of Daniel Goichman on many, many of his blogs.

Otherwise, I would like to point out the we have had some turn over in the dispatcher area and it is all together possible that this was a new person who did not live in town and was not as familiar with the area as some others. I have to agree with Southside that at some point you have to give the PD a break. They are probably the busiest department in the town and only have a handful of people on each shift. Mistakes were made, learn from it and move forward from here. We are all human and anyone can make a mistake. Luckily in this case nobody was hurt.

To Mark who posted about googling this guy, I did. It is shocking!! He seems to be a bit nomadic as he is listed on many lists all over the country from Maine to Florida. YIKES!!!!

32 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 10:40 AM

Who I am is not material. It is my ideas and argument is the only thing that matters. You have better pay attention to them for they not only point out legal flaws in registry laws, BUT are the reason they will eventually be thrown out.

There are alternatives, of course. But forcing a person to register so as to isolate and/or provoke people (many of whom do have mental health issues) is not rational.

But it is rational if you figure that NASA hires high school dropouts to build rockets.

That is right, you are making public policy and law for groups of people you know nothing about, have no training or experience in and are basing public policy and law on theories, while putting the lives and safety of the community CLEARLY at risk.

You don’t get your residency restriciton. You want to restrict someone, then take them to a court of law, and ARTICULATE why that person can’t reside within the community.

If you can’t do that because you don’t like the indepenence of a court and fair outcomes, you don’t get to have a registry or registry laws.

That means your registry won’t be followed. This is done in order to protect the RIGHT and PRESUMPTION that everyone has (and only courts can take) that they are able to live in peace within the community.

You forced the man to register. You isolated him from the community. You made sure he was going to feel his conviction at every moment you can, you made sure he had no stability in his liife and led a nomadic lifestyle, and you are surprised that a person degenerated back into their devient cycle?

No, people, you can’t even think rationally. It would be like trying to convince a person from 100 years ago that Blacks were equal in every way to all humans.

The ONLY reason they couldn’t believe that (and everyone from Lincoln on down didn’t believe it) was CULTURE.

You are building a culture of ignorance around violence and ignorinlg basic Constitutional protections in the process. It will destroy freedom as sure as Hitler hated the Jews with an irrational pathology that killed 100′s of millions.

33 SB Resident October 3, 2012 at 11:21 AM

I think you are missing the point of these laws. You are talking about taking freedoms from people, but we don’t see these people as free, this is part of their punishment. They are lucky to not be in jail and we want them to feel the their conviction at every moment. If they are not happy enough with the freedom we are allowing them and degenerate back then we do want them in jail again. Lastly you are right when it comes to people who do things to kids we don’t think rationally and we shouldn’t!

Your comparisons to blacks and jews are just ridiculous and hurt your point. Your comparing innocent groups to convicted criminals.

34 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM

It is NOT a part of punishment. If it is, then the prohibition on ex-post facto laws applies. ONLY courts can apply punishments. You don’t get a registry and THEN figure out how to use that registry as a punishment.

See, the problem, SB, is when you don’t think rationally it tends not to matter who you put into the group, you will label them all the same. See, your registry is filled with all sorts of people, but you focus on ONE sub-category in order to justify the restricitons upon people who don’t even come close to that category.

Wouldn’t it be smarter, protect freedom, to have a JUDGE determine if a person is so dangerous he can’t live with his own family?

You won’t do that, because no judge in the world could ever determine that, because if he is that dangerous, he shouldn’t be free.

And Convicted criminals make up 1 out of 4 adults in the U.S. They also make up a super-majority of minority populations (especially Black). Are you saying that the State has a blank check to regulate upwards of 1/3 of adults, and you are just waiting to get around to it?

The prohibition on ex-post facto laws IS invoked. You have clearly stated you don’t believe you have to be rational AND you get registry information, including photographs, street addresses and a map with directions to an offender’s house.

Sorry, that is not rational. You can’t force someone to follow laws like a registry law.

35 SB Resident October 3, 2012 at 1:28 PM

It is part of the punishment as in its a loophole the populace has found because we aren’t satisfied with courts punishments. We don’t want these people to be free, these crimes are despicable, for reasons we don’t feel we can control these people go free, so we are doing what we can. You can tangle this with whatever legaleeze you want, most of us don’t care, I’m sure that a large majority agree with me and when that’s the case courts and politicians usually let popular opinion win.

I agree with you that it is important to be careful on who we put into the group. I’m trusting the people more informed than me that level 2 and 3 sex offenders are appropriate.

Judges have already determined who fits into these categories, I don’t think any judge can guess who is likely to reoffend.

We aren’t talking about all convicted criminal just child predators, so no I’m not talking about 1/4 of adults.

My goal was to say what others weren’t so that you’ll get why this law exists and quit yammering on and on about stuff we don’t care about.

36 Mark October 3, 2012 at 11:25 AM

Momof3,

Yes, very scary. Hard to miss, really. I don’t want to pile onto the police (yet) but some time spent just googling (is that a term?) our resident pedophiles may lead to some useful information.

Another very frightening thing is the site I have relied on to keep me informed of the sex offenders in our area does not list this lovely individual. The numbers of offenders I find on the site vs. the number from the police department is shocking.

37 Cliff October 3, 2012 at 9:35 AM

I’m confused as to what this mysterious technology is that is lacking for the PD. I am a web developer and see this a a very easy system to build, with a table for sex offenders in town and a table with restricted places (daycare centers, preschools, etc.). Seemingly the officers could enter the data in about 1 hour and then see if a little red box pops up on screen to tell them there is a problem. In fact I could build and deploy this for about $500.00, as could 100 other developers. Is this really what is needed to keep us safe in Southborough? Why in 2012 is this such a mysterious technology?

38 Tim Martel October 3, 2012 at 12:02 PM

I have not really researched this issue extensively, so this is just an uninformed opinion, but I’d guess that the town government has never had anyone wear a dedicated CIO “hat”. I don’t believe we’ve had a resource to develop, let alone implement, a 3 or 5-year plan for how technology can be used more effectively within and across departments.

This will change with the new town administrator, and in fact this “hat” was written into the job description by the Board of Selectmen: “Oversees all Town automated management information systems and, makes recommendations for improvements relative to systems;”. Also note that the Town Mgr Ad Hoc committee (of which I am a member, but note that I am not speaking on its behalf) is reviewing verbiage to this effect as well.

39 Sweet Caroline October 3, 2012 at 11:10 AM

I agree with Cliff. I could put this whole thing into an excel spread sheet in short time given the addresses of the restricted areas and the address of the offender. It would turn into a pie chart, and overlaps. . .well, you get the idea. This requires only a computer, a notepad or the like. I am pretty sure you could get this done on a volunteer basis-probably from a computer geek at Algonquin who would get a pizza, extra credit.and brownie points for community service. Let’s think “outside of the (state) box”. This solution would be much more productive than the current primitive approach of finger pointing and name calling.

40 Karen October 3, 2012 at 11:14 AM

There are 11 people categorized as Level 2 or Level 3 offenders who either work or live in Southborough, according to the information I received from the police department within the last year. With a town as small as ours, whether these men are within a “buffer zone” or not, they pretty much have to be near a school or daycare center or preschool.

41 Jim October 3, 2012 at 11:44 AM

Can we just cut to the chase here and have our town leaders call for a vote to significantly increase funds for the police department? This isn’t Southborough 1982. Neither are most towns. In case no one noticed, about 10 homes were robbed this summer and now we have this garbage going on. Instead of complaining about poor performance by the PD, lets put our money to use. I’m pretty sure a town of 8,000+ people (wealth profile average to above average) can stomach a slightly higher budget to make sure we have a 21st Century PD. Southborough is not going to be immune to crime and problems like most towns. But our leaders should be able to swiftly address the problems that face our PD. I call for Selectman Rooney to continue his review of everything related to the PD and quickly secure approval of funding for enhancements and more officers.

42 Tim Martel October 3, 2012 at 12:09 PM

I’m not necessarily disagreeing with you, but you’re essentially calling for a Proposition 2.5 override. And these don’t fare well in difficult economic climates.

We’ve already had the Finance Director warn us of a tough budget year:
http://www.mysouthborough.com/2012/09/25/finance-director-warns-of-another-tough-budget-year/

And the School Superintendent already wants more staff:
http://www.mysouthborough.com/2012/09/26/school-superintendent-says-central-office-is-understaffed/

Which means that ramping up funds for the police department will directly conflict with the School funding…and that rarely goes well.

43 SB Resident October 3, 2012 at 1:39 PM

We could multiply our police force 10 fold and every one of those robberies (burglaries) would have still happened, what do you expect them to do?

I don’t have the time to analyze Southborough, but here’s some national data. Things are better now than they were in 1982, so really by that measure a cut is in order.
http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Crime_in_the_United_States

44 Jim October 3, 2012 at 4:35 PM

Could not disagree more. And it’s not just about before the crime but after it. Have they caught anyone yet after the fact? I’ve read of other towns catching these dopes. Given that several of the burglaries happened in concentrated areas, an increase in officers would help patrol of those areas, instead of the obligatory cruise by a street once every 8 hours. It’s the best they can do given their resources.

And comparing Southborough crime to a United States crime data chart has absolutely zero meaning.

45 Mark Ford October 3, 2012 at 12:03 PM

Wow, dramatic conversation. I appreciate John Rooney’s candor. I too am mystified as to how this was allowed to happen…and we probably need to audit other Police procedures, too, while we’re at it, to regain the public confidence. As to how busy the department is…ok, (still not convinced), but again, it really doesn’t take very long to draw circles on a map.

I don’t think a proper computerized solution can be done for $500. If so, I’d invite that uberprogrammer to spend the 5-10 hours to do just that and donate it to the town–you’d be a hero.

The larger debate brought up by Rudy101 was addressed and voted on in overwhelmingly consistent fashion when the Sex Offender bylaw came before Town Meeting (and sorry, Rudy, but I do agree with John Butler and others that if you’re not willing to stand behind your posts with a real name, I’m not paying much attention to them).

46 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

I don’t care whether you pay attention or not.

You don’t get to draw virtual fences around your community. I am here to delcare the registry illegal, unconstitutional and DANGEROUS to be on.

The things that you don’t think matter are what is going to destroy that smug feeling that the community has while acting out illegal manners.

47 Cliff October 3, 2012 at 12:52 PM

To Mark Ford,

While I appreciate the title of uberprogrammer, I sense that you are not in the IT field. My larger point was that this is not a difficult system to create AT ALL, and I or other parents in town with these skills would probably do it for free, if the PD had let us know anytime in the past 10 years that such a system was needed to keep our kids safe, but we just don’t have the money, and we (PD) are reaching out to the community for this critical tool that, without such a tool, puts our pre-schoolers in unknown danger. If Chief Moran is reading this, are you indeed requesting that such a system be volunteered from the community to solve this (seemingly) unsolvable issue?

48 Mark Ford October 3, 2012 at 3:15 PM

I have commissioned plenty of IT services over the years, and have never paid $500 for a custom application, no matter how simple. Good for you if you can do it for that! I hope Mr. Rooney is reading this…he’s an “outside the box” thinker and may be willing to entertain the notion. As to this particular app, I imagine it’s not so simple…overlay maps and radial coordinates might be trivial…add in a hefty dose of security, and I’d imagine the cost notches above $500 pretty quickly.

49 Cliff October 3, 2012 at 5:07 PM

Mark, please read my post again. I will volunteer to provide this application, yes with multiple security levels and an SSL certificate, at no cost to the town if there is an actual request from the town that such a system is needed and that it has not been implemented because of budgetary issues. We have a small number of sex offenders and a small number of sensitive locations that need protection. Don’t overcomplicate this, it is a doable IT project in a relatively short amount of time.

50 Alan October 3, 2012 at 12:11 PM

When I critisized the PD about a month ago and said they were “underperforming” I almost had the lynch mob at my house. I said they needed more officers on duty, I said times have changed, I said the town has outgrown the SPD, and the lynch mob got bigger. Now listen to everyone. 30 to 35 years ago we had two officers on duty, as we do today (sometimes three now), and we used to leave our front doors unlocked when we went to bed at night. Now I need an alarm system James Bond would be proud of.

All that being said, I still stand behind our PD. But again, next year after this is all over, we will consentrate on more money for the school system.

51 Matthew Brownell October 3, 2012 at 12:23 PM

Nonsense.

This is not a Police Department funding or technology issue, and the residents of Southborough have been very generous in the past with approving most budget initiatives put forward by the PD.

This was a mistake (we all make them), but in a big way. No, we don’t need more PD heads. We simply need to follow the course of action set forth by Mr. Rooney, which is a thorough review of the internal policies of the PD.

52 Jim October 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

If Mr. Rooney’s review is “thorough” and investigates all operations and procedures, I would consider it “nonsense” if he somehow amazingly reported that the PD does not need more heads. Cmon. It is practically accepted fact that there are not enough officers on patrol. The town is small but not that small and it’s 2012.

Tough budget year or not, figure it out in the next year or two. We’re not managing Dade County here.

Again, this is to address all activity in the town, not just the case that caused this thread to start.

53 Jonas October 3, 2012 at 2:21 PM

If the SPD had the technology mentioned in Rooney’s initial post it would have been easier for them to dissolve this issue rather than relying on a map, yarn, and a compass as if it were 1970.

Simply put: It’s easier to find fish with a fish finder.

In 2012 when we can send e-mail from a plane, train, or boat not having the technology for something as important as this is inexcusable.

SPD is a terrific group and does a great job for what it has to work with

54 SB Resident October 4, 2012 at 12:18 PM

Yeah but the technology your suggesting (especially at the price governments tend to pay for this stuff) is like using a fishfinder to find fish in a fishtank.

55 daddyo October 3, 2012 at 12:29 PM

I would like to share some thoughts.As DR Phill would say the best way to predict future behaiver is by looking at past behaiver.A very good reason not to feel safe about sex offenders living among us. If someone harms a child its very important to know they are in town and even more important to keep some distance from the children in town . hense the 1000 ft perimiter. if a childs ball or frisbee lands in the yard next door they will chase after it.we cant have child molesters so close with such temptations. if some one is a level 3 offender they are considerd very high risk of reoffending. i dont know why we would ever release them.I also dont believe in keeping anyone in a cage for ever.therefore i think a better aproach would be after a proper trial and conviction bring them to the hospital put under and remove every body part that could improve the life of inocent people. atleast then some good could come from the harm they caused. i believe this would be a very humane way to end such evil !

56 Rudy101 October 3, 2012 at 12:57 PM

Level 3 does not mean, very high risk of re-offending. What it means is that a person carries some characterisitcs that might show a propensity to commit sexual based crimes. The vast majority of level 3′s never re-offend, with or without a registry.

ONLY a court can determine a person dangerous under standards of proof. They are playing tap-dance with the Constitution by IMPLYING a danger that may or may not exist.

EVERYTHING about the registry is suspect BECAUSE it by-passes accepted processes of hearing, courts, defenses, and appeals.

It is so easy to make broad declaration about people you know nothing about. Therfore, it become even easier to label them a pedophile, take their right to live in the community, and not have to worry that someone might have something to say.

It isn’t what you know that will destroy the registry, but what you refuse to know.

57 Citizen R October 3, 2012 at 12:37 PM

I agree the department is underfunded. And that needs to be addressed. But this is really an issue of fundamental competence that money itself isn’t going to fix. As part of their surveillance of this residence both Southborough PD and the State Police would have to have driven RIGHT BY THE PRESCHOOL each time. The media stories relate that Southborough PD had been cooperating with a State Police investigation since February. The fact that this person was living less than 500 feet from a preschool that has been in continuous operation for more than 40 years in the same location and no alarm bells were triggered for anyone in the department is (to say the least) distressing. Yes money is a problem, but pointing to it as an excuse for this is a very weak cop out. This demonstrates fundamental problems in training, competence and leadership. And it need to be addressed right now. This is serious folks.

58 C. Nicholas Ellis October 3, 2012 at 7:23 PM

Perhaps due to the oversight of allowing him residence at that location in the first place, the PD / town / whatever lacked the jurisdiction to remove him from his residence after the fact? I personally know that it is extremely difficult to remove someone from their residence once they are there, as opposed to blocking them before they take up residence. It takes a great deal of monetary and legal effort to evict someone, no matter how good the reasons are, once they’ve established residency. I certainly don’t know, but I do wonder if perhaps this “oversight” was found in relatively short order, but it was decided it would be too costly and/or risky (litigation-wise) to attempt to remove the individual after he had taken up residence. That does not excuse the initial failure to block his residency at that location, but we already know mistakes were made in that regard.

Knee-jerk reactions are rarely wise, regardless of the circumstances. We would all do well to remember – as is so often the case – we know very little about the situation at present, only the ultimate result. Let the investigation be completed, and save most of your furor for the results, rather than waste it on shadows.

It’s worth noting I say this as a person whose residence was on East Main Street, not 500 yards from the pre-school, for the last 22 years. You don’t get much “closer to home” than that. Equally important points to those that have already been raised are that a) the SPD worked with the State Police in their investigation, b) warrants were executed and the criminal was caught in the act, and c) when attempting to remove himself from our legal jurisdiction by fleeing the country our police force acted immediately, and our State Police followed through, to prevent him from escaping our judicial system. Yes, mistakes were made, and that is a problem, but it would have been a much, much bigger tragedy had any of the above instances not occurred – and more so had he committed any other crimes. Both our local and state police deserve praise for their diligence, regardless of whatever criticism should be leveled due to past mistakes. As they say, “it could have been much worse.”

I think it’s important that people not lose sight of everything that was done right over that which was not.

59 Alan October 3, 2012 at 12:43 PM

Matthew Brownell

“Nonsense”????

Exsplain to me how two patrol officers and one dispatcher can effectivly police 84+ miles of road and keep crime down. THIS is the same staffing levels we had 35 years ago.

And yet everyone worries when one teacher is in charge of 30 students in a 40′ X 40′ classroom that doesn’t move and the lights are on.

60 Jim October 3, 2012 at 12:53 PM

Thank you Alan.

61 Alan October 3, 2012 at 2:20 PM

Jim
Your welcome.

This will be my last post on this subject as I will wait for the selectmans findings.

Unfortunetly you can lead the horse to water but you can’t make him drink. Mark my words, the problems with the town crime and the SPD will get worse not better and it will be of no fault of the SPD. It will be us, the residents, that will be the cause.

I, out of all people, do not want to see an increase in taxes. I pick on the school budget as it is the largest. The schools have to be there and is part of creating our future. As a townie, I went to the schools in town and having 40 children in a class was not an issue, it was up to me to learn and if I fell behind my parents did what we call parenting and pushed me in the correct direction.

I have watched the school budget increase and increase and other services that I could use (not being able to have children) as a resident increase at a much slower rate. The roads are in shambles, the PD is at the same staffing levels as 35 years ago, the dump used to be free now it’s $175, the south side fire station is closed and so on.

The subject on the thread should hit everyone in the face. We all worry about our children but we forget the one department that can protect them the most, the SPD.

Lets not raise taxes but look at the budget for waste. These are tough times and I would love to have lobster and sirloin every night but i’m not. The school superintendent says he is understaffed, well join the club. The town hall cut there hours.

Oh yes, we got the three swap shops, there’s a priority, and we couldn’t even afford to have the dump policed for stickers this year.

62 Jeremy October 3, 2012 at 3:53 PM

You shouldnt need expensive equipment to track down the whereabouts of 9 sex offenders in town just old fashion police work.

63 Bill October 3, 2012 at 4:09 PM

As a parent of children that have attended that preschool, I’m appalled that this happened. Funding isn’t the issue – that’s a separate topic. Someone posted something to the effect of “what… should they have checked the map?” YES! If this is such a common occurrence (sex offenders registering in this town) that it goes into the routine “in box” of administrative tasks and is quickly rubber stamped, then I think we’d all be shocked. I don’t care about the stats on repeat offenders and the rest of that diatribe (again – separate topic and a digression). The bottom line is that children were possibly PUT AT RISK because of negligence. Sure, we can blame it on funding. That’s not an excuse. I know people are human and make mistakes. But these kinds of mistakes are not run of the mill clerical errors. Someone dropped the ball and there has to be some accountability.

64 Peggy October 3, 2012 at 4:40 PM

Roy – When I was younger (and living in another state) a young man stole a child from a daycare center and eventually killed that child. When he was caught the police found that he had hurt children before AND his apartment overlooked that daycare center. While being interviewed by the police the young man stated that he spent most of his days looking at the children from his window, and at a certain point he just couldn’t stop himself. Eventually he was committed to an institution. I know the child’s parents felt that if that young man had not lived that close to the center their child would be alive today. Can we go back in time and change these facts? No, Are most laws that address this type of offence knee-jerk reactions? Usually. Should we just allow the offenders to hangout around our kids and hope for the best? Not on your life! Should we try and stop providing “attractive nuisances” for these offenders? I think if we can keep them as far away from children as possible it is safer for ALL concerned. Just my opinion

65 Mark October 3, 2012 at 5:07 PM

While all the debate is interesting and useful, it might be good to center again on the reason for all these posts in the first place: Daniel Goichman

66 Longtime October 3, 2012 at 5:29 PM

Here is a low-tech way of solving this problem that won’t cost the town any money. The police department can take the following steps:

1. obtain the list of registered sex offenders that are living in Southborough. Easily obtainable on the web.
2. spread out a map on a table.
3. take a protractor, the kind with a pencil on one end.
4. note the legend on the map that tells how many feet per inch that the map coordinates to. Adjust protractor accordingly.
5. locate the address of the offender on the map.
6. press down and draw a circle.
7. remove protractor and look at the newly drawn circle.
8. if a preschool, daycare facility or other site is within the circle, TAKE SOME ACTION TO PROTECT THE CITIZENS OF SOUTHBOROUGH.

67 Patti October 3, 2012 at 6:36 PM

Let me see if i have this correct…
The state police and Southborough police spend 6 months or so investigating a registered sex offender. (btw, why WERE they investigating this guy… I assume they had reason to be suspicious and spend the time and labor for 6 months investigating). On Aug 27, with a search warrant, they search his home and find child pornography on his computer and apparently take the computer (“A forensic analysis of Goichman’s computer was conducted on-scene, and at the Attorney General Computer Lab”). THREE DAYS LATER, he goes to the PD to say he is moving to Mexico. What were the police doing for those 3 days? Why wasn’t he arrested then? Weren’t they concerned he would take off, knowing he would be arrested because they found the pornography? He knows he has pornography on his computer and the police have confiscated it. But, THREE DAYS LATER, AFTER he tells SB police he is leaving the country, they call in the state police, arrest him and pat themselves on the back. WHAT?

And, I have to agree with those concerned that a registered sex offender was allowed to reside so close to a preschool. Perhaps the officer who took his change of address info was new, perhaps not, but if he moved here “a couple years ago” there has been plenty of time to realize the error. PD standards say the registry is to be reviewed annually, so was that not done either? What about the state and local police who drove by the preschool each time to get to his house?

I am not trying to denigrate the police, but if would be nice to hear answers, an apology or something before a campaign for more police funding.

68 Jim October 4, 2012 at 11:14 AM

Yep – all questions that need to be answered. At the very least, all this commotion, news, blogging, arguing, etc will only result in improvements in the PD. I dont care if people say we need more funding, don’t need funding, need technology, don’t need technology. We will all argue about that forever. At least our town leaders now are stepping up and, I hope, won’t only peek under the tent this one time, but on a regular basis moving forward.

69 Sweet Caroline October 3, 2012 at 6:58 PM

Amen, Longtime. There are any number of totally inexpensive answers, but the reason this happened had nothing to do with money. Now, let’s fix it. Cliff has volunteered, and I don’t have a doubt in Cyberspace that this will not work….If not, let’s buy a map from the historical society and order a $4.00 protractor. Mary Finnn would have made it work, or you’d be wearing that protractor as a decoration. ( I know, she was one of my teachers)
Anyone listening???????????????

70 Ben Ghiringhelli October 3, 2012 at 8:59 PM

Mr. Rooney,

Getting out front on the issue with a public statement as an elected leader in our community is something you should be commended for. I’m thankful that there are people like you serving for the citizens of our town. I believe that most of the people that serve the town that were involved in this matter all share a similar objective and are equally concerned about the mistakes that were made.

I am a parent of a 2 year old attending the preschool in town. I’m a parent that is proud of the special community that Southborough fosters for families with young children. I’m also a parent that received an email communication this afternoon from the preschool informing us that there was a pedophile arrested down the street. I’m a parent that just came home from work and read the comments you posted and the reports on the arrest.

I’m a parent that is happy that our lawmakers are putting legislation in place to protect our children. I’m a parent that is grateful that we have Selectmen that advocate for tools and technology that enables our police department to better protect our people.

I’m also a parent that had a really sobering dose of reality today. I’m a parent that is outraged that we live in a world that is so centered around technology, laws and information that we can’t see past all of these things to reality.

Are we so caught up in having to have all of these tools and information that people forget to use common sense.

I’m disappointed that the issue regarding the lack of technology is part of the discussion. What about some simple accountability and common sense.

The fact is that there are private high schools and elementary schools in the area, there is a middle school and a pre-school in the area. There were multiple opportunities for people to raise the question of whether or not there should be a concern with this individual that should be communicated to the schools and the parents. There certainly was no reason that a computer was needed for someone to take the steps to determine with simple practical tools that one of these schools may be within the 1000 foot zone.

I encourage you to advocate for more dollars to be spent on ensuring that we have accountability in our government funded orginazitaions before another dollar is spent on tools and technology that are disconnecting us from reality.

71 Computer Illiterate Mom October 3, 2012 at 10:20 PM

“The police department can only operate with the tools they are given.”
But they have the tools. As a town, we have spent thousands of dollars for a GIS mapping system. This system allows you to input a parcel of land and list all abutters within a certain distance. It just took me 2 minutes to access this system from the Town of Southborough website, input an address and a distance of 1000 feet. It immediately displayed a map with a red circle drawn around it with all the properties that are within a thousand feet.
My memory of Town Meeting … 2008 Chief Webber presented the Sex Offender Restrictions to town meeting and displayed a map showing the restricted areas. Since I can’t trust my memory I consulted the internet.
Google returned this from a search of “2008 Southborough Town Meeting Sex Offender”:
“A map provided by Webber shows areas where sex offenders will not be allowed to live. With approximately 25 percent of the town being water, 10 percent remains where sex offenders could live, said Webber. Most of those areas include residential streets with single-family homes, he said.” The MetroWest Daily News Posted Apr 25, 2008 @ 12:54 AM
My point is to use the resources that have already been provided by looking at the map created by the former Chief of the Police Department or use the expensive system the town already has access to.
The police department, along with all departments/schools, need to look at using the resources they already have, before requesting more money.

72 preschool alum October 3, 2012 at 11:59 PM

Interesting information you remembered-Another reason to attend town meetings- seems as though Chief Webber spent a lot of time presenting this material- how is it that a person in town can remember a map showing restricted areas presented by the chief of police but the police department can not. Where is the disconnect here? As a mother I still have a hard time with previous comments -at least he was caught before anything worse happened- he had child pornography- that is someone’s child exploited! the investigation is ongoing and we do not have all the facts- we the public do not know exactly what/who was found on his computer- I do not have a sense of relief- I am sickened, unsettled, and angered.

73 Preschool Mom October 3, 2012 at 11:55 PM

Thank you, Computer Illiterate Mom. I too looked at the GIS on the Town of Southborough website. The technology argument of this thread, to me, is completely irrelevant (if you are not convinced – please go to the website).

In fact, I used it to determine that there is a Level 3 Offender with a Secondary Address well within 1,000 feet of the Mary Finn Elementary School (address of offender found on Southborough PD website). I will be contacting the Southborough PD tomorrow to confirm this person was there prior to 2008 – in which case he is grandfathered in according to my understanding.

If anyone is curious, a Secondary Address is covered under the bylaws (Section 118.3.a – Prohibition. A registered sex offender is prohibited from establishing a permanent residence or temporary residence within 1,000 feet of any school, day-care center, park, other recreational facility, or elderly housing facility).

The police may certainly need better technology for various reasons. Determining if an offender lives within a restricted area is certainly not one of them.

74 Mark October 4, 2012 at 7:41 PM

While its obviously the PD’s responsibility, can we add some checks and balances to ensure this never ever happens again. Can schools review and distribute maps that could also highlight bus stops and playgrounds in relation to these residences? And are realtors required to have such knowledge. Seems kind of basic if its public knowledge. When I moved to this town, I didn’t even think twice about checking for registered sex offenders and scares me to death how naïve I was. I’d hate for someone to move into town with young kids only to learn later that their neighbor might be on the list. I realize it is unlikely for some legal reasons but I can’t imagine living within 1000 feet of this dirtbag much less having my children at a school near them.

75 Mom of Two October 6, 2012 at 10:33 PM

I don’t understand how this happened. Honestly. If we have 9 registered sex offenders in our town, why – WHY – would it be difficult to keep basic, need-to-know information on these NINE PEOPLE?

WHY would it be difficult to cross-check each of those 9 addresses and be sure they aren’t near children or others who need special protection? Plot out each school, daycare, etc. on a paper map and use a protractor as @Longtime above suggested.

This whole thing is inexcusable and makes me nauseous. These are our CHILDREN and other defenseless citizens of our community – and they deserve protection by the police from sexual predators. Dropping the ball in this matter is inexcusable. I’m glad to read in other posts that corrections are being made – but I still want someone to be held responsible for this and suffer some consequences. If this was the business world and a mistake of this level happened, people would be FIRED over it.

76 Dad of Two October 13, 2012 at 7:01 AM

I agree with Mom of Two. In any job, there are certain things that every employee knows cannot fail…..cannot be missed….are the absolute top priority. How can this not be one of those things for our police department???? This is the kind of thing that you feel you don’t have to remind someone to do….oh honey please remember to dress our children before you send them to school…..oh johnnie, make sure you look both ways before trying to cross that highway….oh SPD please remember to know where our resident sex offenders live and that they aren’t next door to a school……ridiculous. They should all be held accountable and should be communicating every day what they are doing to make sure this never happens again.

77 southsider October 16, 2012 at 3:19 PM

Just read this entire thread.. Is it really true that the Police Department is the same size as it was 35 years ago? I find that claim to be a bit difficult to swallow. I’m afraid that I also agree with many of the posters that an absence of common sense and some good old fashioned police work are the primary culprits in this issue. 9 or 11 or whatever the number of sex offenders seems a small enough number that they could be ‘checked out’ every now and then. This sort of preventative activity seems beyond the imagination of our current leadership. Instead the reaction is to bemoan the lack of funding. Somehow or other, it seems they’ve convinced Mr. Rooney that the problem was the result of “..outdated technology..” that prevents the PD from performing its job. In 3 years, they couldn’t go out of their way to check on 10 sex offenders! Yeah, definitely a technology issue.

78 Publius October 18, 2012 at 4:38 PM

Bylaws are a waster of resources and time and do not improve public safety.

Previous post:

Next post: