Police procedures revised after sex offender incident

by susan on October 5, 2012

Earlier this week, the Southborough Police Department acknowledged mistakes were made in allowing a registered Level 2 sex offender to take up residence just a few doors down from a preschool, despite a town bylaw prohibiting it. In an effort to prevent future violations of the bylaw, the police have reviewed and updated their procedures related to registered sex offenders.

You can read more about the changes being made in this statement by Chairman of the Board of Selectmen John Rooney.

Good afternoon. I write to update you since my earlier correspondence.

Since Tuesday, October 2, 2012, I have had many conversations with Chief Jane Moran, and have met with the Chief Moran, Lieutenant Sean James, Officer Rick Mattioli and numerous other members of our Police Department. I can assure you that the Police Department’s commitment to the safety to the residents of Town is, has always been, and fully remains, their number one priority, and their passion in performing those duties is unparalleled.

In an effort to prevent sex offenders from recidivating, in 2008 our Town passed a residency restriction to keep sex offenders away from children. The underlying rationale draws a causal link between proximity of sex offenders to children and the propensity of recidivism. Opportunity and accessibility play a large role determining whether a sex offender reoffends, and our by-law attempts to limit both. Whether one agrees or disagrees with a link between sexual recidivism and residential proximity is irrelevant; that is the underlying reason for the residency restriction in our by-law.

As a result of this incident, a comprehensive investigation has taken place and the following has transpired: Effective immediately, Lieutenant Sean James is now the contact person with the Sex Offender Registry Board and the Lieutenant is near completion of a written formal policy putting in place a systematic process for compliance with all state statutes, rules, regulations, and our Town’s by-laws. Believing oversight of the sex offender regulations is a detective function, the Detective Supervisor will now be assigned oversight of the sex offender statutes, rules, regulations and Town by-laws. Additionally, and as part of the forthcoming policy, a written list and a map depicting the restricted zones will be on file and posted in the Southborough Police Department, Town Hall and available on the Town’s website. The list and map will identify not only the restricted zones of schools, day-care centers, parks, and elderly housing, but will also identify school bus stops and recreational facilities. Proactive interviews of registered sex offenders will become commonplace, not just at the time of their initial registration, but regularly thereafter.

All current registered sex offenders in town are in compliance with state regulations and our Town’s by-laws. And, let us not lose site of the fact that Mr. Goichman is currently incarcerated in the Worcester House of Correction as a result of a joint effort between the State Police and the Southborough Police.

Finally, the intimation that one person, specifically Officer Mattioli, someone who has professionally served this town for thirty-five years, is the individual to blame for the failure to enforce the Town’s by-law, is completely inaccurate, utterly unfair and fully irresponsible. Officer Mattioli’s ascendency to the pedestal of infamy is an injustice that must be corrected. The failure was not an individual failure but a process and policy failure by the Town. This failure was identified, addressed, and no longer exists. It is time to move forward with this issue, as the more you run over a dead cat, the flatter it gets. Take comfort in knowing an experienced, devoted and highly professional department continues to police our town.

John Rooney

{ 9 comments }

1 Joe Mercadante October 5, 2012 at 6:42 PM

Good statement Selectman Rooney. Mistakes will be made. How they are responded to is what’s important. As long as the town follows through (and I don’t have any reason to suspect they won’t), I am a satisfied resident and parent.

2 daddyo October 5, 2012 at 7:01 PM

that all sounds well and fine but i am wondering what is the procedure if this sex offender raises the 75 grand and is released.he will be issued an ankle bracelet requiring him not to leave home ? will that require him to live at his home in southboro ? if not will he be allowed back there to move his things out? will he be supervised during that process ?

3 Mark Ford October 5, 2012 at 8:51 PM

Nicely done. Admit the mistake, fix the process, move on. Perfect. Thanks Mr. Rooney, thanks S’Boro PD.

4 Tedy October 6, 2012 at 8:58 AM

Well said Mr. Rooney, although you may have upset some animal rights activists with your cat comment, I agree with your defense of Officer Mattioli.
You still have my vote.

5 Northsider October 9, 2012 at 9:14 AM

I agree with all that has been said thus far and am cannot say that seeing our town on the news for what it was on the news for last night was a great accomplishment but you handled it very well Selectman Rooney. Thank you S’Boro Police Department for admitting the error and for making sure that in the future our children will be kept safe.

6 Elder October 9, 2012 at 11:02 AM

I have lived in town for 73 years and am 79 years old. I have seen many Selectman come and go but cannot recall anyone of them being a leader like Mr. Rooney. I am greatly appreciative of his leadership in taking control of this mix up and fixing it and not dwelling on things that cannot be changed. I do not know him personally but I am very, very impressed with the way he operates and communicates with us. Keep up the good work sir.

7 Tom Marcoulier October 9, 2012 at 9:29 PM

I agree with you, Elder, Mr Rooney does do a fine job as Selectman I don’t always agree with his argument, but I do appreciate him questioning the status quo.

8 Publius October 16, 2012 at 2:35 PM

Using zoning does not make a community safer, just makes everone feel safer and the local officials can pat themselves on the back saying how tough they are on “sex offenders”. This just creates headaches for the PD and worse can make residents let their guard down.

9 southsider October 16, 2012 at 5:06 PM

Glad to see the review. Not sure why Mr. Rooney needed to specifically mention an officer in his report: “Officer Mattioli’s ascendency to the pedestal of infamy ..” was both an overblown use of the language and a needless mention of someone who apparently first recorded this jerk’s new living address. Until then, I was unaware of which officer processed the paperwork. I suspect the good officer would have more appreciated a comment that ” ..removed blame from any one individual and placed it squarely on the process.”

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