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Former Official Criticizes Sex Offender Registry Board

January 16, 2009 Comments off

TheBostonChannel.com : Former Official Criticizes Sex Offender Registry Board.
Says Delays, Interference Are Violating People’s Rights
POSTED: 9:09 am EST January 15, 2009

BOSTON — An insider at the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board claims the process of deciding which sex offenders are the most dangerous to the public has been seriously compromised by politics and mismanagement. NewsCenter 5’s Sean Kelly reported on Thursday the former hearing examiner is now suing the board.

“The public’s interest is not the priority,” said Attilio Paglia.

“What is the priority?” asked Kelly.

“I feel it’s their own private agenda,” answered Paglia.

Paglia spent eight years at the Sex Offender Registry Board as a hearing examiner until he abruptly resigned in December 2008. Paglia determined how convicted sex offenders living and working in neighborhoods all over Massachusetts should be classified, from the most dangerous to the least likely to re-offend.

Paglia told Team 5 Investigates there are serious problems with that classification process. He claims the Sex Offender Registry Board repeatedly tried to get him to change his decisions in violation of state regulations. “There were attempts to take away my authority or limit me or prevent me from acting impartially,” said Paglia.

Paglia is suing the Board, his former boss, Martin Whitkin, as well as the Board’s former general counsel; Dan Less who he said pressured him to change his decisions at the expense of people’s rights. “I mean it was an unprecedented amount of interference. There’s this need to grandstand to the Executive Office that management at the board is tough on crime,” said Paglia. ”

Paglia’s attorney, John Swomley, frequently defends sex offenders appealing their classifications before the board. “I think what they want to do is have these decisions made through the hearing process but made through the back rooms of the sex offender registry board,” said Swomley.

Paglia isn’t the first employee to blow the whistle on the agency. Dr. David Medoff is a former board member who talked to Team 5 Investigates about his concerns. “The way the registry is being run now, in my opinion and in the opinion of many others who are trained in this area actually can in some instances undermine public safety,” said Medoff.

Two years ago, Team 5 Investigates first exposed flaws in the state’s system used to classify sex offenders. Our investigation revealed how this highly politicized agency uses a former house painter and nail salon technician to help determine how dangerous sex offenders are, without relying on any scientific research.

Team 5 also revealed how the agency made _____, a level 3 sex offender, the most dangerous and likely to re-offend, even though ____ had never been convicted of any sex crimes. “The state has robbed me of my life, man, and they ain’t trying to do nothing to correct it,” said Thomas.

Now Paglia claims what happened to _____ could easily happen again. And he said the state is deliberately delaying the dissemination of public information about criminals who could be a threat to your children. “Government agencies love statistics and if there’s a slow month, there’s a need to make everything look like it’s steady,” said Paglia.

So, often times weeks and months pass preventing the public from being able to find out about dangerous sex offenders. For example, the board didn’t disclose _____’s classification as a level 3 sex offender for three months. “Their actions speak nothing of public safety. Their actions work against public safety,” said Paglia.

Officials at the Executive Office of Public Safety and Security who oversee the Sex Offender Registry Board refused to comment. So did the board’s spokesperson, citing the pending litigation.

Watch video of report here
(video not appearing properly at time of posting but embedded video works)
View lawsuit here.