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Officers Warn Sex Offenders Against Opening
Their Doors to Trick or Treaters
Superior Court Probation
Officers across the state are putting sex
offenders on notice to not answer their
doors Halloween night in an attempt to
keep trick or treaters and their families
Probation Officers are taking
a number of precautionary measures to prevent
sex offenders on probation from coming
into contact with children, 16 and under,
this Halloween. Because the holiday falls
on a Saturday and the weather predictions
point toward 70 degree temperatures, a
large turn-out of trick or treaters in
communities across the state is anticipated.
In preparation for this, Probation Officers, during their regular supervision visits, have verbally warned sex offenders not to open their doors and to turn off their porch lights. Some Probation Officers have forwarded letters to the offenders discouraging them from distributing candy. There are also Probation Officers who plan to make unannounced visits to sex offenders under their supervision to ensure that they do not open their doors and that they have nothing outside of their homes that would attract trick or treaters. In one county, Probation Officers will restrict the comings and goings of sex offenders, monitored by electronic bracelet.
In Berkshire County, Probation
Officers have stressed to sex offenders
on probation that they should not open
their doors to children and to even avoid
leaving their home during this time.
Clifford Nilan, Berkshire County Superior Court Chief Probation Officer, said it is the standard practice of his department to instruct Probation Officers to remind sex offenders in advance of any holiday about appropriate behavior and remaining in compliance with the terms of their probation.
Nilan's Assistant Chief Probation Officer, Michael L. Koperniak, added, "We encourage probationers to be very mindful. If they are home on Halloween night, we caution them against going out for a walk in the community."
Essex County Superior Court Chief Probation Officer Martin Wallace said Probation Officers routinely remind sex offenders to obey the "no contact order" which is part of their probationary terms. This, Wallace said, is especially emphasized during holidays such as Halloween.
"It's common sense. It's Halloween. Don't be around children and don't be passing out candy," Wallace said.
Norfolk County Superior Assistant Chief Probation Officer Ernie Handy said the warnings to sex offenders are sent in the form of mail, phone calls, and home visits prior to the holidays.
Offenders, Handy said, may also be instructed to attend an AA (Alcoholics Anonymous) or NAA meeting during the peak trick or treating time period.
Norfolk County Superior Court Probation Officer Andrea Miller also sent a letter to offenders which strongly discouraged them from opening their doors to area youngsters who come to their homes in search of candy.
Miller's letter read in part: "This letter is being sent to all sex offenders on my caseload. You/Your household are not to participate in any form of trick or treating or any type of Halloween festivities."
She also supplied a list of the offenders to local police.
Worcester County Superior Court Chief Probation Officer Thomas Turco directs his Probation Officers to contact sex offenders on their caseloads to caution them not to open their doors to trick or treators. For offenders on the electronic bracelet, Radio Frequency (RF) or GPS (Global Positioning Satellite), Turco is working in collaboration with Probation's Electronic Monitoring Program to track offenders utilizing these devices- ensuring that they remain inside their homes.
"We notified every sex offender and informed them that they must keep their lights off and not encourage youngsters to come to their homes," Turco said.
Middlesex County Superior Court Probation Officers maintain a "verbal policy," according to Assistant Chief Probation Officer Stephen Mulloy.
"We verbally instruct the offenders not to give out candy. Everyone is verbally informed," Mulloy said.
Hampshire County Superior Court Chief Probation Officer Paul Kingston said his Probation Officers called each of the sex offenders on probation in the area.
"They were told not to answer the door. It's a good precautionary note," Kingston said.
Frank Glenowicz, Acting Chief Probation Officer at Franklin County Superior Court, said of the sex offenders supervised in the area, "We called and put them on notice that they are not to hand out candy that night and to expect a visit from their Probation Officer."
In Suffolk County, First Assistant Chief Probation Officer Linda Owens of Suffolk Superior Court, said "We instructed and informed Probation Officers to tell sex offenders not to give out candy or open doors to children."