What is a Sex Offender?

A sex offender is any person who resides, works or attends an institution of higher learning in the Commonwealth and who has been convicted of a sex offense, or who has been adjudicated as a youthful offender or as a delinquent juvenile by reason of a sex offense, or a person released from incarceration or parole or probation supervision or custody with the Department of Youth Services for such a conviction or adjudication, or a person who has been adjudicated a sexually dangerous person or a person released from civil commitment on or after August 1, 1981.

For a listing of crimes that require registration as a sex offender please visit our Who Has to Register page.

Sex offenders will be classified according to the degree of dangerousness they pose to the public and their likelihood for re-offense. An offender's classification will be:
 

  • a Level 1 or "low risk" offender,
  • a Level 2 or "moderate risk" offender, or
  • a Level 3 or "high risk" offender.

Obtaining Information About Sex Offenders Living and Working In Your Community

Any member of the public who is at least 18 years of age or older may request sex offender information. The information will be provided to any person who is seeking the information for his/her own protection or for the protection of a child under the age of 18 or for the protection of another person whom the requesting person has responsibility, care, or custody.

You may request sex offender information at Local Police Departments or through the Sex Offender Registry Board directly. Level 3 offenders are posted on this web site under our Community Search.


PLEASE NOTE


Information about a sex offender is available to the public only if he/she has a duty to register and he/she has been finally classified by the Board as a Level 2 or a Level 3 Offender. Before an offender can be finally classified, he/she must be offered the opportunity for an administrative, evidentiary hearing to determine his/her degree of dangerousness and likelihood for re-offense. As a result, information pertaining to a sex offender will not be available to the public unless and until he/she has been given the opportunity for a hearing. Once an offender is finally classified as a Level 2 or a Level 3 Offender, his/her sex offender registry information will be available to the public. Registry information will be updated regularly. You may obtain registry information by appearing in person at your local police department or by requesting information from the Board by mail. Please check this website often for updates.
 


Sex Offender Information Available at Local Police Departments

A person may request sex offender information by going to his/her local city or town police station. After presenting proper identification, the requester must fill out a sex offender request form containing:

1. The name and address of the requester.

2. Information may be requested in the following manners:
 

  1. Inquire whether a specifically named individual or a person described by sufficient identifying information to allow the police to identify the individual is a sex offender; or
  2. The requester may inquire whether any sex offenders live, works or attends an institution of higher learning within the same city or town of a specific address, including, but not limited to, a residential address, business address, school, after school program, day care center, playground, recreational area or other identified address; or
  3. The requester may inquire whether any sex offenders live, works or attends an institution of higher learning at a specific street address within the city or town where the person is requesting sex offender information; or
  4. Where the police department is located in a city or town with more than one zip code area, the inquiry may ask whether any sex offenders live or work within a specified zip code. In Boston such inquiry may be made by specified police district.

3. The reason for the request.

4. The date and time of the request.

If the request results in the identification of a sex offender, the police will distribute the offender's name, home address, work address, the name and address of the institution of higher learning where the sex offender works or is enrolled as a student, age, sex, height, weight, eye and hair color, the sex offenses committed and the dates of conviction and/or adjudication and a photo of the offender, if available.

The information will be provided free of charge.

All information provided to the public will include language prohibiting the misuse of sex offender information for harassment or discriminatory purposes.

All records of inquiry will be kept confidential, except to assist or defend in a criminal prosecution.

The police will not release information identifying the victim by name, address or relation to the offender.

For copies of the form to request sex offender information from your Local Police Departments please visit our Forms and Publications page.

 

Penalties For Improper Use Of Sex Offender Registry Information

Information contained in the Sex Offender Registry shall not be used to commit a crime against an offender or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassment of an offender. Any person who improperly uses Sex Offender Registry information shall be punished by not more than two and one-half years in the house of correction or by a fine of not more than $1,000 or by both such fine and imprisonment.

Sex Offender Information Available Through Written Request to the Sex Offender Registry Board

A person may request sex offender information from the Board. Requests must be made on a form approved by the Board. The Board will provide a report identifying whether the person is a sex offender with an obligation to register, the offenses for which he/she was convicted or adjudicated and the dates of such convictions or adjudications. The Board will only disseminate information on offenders who have been finally classified as a Level 2 (moderate risk) or Level 3 (high risk) offender. The law prohibits the dissemination of information unless and until the offender is finally classified as a Level 2 or a Level 3 offender. The law strictly prohibits the dissemination of information on Level 1 (low risk) offenders.

The information will be provided free of charge.

All information provided to the public will include language prohibiting the misuse of sex offender information for harassment or discriminatory purposes.

All records of inquiry will be kept confidential, except to assist or defend in a criminal prosecution.

For copies of the form to request sex offender information from the Sex Offender Registry Board please visit our Forms and Publications page.

NOTE: Any information provided by either the police or the Board will be limited only to offenders who have been finally classified by the Board as Level 2 or Level 3 offenders . The law prohibits the Board and police departments from disseminating any information on a sex offender who has not been finally classified by the Board or who has been finally classified as a Level 1 offender.