Supreme Judicial Court, February 27, 2014

A sex offender must include any secondary addresses when registering, pursuant to G. L. c. 6, § 178C-P.  A secondary address is defined as "all places where a sex offender lives, abides, lodges, or resides for a period of [fourteen] or more days in the aggregate during any calendar year and which is not a sex offender's primary address; or a place where a sex offender routinely lives, abides, lodges, or resides for a period of [four] or more consecutive or nonconsecutive days in any month and which is not a sex offender's permanent address." G. L. c. 6, § 178C.   However, the Legislature did not define what constitutes "living," "abiding," lodging," or "residing."

In this case, the SJC looked to the plain and ordinary meaning of those four words as defined in Webster's Third New International Dictionary (1993).  The Court found that under the broadest definition afforded by the statute, the Commonwealth needed to show that the defendant "lodged" at the alleged second address by "stay[ing] overnight" for at least four days.  The defendant’s admission that he was “staying” at an address and the property manager’s testimony that he was seen at the property nearly every day for a period of time were not sufficient to show he lodged there for the required time.