Massachusetts’ new sex offender registry Web site was swamped yesterday with tens of thousands of hits and 700 users on the site simultaneously at peak times, says the Boston Globe. “The site is absolutely overwhelmed,” said Jennifer Franco, chairwoman of the Sex Offender Registry Board. “The state information technology people say it’s the largest number of hits ever for a state agency.” The site went up on the Internet yesterday at about 7:15 a.m., one day after the Supreme Judicial Court issued a unanimous ruling sweeping aside the last remaining constitutional challenges to the posting of the names, addresses, and photos of the most dangerous known sex offenders. The site (www.mass.gov/sorb), prepared in anticipation of the ruling, lists 975 convicted Level 3 sex offenders, individuals determined by the board to be the most dangerous. Users can search the sex offender list by name of offender, county, municipality, and ZIP code, or review the entire list.
Franco was pleased that after almost three years of legal challenges, state residents can get access to information like that available on the Internet in 42 other states. Before yesterday, residents had been able to obtain names of sex offenders in Massachusetts communities by going to the local police station to request a list maintained by police. But Brockton Police Chief Paul Studenski said his department will maintain its own listing of offenders. “We will definitely be linking with the state, but we’ll keep our own, too,” he said. “As cops we deal in information, and this allows us to be more watchful over potential repeat offenders.”