Citing Privacy Issues, MA Legislators Block Acceptance of Adam Walsh Act


Massachusetts Level 2 sex offenders — from rapists to child porn purveyors — are not listed on any online registry, because some lawmakers are throwing up a roadblock in the name of protecting privacy rights of convicts, advocates charge. The Boston Herald says the move is costing Massachusetts hundreds of thousands in lost crime-fighting dollars, and Gov. Deval Patrick has not been able to convince the holdout legislators to act.

“We have lawmakers saying out loud that these dangerous criminals, who are more likely than not targeting defenseless children, are entitled to privacy so we can't know who they are. On what planet can a decent human being make an argument that this should be private information?,” said Wendy Murphy, a victims' advocate and professor at New England Law School. Patrick's bill, which would bring Massachusetts in line with the federal Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act to create a national sex-offender database to replace the patchwork of registries across the U.S., has languished in the Joint Judiciary Committee for more than a year. “Deval Patrick's bill as submitted is blatantly unconstitutional. There are sections in it in which the crimes and penalties don't match Massachusetts law,” said committee co-chairman Rep. Eugene O'Flaherty.

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