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Doe v. Sex Offender Registry Board

466 Mass. 594, 999 N.E.2d 478 (2013)

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Doe v. Sex Offender Registry Board

Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court

466 Mass. 594, 999 N.E.2d 478 (2013)

Facts

Doe (plaintiff) ran an escort service for two years that employed four minor girls. Doe had an extensive prior criminal record. Following an investigation by the Federal Bureau of Investigation, Doe was charged with several counts related to sex trafficking and prostitution of minors. Doe pleaded guilty to all charges. Subsequently, the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB) (defendant) classified Doe as a level-one sex offender. During the SORB classification hearing, Doe (1) presented scientific evidence that female sex offenders were far less likely than male sex offenders to reoffend; and (2) petitioned for funds to hire an expert to testify about the impact of gender on sexual-offender recidivism rates. The SORB disregarded the research, denied Doe’s request for expert-witness funding, and classified Doe as a level-one offender, stating that the SORB’s offender classification criteria was applied equally to male and female offenders and that gender was not a factor. Doe appealed. At the time of Doe’s classification, the SORB factors had not been updated for approximately 11 years. Further, the SORB classifications did not incorporate recent studies demonstrating that (a) female sexual offenders were less likely to reoffend; and (b) that different recidivism risk factors applied to male and female offenders.

Rule of Law

Issue

Holding and Reasoning (Lenk, J.)

Concurrence (Cordy, J.)

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