A Secret Next Door
The Hiller Instinct: A Secret Next Door
"I would not even consider being around children."
Bill Paul, a convicted child rapist, doesn't want you to see his face on TV, but the state wants you to be able to see what he looks like on any computer in the world.
Massachusetts would become the 32nd state to post pictures of sex offenders on the Internet, giving anyone, who logs on to the state’s web page, a list of the most dangerous, level-3, sex offenders, including personal information, photos, where they live and work and what their crimes were.
Officials estimate there are 18,000 sex criminals here. A national magazine charged the state couldn't account for 44 percent of them. But the head of the sex offender registry board says that's because more than twenty years of criminal records are under review…
"It's going back and trying to locate people that may have done a number of things, including died and moved out of state since 1981, that's giving you numbers that appear to shock."
Jennifer Franco, Chair, MA Sex Offender Registry Board
To date, the state has classified 2,700 sex offenders and pinpointed 400 as the most dangerous with the highest risk to re-offend.
"What does a man have to do to start over?"
Paul accepts having his picture on the Lowell web page, because he thinks his neighbors should know about his past, but he says the state site makes the information available to people, who don't need it…
"Seeing me on the Internet and seeing me put out there for another time only creates fear."
Public defenders are challenging both the state and local web pages…
"It's the same issue. As long as the sex offender registry information is on the internet, it can be accessed in Tokyo, Japan.... in Sydney, Australia... in Toldeo, Ohio... in places where people have access to the information, where people will never encounter the offender."
M. Eve Hanan, Public Defender
The governor, who pushed for the site, is equally blunt…
Governor Mitt Romney (R) Massachusetts
"I weigh the risk to our children as being more critical and of more concern than the risk that someone, who has committed a dangerous sex crime might be found out by their neighbors."
What the courts will now decide is whether putting sex offenders on line in Massachusetts is unfair and unconstitutional... Or, whether, since victims of sex crimes must live with it forever, it is fair that offenders must too.