A State Representative is taking action after a Boston 25 Investigates story shed light on registered sex offenders legally changing their names to hide in plain sight.
Nineteen states limit or restrict registered sex offenders from changing their names, but there are no laws like that in Massachusetts. With a $150 filing fee and a judge's signature, a sex offender can become - on paper at least - a new person.
>> 25 Investigates: No one is tracking how often sex offenders change names
Brighton inventor Michael Plusch became Michael Stanley in 2013. He was legally able to change his name, despite being a registered level three sex offender who served time for molesting young girls.
It's unclear how many other sex offenders have legally changed their names.
The Sex Offender Registry Board told 25 Investigates that it doesn't specifically track that data.
"It's hard enough to keep track of these guys as it is and they change their names and it makes it that much more difficult," said Bob Curley.
Somerville's Bob Curley is very familiar with this issue. Charles Jaynes, one of the men who raped and murdered his 10-year-old son Jeffrey tried to change his name several years ago. The case went all the way to the state appeals court.
"We had to fight that every step of the way and fortunately he wasn't able to do it... Somebody should step and do something about it," Curley said.
State Representative Shaunna O'Connell of Taunton saw our report and is stepping up. She says she plans to file legislation at the State House.
"I think that's important to have in statute that you may not change your name if you're a sex offender. If you don't want to be on the sex offender registry then you should not commit heinous sex crimes against women and children," said O'Connell.
If the state sex offender registry board learns of a name change or a new alias, it will update its database with the new information and people at home can access that, but ultimately, it's up to the offender to report those changes to the registry.
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