Registered offender restrictions to be decided
Southborough – Town Meeting voters will be asked to decide if Southborough's bylaws should include restrictions for registered sex offenders.
The Board of Selectmen received a presentation of the article from Southborough Police Chief William Webber and Officer David Hagen at its March 18 meeting.
If approved, the sex off ender restrictions bylaw would be known as Chapter 118. Chapter 118 would ban Level 3 and Level 2 sex off enders from being within 1,000 feet of areas frequented by children, the elderly and the mentally impaired. Convicted sex offenders would also be restricted from residing (temporarily or permanently) near schools, parks, bus stops, day-care centers, elderly housing complexes or houses of worship.
Webber said he created Chapter 118 after reviewing ordinances in nearby communities, including Marlborough, Shrewsbury and West Boylston.
"I thought it was especially important to review Marlborough's policies," Webber said, "because we're neighboring communities."
If Chapter 118 is approved at Town Meeting, it wouldn't go into effect until also approved by the state office of the Attorney General.
Registered sex offenders who have established permanent residences prior to the approval of the Chapter 118 – should it be approved – would not be affected, Webber said.
Webber, who confirmed that one Level 3 and four Level 2 sex offenders currently live in town, said Chapter 118 would not ban registered sex offenders from living in Southborough or restrict their employment in town.
Webber said he was urged to create Chapter 118 by town resident Carol Willoughby, the operator of Child Dynamics, a day-care center on Parkerville Road.
Willoughby has been an advocate for restrictions for several years, after being informed that a sex offender was living near her day-care center. She publicly supported Marlborough City Councilor Steven Levy's ordinance on sex offender restrictions that the city adopted last year.
A resident of Southborough for 26 years, Willoughby has operated Child Dynamics for the past 23 years.
"We have to have laws to protect our children," Willoughby said. "We're not telling them they can't live in Southborough, we're telling them they can't live near schools in Southborough."
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