Town of Swansea, MA
Bristol County
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Table of Contents
Table of Contents
[HISTORY: Adopted by the Town Meeting of the Town of Swansea 1-23-2012 STM by Art. 12. Amendments noted where applicable.]
A. 
It is the intent of this bylaw to serve and protect the Town's compelling interest to promote, protect, and improve the health, safety, and welfare of the citizens of the Town by creating areas around locations where children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired regularly congregate in concentrated numbers wherein certain registered sex offenders (those classified as level 2 or level 3 offenders pursuant to the guide lines of the Sex Offender Registry Board) are prohibited from loitering and establishing temporary or permanent residence.
B. 
After careful consideration, the Town finds that this bylaw is the most narrowly-tailored means of limiting, to the fullest extent possible, the opportunity for registered sex offenders to approach or otherwise come in contact with children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired in places where children and the elderly would naturally congregate, and that the protection of the health and safety of our children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired is a compelling governmental interest.
C. 
By the enactment of this or any other bylaw, the Town understands that it can not remove the threat posed to or guarantee the safety of children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired, or assure the public that registered sex offenders will comply with the mandates of this law. This bylaw is intended to create a regulatory scheme in order to protect children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired to the extent possible under the circumstances. Nothing contained herein shall constitute a specific assurance of safety or assistance.
D. 
The Town finds that registered sex offenders as defined above pose a clear threat to the children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired residing in or visiting in Swansea. Because registered sex offenders are more likely than any other type of offenders to re-offend for another sexual offense, the Town desires to impose safety precautions in furtherance of the goal of protecting the children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired in the Town of Swansea. The purpose of this bylaw is to reduce the potential risk of harm to the children, the elderly, and the mentally impaired of the community by restricting the ability of registered sexual offenders to be in contact with those persons in locations that are primarily designed for use by or are primarily used by children, the elderly, and/or the mentally impaired, namely, the grounds of a public or private school for children, parks or other public recreational facilities.
A. 
"Child" or "children" shall mean persons under 18 years of age.
B. 
"Elder" or "elderly" shall mean persons over 55 years of age.
C. 
"Establishing a residence" means to set up or bring into being a dwelling place or an abode where a person sleeps, which may include more than one location and may be mobile or transitory, including by means of purchasing real property or entering into a lease or rental agreement for real property after the effective date of this bylaw.
D. 
"Loiter" means remaining in or around the location in question for a more than 15 minutes.
E. 
"Park or recreational facility" means public land or facilities designated for active or passive recreational or athletic use by the Town of Swansea, the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, or other governmental subdivisions thereof and located within the Town of Swansea, including parks, beaches, playgrounds, and athletic fields and facilities.
F. 
"Permanent residence" means a place where a person lives, abides, lodges, or resides for five or more consecutive days or 14 or more days in the aggregate during any calendar year.
G. 
"School" means any public or private educational facility that provides educational services to children in grades pre-kindergarten through 12.
H. 
"Sex offender" means a person who resides, works, or attends an institution of higher learning in the commonwealth and who has been convicted of a sex offense, or who has been adjudicated as a youthful offender or as a delinquent juvenile by reason of a sex offense, or a person released from incarceration or parole or probation supervision or custody with the Department of Youth Services for such a conviction or adjudication, or a person who has been adjudicated a sexually dangerous person under MGL c. 123A, § 14, as in force at the time of adjudication, or a person released from civil commitment pursuant to section 9 of said chapter 123A, whichever last occurs, on or after August 1, 1981 and is classified as a level 2 or level 3 offender by the Sex Offender Registry so long as finally classified.
I. 
"Sex Offender Registry" means the collected information and data that is received by the Criminal History Systems Board pursuant to MGL c. 6, §§ 178C to 178Q, inclusive, as such information and data is modified or amended by the Sex Offender Registry Board or a court of competent jurisdiction pursuant to said §§ 178C to 178Q, inclusive.
J. 
"Temporary residence" means a place where a person lives, abides, lodges, or resides for a period of less than five consecutive days or less than 14 days in the aggregate during any calendar year, which is not the person's permanent address or place where the person routinely lives, abides, lodges, or resides and which is not the person's permanent residence.
A. 
It is unlawful for any sex offender who is classified as a level 2 or 3 offender pursuant to the guidelines of the Sex Offender Registry Board to establish a permanent residence or temporary residence within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility, so long as finally classified.
B. 
For purposes of determining the minimum distance separation, the distance shall be measured by following a straight line from the outer property line of the permanent residence to the nearest outer property line of a school, park or recreational facility.
C. 
Notice to move: Any sex offender who is classified as a level 2 or 3 offender pursuant to the guidelines of the Sex Offender Registry Board and who establishes a permanent residence or temporary residence within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility, shall be in violation of this section and shall within 30 days of receipt of written notice of the sex offender's noncompliance with this chapter, move from said location to a new location, but said location may not be within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility. It shall constitute a separate violation for each day beyond the 30 days that the sex offender continues to reside within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility. Furthermore, it shall be a separate violation each day that a sex offender shall move from one location in the Town of Swansea to another that is within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility.
D. 
Penalties: Violation of this section, may be enforced through any lawful means in law or in equity by the Swansea Police Department or any police officer of the Town of Swansea, including, but not limited to, enforcement by noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate violation. The penalties shall be as follows:
(1) 
First Offense: Notification to offender that he/she has 30 days to move.
(2) 
Subsequent Offense: Noncriminal penalty or fine not to exceed $300 and notification to the offender's landlord, parole officer, and/or probation officer and the Commonwealth's Sex Offender Registry Board that the person has violated a municipal bylaw.
E. 
Exceptions. A person residing within 500 feet of any school, park or recreational facility does not commit a violation of this section if any of the following apply:
(1) 
The person established the permanent residence and reported and registered the residence prior to the effective date of this bylaw in accordance with MGL c. 6, §§ 178C-178P;
(2) 
The person was a minor when he/she committed the offense and was not convicted as an adult;
(3) 
The person is a minor;
(4) 
The school, park or recreational facility within 500 feet of the personal permanent residence was established after the person established the permanent residence and reported and registered the residence pursuant to the Sex Offender Registry Law;
(5) 
The person is admitted to and/or subject to an order of commitment at a public or private facility for the care and treatment of mentally ill persons pursuant to MGL c. 123; or,
(6) 
The person is mentally ill person subject to guardianship pursuant to MGL c. 201, § 6, or a mentally retarded person subject to guardianship pursuant to MGL c. 201, § 6A, residing with his or her guardian or residing within a licensed group residence.[1]
[1]
Editor's Note: MGL c. 201 was repealed in 2008. See now MGL c. 190B, § 5-301 et seq.
A. 
Prohibitions:
(1) 
A sex offender who is classified as a level 2 or 3 offender pursuant to the guidelines of the Sex Offender Registry Board is prohibited from entering upon the premises of any school, park or recreational facility unless expressly authorized in advance and in writing by the person or entity having control of said premises.
(2) 
A sex offender who is classified as a level 2 or 3 offender pursuant to the guidelines of the Sex Offender Registry Board is prohibited, after having received notice from the Swansea Police Department that he/she is loitering within 500 feet of a school, park or recreational facility from continuing to so loiter or from returning thereto. For purposes of determining the minimum distance separation under this section, the distance shall be measured by following a straight line from the sex offender in question to the outer property line of the school, park or recreational facility.
B. 
Exceptions:
(1) 
The prohibitions in Subsection A above shall not be construed or enforced so as to prohibit a sex offender from exercising his or her right to vote in any federal, state or municipal election, or from attending any religious service.
(2) 
The prohibitions in Subsection A above do not apply to a sex offender's place of residence when such residence is excepted under § 217-3E above.
C. 
Penalties: Any violation of this section, may be enforced through any lawful means in law or in equity by the Swansea Police Department or any police officer of the Town of Swansea including, but not limited to, enforcement by noncriminal disposition pursuant to MGL c. 40, § 21D. Each day a violation exists shall constitute a separate violation. The penalties shall be as follows:
(1) 
First Offense: a noncriminal penalty or fine of $150;
(2) 
Subsequent Offense: Noncriminal penalty or fine of $300 and notification to the offender's landlord, parole officer and/or probation officer and the Commonwealth's Sex Offender Registry Board that the person has violated a municipal bylaw.
The provisions of this bylaw shall not apply to sex offenders incarcerated in any facility owned, maintained, and/or operated by the Town of Swansea.
A. 
A written list describing the prohibited areas defined in this bylaw, as well as a map depicting the residency restriction areas and safety zones shall be created and maintained by the Swansea Highway Department and Swansea Police Department, to be updated from time-to-time as necessary. The list, map, and copies of this bylaw will be available to the public at the Swansea Town Clerk's Office and Swansea Police Department.
B. 
The current list of areas covered under this by law is as follows:
Swansea School Administration Building, 1 Gardners Neck Road
Elizabeth S. Brown Elementary, 29 Gardners Neck Road
Gardner Elementary, 10 Church Street
Mark G. Hoyle Elementary, 70 Community Lane
Joseph G. Luther Elementary, 100 Pearce Road
Joseph Case Junior High School, 195 Main Street (including the newly constructed Lt. Cabral Soccer Field)
Joseph Case High School, 70 School Street
Swansea Town Beach
Swansea Boat Ramp
Nike Site Playing Complex, Nike Site Road
Milford Park Little League Baseball Fields, Basketball Hoops, Playground and Tennis Courts Recreational Facilities
If any clause, sentence, paragraph, subdivision, section or other part of this bylaw shall for any reason be adjudged by any court of competent jurisdiction to be unconstitutional, or otherwise invalidated, such judgment shall not affect, impair or invalidate the remainder of this bylaw, and it shall be construed to have been the legislative intent to enact this bylaw without such unconstitutional or invalid parts therein.
This bylaw shall become effective immediately upon passage and approval by the Office of the Massachusetts Attorney General and publication pursuant to MGL c. 40 § 32.