I-Team Investigation Uncovers Loophole In Sex Offender Registry Law

BOSTON (CBS) – Mark Papamechail has been convicted of rape twice and served time in prison. Now, he’s behind bars again facing another rape charge. But even though he has been classified as a Level 2 sex offender, you won’t find the 55-year-old on the state’s Sex Offender Registry website.

“I think it’s disgusting. I think it’s just unjust,” said Janine Dunphy who says Papamechail raped her in 2014 after the two met through an online dating site. Dunphy had no idea he was a registered sex offender. “Anyone who’s a Level 2 should be on the Sex Offender Registry,” she said.

It turns out Papamechail is on the registry, he’s just not listed on the website. That’s because his last conviction for rape was before the law was changed, requiring Level 2 sex offenders’ names and addresses be listed online and available for anyone to see. So under the law, his name does not have to appear on the website.

Mark Papamechail (WBZ-TV)

Representative Tom Walsh says Papamechail is just one of the many who have fallen through the cracks. In fact, there are thousands of Level 2 offenders whose names are hidden from the public. The Sex Offender Registry Board says there are currently 6,002 Level 2 offenders, but the I-Team found only 902 names on the website. The names of the other 5,000 can only be found if you request information on a specific person with the Sex Offender Registry Board or with your local police department.

Walsh tells the I-Team, it’s time to take another look at the law. “I do think there needs to be some tightening,” he said. But he admits it will be challenging changing the legislation to meet constitutional standards. “Everything we do has consequences. We have to make sure we can sustain a court case,” he added.

Janine knows how difficult that could be. She told the I-Team that because she wasn’t able to remember all of the details at Papamechail’s trial, he was found not guilty of raping her.

Despite the not guilty verdict, a judge gave Janine a lifetime restraining order against Papamechail who has a criminal record dating back to 1981 and includes charges of rape, indecent assault and battery on a child, and threats.

Papamechail has pleaded not guilty to new rape charges and is being held without bail. “These cases are never what they appear at the outset. Nobody should make a judgement at this point in time,” explained Papamechail’s attorney Mark Schmidt.

The Sex Offender Registry Board refused our request for an interview on camera but told the I-Team their hands are tied because of the way the law is written.

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