In 1987 SN was convicted in NH of Aggravated Sexual Assault of a Minor. He was given probation. In 1999 he was convicted again of aggravated sexual assault of a minor and was sentenced to 9-18 years in NH State Prison. He served his time, was paroled, and successfully completed his parole. He was living in NH and was fully registered under the NH Sex Offender Registration Law. SN’s wife founded and opened a church in Massachusetts in a town in Essex County. SN would come down from NH to preach at the church on Sundays. He did this on a volunteer basis without any pay. A private citizen did some research on SN and discovered that he was a convicted sex offender in NH. In July of 2022 she notified the local police.
The local police confirmed his two convictions in NH for sex offenses and they confirmed that he was registered as a sex offender in NH. They confirmed with the Massachusetts SORB (Sex Offender Registry Board) that he was not registered in Massachusetts. Massachusetts Law requires that if you live in MA or if you are employed in MA or if you go to school on MA and if you are a convicted sex offender (in any state) then you must register in MA. The police called SN in for an interrogation. The police asked about his position at the church. He said he was a pastor at the church and came down on Sundays to preach – something he enjoyed doing and for which he received no compensation. The police charged SN with Failing to Register in Haverhill District Court.
The statute reads as follows: ” ..a sex offender residing or working in the commonwealth or working at or attending an institution of higher learning in the commonwealth, shall … register”. The legal question raised in SN’s case is: :Does doing volunteer preaching without pay constitute working? At first blush, most people would say that in order to be considered “working” one must get paid. The Sex Offender Registration Statute, however, and the Code of Massachusetts Regulations defines work as “employment … whether compensated or uncompensated“.
SN was terrified that he would be sent back to prison. SN retained Attorney Robert Lewin from Andover. Attorney Lewin has decades of experience in defending sex offense cases and failing to register cases. The District Attorney’s Office had sent SN’s case to the home office of the DA in Salem to decide if the DA would take the case to Superior Court to seek a State Prison sentence. Attorney Lewin advocated for the case to remain in District Court. The DA’s Office decided to leave the case in District Court. This took State Prison off the table but still left the possibility of a sentence to the House of Correction.
On September 27, 2022, SN and Attorney Lewin appeared in Haverhill District Court. Attorney Lewin explained the entire situation to the Judge including the fact that SN was fully registered in NH where he lived and since meeting with the police he was fully registered in MA. At Attorney Lewin’s request the Judge continued SN’s case for one year without a finding. As long as SN stays out of trouble for that one year his case will be dismissed. SN and his family were thrilled with the result. No state prison, no house of correction, no guilty finding, no conviction.
In a five star review posted on AVVO.com, SN wrote: “Attorney Robert Lewin is a true professional, he’s well respected in the courtroom, and aims for the best possible outcome.
He really got me through a tough situation, I gladly give him 5 stars!”