Holyoke police have shared the name of the Level 3 sex offender who allegedly took photos of students at an elementary and middle school last week.
The incident is sparking outrage by parents on social media and many are asking questions about the laws governing sex offenders in Massachusetts. Parents Western Mass News spoke to on Tuesday were angry and concerned about having been notified about the incident at the McMahon School a week after it happened.
Last Monday, a student at McMahon School reported seeing a man taking photos of the 5th and 6th graders out at recess.
Holyoke police told Western Mass News that "although the man was not charged with any crimes, and out of an abundance of caution, investigators have determined that Richard A. Mahue of Westfield was identified as being in that area two days after taking photos."
Police went on to say Mahue was warned not to go on any school property in Holyoke or he will be trespassing.
Mahue is registered as a Level 3 sex offender in Massachusetts.
Many western Massachusetts viewers commented on our story with questions as to where sex offenders can live and how they are classified.
Level 3 is considered the highest to reoffend, and according to the Massachusetts Sex Offender Parole Board, Mahue was charged with two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person aged 14 or older back in 2009.
In 2015, the Massachusetts Supreme Court invalidated local laws in many communities that prevented sex offenders from living near parks and schools.
"I am glad it's on social media. People are standing out for the kids protecting them and these parents need to know this is happening," said Kathy Picard.
Picard told Western Mass News she was sexually assaulted by her step father, and her case was the first to be tried under a new statute of limitations in Massachusetts.
Since then, Picard has spent 16 years advocating for stricter laws on sex offenders, and often talks with parents and students about how to spot an abuser and how to report it.
Picard said this incident brings an opportunity for parents to talk with their children.
"Keep talking to your kids letting them know it's ok to tell it's not a one shot conversation it needs to happen all the time," she noted.
Information on Massachusetts Level 3 sex offenders can be found by visiting the link here.
Please note the information cannot be used to commit a crime, or to harass an offender under state law.
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