Many sex offenders never register

Nancy Reardon

Angela Smithson, who struggles with flashbacks of the day she was sexually assaulted, believes the system failed her.

Roger W. Jones of Brockton served eight months of a two-year sentence after being convicted of indecent assault and battery of a minor in November 1991.

But Smithson, 32, says she doesn’t feel justice has been done because Jones, who was found living under an alias in Boston on May 16 by police, never registered as a sex offender. He slipped through the system.

Police did not arrest Jones when they tracked him down weeks ago; they only informed him that he needs to register.

The sex offender registry was established in 1996, but faced several legal challenges in its first few years, leading to some legal ambiguities about registration requirements.

“This was my last hope that justice would be served and all they do is go to his house and say he has to classify,” said Smithson, who lives in Taunton with her four children.

In the 18 years since Jones and another man held Smithson in a Roxbury basement and took turns sodomizing and hitting her when she tried to struggle, she has run into him twice. Five months after the crime, she passed him in Brockton; a few years later, when she was 17, she saw him sitting across from her in an unemployment office.

And the whole time, she had no idea where he was living.

“I can’t sleep at night because I feel like he’s next to me,” she said.

Charles McDonald, spokesman for the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board, said he can’t comment on Jones.

But he did confirm there’s a “big population” of sex offenders who have been released from prison but never registered.

Laurie Myers, president of Community Voices, a victim advocacy group, said it’s easy for sex offenders to avoid registration.

McDonald said the board is working every day to track down unregistered sex offenders.

“And they still keep creeping up,” he said. “It’s very hard on the victims.”

Nancy Reardon may be reached at