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Southbridge sex offender says police singling him out for ruin

7-29-2006 Massachusetts:

SOUTHBRIDGE— A Level 3 sex offender who was recently released from prison is accusing police of “a crusade” to ruin him.

Police have been working with the man’s neighbors, who are taking extra precautions since his release May 31 from the Worcester County House of Correction in West Boylston.

The offender, Benjamin F. Pierce, responded Thursday and yesterday to a story published Thursday in the Telegram & Gazette about a community meeting on sex offenders hosted by police Wednesday night.

Mr. Pierce, 54, of 11 Jennison St., most recently served 18 months on a 2004 charge in Southbridge for breaking and entering a motor vehicle and larceny.

His sex-crime history includes a conviction in 1980 for a rape that occurred three years earlier in Durham, N.H. Mr. Pierce has also been convicted four times for open gross lewdness between 1995 and 2000. He is on the state Sex Offender Registry as a Level 3 offender, meaning he is deemed at high risk to offend again.

David H. Erickson of Concord, Mr. Pierce’s lawyer for the breaking and entering and larceny charges, said a sexually dangerous person action from Jan. 4 was dismissed at the request of the state on May 31, the day of his release.

“It was the opinion of the government’s expert that Mr. Pierce was not a sexually dangerous person,” Mr. Erickson said.

In addition, Police Chief Daniel R. Charette told residents Wednesday night that Mr. Pierce did not have any known offenses against children.

The residents, whose identities were not revealed at the request of police, said Mr. Pierce has been known to jog at night while nude, alarming both adults and children. One resident said in an interview that their teenage daughter is no longer allowed to walk the family dog, now that Mr. Pierce is back on the streets.

Mr. Pierce denied that he jogs in the nude, saying that inaccurate story developed around the offenses for which he was convicted. He said he was abused as a child and the episodes were the result of him being taken off medication that controls repeated thoughts about his childhood.

Police recently arrested Mr. Pierce for allegedly violating the sex offender registration law, saying he provided a false address of Everett Street after he was released. Mr. Pierce responded to the charge by saying he was swindled after paying $300 to sublet an apartment on that street.

Mr. Pierce said he told police he would be spending most of his time at his father’s home on Jennison Street because his father is ill.

Police said Mr. Pierce is now properly registered under the Jennison Street home.

Chief Charette said he is supporting the community’s proactive stance, which includes numerous no-trespassing orders filed against Mr. Pierce.

Mr. Pierce said he now has a total of 42 no-trespassing orders filed against him, including 32 since his May 31 release. He accused police of actively recruiting residents to request the orders.

Chief Charette said anyone with a legitimate fear of Mr. Pierce is encouraged to make a request. He denied he has solicited the public’s help.

Mr. Pierce has filed civil lawsuits against Southbridge police and a former officer, according to Worcester Superior Court documents. Mr. Pierce said he can’t find a lawyer to take on the cases. Chief Charette said he has not received official notification of any lawsuits filed by Mr. Pierce.

Mr. Pierce said the 2004 conviction was one of several examples of being singled out by police. He contends he was at a used-car lot during its business hours and was looking for change in cars that were for sale.

He further alleged that police have supplied his former employers with the false allegations that he is a child molester.

Chief Charette denied the allegation yesterday.

A member of the Marine Corps from 1969 to 1971, Mr. Pierce said that because his most recent lewd act was in December 1999, he believes it’s likely his Sex Offender Registry status will be downgraded to Level 2 this winter. ..more.. by Brian Lee

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