SalemNews.com, Salem, MA

April 27, 2013

Former Salem man cleared of failing to register

BY JULIE MANGANIS
STAFF WRITER

---- — SALEM — A level 3 sex offender who moved out of a Salem rooming house without first telling police last year was found not guilty late Thursday by a Salem District Court jury.

Jason Wallace, 40, formerly of 116 Lafayette St., was convicted of indecent assault and battery in 1992 in Peabody, and was later deemed to be among the sex offenders at highest risk of re-offending by the Sex Offender Registry Board.

Wallace had been registered in Lynn, then moved to Salem in 2011.

He initially told the Salem police where he was living.

But during a visit to the rooming house on an unrelated matter last February, Salem police detective Stephen Bona discovered that Wallace had been evicted.

For several days, until Wallace finally contacted Lynn police, authorities had no idea where he was, prosecutor Lynsey Legier told the jury of six women.

“He knew he had to give (police) 10 days notice prior to any change in address,” Legier argued to the jury. “He knew that ... because he’s done it in the past.”

Wallace’s attorney, Joan McAbee, argued that the sex offender registration statute was vague and confusing, even to her — an admission that later led to a warning to jurors to disregard the lawyer’s personal opinion.

“He tried to do what he was supposed to do,” McAbee argued to the jury.

Courts reporter Julie Manganis can be reached at 978-338-2521, via email at jmanganis@salemnews.com or on Twitter @SNJulieManganis.