SALEM — A homeless, Level 3 sex offender, who admitted in court last summer that he removed his GPS monitoring bracelet and fled to New Hampshire with a 16-year-old boy, can’t be found guilty of violating sex offender registration requirements, a judge concluded on Wednesday. 

Part of the reason: police were too quick to find Matthew Delima, 32. 

Delima is currently serving a two-to-10-year prison term for violating his probation in a 2008 New Bedford child rape case, by leaving Massachusetts without telling anyone last July.

But Salem police also charged Delima with violating the state sex offender registration requirements by leaving the city without notifying either the Salem or the Manchester, New Hampshire police. Delima was found in Manchester. 

As a homeless person, he was required to check in with the police every 30 days, and was required to give 10 days notice of any relocation or new employment. 

Salem District Court Judge Matthew Machera called Delima’s actions “egregious.” 

But under the law, he concluded, he could not find beyond a reasonable doubt that Delima intended to leave the state permanently — after Delima’s public defenders argued that he had been in New Hampshire for less than 24 hours when police located him. 

Manchester police found him at the home of the teenager’s mother. They are not charging him because the boy was of the age of consent. 

Prosecutor Heidi Sylvanowicz argued that the judge could reasonably infer that Delima did not plan to return, based on the fact that the GPS bracelet was removed. She also tried to introduce a report by a Manchester police officer who said Delima told him he was living in New Hampshire. 

But Delima’s lawyer, Jessica Lee, argued there was no evidence to prove that he cut off the bracelet, and that the alleged statement by Delima to the New Hampshire officer could not be used against him in the case because it was not provided to the defense until the day of his trial on Wednesday. 

She also argued that any information Delima gave his probation officer about removing the bracelet was inadmissible “hearsay” evidence. 

The prosecutor suggested that the judge could make a reasonable inference that Delima removed the bracelet because he was not wearing it when he was arrested. And she said she was not given the New Hampshire report until the two officers showed up to testify. 

But after hearing testimony in a jury-waived trial, Machera concluded that prosecutors had not proved the charge, and found him not guilty in the case. 

Delima remains held at MCI Gardner, a medium-security prison, where he will not be eligible for parole for at least another year. 

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

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