I thought that the point of making sex offender records public was to protect the public…I guess the governor thinks otherwise if it is his family.
Gov. Deval Patrick finally broke a week of silence yesterday and said he fired the head of the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board and put its executive director on leave in part because they tried to pressure a hearing officer to list the governor’s brother-in-law as a sex offender.
Patrick said the move to list Bernard Sigh — who was convicted of raping the governor’s sister — as a sex offender “involved some inappropriate at least, maybe unlawful pressuring by the chair and the executive director of a hearing officer to change an outcome of a case.”
In discussing the reasons he terminated Saundra Edwards, the registry board chairwoman, however, Patrick also revealed for the first time a 2008 whistle-blower lawsuit by the hearing officer who ruled that Sigh should not be listed as a sex offender.
The Herald first broke the story that Sigh had failed to register as a sex offender in Massachusetts in 2006, during Patrick’s first campaign for governor. Sigh was convicted in 1993 of raping his wife, served four months in jail and was put on five years’ probation.
“It turns out that case is the case that arose out of my brother-in-law’s experience way back at the beginning of the first campaign when the Republican Party, sorry to say aided by the Herald, nearly destroyed their lives,” Patrick told reporters yesterday.
The governor’s remarks capped a week in which the Corner Office had remained mum about Edwards’ sudden ouster. Patrick — who was on a trade mission in Europe last week — also put the registry’s executive director, Jeanne L. Holmes, on leave.
Patrick’s office had for days declined to detail why the governor made the changes until releasing a statement Friday saying he had “lost confidence” in the pair.
“Not every execution needs to be in public,” Patrick said yesterday.