State Supreme Court: No GPS Monitoring For Wareham Rapist
WAREHAM — A convicted Wareham sex offender will be allowed to complete his probation without court-ordered GPS monitoring after a decision from the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court on Friday.
Timothy Roderick, 46, was sentenced to four years in prison and three years of probation following his conviction on two counts of rape in 2018, according to the SJC decision.
A jury convicted him of raping the victim — at the time a friend of his — twice one night in June 2016 when she came to visit him at his Wareham home.
According to court documents, the victim "repeatedly made clear" that her relationship with the defendant was "strictly platonic."
That night, she got drunk and fell asleep on Roderick's bedroom floor — and when she woke up the next day, he admitted to raping her, later telling investigators that they had had consensual sex.
The justices note in their decision that at the time of Roderick's sentencing, GPS monitoring was mandatory for convicted sex offenders — even first-time offenders, like Roderick — as a condition of probation.
But just before his release from prison, Roderick asked the court to remove the monitoring condition due to a 2019 SJC decision (based on a similar U.S. Supreme Court ruling) that it legally counts as a search.
The government therefore has to show that its interests in imposing GPS monitoring outweigh the intrusion of privacy it entails, according to the SJC.
Prosecutors argued that GPS monitoring was necessary to enforce a court-ordered exclusion zone around the victim's home, deter Roderick from further criminal activity, and help authorities investigate if he does break the law.
But the justices said prosecutors failed to prove exactly how GPS monitoring would help enforce the exclusion zone.
As for deterrence and investigation of potential future criminal activity, they noted, "those interests alone do not justify the depth of the intrusion into the defendant's privacy that GPS monitoring entails."
"Balancing each of the established interests and their respective weights, we conclude that the Commonwealth did not meet its burden of establishing the constitutionality of the warrantless search," the SJC concluded.
Roderick must still register as a Level 2 Sex Offender, among other conditions of his probation.
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