An Arlington man convicted of two counts of indecent assault on children has been declared sexually dangerous by a jury and will be committed to a state facility for continued treatment.
John Morrissey, 50, who had been set to be released in 2013, was ruled sexually dangerous by a jury and Middlesex Superior Court Judge Thomas Connelly committed him for continued treatment at a state facility in Bridgewater, said Middlesex District Attorney Gerry Leone’s office Monday.
“Based on this defendant’s multiple convictions for sexually assaulting children, coupled with his continuous inappropriate behavior while incarcerated, we believe that this defendant has a high likelihood of re-offending against yet another vulnerable victim if he were released back into our communities,” Leone stated in the press release. “We commend the jury for their just verdict, committing this defendant for further treatment.”
Prosecutors said Morrissey has a lengthy criminal record dating back to 1979, including a case in which he pleaded guilty in 1985 to one count of indecent assault and battery on a child. He had worked as a taxi driver and sexually assaulted an 8-year-old boy he was transporting from school to a mental health center, according to Leone's office.
In 1986, Morrissey was convicted for indecent assault and battery on a child after he sexually assaulted a 5-year-old girl who was walking home from school, prosecutors said.
He was sentenced to one year in jail, but his sentence was suspended for two years.
In 1992, he was sentenced to state prison for indecently assaulting two young victims whom he targeted at random in a department store, according to Leone’s office. Morrissey was sentenced to 20 years in state prison on one indictment with two years to serve and the balance of his sentence to be suspended for five years. He received a suspended sentence of four to six years in prison on a second indictment.
In January 1994, Morrissey was released from prison only to be re-incarcerated for a probation violation in March of 1995. Leone’s office said Morrissey violated his probation by trespassing in Weston, and when police arrested him they found a pair of gloves and handcuffs in his car, along with an area map with schools circled and a membership card for the North American Man/Boy Love Association (NAMBLA).
Morrissey was sentenced to the remaining 18 years of his sentence for the 1992 conviction.
During his incarceration, Morrissey has had 12 disciplinary reports, including several occasions where he possessed letters containing sexually explicit writings about children and photographs of young children. His sex offender treatment was also terminated four times because of inappropriate behavior, prosecutors said.
An attorney representing Morrissey could not be reached for comment.
Leone said Morrissey’s profile reflects the type of repeat offender with a demonstrated inability to control his impulses that the state’s sexually dangerous persons statute is designed to address.
Under the state law, when a district attorney is informed that a convicted sex offender is nearing completion of his or her sentence, the prosecutor’s office can petition to have a sex offender tried to determine if he or she is sexually dangerous.
The offender is then examined by at least two forensic psychologists and one or more experts of his or her choosing and a trial may be held depending on the findings for the examinations. Two examiners appointed by the state determined Morrissey met the statutory criteria to be declared sexually dangerous, according to Leone’s office.
After the jury also declared Morrissey to be sexually dangerous, he will be entitled to petition every year for re-examination and a trial to determine whether he remains sexually dangerous.
According to Leone's office, prior to 2010 a sex offender in a sexually dangerous person case was allowed to decide whether his or her sexually dangerousness case would be heard before a judge or jury. But changes to the law, including amendments by Leone, were adopted last August that now give prosecutors equal power in deciding whether sexually dangerous person cases will be heard before a jury.