Heard: May 1, 2017.
action commenced in the Supreme Judicial Court for the county
of Suffolk on March 18, 2016.
case was reported by Hines, J.
Eisenberg (Catherine J. Hinton also present) for the
Susanne G. Reardon, Assistant Attorney General, for the
Present: Gants, C.J., Lenk, Hines, Gaziano, Lowy, Budd, &
Cypher, JJ. 
case, we confront part of a statute that retroactively
prohibits the plaintiff from ever sealing the record of her
sex offenses because she was once classified as a level two
sex offender, even though the Sex Offender Registry Board
(SORB) has determined that the plaintiff no longer poses any
cognizable degree of dangerousness or risk of reoffending, no
longer believes that she should be classified as a level two
sex offender, and has relieved her of the obligation to
register as a sex offender. The plaintiff argues that, as a
applied to her, the retroactive statutory prohibition on
sealing sex offenses violates her due process rights under
the Massachusetts Declaration of Rights. Because we agree
with the plaintiff that the challenged portion of this
statute, as applied to her, is retroactive and unreasonable,
we conclude that it cannot be enforced against her.
summarize the following facts from findings made by a
Superior Court judge and by a SORB hearing panel, as well as
from other record materials.
Underlying offense and classification.
1995, Kristi Koe was found guilty by a Superior Court jury of
one count of rape and abuse of a child, G. L. c. 265, §
23, and one count of indecent assault and battery on a child
under age fourteen, G. L. c. 265, § 13B. The offenses
occurred in 1990, when Koe was twenty-two years old. The
victim was a twelve year old girl who was then living with
Koe and Koe's sister. Over a ten-day period, Koe engaged
in various sexual acts with the victim.
result of her convictions, SORB recommended, and Koe
accepted, a classification as a level two sex offender,
pursuant to G. L. c. 6, §§ 178C-178Q, and
applicable regulations. Her obligation to register as such
commenced in 2003.
2013, Koe petitioned a SORB hearing panel for
reclassification and relief from the obligation to register.
In its decision, the hearing panel considered the following
evidence, which is incorporated into the record before this
herself was sexually abused as a child. At the time of her
offenses in 1990, Koe suffered from drug and alcohol
addiction, along with untreated head injuries and mental
health issues. However, the 2003 death of her mother was a
turning point for Koe. She promised her mother "she
would turn her life around."
accepted responsibility for her sex offenses and expressed
remorse over the harm that she had inflicted upon the victim.
The events in 1990 were her only instance of sexual
misconduct. Koe attended sex offender therapy in 1998 and
again from 2010 to 2012, and completed a relapse prevention
plan. One psychologist opined that Koe has "no deviant
interests in children of any age" and does not otherwise
fit the psychological profile of someone likely to reoffend.
The hearing panel credited research showing an
"extremely low" reoffense rate among female sex
been sober since 2009, having completed several addiction and
recovery programs. She has received "extensive
services" from mental health and vocational
rehabilitation providers. She has participated in various
support group programs, has a stable ...