MERRIMAC — One of the state's 10 most-wanted sex offenders was captured at his mother's Merrimac home, marking the sixth arrest made from the list of the 10 most dangerous offenders since the beginning of February.
Haverhill resident Scott Phaneuf, 38, was found hiding in a closet Thursday. He had been wanted by Haverhill and Salisbury police on charges of failing to register as a Level 3 sex offender, which is the most dangerous level.
Phaneuf's mother said she had no comment regarding the charges her son faces.
"As he was classified as a Level 3 offender by the board it means he had to register at the local police department wherever he was living," Haverhill police Detective Karen Currier said. "He failed to tell me he had changed his address."
Phaneuf had been registered to a Haverhill address, but when Currier went to do a home check, she found he was no longer living there.
Phaneuf was convicted of raping a child in 1982 and of two counts of indecent assault and battery on a person over 14 in 1999, according to the state's sex offender registry Web site.
According to Newburyport District Court records, Phaneuf was found guilty of driving without a license in May 2005. He had charges of assault and battery with a dangerous weapon dismissed in January 2006 stemming from an incident in Salisbury.
Last March, Phaneuf was issued a summons on charges of failing to register with the Salisbury police as a sex offender. Currier, who led the investigation, was issued a warrant for his arrest in November.
He is classified as a "high-risk level three sex offender" by the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board.
The 6-foot, 240-pound fugitive was caught without resistance by Haverhill police and the state police fugitive apprehension section after 10 a.m.
Phaneuf was in Haverhill District Court yesterday where he pleaded not guilty to the charges of failing to register. Judge Stephen Abany ordered Phaneuf held on $5,000 cash bail.
Phaneuf is due back in court on March 26 for a probable cause hearing, said Steve O'Connell, spokesman for District Attorney Jonathan Blodgett.
The arrest was the second of the day. Earlier, state police, deputy U.S. marshals and a local police task force arrested Ronald Miller, 40, at a house in Mount Vernon, N.Y.
Miller, also on the list of top 10 most wanted sex offenders, was wanted by Springfield police on charges of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14. He, too, had failed to register as a sex offender.
Miller was ordered held without bail pending his return to Massachusetts to answer to the charges. Miller had two prior convictions for indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, according to the Sex Offender Registry Board Web site. According to the state Sex Offender Registry Board, a sex offender is anyone who has been convicted of a sex offense. The type of offense is classified as Level 1, 2 or 3. A Level 1 offender has a low risk of reoffending and the degree of threat posed to the public is low. Information about Level 1 offenders is not available to the public.
A Level 2 offender has a moderate threat of reoffending and is a moderate risk to the public. A Level 3 offender is considered a high risk to reoffend and the danger to the public is such that it requires active dissemination of information regarding the felon.
Both Level 2 and Level 3 offenders are listed on local police department Web sites as well as the state Web site.
Sex Offenders in Greater Newburyport
Town Level 2 sex offender Level 3 sex offender
r Amesbury 19 5
r Groveland 2 0
r Merrimac 4 2
r Newbury 5 1
r Newburyport 16 4
r Rowley 5 0
r Salisbury 18 2
r South Hampton 4 0
r West Newbury 1 0
The following information was found on the Massachusetts Sex Offender Registry Board Web sitehttp://sorb.chs.state.ma.us/htmldataentry.asp><p>