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April 26, 2013

Prosecutor wants jail for registered sex offender, but judge says no

Decides to 'take a chance' in indecent exposure case

HAVERHILL — Prosecutors pushed for a jail term for a registered sex offender charged with exposing himself to his neighbor, but a judge decided to continue the case without a finding for two years.

That means the accused man — Steven March, 51 — will face no punishment if he stays out of trouble during those two years.

March is registered with the state as a Level 3 sex offender. According to the state’s Sex Offender Registry Board, Level 3 offenders have a high risk of reoffending. March was convicted on Sept. 13, 1994, of indecent assault and battery on a child under 14, according to the board. He was also convicted on Oct. 19, 1999, of open and gross lewdness and lascivious behavior, the board said.

At a hearing Tuesday in Haverhill District Court, Assistant District Attorney Stephen Patten asked Judge Stephen Abany to find March guilty of the most recent charge against him — allegedly exposing himself to his female neighbor on June 9 of last year. Patten argued that March be sentenced to six months in the house of correction because of the charge and his registered sex offender status.

Patten pointed out March’s prior conviction of indecent assault on a person under 14. Patten also said March failed to register as a sex offender in the past.

But Abany told March he was going to “take a chance” on him by continuing the case without a finding for one year. Patten then asked the judge to make it two years to give the victim some peace of mind, and Abany agreed. Abany told March he must avoid any intentional contact with the woman and her family.

Reached by phone last night, March denied exposing himself to his neighbor. He said it is unfortunate his prior convictions many years ago follow him.

According to a police report on file in Haverhill District Court, a woman told police that on June 9 about 1 p.m., she was on her porch when she looked across the driveway and saw March standing on the second-floor porch of his home at 10 Ford St., Apt. 2, wearing a black bathrobe. According to the report, she said March entered his apartment, and then turned around at his doorway and opened his robe to expose his nude body. She said March exposed himself “purposely” and that she was willing to go to court so charges could be brought against him, the report said. March was subsequently charged with indecent exposure.

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