A staff report
LOWELL -- A judge denied a motion to dismiss a Level 3 sex offender's suit against the town of Ayer in federal court.
John M. King is challenging the town's bylaw that restricts residency for sex offenders.
The attorney for King, whose address is listed in court documents as 6 Whitcomb Ave., Ayer, argued in Lowell Superior Court that the charge that he failed to register as a sex offender (subsequent offense) should be dismissed. Judge David Ricciardone denied the motion to dismiss.
King's next date in state court is a pretrial hearing scheduled for Dec. 6.
During his arraignment in August, King was released on $1,000 cash bail after pleading not guilty to failure to register as a sex offender (subsequent offense).
On May 15, Ayer police arrested King at 6 Whitcomb Ave., and charged him with failing to properly register his residency.
King's address on the Sex Offender Registry website May 16 and Aug. 22 was 32 Myrick Lane, Harvard, a home owned by William and Sharon McHugh, the parents of King's wife, Ashley.
The Ayer address where King was arrested is also owned by the McHughs as trustees of SBAJ Realty Trust.
Ayer police arrested King in May after he allegedly gave a Harvard address, where he once lived, instead of providing them with an Ayer address.
King was featured on the Massachusetts State Police's June 2009 Top 10 "Most Wanted Sex Offenders" list for failure to register his residency. King
According to the Sex Offender Registry Board, King was convicted of rape in 1999 and sentenced to six years in prison. The registry lists King's offenses as two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery on a person 14 or older.
Around the time of King's arrest, there were questions about whether the town had properly implemented its newly adopted sex-offender residency-restriction bylaw, passed at Town Meeting in fall 2011.
Town Meeting approved the residency bylaw in October 2011. Ayer's bylaw bans Level 2 and Level 3 sex offenders from establishing residence within 1,000 feet of protected areas, including schools, parks, bus stops and senior-citizen residences, for any consecutive five-day period, or for 14 consecutive days in a year.
The Whitcomb Avenue home is within 1,000 feet of Pirone Park and an elderly-housing complex on Pond Street.
The Kings filed the federal lawsuit in hopes of striking down the town's bylaw as unconstitutional. The couple now live in Harvard with Ashley King's parents.
At a hearing last month, U.S. District Court Judge William Young said he would take no action on the injunction request until there is a "trial with evidence."
A trial is scheduled in federal court for Nov. 29.