Level 3 sex offender facing failure to register charge

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PITTSFIELD >> City police say a level 3 sex offender failed to register his address as required by law for a second time.

Christopher Root, 40, of Chatham Street, remains free on personal recognizance after pleading not guilty to a single charge of failure to register as sex offender as a subsequent offense.

According to the state police detective unit attached to the Berkshire District Attorney's office, Root was out of compliance for about four months. He had been living in Sandwich and told law enforcement officials there he was planning to move to Stockbridge in July. Police say he never registered in Stockbridge or anywhere else.

According to Assistant Berkshire District Attorney Daniel Hespeler, this is the second time Root has failed to give police his current address; the first time was in 2008. He served 30 days in jail in that case, said his lawyer.

Root was convicted of rape and abuse of a child in 1993 in New York, according to the state Sex Offender Registry Board. Root told police in Sandwich the conviction stemmed from a case when he was 16 and the victim was 12 and that it was second degree attempted statutory rape for which he served time in New York, according to court papers.

When police were trying to track him down, they went to his apartment and discovered the conditions where he, his girlfriend and her four children were living were "deplorable" with animal feces on the floor, hundreds of flies swarming about, stacks of dirty dishes around the house and piles of clothes on the floor, according to a police report. They called the state Department of Children and Families to investigate.

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On Friday in Central Berkshire District Court, Root's attorney, Joseph P. Colonna, said his client has been in compliance and registered with the Pittsfield police in October when he moved to the city. Root had intended to live in Stockbridge, but when housing fell through, he returned to Sandwich before relocating last month to Pittsfield, said Colonna. The attorney believed there had been a "lack of communication" between the state police and Pittsfield police.

He asked that his client be released on personal recognizance.

The Berkshire District Attorney's Office was asking for $1,000 bail.

Judge Fredric D. Rutberg released Root on his personal recognizance. The defendant is due back in court for a pretrial hearing Nov. 25.

The DA's Office could choose to indict the charge, which carries a mandatory five-year state prison sentence upon conviction.

Contact Andrew Amelinckx at 413-496-6249.


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