A convicted rapist fired from his job at a McDonald's after a woman told management he was a registered sex offender is suing the restaurant's owner and the woman, claiming information about him on the state's Sex Offender Registry Board was misused.
Scott Gagnon, 50, of Tewksbury, claims in his suit filed Monday in Middlesex Superior Court that Andrea Quinn of Tewksbury violated language on the board's Web site that says information on sex offenders cannot be used "to commit a crime or to engage in illegal discrimination or harassments of an offender." Doing so could result in jail time or a fine.
Gagnon was released just over a year ago after spending 27 years in prison following his guilty plea to multiple counts of rape. He is suing Quinn for alleged emotional distress and invasion of privacy, and suing McDonald's for alleged breach of contract.
He is classified as a Level 3 sex offender, considered the most likely to re-offend.
The lawsuit seeks a jury trial and unspecified damages.
"What Ms. Quinn did was completely contrary to the rules and regulations of the Sex Offender Registry Board, and in fact we assert that what she did was a crime," said Gagnon's lawyer, William Korman.
Even if his allegations are true, I don't think Gagnon's civil suit will succeed. However, I think his argument, which has been made before, that using the registry for discrimination or harassment is a crime is an interesting one. If it is technically true that using the registry in that manner is a crime, I haven't seen a lot of prosecutors willing to prosecute for it. This is another example of private actors supplementing official government restrictions on sex offenders. Courts are going to have to start paying attention to how so-called "non-punitive" laws are having very punitive effects in the real world.