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Paroled Massachusetts sex offender arrested outside elementary school in Maine

A Level 3 Massachusetts sex offender arrested outside a Maine elementary school routinely got permission from the state Parole Board to travel out of state for work, but he did not have the board’s approval when he drove to Maine on Thursday, officials said yesterday.

John A. Rosa was arrested by Sagadahoc County sheriff’s deputies after a wary grandparent found Rosa sitting in his car parked outside the West Bath Elementary School at about 8:35 a.m. Thursday, according to the sheriff’s office.

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Rosa was in the school’s parking lot as children were arriving at school.

The grandfather alerted the sheriff’s department, which then located Rosa at the Bath District Court where he was scheduled to challenge a speeding ticket, officials said.

The school and courthouse are about one-third of a mile apart on New Meadows Road, but Sagadahoc County District Attorney Geoffrey Rushlau said in a phone interview that Rosa was in the school parking lot for nearly 15 minutes.

“It’s more time than mere confusion about where I am supposed to be,’’ Rushlau said. “He wasn’t just turning around in the parking lot, he was sitting there.’’

He said Rosa was not charged with committing any crime in Maine.

Rosa, 59, of North Street in Lexington, was wearing a GPS monitoring bracelet on an ankle when he was taken into custody in Maine, officials said yesterday.

He was arrested for violating his parole because he was at an elementary school and “has a significant history of indecent assault and battery on children under 14 years of age,’’ Maine authorities said.

A spokesman for the Massachusetts Parole Board, which recently underwent a massive reorganization, said Rosa had left a voice mail with his parole officer, saying that he was going to Maine to pay a parking ticket.

Because Rosa did not get approval in advance, he is deemed to have violated the terms of his parole, said Terrel Harris, a spokesman for the Executive Office of Public Safety. Moreover, the terms of Rosa’s lifetime parole include a ban on spending time near elementary and secondary schools.

“As a condition of parole, he is not supposed to frequent any place where individuals under 18 years old congregate,’’ said Harris.

According to Harris and Rosa’s posting on the Sex Offender Registry Board’s website, Rosa works for a unidentified vending machine company. Harris said Rosa has routinely been given approval to travel outside Massachusetts, but only when he sought it in advance.

Harris said it was likely Rosa got his speeding ticket when he was in Maine on an earlier work assignment. According to Maine authorities, Rosa received the speeding ticket in October and chose to fight the ticket in court rather than pay a fine.

Harris said the Parole Board planned to bring Rosa back from Maine as soon as possible.

According to the board, Rosa was convicted in 1980 of indecent assault and battery on a child under the age of 14. He was convicted of the same crime in 1988 and in 2002.

John R. Ellement can be reached at ellement@globe.com.
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