Joel Pentlarge, a convicted child rapist who is registered as a Level 3 sex offender with a “high risk” of reoffending, resigned as local state House candidate Jeffrey Herman’s campaign treasurer June 13 due to controversy over his status.
Discussion of Pentlarge’s status as a sex offender—first reported in the Gazette last month—had become a “major distraction” from “the very important issues facing the district and the Commonwealth,” Herman said in a press release e-mailed to the Gazette June 14.
Herman had previously defended Pentlarge’s participation in his campaign to unseat state Rep. Jeffery Sánchez.
Sánchez currently holds the 15th Suffolk District seat, which roughly covers western JP along with Mission Hill and parts of Roslindale and Brookline. Herman is challenging him in this fall’s Democratic Party primary election.
In a phone interview Herman told the Gazette he wants to be able to focus on the “very important issues confronting the community” including the economy, environmental issues and criminal justice issues.
In his resignation letter, Pentlarge also said his participation in the campaign had become a distraction. Contacted by the Gazette, he declined to comment further.
“While active with my campaign, [Pentlarge’s] job was to receive contributions, deliver them to my state authorized bank account with Citizens Bank, sign checks for campaign expenses, keep an accurate account of the contributors and maintain the account balance. At no point was he authorized to do anything else, and he performed this duty with perfect diligence,” Herman said in the press release.
Herman previously told the Gazette that Pentlarge was an “asset” to his campaign, particularly because of his expertise in reform of the criminal justice system. Pentlarge’s advocacy on criminal justice issues includes abolishing the sex offender registry. Pentlarge previously told the Gazette it is “virtually impossible” for him to reoffend.
Speaking to the Gazette last month, Herman said he might offer Pentlarge a State House job if Herman wins the election. In the recent Gazette interview, he said Pentlarge would “play no such role…in the future.”
Sex offender levels are determined by state Sex Offender Registry Board (SORB). The board considers 24 factors when designating a level, including the original crime and the offender’s behavior and progress in treatment during and after incarceration, according to information provided by the SORB.