RUMFORD – Police will go door to door Friday morning along High Street, notifying families that a twice-convicted sex offender has moved into their neighborhood.

Jeffrey Lewis Burns, 47, of 455 High St., who is on probation and unemployed, moved last week with his girlfriend into the single-family home from an apartment at 438 Waldo St., police Detective Sgt. James Bernard said.

The town forced the move when it foreclosed on the apartment due to unpaid taxes, then chose to oust tenants this winter rather than fix safety-code violations.

“He is not a newly released sex offender. However, he has two prior convictions,” Detective Lt. Daniel Garbarini said Thursday. Police will hand out fliers and notify High Street residents living near Burns on the dead-end street, Garbarini said.

Burns was last convicted in 1998 in Wiscasset, served six years in the Maine State Prison, was released in 2003 and moved to Rumford, Bernard said.

Garbarini said police decided to notify people “due to his change of address within our community and as a result of his convictions and the nature of the crimes. We’re trying to be proactive.”

The victims in both crimes were girls under the age of 6, children of Burns’ friends, said his probation officer, Michael Downs.

Although Burns, a lifetime sex-offender registrant, has not committed any crimes in Rumford that police are aware of since failing to notify Downs of a move in 2004, police still consider him a risk.

“As far as the Department of Corrections is concerned, he is a high-risk offender,” Downs said.

He said Burns has been in treatment. “But I’m not saying he’s not a risk because he’s been participating in treatment. The other incidents always involved alcohol and I’m convinced now that he has not been drinking,” Downs said, citing frequent unannounced visits to check on Burns.

Still, Downs reacted with surprise when told that police would notify the public of Burns’ change of address, since they didn’t notify neighbors when Burns first moved to Rumford. Downs did that himself.

Bernard and Garbarini said Rumford police didn’t have a public notification policy then when Burns first came to Rumford.

Downs said he went door to door when Burns chose to live on Knox Street in 2004, next to the St. Athanasius and St. John Elementary School.



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