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Sex offender learns his legal research is unreliable

LOCKPORT – A convicted sex offender from North Tonawanda, whose online legal research convinced him he didn’t have to tell law enforcement officials where he was living, pleaded guilty to a felony Monday for failing to register.

Mark J. Brown, 47, of Stenzil Street, has been a registered Level 2 sex offender since a 1991 conviction for sexually abusing a 24-year-old woman.

Niagara County Judge Sara Sheldon said from the bench that it appeared Brown thought his duty to register ran out after 20 years. Actually, that applies only to Level 1 offenders, according to the state sex offender website. Level 2 and 3 offenders have to register for life.

“You did some online research and it steered you in the wrong direction,” Sheldon told Brown, who was living on Cayuga Drive in Niagara Falls when he stopped registering in April.

Although Brown’s guilty plea could result in a prison term of up to seven years, Sheldon told Brown he will not go to state prison, and she released him from the County Jail pending sentencing Oct. 31.

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