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FOX25 Investigates: Mistake allows rapist with 30-year criminal history to walk free

by: Kerry Kavanaugh Updated:

BOSTON - A mistake made by the Middlesex County District Attorneys' Office paved the way for a convicted rapist to walk out of prison, FOX25 Investigates has learned.

John Traywick's criminal history spans more than 30 years, but five days ago, he walked out a prison as a free man. A timely filing by the Middlesex County District Attorney could have kept him behind bars.

Traywick was eligible for release, but after undergoing a 60-day psychiatric evaluation, prosecutors were supposed to request a hearing for a civil commitment of persons found to be sexually dangerous.

The DA’s office had 60 days to file for that hearing, but missed the deadline by 11 days.

FOX25 asked Middlesex County DA Marian Ryan to speak with us on camera, but her office declined.

They sent the following statement:

“Over the past nine years, using the protocol we have in place, we have reviewed 1,350 sexually dangerous person cases without missing a deadline. Clearly a deviation from our protocol led to the delay in this case. We recognize the serious nature of this error and the impact on public safety. Senior staff in my office have conducted a thorough review of what happened and have concluded that this deviation was the result of human error which we have addressed.”

Traywick, 51, was convicted of his first sex crime in 1984. There was a second conviction for indecent assault and battery in 1985. In 2009, he was convicted of indecent assault and battery, and aggravated rape.

"What we want to make sure of is that this is not a message to survivors that says that people don't care…that their rights aren't important,” Toni Troop, with a victims’ advocacy group, said.

Troop is with Jane Doe Inc., and said anyone can understand human error, but she added there should be safeguards in place to protect against it.

“It’s not about placing blame, it's about what we can do to prevent these type of procedural errors from taking place in the future,” said Troop.

The district attorney told Judge Leila Kern the department of corrections waited too long to notify them the psychiatric analysis was completed. But Kern wrote the "delay was not justified by any extraordinary circumstances." 

Since his release, Traywick registered with Boston police as a level 3 sex offender. He provided the address of a Roxbury homeless shelter.

In his most recent case, Traywick was convicted of raping a woman in a hotel room.

According to the original statement of the case, he posed as a good Samaritan when the victim and her boyfriend had car trouble.

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