Former Northampton Man Pleads Guilty to Failing to Register
BOSTON – Wade Branch, 63, pleaded guilty today to one count of failing to register as a sex offender in U.S. District Court in Springfield. Branch was indicted in March 2015. Sentencing is scheduled for September 24, 2015.
In 1990, Branch was convicted of indecent assault and in 2000, he was convicted of rape in Hampden County Superior Court. On multiple occasions, he was given written notice of his obligations to register as a sex offender in the state in which he resides due to his convictions. Branch moved from Massachusetts to California, where he failed to register as a sex offender from 2008 to 2015, as he was required to do.
The charging statute provides for a sentence of no greater than 10 years in prison, a lifetime of supervised release, and a fine of $250,000. Actual sentences for federal crimes are typically less than the maximum penalties. Sentences are imposed by a federal district court judge based upon the U.S. Sentencing Guidelines and other statutory factors.
U.S. Attorney Carmen M. Ortiz and U.S. Marshal John Gibbons for the District of Massachusetts made the announcement today. The case is being prosecuted by Assistant U.S. Attorney Alex J. Grant of Ortiz’s Springfield Branch Office.
The case is brought as part of Project Safe Childhood. In 2006, the Department of Justice created Project Safe Childhood, a nationwide initiative designed to protect children from exploitation and abuse. Led by the U.S. Attorneys’ Offices and the DOJ’s Child Exploitation and Obscenity Section, Project Safe Childhood marshals federal, state and local resources to better locate, apprehend, and prosecute individuals who exploit children, as well as identify and rescue victims. For more information about Project Safe Childhood, please visit www.projectsafechildhood.gov/.