originally posted 5/25/2009
We are living a nightmare. My son served in the Navy from 1994 until 2004. He was due to finish his tour in 1999. One month before he was due for discharge, we went to a party on base, given by an enlisted Navy female. There was drinking at the party. During the evening he received oral sex from the female host of the party. Three days later she accused 3 different men at the party of sexual assault. Because of the amount of alcohol consumed, the Navy investigated. My son admitted he had a sexual encounter with the girl, but the other men denied it. In the Military sodomy is a crime along with adultery The girl was married but no one knew that. Her husband was stationed somewhere else. To make a long story short my son was convicted of sodomy, and because of the alcohol, it was considered non-consensual. He was sentenced to 10 months in the brig. But after review by the appeals committee it was determined that the punishment was too harsh, and he was given time served and got out of the brig after 8 months. During the time he was in the brig, he was awarded the Good Conduct Medal! He was not told or required to register as a sex offender, nor was it discussed.
He came home in 2000. He was home 2 weeks, and a neighbor told the local sheriffs dept that my son had gotten in trouble in the navy, and they called him to the station for questioning. When he told them what happened, they put him on the sex offender registry as a tier 1 offender, based on nothing more than his statement. There was no paperwork or files to confirm his crime. For the next 8 years he was on the registry as a tier 1 offender. During that time he was given custody of his 3 year old son. In 2008 he was notified that he was now a tier III offender. We
tried to get an attorney to help us, but in our small town no attorney would touch the case because it involved the local sheriff dept; we were told, “We have to work with them on a daily basis, ” so I cannot take your case. I asked to see what information the sheriff dept based their reclassification on. I found a paper in my son’s file from the military dated Sept. 2001 that stated he was released from the brig after 8 months for rape of a minor.
The social security number on the paper was not my son’s! The paper was an error due to a computer error on the part of the military. The military admits this was a mistake, but says due to my son’s privacy they won’t speak to local law enforcement. The problem I have is why did the sheriff not show this paper to my son in 2001 when they received it? He told them he was guilty of sodomy, that’s a lot different from rape of a minor. After all this time has gone by it has by it has been difficult to get this corrected. My son was still in the military until 2004. The error could have been corrected in 2001 if we knew about it. My son has never appeared in any court other than military court. He has never been classified or ordered to register by any judge, not even a military judge.
How can this happen? I do have an attorney now but, I’m not sure if he was the right choice. We were so desperate to find some one to help us I took what we could get. My son has been told he has to move again; this is the sixth time. He also may lose custody of his son, now that he is a tier III offender.
This is a nightmare. My son has never been in any trouble either before or after the military. He had a stellar career in the military, receiving several commendations and awards. It’s ironic that he spent 5 years defending our freedom only to come home and have his stripped from him and given a life sentence. I don’t know where to turn for help or support. What do we do? Our attorney says if the military will send a correction of charges, there may be a chance for my son. What I can’t get anyone to see is, if the military had not made an error, this information would not have been released. How can you put someone on the sex offender registry based on nothing more than questioning, no trial, no evidence, nothing; no judge, no jury just your answers to questions asked by a deputy sheriff.
What happened in the military would have remained confidential and would never have been known to the public. The local sheriff has tried to get information from the military, and was told it was confidential and was not to be released, and refused to give them any information. What are my son’s rights? What do we do? Who do we talk to? I am desperate for help. Can I get in trouble with my attorney for e-mailing you? I guess I am also desperate for someone to talk too there are not a lot of support groups for sex offenders or their families. My son is a good
person and a great father. This is so unbelievably. I need help. Any help you can offer will be greatly appreciated.