originally posted 8/2/2009
I read your article online. Please let me tell you my story and see if you can help me in any way. Please keep my story confidential.
I was a high school teacher. In April of 2008, a “‘friend”‘ told a story about me that was false. However, because the boy who was named and his friend told a story, although different from hers, saying something happened, I was accused. I never told my side to anyone. The whole town believed in me, though. They still do, even though at the advice of my lawyer, I took a plea deal. That lawyer claimed teachers have no chance against juries anymore and so I took probation and having to register as a sex offender. I did this because I have 3 kids that mean the world to me. I felt they were more important than taking a chance on being sent to prison.
Let me give you a little background. I told the “‘friend”‘ that the boy hit on me; she agreed I should keep quiet. So I did, and four months later she told her story. I never told anyone what the boy really did. I was and am ashamed and feel totally like I am to blame. He did force me to perform an act on him, saying if I didn’t he would say that we had a relationship. I would never have jeopardized a career I worked so hard for! I know I should have gotten help but I suppressed it and acted like it didn’t happen. I can’t even stand thinking about it – it makes me sick.
I didn’t even admit to my boyfriend what happened until I took the plea deal. He says I lied to him. I know I did, but I couldn’t accept that it had actually happened. I wanted to believe some kid couldn’t have made me do such a thing. I feel too stupid! Now a 17 year old kid has ruined my life and I am a sex offender. I can’t get a job of any kind to support my children. I have to live with my parents again.
I used to believe all people who were convicted were guilty but I now believe in everyone’s likely innnocence. I used to believe in our legal system, but now I don’t. I don’t agree with the sex offender thing; murderers don’t carry a label. They can be next door and you have no idea, but people who get the label I have are labeled for life. Please tell me there are others out there like me. Am I a liar or do people suppress and deny things that happen, the way I did? Are there support groups or counseling for folks in my situation?