originally posted 4/15/2010
Just got home from registering for the 15th year…….Hmmmmm life sure is rough.
Attempted CSC 4th degree is the only thing I have ever had the misfortune to have on my record…EVER. It is a misdemeanor that is classified and treated as a felony! I have been married for 10 years with three awesome children; an eight, five and one year old. I was in 4H for six years; won a gold medal at the MSU Culinary Arts Festival when I was 13 years old competing against college students; I was a certified Master Mechanic by the age of 17; I started playing bluegrass 5-string banjo at the age of five and am now an accomplished musician who plays banjo, piano, drums, guitar, and violin; I became a tool and die maker and went through an apprenticeship; I mastered CNC programming and was revered as one of the best machinists around.
I have lost every job I have ever had due to employers or other employees finding my name on the online registry. Now that the internet is more widespread in homes and businesses, I cannot get a job to save my life. I have been able to hold on to our family home and support my family by using my multitude of skills over the years to bring in side income. I just finally lost the battle this year and have lost our home to the bank. I cannot get a job in any state due to the new nationwide registry that was recently implemented. Most companies use background check companies that exploit the registry data even though they are not to be using the information for that purpose. I have been turned down for income-based apartments for my family because they ALL list criminal sexual convictions as being a disqualifying factor. I cannot go back to school because I must register as a sex offender with the school that I attend.
So what did I do that landed me on the registry?
I was 18 years old at a high school party and I wound up having sex with a girl I met at the party. Come to find out the girl was 13 years old. I was sick to my stomach when I found out her age because she did not look the part. Come to find out, she had a promiscuous past and I was not the first target.
Obviously, a girl of 13 that is out running around at parties and such was forced to grow up too fast and had some kind of parental issues at home. The girl I slept with was bragging about it to a friend of hers and the friend’s mother overheard the conversation. Like any parent, she called the girl’s mother on the phone.
The parents were both drug users and the inner workings of the family atmosphere was just as I imagined it to be. The mother of the girl found out that she could collect a check from what is called The Crime Rights Victims’ Fund if she pressed charges. So, they pressed charges and my nightmare began. When my day in court came I had a court appointed lawyer and was ready to lay it all out for the judge and let him know exactly what happened. I was prepared to tell him that she had full intentions of sleeping with me or someone else at the party that night because I have several witnesses that will testify on my behalf that she has had sex with many people in the same manner before.
BUT, the court would not allow me to use any of it as a defense at all because there is a law that prohibits me from “using or mentioning any past sexual experiences of the victim for any reason in a court”. So I didn’t know what else to say. I just wanted to tell the truth but I couldn’t even do that!
The prosecutor knew that this was looking pretty funny on the plantiff’s behalf. The girl or her mother didn’t ever come to court, write any letters, or anything but file charges and sit home waiting for a check to come in from the Crime Rights Victims’ Fund. The prosecutor pulled me aside and said he would offer me Attempted 4th degree CSC and then recommend the very minimum sentence to the judge. Well, I decided to take it and get my probation over with and use it as a life lesson for sure.
Keep in mind that at time of court there was NO law at all about a registry. It had not been invented yet. So, I was on probation doing just fine and one day my PO dropped a piece of paper in front of me and told me I could not leave without signing it or I would be charged with a felony! She told me it was for a registry for sex offenders. At the time I didn’t know the extent of what it was going to develop into. I signed the paper and went on my way.
I was soon discharged from probation and started to continue my usual life after high school and focus on my career goals. A few years went by and I was making tons of money as a tool and die maker. I was flying back and forth to SC working on some BMW dies for the new Z3 Roadster. Life couldn’t be better. EXCEPT, one day a police car pulled into the driveway while me and my wife and newborn baby girl were outside. The officer came up and asked me for some ID. He told me I needed to get to the local police post and register. I had no idea what he was talking about.
Apparently, I was supposed to be registering 4 TIMES A YEAR FOR A MISDEMEANOR! WOW, all I knew is that I signed some paper at probation years ago. I didn’t even know it was published on the internet. Well, apparently I was not on the Online Registry yet because I had not gone in person to register and sign some additional forms. Soon after I registered, I noticed my face on the internet.
Soon after that I lost my job. Then another job and then another…..My life fell apart and i went through some emotional times. The stress finally got the best of me when I was 26 years old and I had a massive nervous breakdown. I could not even ride in a car for six months. I shook constantly for about four months straight like I had nerve damage. It was pure hell on top of hell. I do not how I have made it but I have. I have to give all the credit to my wonderful wife and kids that thus far no one has been able to take from me….
I am going on 35 now and still unemployed. Aside from my wife and kids, I look at the fundamentals of life in simple form. I cannot work, it is hard to keep food to eat, I can not go most places with my children like all of the important school functions that fulfill a parent’s existence, my kids are getting old enough now that other children are teasing them in school, my children find it hard to even have friends come over to play.
To me, the entire experience of life has been taken away from life itself. That is worse that any 25 year murder sentence!
To make matters more hopeless, one day two years ago, the girl with whom this whole thing happened approached my mother-in-law and told her the story of what had happened. The girl has grown, had kids of her own, and got some Christian values. She felt obligated to try to make things right and offered to do whatever it took to fix what her and her mother had done.
I sold my truck and retained a lawyer to take care of this process for me. The girl wrote a statement in front of the prosecutor and my lawyer as to what actually happened and that I had no idea how old she was. The court agreed to let me rescind my original plea agreement but then the NEW prosecutor told me that it was his duty to retry me on the original offence and that the admission of what happened that was now documented by the girl, was still not admissible in court.
I could not put my wife and kids through that and decided not to withdraw my plea……
I am not a child rapist, violent offender or anything of the nature. I am just a regular American with a good heart and good values with the best family a guy could have. God bless my family and may he punish those who have put me and my family through this life-long travesty.