Lifetime of Shame for First Time Offense

originally posted 12/3/2011
I live in Tennessee.
I have found myself on the TN registry for life, for an offense that was committed when I was barely 18. I am considered a violent offender according to the TN law statutes at this time. It didn’t use to be this way at the time I was convicted back in 1995. My offense was for having inappropriate contact with my niece  whom at the time was not quite 13.

My niece,  her sister, and my cousin were over visiting with me and my parents for the afternoon. At some point it was decided it would be  fun to explore a game of truth or dare.
This game of Truth or dare originally didn’t  start out to be anything sexual in nature; however it turned to such as the game progressed. My niece had her sister take her top off, my cousin had my niece kick me in the groin, in turn I reached out and attempted to pinch her on the upper genitalia. That was pretty much the extent of all that happened.

About 2 weeks went by, and then my parents and I received a phone call from the DHS asking if we would come in for some questioning for some things that my cousin had divulged to a psychologist he was supposedly having to see, because of trouble in school for lying. We went in and talked to them, and I discussed what had happened. About a month or maybe 6 weeks later, we got a phone call from the DA”s office saying that they had filed a charge against me in this matter.

We hired what we thought was a very good attorney at handling these sort of cases. He evaluated the evidence and ask me my account as to what happened, and I basically told him the same thing as I did when talking with people from DHS and what I had told the investigators from sheriff’s dept. However, one key fact that was left out that I mentioned to my attorney was the fact that I had been for a surgical procedure earlier in the day on the date I knew these events occurred.  It was never taken into consideration by either the investigators or my attorney. I would suppose that maybe because they didn’t  have a specific date of when this happened may be why it wasn’t  considered as any sort of defense on my behalf.

I was advised by my attorney that it would probably be in my best interest, since I had admitted to these allegations, that I should opt for a plea agreement that was offered by the DA. A true bill of conviction by a grand jury of 1 count of aggravated sexual battery was reduced to attempted aggravated sexual battery. The aggravated only comes into effect when the victim is under 13 yrs. of age in the particular circumstances in my case. I was told at the time of sentencing that I would do 6 yrs. of probation then possibly another 10 yrs on the registry. Everyone said,  you got off easy, and don’t worry, it’s only a class C felony. No one said later on in time after successfully completing probation and my subsequent 10 yrs registry requirements, that I would find that I’m registered as a violent offender, and now because of the laws changing over the years, I’m  on the registry for life here in TN.

Not that blind people aren’t  capable of committing crimes, but did I mention I’m also legally blind and cannot even drive or operate a motor vehicle? I was born with many birth defects and a lack of mental capacity that made me far more immature than most people of my age group when I was 18. I’m still not the mindset of a 35 yr. old man, but I have paid for my crime I committed, and know that what I did was wrong. But what right does society have to put a label on me as a lifelong monster, predator, or whatever sorts of other horrible things they  call people like me?
I made one mistake, and it has ruined me for life. If there are any people still left in this world with the power to change the tides, in respect to where our laws in this country are going, that are God fearing or of any true belief in Christ, then know this. God does not differentiate between sins. One sin is no worse than the other. So, if a murderer can be forgiven of his past transgressions and allowed to re-establish himself into our society without the shame of being followed and having all these restrictions imposed upon him, why are people accused or charged with sex crimes not afforded the same treatment?

s.

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