originally posted 12/1/2011
My son briefly hung out with a girl in 2002. He thought she was 16, but after being arrested for 3rd degree sex abuse he quickly learned she was 14. He never did anything sexual to her, but she did perform oral sex on him. We paid $10,000 for what we thought should be a good competent lawyer. How wrong we was on that. He was willing to take anything the county attorney offered.
Trying to avoid a trial, he plead to a misdemeanor thinking this would be so much better in the long run. Not really; a sex offender is a sex offender; all are painted with the same brush. We later learned that if he had been a few month younger, under the code he was arrested for, he wouldn’t be required to register at all.
We had a psychological evaluation with a $400 price tag done on him for a professional opinion and was told he was NOT a predator and had made a bad judgement call. He was given probation that even I couldn’t abide by. He does not drink alcohol or do drugs and never did, but the rules of probation were set up for all to fail. After a year of pure agony of weekly meetings with sex offenders and the probation officer, his probation was revoked because he moved home to live with us after he broke up with his girlfriend. He was supposed to ask for permission first from his probation officer. Who knew that?
So he was immediately sent to jail with cash only bond. After being in jail for 6 weeks he finally got his day in court. Only then his probation was revoked, and he went back to jail awaiting a bed at a half way house. 2 months later he was released to house arrest but could not even step foot outside except to travel to his weekly sex offender group and could not even stop anywhere. Finally there was a bed at the half way house, and he was to go there for 6 months OR until treatment completed (which is their way of keeping you as long as they want, no specific time frame). When he got to the half way house, he was harassed and even assaulted for being a sex offender.
I complained after he was hit in the chest due to he has had 2 heart surgeries already. They said he needed to tell them who assaulted him and stupidly I told him to do so. After that they immediately said they had to transfer him for his safety because now he would be considered a snitch. He was moved 3 hours from home where he stayed as we counted the days until the 6 months was up. Then just at the end of that, his probation was revoked AGAIN because they sent him to work in the soup kitchen, and there was a minor also working there. He had contact with a minor which is against the rules. Its not like they spoke or anything; just being there was enough.
This time as much as I hated it, he opted to go to prison and serve his time. He was released in October, 2005, but has never been able to work since (finally on disability due to heart which the added stress of all this didn’t help). Last year he got a notice in the mail saying that the aggravated misdemeanor he plead down to was now a lifetime registration. How can you go from a 10 yr registration for a felony down to a misdemeanor that is lifetime registration? I think they try to fool people into thinking it’s not a felony so it’s better, and then they throw the lifetime registration down at you (after the fact).
He should only have 4 yrs left now because of ONE Incident and his life is ruined forever because he will have to register for life. He was sentenced to 2 yrs and ended up serving every bit of it. He now has to register twice a year. Since he lives next door to us and everyone knows him in our small town, he has been spared the problems with residency. Everywhere you go and everything that is said by others is analyzed, like wondering, are they saying or doing that because they know?
I always thought once court personnel met him and saw how naive he is, they would understand, and he would have no problems, but truth is, he is labeled for life, and every decision he makes is affected by this. How can this be constitutional? Even people who have killed others aren’t under this scrutiny. This happens to be in Iowa which has over 6000 registrants, and if everyone is put on the registry, then how do we know WHO we need to be careful around. I do believe there are a few people who need to be watched but not everyone. I pray about this daily so I hope someday, the ignorance is seen for what it is.