originally posted 12/1/2011
Our experience is long. I met my husband in 1989. He was convicted of Aggravated Sexual Assault in 1979 of a 23 year old woman. He met her in a small town, went on a date with her, and had consensual sex with her. Unbeknownst to him, she was married. Her husband walked in on the encounter, and he threatened his wife with divorce if she didn’t accuse my husband of rape.
These people had family connections with the D.A. Note my husband had no priors and nothing since then. The D.A. was related to the judge. My husband was threatened that if he didn’t plead guilty, they would give him a life sentence. He pled guilty out of fear, and the judge sentenced him to 25 years in prison, 9 years behind bars, and then he was paroled out and served the remainder of his sentence on parole. When I met him, he was honest with me from day 1. I have to admit I was apprehensive at first, but as I got to know him, I couldn’t believe he could do that. I’m convinced he was set up; I’ve been with him for many years. They labeled it aggravated because the woman claimed he verbally threatened her life. So he didn’t even have a weapon, further convincing me of a setup.
There were no registration laws back then. Texas made the laws retroactive. He tried appealing his case during his incarceration, but his appeals were denied because of his guilty plea. So, he resigned himself to a life he didn’t ask for because of someone else’s selfishness.
During his parole, I was actively involved with him as my way of supporting him and to make sure they weren’t further violating his rights while on parole. They tried EVERYTHING to sabotage his efforts to make it to the end of his sentence. But I smiled in their faces, to make things easier for him. He found a really good job and held onto it for 8 years, until the sex offender registry. They were constantly adding almost impossible conditions to his parole, but we were strong minded and he followed everything to the letter.
In 1999 he had to register for the first time here in Texas, and he had to go to this mandatory counseling on top it. That was $50 a month, which was a gigantic waste of money but mandatory.
Subsequent to this, we were being uprooted and constantly having to move. My husband lost his job. He now suffers from serious depression since then. We were lucky enough to have just enough money to purchase property and a home that was within the residency restrictions.
The state had him classified as a low risk. After his parole officer delivered his discharge papers to him, the state had him labeled a high risk. And he has to register once per year for life. Before he discharged, his parole officer went on a witch hunt digging for other things that weren’t there, looking for a reason to place him in civil commitment. He just couldn’t believe there was only one crime on his record.
Since the registry, we don’t talk to anyone outside our family in fear of a false accusation. We stay to ourselves and it’s very, very hard.
We never had the means to hire lawyers and we still don’t. Our neighbors stare at us and never talk to us. They just look at the Internet and pass judgement accordingly.