All Are not the Same

originally posted 6/2012

This is not about me, but about a young man I know.  I am a Special Education teacher at a very small school, in a small rural community.  We have grades K-12 on one campus, and everyone knows everyone.  I will call him CJ.

CJ was classified under Special Education with low skills in verbal understanding, and low reading and math skills.  CJ was at least two years behind his peers, and so therefore was 18 when he was a junior in high school.   He had also been in trouble at a different school and lost many high school credits.   But he was a very likable, polite young man when he had support.

When CJ was a junior and just started to play football, younger girls started to chase him.  He was friends with a brother of one of the girls, and it wasn’t long until the 13 year old girl “caught” him.  Her mother approved and even encouraged him to spend the night at their house.  The young man’s mother would call and try to get him to come home, but the mother of the girl said it was fine and that they really liked him.  CJ told the mother how old he was, but it was still fine with her.  They dated for about six months.

Another six months later,  CJ and the brother of the girl got into trouble with the police using the brother’s car and the car was impounded.  The girl’s family attacked CJ in a local store, to the point that the girl’s father was arrested.

Then within a couple of months, the mother of the girl decided to take revenge and file “”forcible rape”” on CJ.  The girl later admitted that for her mother, that’s all it was – “to get back at…”

CJ did graduate from another high school and a technical school, did have a baby with his girlfriend and got married, and finally got a job.   CJ was truthful from the beginning and admitted he had had sex with the girl.  (Remember this young man has low understanding skills).  The case drug on and on through the court system.  The mother was stating that they were never in a relationship, that it was totally forcible, that CJ’s family was harassing them.

After 3.5 years, it was finally resolved.  The charge was taken from forcible to 2nd degree rape.  He is now serving up to one year in the county jail.  That’s not bad, but it’s the other things that will ruin his life.  He had to give up the job that he had just started.  The manager said he was a good worker and hopefully will be able to get his job back.  He will be on the registry for life (not sure), and I’m not sure how this will affect being able to attend school functions when his daughter is school age.  He will not be able to find reasonable housing.  His wife is trying to support her and her daughter on one low income.

All because of one stupid, ordinary incident that happened in high school.  Girls will be girls, and boys will chase them when they are offering.  He is not a high risk, nor a sexual predator, and this will not happen again.  But his life has changed, just when he had it about put together.  He will always struggle because of his low-learning and I don’t want to see his life ruined because of this girl and her mother.  And that’s why I support a change in the sexual offenders registry.  Not all stories deserve the same punishment.

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