It’s such a bummer reading these stories, as they mainly serve to underscore the utter hopelessness and despair I feel on a daily basis as a result of having been branded a “sex offender” for the remainder of my life. I swear I wish I had an answer for y’all (and for me and my family too!); some glimmer of hope, or “light at the end of the tunnel” would be great, but alas, such is not the case from where I’m standing. So WTF, I suppose I’ll tell my story here too since I have nothing better to offer at the moment.
First though I want to say to “notamonster”, “Matthew”, “AngelWolf”, “sandy”, “stricken”, and every other last one of you out there: I will be a friend to you. My deepest desire is that I could offer something more substantial, but I’m happy to give what I have: basically just a friendly, listening ear, and a shoulder to cry on if you need it. My e-mail address is firstname.lastname@example.org. Feel free to shoot me a message anytime and I guarantee I will reply, and most likely share my phone number as well (once I’ve determined you’re not one of the haters out there posing as a sex offender).
So here’s the story with me (my real name is Fred, by the way):
Back in 1986, when I was 26 years old, very immature for my age and maybe not so bright you might say, I fell head-over-heels in love with my (then) 13-year-old sister-in-law Mary, and she fell head-over-heels in love with me. I happen to know this for a fact because today, 26 years later (I’m 52 at the moment), that same young lady, now 39, is my incredible, loving wife, and of course we’ve chatted about our past memories and experiences any number of times over the years. This puts me in a rather bizarre situation in that I both deeply regret, and yet I do not regret my actions of 26 years ago. I consider myself to be both the luckiest, and yet the unluckiest dude in all of the world.
I am lucky because I could not possibly ask for a better friend, partner and lover than my wonderful wife. She is my rock, and truthfully she and our beautiful little six-year-old son Jambalaya are the only reasons I haven’t just given up completely and blown my brains out . I am unlucky in the sense that no matter how hard I try (CONSTANTLY) , I am unable to find the employment I need to care for and support them, and this is a direct result of these untenable and idiotic laws.
I managed to survive three years in prison (by lying my ass off to the other inmates), then landed a great job only three months after getting out, and then five years later an even better job. Those were the days when you had to physically visit the police station and view a CD-ROM if you wanted to know who was on the sex offender registry. I held onto that second job for 13 years until we were all laid-off back in June of 2010. Since then, with the advent of the internet registry where any Joe-Schmoe can just type my name into Google and up comes my Megan’s Law profile, finding work has proven to be a completely impossible task. Believe me, I’ve been going at it non-stop now for two and a half years with absolutely NO luck whatsoever. Burned through all of my unemployment, 401K, and the little other savings we had just paying the bills.
My wife of course is 100% by my side and is willing to do anything to help at a second’s notice; the trouble is, she never has a chance to speak because no one makes it past their first look at my profile page. We’ve been to court together several times, and are unceremoniously booted out every time on the grounds that “the judge has no discretion to act on our behalf because the law forbids it”. As soon as the words “sex offender” are uttered it’s Game Over.
Basically, once anyone lays eyes on my profile page that’s the end of the line, and it’s simply because the information and mis-information presented there paints me as the worst of the worst, with no room whatsoever for any kind of detail or explanation. Most folks that hear our story are horrified to learn that we could possibly be in such a situation given the circumstances, but very few ever get to hear our story. They see only “Lewd acts upon a child under 14 years of age” … was she 13, or was she five? No one can tell. Was she a willing participant or did I force myself upon her? No one can tell. For the longest time there were no dates on my profile page (an attorney friend of mine recently had the dates added). Was this crime committed 40 years ago, or yesterday afternoon? No one could tell, and now that the dates have been added I’m not really convinced that it matters at all.
And then there was the cryptic message at the bottom (also removed through the good work of my attorney friend): “It is not known whether this person has any other convictions”, as if to say, “You can already see that this guy is a dangerous animal, but he might be even worse than we already know”. Keep in mind that the people who placed this message there, the Department of Injustice, are the very same people responsible for maintaining the database of every crime ever committed by anyone in the country. If THEY “don’t know” whether or not I’ve ever been convicted of any other crime (and I haven’t), then just exactly who in the hell DOES know? This is nothing more than a deliberate attempt to make things look even worse than they already look.
Meanwhile, these same ass-holes are telling me that my job, now that I’m a “free man” (HA!) is to “re-integrate myself back into society” (double-HA!). Excuse me, but how in the &#%$ am I supposed to re-integrate myself into a thing from which I’ve been completely and permanently ostracized? Somehow I am missing the humor in that sick, twisted joke!
One of you guys wrote about how it’s illegal to be homeless in New York … like being homeless is a choice, I guess. Another of you wrote about how your crime was having sex with a 16-year-old girl … you know, you were simply in the wrong state! It’s completely amazing to me that you can have sex with a 16-year-old in state “A” and that’s just fine, but go have sex with her in the next state over and suddenly you’re a “pedophile” and a “predator”, etc, etc, forever publicly shamed and branded as the “worst of the worst”. Welcome to America … seriously?
A line from one of my favorite songs comes to mind: “Everybody knows that the world is full of stupid people, so meet me at the mission at midnight, we’ll divvy-up there.” Green Day’s “American Idiot” comes to mind as well. It’s been said that if you have no talent or intelligence, your best bet is to become a politician. I would say for certain that when it comes to Megan’s Law, the truth of that statement is self-evident 🙂
Anyway, I certainly wish all of you well, and like you, my hope is that one day things will change for the better. Of course, nothing of the kind will ever happen unless we all get involved in the fight, and make no mistake: we are truly fighting for our lives here. Join your state’s RSOL organization, sign the petitions, write letters when they ask you to, contribute if you have the ability to do so. As I’m writing this my little boy is in the other room watching Yo Gabba-Gabba, and I hear them singing that song I’ve heard like 10,000 times now: “Don’t stop! Don’t give up!!” From the mouth of babes I tell ya’, this is exactly the position we all need to take. As painful and horrific as our daily lives have become, we absolutely cannot stop trying to beat this thing! We absolutely cannot give up, ever!!
I’m in the process of writing a book about what my life and my family’s life has become since being placed on the registry. It’s about half-done at this point, and coming along very slowly because I get so friggin’ angry writing about it that I get to the point where I literally can’t see straight anymore. But it IS coming along, and it WILL be done! My lover’s convinced that it’ll become a Lifetime Original Movie one day, and I think she’s right just because it’s one of those “truth is stranger than fiction” stories those Lifetime folks seem to love. You guys should all write books too, or at least blog about this mess at every opportunity. We really need people to sit up and take notice, and the more irons in the fire the better.
Anyway, ta-ta for now, and don’t forget to write in and say HI!