What about our Kids?

Our lives changed nine years ago when my husband, in his mid-20s at the time, was arrested in an internet sting operation involving an undercover officer going into an adult sex chat room and posing as a sexually-experienced 15 year old seeking out sex with older men.

I was 7 months pregnant with our first child at the time, and my husband was told he could be facing 20 years in prison. When they offered him a plea that carried 5 years probation, he jumped at it. At the time, he was told that, once his probation was over, he could apply to have his record expunged.

About a year after his arrest, after the Jessica Lunsford case made the news and stories were abounding about all registrants being compulsive child molesters who might murder your child, we were forced to leave the apartment we were living in after management told us that threats were made against us and they couldn’t protect us.

We eventually found a neighborhood where we have had no problems with our neighbors, but that fear is always there.

A few months before my husband could have applied to have his record expunged, the state changed the law and added a number of crimes (both sex and non-sex crimes) to a list of non-expungable crimes, including his.

It’s now been nine years. My husband is a good father to his three children. He has a clean record other than this offense, and is a responsible, law-abiding citizen. He has completed a doctorate and maintained steady employment. He is a man who made a mistake when he was younger but learned his lesson and turned his life around.

We don’t even resent his arrest. It was a wake-up call he needed about how far problems he was having with compulsive internet use and particularly compulsive online sexual activity had taken him. We both feel that the two years of probation he ended up serving was a just punishment for what he did.

But it is not fair that he has to spend two and a half decades on the registry for his mistake. And it’s not fair that the legislature can arbitrarily decide, after people take plea deals, that certain crimes can never be expunged. If it’s at all possible to give somebody a second chance, we owe it to them to give it.

I hear so much about protecting children, but what about our three children? What about their right to live without ridicule and harassment? What about their right to not be tossed out of their home because somebody finds out what their father did before they were born? What about their right to have their father attend events at their school and take them to the park? The registry has been proven to have no impact on the safety of the community at large, but it does have a negative impact on the many, many children whose parents are listed.

And, what about the world my children will be growing up in? I want them to live in a world where actions have consequences and wrongs are punished. But I don’t want them living in a society where mistakes young men make in their teens and twenties are branded on them and their families forever, where we just keep punishing people more and more, where we don’t allow second chances. I don’t want my children growing up in a world where people are defined and destroyed based on their worst moment.

Mostly, my family lays low. We don’t trust easily. We keep to ourselves. My husband doesn’t attend events with families and stays away when we have families with kids over. I get to know people, but only so far. Right now, we can do this, but when our kids are older, when they and their friends are surfing the internet freely, it will be so much harder. We hope to move to a state where my husband won’t be on a public registry, but I know that’s not enough. Our situation has opened my eyes to the injustices of not just sex offender laws, but our entire criminal justice system, and I increasingly feel like I can no longer keep silent and do nothing about what is the most pressing moral issue of our time.

 

s/

9 Comments

  1. girlfriend of a sex offender

    I have a question. Why is it legal for them to do sting operations? That is what happened to my bf too. That is just crazy. It is like there is no physical touching, nothing that is really solid and concrete, they play you into this game. He even stopped communicating with this “girl” for a long time. “She” kept bugging him about why he didn’t talk to her, why he was ignoring her, if he was “mad” at her for some reason. That is even in the report. So I am truly wondering why they would think that this is legal. It is “baiting” and that is wrong.
    I can see if someone had committed an act several times with different people, but to “bait” and entrap someone, that is wrong.
    I cannot stand our government. AND I have learned so much about John Walsh that I never knew before. HOW CAN HE KEEP BEING IN THE SPOTLIGHT? I read the NY Times review on his book. WOW!! And seen his short video on when he met his wife. Seriously? He laughed about her being underage???? I have no more words.
    I hope something is done about these types of thing for all of the sake’s of the families and you people that have to deal with this for the rest of your life. I stand by my bf all the time. I have been doing more research online and trying to think of ways to help him gather information here and there. It has been an interesting learning moment. Learn something new every day. 🙂

    • Anonymous

      I’m new to all this. My fiancé is sex offender which happened over 16 yrs but he is still on unsupervised probation for the next 15 yrs, all because a girl and her Mother. Anyways I too have been doing research. Is there a website that you would suggest? Thanks.

  2. strider_eight

    I thank you for your comments. I am a sex offender, and of the worst kind. I am a child sex offender. I was a juvenile at the time myself, and what I did was not violent. It has been more than 20 years ago. I am a single father now, and you can guess what I had to do to keep my child. I have been a single father for many years. But it changes nothing really. It is difficult for me to find employment. If I go completely broke, I do not have the opportunity to go to a homeless shelter with my child, because I am not allowed there. My child would like to take part in school activities such as sports and pageants, but I am reluctant to let her do so, because everyone thinks I am a monster. I am not allowed to possess any kind of weapon, but the law allows my face to be published on the internet with horrifyingly stated convictions that do nothing to say what actually happened. I have been made a target in my community by any would be vigilante, and they have taken my rights to defend myself and my family. My family is small, it is just me and my child, but I have seen where victim’s families have executed perpetrators without much or any prosecution. So what happens if I get executed? What happens to my child? She has already been in foster care, and abused there, while I was dealing with all I had to deal with to get her back. After she had been abused in 2 foster care homes, and after I had completed treatment with 2 different providers, and taken many polygraphs and other tests, I was finally able to get my child back. Times are tough though; I do not have any family to rely on. I also do not have the option of welfare, or homeless shelters, or low income housing. I either provide, or I don’t. My options are to make enough money to provide, or child welfare puts my child back into the system that has already abused her, or I succeed.
    This is not fair. My offense occurred over 20 years ago, while I was a child myself. I have proven I am not a threat. Regardless I am made to pay registration fees and have my picture and crimes posted publicly. I did not rape, or beat, or do any violence whatsoever. I made a mistake with a girl younger than me when I was 16 years old, and I am made to deal with this; so is my child and my family. I do not think it is fair.

    • Matthew

      Congrats for being a stand up guy.
      Sounds like you got it together and are doing the right things.
      I feel for you, I am disabled for various health reasons and live on a small income, thank god its just me.
      But, keep the faith AND you can get your gun rights back if you petition the courts and show your crime wasn’t violent, an you haven’t been in trouble since.
      O looked it up on the internet and when I get enough money saved up for a attorney I’m gonna try it.
      So, keep the faith my friend and keep logging in here and if you can donate yo RSOL legal fund.
      And together we can win this

      • strider_eight

        My idea is more drastic. I prefer to find a wealthy person or persons that has enough land to accommodate several sex offender families. I suggest we all move in together. I am a single father, and i am willing to try this. I know that most sex offenders are not violent, I also know that many of them have cash. let us work together! I am willing to put my foot where my mouth is. If there is anyone with cash and land, I am willing to throw in, whole anchor.

      • Matthew

        Dam Strider
        Wish I’d have known this back in 2003. I wouldn’t have left the federal government force me into selling my land.
        And we could now build a SO commune.

        Hindsight 20/20 dam.

        Can you just see the public and the Government if that would happen.
        NEXT THING they would be saying its GENETIC and must exterminate.
        And then the USA would become what they battled in WWII.

    • faith

      You are trully one of a kind strider and i am so sorry for the things that you have had to go through in life… not to many things gripp me at my core any more all my tear have been washed away and mostly what i do most of the time is fight… and i do that very well it’s all i have known to do my whole life… it’s like training a pitbull to fight other dogs in a cage its whole life because it is hungry just to feed it… and then all of a sudden that same dog gets put in a shelter and finds a loving home… now the dog fights for much more than meat… it fights for love and the people that love it… and that is trully how i feel… my whole life i have been fighting for all the wrong things even though… i tell you strider i am simply good at contending, fighting, debating, and hell even taking my shoes off its all i have ever known… but now i fight for something seriously more evident more challenging and expecially more sinister… but its worth it because i get the privlegde to do it when people are to afraide to do it… to timid or intimidated by officials of parents or people who are too ignorant to be approached… im that girl… and that makes me smile at night…. i will be praying for you snider.

  3. wife of sex offender

    I am one that feel like you with having someone you love thats on the registry , and a child that is suffering not being able to be as dad and son should be as family . .. its not only those on registry being punished for this its the families too . we are feeling like we are isolated . locked , up , cant do normal things . even though we can . i dont cause it tears my heart out , there is daddy mommy and son . not mommy and son getting to do what familes do and husband cant participate in anything: its not the same with out daddy with us doing normal things. husband lost a job before cause someone harraseed the manager and there fore they let him go:(then he gets another job and is blessed to be able to work . and someone calls that job at 130 am to tell them they hired sex offender..blah blah
    but with this job the boss knew him for over 7 yrs before hand and knew my husband .as a Christian . and gave my husband a chance . now going on yr half hes been able to work . thank GOD.
    But the point of this is why cant we just be able to do normal every day things , even just to take a stroll hand in hand at a park is not allowed 🙁 so when son is young hes sufferring , and dont realize it yet .hes 5. but as he gets older , what will face next.. bullying cause dad on registry 🙁 depression , cause father cant participate in any activities or sports with daddy .
    no social functions . dad cant see him off on first date. no highschool graduations. cause underage. no pool , no theme parks . nothing(
    think about the kids is right .. i cry millions teaRS from all this .i want the registry to get done away with and never to have ever again !!
    i want to be a familiy. i want my family to not be imprisoned in own home.
    i want us to be safe!! what good is this !! i do believe probation and counceling not sex registry stuff, nor ankle bracelets , and if i didnt work my husband would be in jail 17 yrs . hes on probation next 14 yrs . our son is 5 . but thats not the point. its about this registry they decided to develop as the years gone by and all the laws that come into place after your put on it .. thats what im mad about and praying will end . im praying sex offender registry will get shut down one day and families will be able to be as families. please keep in touch , we all need people we can talk to and relate to and support . pray for and encourage … . GOD BLESS and keep looking up with GOD all things possible if its his will it will be done and sex offender registry will be no more along with ankle bracelets in JESUS name

  4. Matthew

    Sadly to say TWOFORJOY, that is the harsh reality of the way this world has become, ALL THANKS to JOHN WALSH and his cronies. I feel for him for losing his son AND understand how his pain has driven him to target sex offenders. BUT he’s going way overboard because you’re right IN EVERYTHING you wrote in your story. And I applaud you for having a mind to understand.

    I too was caught in an internet sting dealing with child porn over the internet.

    And was addicted to the internet and how easy it was to access porn, so I know exactly what your husband was going through.
    And the government is going way overboard, BUT it’s also the media too, and it sells not only news but election advertisements.

    When I went to do my registration under this new law and had to sit with the state trooper for 2 hours doing the process, he asked me questions.
    He could not believe my story and agreed with me that the registry is a waste of time for non violent offenders.

    So maybe just maybe some day when we can all band together and get the donations up and RSOL has more volunteers we can battle every law and change the registry in every state.

    So keep the faith and hope alive and teach your children the best you can to have your morals and understanding and compassion.

    Take care

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