I don’t really know how to go about doing this or if it will even do any good, but I’m at my wits and and I know that there are others in similar situations. I’m 44 and on the sex offender registry in SC. I entered chat rooms when I was 36 and said and did things that I’m ashamed to admit to. I can say with confidence that I believe I did this out of a chronic state of loneliness. I watched all of the kids that I grew up with go into adulthood and start families. It never happened for me. I was very skinny growing up and developed an inferiority complex, therefore I was not so good with women and dating. For 35 years, I didn’t spend one Christmas, Thanksgiving, or New Years with a date. I wanted it, but it never happened. Imagine what it would be like to want a special relationship with someone for 35 years and it never occurring. It’s heartbreaking. I hid it all very well. But I was incredibly lonely. I slowly started spending Friday and Saturday nights surfing the web to take up my time (in hindsight, I wish I would have utilized my free time by taking on something productive as I’m doing now in learning to play the banjo and guitar). One day, a woman that worked out at the same gym where I worked out got my AOL ID and we begin chatting online. She began wanting me to talk dirty to her, which I didn’t do (out of embarrassment). We then started talking on the phone and again, she wanted me to talk dirty to her. I still wouldn’t do it and asked her why she wanted me to do that. She said it’s sometimes easier to do that sort of thing online or on the phone instead of face to face. This woman was dating a bodybuilder that was working out at the same gym and was wanting to make sure he is who she really wanted. I can see now that in that instant, a seed was planted and loneliness is one of the more powerful playgrounds that the devil uses against us all. I found myself in chat rooms, not looking for this type of thing, but just staying busy, passing time. Sometimes I could find some really good debates and would input my opinions. Other times, people would get on there and just say anything. Sometimes I would participate in those conversations as well. I learned you could say or do anything you want. No one knew me, so what did it matter? Then some folks began asking me to cam. I didn’t know what that was at first, but when I found out, I wouldn’t do it, at least not initially. I eventually gave in and did. It was a pretty intense rush. It slowly became a habit. That’s when I got into trouble. I didn’t set out to talk to underage girls. But it got to the point most everyone in those chat rooms were “bots” or programs. So again, when I did find someone that was real, I would ask them to cam. It didn’t matter to me if it was male/female, black/white, or young/old. It was fantasy for me and a chance to re-invent myself. I said things that I’m embarrassed to admit because ethically, I know it was wrong. However, there was no physical contact of any kind involved, ever. I didn’t rape or sexually assault anyone. I didn’t molest kids. I didn’t have sex with underage girls. I didn’t flash myself in a park or in front of a school. I’m not trying to justify what I did, but I do believe this falls into the category of casting all sex offenders under the same umbrella. Does that seem right? Now, one conversation I had turned out to be an undercover cop and I got arrested, charged with criminal solicitation of a minor. I lost a really good career and my entire life.
I was slowly building it all back. My arrest was in 2006 but my case didn’t come up until 2009. That was a tough 3 years not knowing what was going to happen. Still, in that time, I graduated from college and worked full time for a 3rd party logistics company. Not long after my plea deal in 2009, I was promoted to team leader and just a few short months later, I was promoted to manager. Unfortunately, we lost some business and had a downsizing layoff. I was one of the newer managers (they laid off 4) so I got laid off. That was the last day of January. Now we are in July and I’ve put in for some 80+ jobs, but no one will hire me. The VAST majority of the jobs I’ve put in for, I’m qualified to do. I have the experience and the education. I also have the work ethic companies look for. I’ve even put in for jobs that I am way over-qualified for. But no one will give me a chance because of this scarlet letter. There has been numerous times in which the interview went very well and even after telling them about this issue, they still wanted me. I would get excited only to be shot down because once everything got to the corporate offices, they would shoot it down. I have a lot I can offer a company, I just need someone to believe in me. I don’t know what to do. I don’t want to make light of what I did; I certainly don’t condone it. But I also don’t believe that what I did warrants me having to spend the rest of my life on a registry that will prevent me from moving forward. I don’t want this to define who I am. I don’t want to throw anyone else under the bus, because I think anyone can make a mistake and can change. But I think it’s a gross injustice to group me in with child molesters and rapists and I know I’m not the only one. I live scared all the time. This is my first effort at trying to get involved to promote some sort of change.
I didn’t have to serve time in prison and never had to wear the ankle monitors. I served 3 years’ probation. I went through the mandated classes. I took a lie detector test. I was evaluated by a psychiatrist and found NOT to be a pedophile. I’m just looking for a chance to live again. I mean no harm to anyone, never have. I have been told by practically everyone (lawyers, probation officer, the guy administering the polygraph, the lady that does the registering, the counselors conducting the mandated classes) that all of this will get better. I hope that’s true, because to this point, it’s only getting worse for me.
Again, I want to do positive things. As mentioned earlier, in the last 6 months I’ve been taking banjo and guitar lessons. I’m truly enjoying that but will have to give it up very soon if I can’t find a good job. I also have my eye on some land with a double wide trailer on it. I’m 44 years old, single with no kids. I’m currently living at home with my parents. I love them and thank God for them, but I would like to have my own place. It’s only 5 minutes from them so it would be perfect. But with no job, I don’t have that opportunity. I’ve been trying to figure out what I would be doing right now if my parents weren’t around. Where would I go and what would I do? What do other people that are on the registry do?
I know this is a touchy subject that requires much debate. I’m just looking for a 2nd chance and the opportunity to gain back a little dignity.
So I ask everyone, what do we do? I can’t afford to go to these conferences. I haven’t talked to my lawyer since 2009 but I have thought about doing just since things have sort of fell apart for me lately, although with everything that I’ve read, I’m not sure that is going to do much good. I’m not a very political person so I don’t know how to go about driving change. If anyone has any suggestions for how to go forward, please let it be known. I’m listening.