I do not even know where, or how, to begin. I am a 44 yr. old husband and father of two wonderful sons. One of which is struggling with Autism. In 2011, I was accused of inappropriately touching two young ladies who were babysitting for us. One was 15 and the other 16. My wife and one son were here. Nothing happened. Anyway, I was charged with 2 counts of felony 1st degree sexual abuse. Throughout the entire investigation I had the support of everyone. My wife, family, friends and even the grandparents of one of the accusers. I retained a very reputable attorney. After no one showed for the first two pre-liminary hearings the state was still going to indict me. My attorney called me the day before and stated that the prosecutor offered a plea agreement. They offered to combine the two charges into one. One charge a misdemeanor simple battery and the other a misdemeanor 3rd degree sexual abuse. No registration, no jail time and no fine. I had to think about it. After talks with my wife and attorney I decided to take it since the original charges were so harsh. The morning of the hearing my attorney contacted me and told me that we did some research and discovered that the 3rd degree abuse charge should have a 10 yr. registration requirement. That changed everything. He made a call to the prosecutor and she once again stated the terms. I went to court hearing still undecided on what to do. The prosecutor even told my attorney that we were not even going to have the registration hearing which is separate from my plea hearing. After consulting with my wife and attorney once again, I decided to take the plea. At the hearing I was given one year of unsupervised probation and ordered to pay $10 to the victim’s assistance fund. No mention of sex offender registration, no jail time, and no fine. I still have my copy of the plea agreement signed by all parties. The judge said that I seem like a nice young man and accepted the plea agreement after going over the terms in court. In September of 2012, my probation was over. I had not, and have not since, been in any sort of trouble with the law. I was so relieved that it was over.
Here is where it gets crazy.
In January of 2013, four months after my probation was over, and 16 months since the plea hearing, I received a certified letter from the WV State Police stating that I had to register as a sex offender for life. I immediately contacted my attorney. Also one of the accusers and her mom came to me and said that they tried to get it dropped but the prosecutor’s would not listen. They are my sister in law and niece. My niece wrote a letter on my behalf stating that the incident was blown way out of proportion and that I would never hurt anyone. She stated that I have been more like a father to her then an uncle. My attorney took the letter to the prosecutor and she said that she could not accept it. Her words were, “I can’t open the flood gates.” I still do not know what she meant by that. My attorney researched and said that they probably will be forced to allow me to withdraw my plea. He said that he would have to take the stand as well though because he played a role in what happened to me even though it was not intentional. I have retained a second attorney that said this case is like something out of the movie. He has talked to people involved with the case and many have stated that I do not belong on the registry. The detective even said that he thought something was not right with the case from the beginning. The prosecutor supposedly said that they are open to changing my charge to something that does not require registration but that was months ago. The state and county breached my plea agreement. If I would have done so, then I would be held criminally responsible.
I just can’t understand how they can not be held accountable. I have been lucky and have had a lot of support. I am from a rather small town in West Virginia. I am pretty well known and respected in the community. When the story broke on the local radio stations and in the newspaper, I was nervous. It was back when I was first charged so everyone heard of the felonies. In less then 2 hours I had pages of support on my Facebook page and numerous personal messages offering support. My phone was going crazy with texts and calls offering support. Without all of that I am not sure if I could have made it this far. I am at the point where I wonder if I should go public with the unfair, and illegal, activities that our legal system practices on some. I have even went so far as to consider renting a billboard about it . I just do not have the money or resources to do so. My niece even said that nothing happened and that she kept trying to tell everyone. When she read the complaint and the article for the first time about a year ago she began to cry and swore that she didn’t say those things. My sister in law also has cried and apologized, but never gave me an explanation.
I don’t know if my case could help our cause nationally or not. But I can assure you I have the paperwork with signatures to back up everything that I have just typed on here. I have almost ended my life twice already. The only thing that keeps me going is my sons and family. I also have always been a fighter and am just trying to be strong enough to fight the fight. I lost my retail business over this because of depression and anxiety. I am just lost over all of this. It is crazy because everyone I talk to says that what they are doing is wrong, but I just do not know where to turn. If I could afford it, I would travel to tell my story to anyone who would listen. I will also do whatever I can in order to bring any injustices out there to the attention of the right people.