New to this as a mother

My son just this month plead guilty to something he’s not guilty of.  He’s gay, recently married, and a victim.  Because he had no proof of who used his computer, he was advised to plead guilty and serve a few years of probation – with no requirement to register.  At the final court date, he was told that the law changed and everyone had to register.

I feel he was lied to and betrayed through every step of the legal process.   From the investigator who was “on his side”, and said he should plead guilty because he owned the home, the computer in question (and not to worry – he would probably just get a slap on the wrist for it).  To the lawyer who was supposed to look out for his best interests, to the prosecutor who just needed a conviction, regardless of justice or fairness.

I always thought the registry was for actual child molesters and sexual predators.  Little did I know that all kinds of people are thrown under the bus.  Unfortunately, everyone goes under the assumption that if you are on the registry, you must be a monster.

There is no fairness in the legal system, legislators are over-zealous, and people think the worst of anyone on the sex offense registry.

I’ve gone from absolute rage, to simmering anger, to a feeling that something must be done to change the laws – all within a few days time.

13 Comments

  1. Don

    Jayne,
    Note that I am not an attorney and this is not technically legal advice, but it is something you should look into. If your son plead guilty after being given one version of the consequences then the terms were changed at the sentencing hearing, he should have had the opportunity to withdraw his guilty plea. I suggest that you review the situation with a new attorney with an eye to pursuing some kind of post conviction relief – possibly ineffective counsel. There may be a path to a vacated plea, but understand that it simply puts your son back to square one and he would be facing a trial on the charges. Then it becomes a legal chess game as to whether the prosecution can actually prove “beyond a reasonable doubt” that the images on the computer were your son’s. Good luck!

    My heart goes out to you and your family. I wish you the best.

    • Jayne

      The comments here have been so kind. Thanks to all of you. I continue to be stunned at the crap my son has to go through. (And the fees for probation are outrageous!) He shouldn’t have to go through any of it.

      I will never trust anyone in law enforcement again. Justice is what you can afford to pay for and has nothing to do with truth or fairness.

  2. To all who have been lied to, there is no end to their lies. And there will be no justice for you!! There will be no jobs for him and he may have to move out of the city and you will have to pay for him to live for the rest of his life until something is done about this injustice that is going on and good luck. I hate to sound like that but I have been doing this for 16 years now and it just keeps getting worse. Appeal to your congressman, but good luck with that. Very few will even listen. There are a couple that are not afraid to speak up to the unconstitutional means by which we are stalked.

    • Cort

      I believe groups of us should get together as a community to help each other survive. Start our own buisinesses and rely on each other while we advocate for change in legislation. These registry requirements are engineered to break us as human beings. They are truly tearing apart families. God bless all of you.

  3. Mary

    Jayne,
    My son made a bad judgement and came forward with it and is doing his sentence now. He was 15 when this happened but the prosecution has insisted in charging his as an adult and putting his age as 18. We have no idea how he is able to do this nor do we know how to get it changed, and yes we did pay for a lawyer instead of using a court appointed one. A prosecutor will do what ever they can to make themselves look good or their case look better.

  4. Dolley

    Unfortunately you have become aware of what seemed like a respectable criminal justice system until your son experienced such a misfortunate event firsthand. I believe there are many of us that felt that way until we too, somehow, became involved in seeing this from a different angle. Most of us now understand how many people are subjected to the public registry and that the crime of conviction does not equate to someone being a Predator. There are many ‘sex offenders’ I would have thought were terrible people, almost monster-like until I understood their situation and saw them as human beings. Most of them caught up in a whirl-wind of society’s mishaps and misfortunes that are still, just the same, people like you and me who are subjected to regulatory laws even after their court imposed sentences have been completed.
    We are glad you have found RSOL. There are many ways in which to turn our frustrations into triumphs.

  5. Jayne, Your reaction mirrors mine, and many hundreds if not thousands of other mothers out there. I barely knew a registry existed when my own family member began his sentence, but knew there was something badly wrong with a system that locked people away for such a long time when what they mainly needed was help, be that with breaking an addiction, or medication for a mental problem, or behavioral modification therapy. Sure, people must be punished when they break the law, but I had always thought overall that in the USA the punishments fit the crime. Quite a shocker to realize how far we had gone from that!

    I hope you will find a way to get involved in advocacy either in your state or with national RSOL and channel that anger toward change!

    Brenda, Exec Dir at RSOL Inc

    • Jayne

      Thank you. I’ve done the only thing I could think to do – I’ve written letters to some of my congressmen, both federal and state. I don’t know what else to do. I don’t know who to trust anymore.

      • Today, no matter what the sex offense is one goes on the registry. I was enticed by a police officer through an internet encounter… and I was not even in a teenage chat room, had no victim, went down there to prove to myself that it wasn’t a teenager, as I didn’t really believe it myself but now that was considered an “attempt”. I didn’t even ask for sex. Anyway, in reality all of this is a political witch hunt. Oh and I am classified as a Sexually Violent Predator. Politicians love to jump on this band wagon as sex sells and gets votes. It might seem sometimes like a nightmare to what he is going thru but it is what it is for the moment. What you should do is stand up and get media involved as the registry isn’t really thought out all that great by those who suppose to be scholar’s with degree’s and all that suppose it is. The registry is just a site to present a practical impact to influence the general public. When there is sex involved, even the slightest one can go on the registry. One urinates in public and you are branded for the rest of your life.

      • Julie

        James,
        Thank you for sharing your story. This same thing happened to my son 2 days after returning from Iraq. He was still Active Duty and when he returned, his wife had left him and taken their daughter to another state. Alone he went on the internet and easily became a target and victim of Louisiana’s Attorney Generals sting operation to promote his next election. My son was enticed by an officer, pretending to be in her late teens. He was 22 then.

        He is now a registered sex offender, he is still serving a 7 year sentence and this has completely taken away any belief or faith I have in our legal, justice system, not to mentioned destroyed our family. This has been a huge money maker for the state and lawyers. He had a public defender who told him to plead guilty and he would get off easy. Now two lawyers, numerous letters to state and local officials as well as thousands of dollars and we have made no progress.

        I am worried he will never have a chance in life because of a one time online encounter, not even with a real person. People who murder serve less time and don’t have to be on a registry. My son chose to stay home alone rather than go out drinking or trying to find someone in a bar. He was charged with online solicitation of a minor.

        I used to believe that everyone on the sex offender list was someone horrible and had done terrible things, I was wrong. I am learning more and more how so many men are wrongfully labeled and abused because of these horrible laws.

        My prayers go out to each and every one of you!!

        These operations to entrap men are only to promote individual political careers or make money for the state, not to punish real pedophiles. I am so scared for the young men out there living in these times.

      • girlfriend of a sex offender

        Julie, my heart goes out to you. My heart goes out to all the ones that were “trapped.” Heck, when I was a kid, the only time I heard that word “trapped” was when a girl slept with a guy to get pregnant so that she could keep him. Or when a cop would sit in a squad car without his lights on, pulled off in the median or the side of the road.
        I used to think the same thing of people who were on the sex offenders list, until I met my boyfriend. I am so shocked by the number of people that have been hit by this “entrampment” bs. How in the heck can they get away with this? Do they want everyone and anyone in prison to take up space? To make themselves feel better? What makes them a better person? They are the ones that are enticing them, baiting them to do something wrong. THEY are they guilty ones. THEY are playing a lie, THEY are lying to get the thrill that they want. Do they get off on this? Pretending to be someone else? Isn’t that providing false information? (illegal) They are such hypocrites!!!!
        I hope that something can and will be done on this. If I read anywhere that there is something happening with all this, I will be on board. I am sure my bf will be too. 🙂 Praying to God for the people that are trapped and that they can turn the tables around on the ones that have made their lives a living hell.

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