The Beginning of the End…

My son was a young college freshman, 18 years and 9 months old. She was 14, fresh and flirty and anxious to pursue a relationship with an older boy. He was sad and lonely, so they began talking online. This eventually led to pictures, and finally, oral sex. Twice. Little did he know this was the beginning of the end of his life.

A detective came to his college dorm asking questions. We hired a lawyer, who told him not to talk to anyone. So he didn’t. The lawyer promised he would have an opportunity to tell his side of the story. He didn’t.

The lawyer promised we could bring his phone and laptop to the detective. Instead, the detective served a search warrant at our home during summer break. Our 16 year old son was the only one home at the time, and let them in, even though he didn’t have to. He sat there with the detective and two local sheriff’s deputies, not allowed to leave the room, until we arrived from work.

The lawyer told our son to get some counseling. The detective agreed, saying it would help him appear more sympathetic to the court. He made an appointment, only to have the counselor threaten to turn him in to Children’s Services for the confidential information he disclosed.

We went on vacation, and while there, he received a text from a girl at school asking if he was a sexual predator. Keep in mind, nothing had been filed yet. It turned out to be a fluke, but it freaked him out, and was a precursor of things to come.

Finally, the lawyer promised a bill of information would issue. Instead, he was indicted by a grand jury. The court botched service, so he had to go to the court to accept service of the summons. Twice.

The rest is the same story the rest of you have told: months of negotiating, praying, and pleading have led us to the week before his scheduled trial. Of course, we will accept the plea offered by the prosecutor. Our lawyer thinks he will get community control (or probation). But we’ve received promises before. We just have to pray and plead for another two months until the sentencing hearing.

One thing is certain: he will be labeled a Tier II sex offender, which is 25 years on the register for a brief, consensual encounter with a girl who was 4 months too young to make it a misdemeanor.

We have exhausted all our efforts to avoid this result. Our only hope now is to fight the legislation so that somehow, someday, he will live a free life. Until then, his life is over.

So next Tuesday really is The Beginning of the End.

9 Comments

  1. Ben Muhs

    I just wanted to share my story as I have found all of these stories to help feel that I am not alone. Ok so my crime was arranging a meeting with a minor 16+ felony and lewd acts misdemeanor. I was a Staff Sergeant in the United States Army and was on recruiting duty. I made the wrong choice to engage in sext messaging with a 16 year old girl during my recruitment at her high school. It all happened in a 2 day time frame. I fought this case for a year and a half and ended with me taking a plea bargain I often regret taking. I spent 1 year in sacramento county jail. I lost my family (divorce), my career (lost all rank and was given a bad discharge and so much more. I agree I was deserving of punishment but I am with you that NO ONE deserves to be on this useless registry. Since my release I have been homeless hoping from one place to the other. No luck finding work or affordable housing. After 11 years serving and 27 months fighting for this country in war I have none of the right in which I fought for and watched my brothers and sisters die for. On the positive side I have learned the most important things can’t be taken from you ever. I still know who I am and I am much greater things then a sex offender. I am doing my best to do the court ordered counseling but have not been able to pay for it for some time now. Does anyone know any other ways to get through this counseling another way? I am working on trying to move probation to Washington State where I have support as I have none here. But I am being told it is a huge shot in the dark. Any info regarding this likelihood would be great as well. I am a fighter for the good at heart and want to be active in the rsol and have allready had family donate and get on the bandwagon as well. We have to have a voice! Even if you have done the worst sexual crimes I believe there are much more efficient ways to protect the public and rehabilitate these individuals. But for the majority of us who have made 1 bad choice this is not the answer. Please I am really wanting to learn and act in this community to make a change and will love to hear any feedback on how to live better as an rso and how to help make a change! God Bless

    Ben

  2. Heather

    The same thing happened to my boyfriend. He was 19 she was 13, she came onto him, back then he was a drug addict and was messed up, she gave him oral sex. Her mom found out and pressed charges. Then the DROPPED the charges, But i live in a commonwealth so the state picked it up and offered him a plea. Said he wouldnt stand a chance in court due to the state vs him and given the girls age. So he took a 5-10. They SAID he could get out at 4 years for good behavior. He didnt. he did all his classes, graduated school, held a job, stayed involved in activities, got recommendations from the prison , and still 8 years later he is still in there. Then we find out given the charges, he must serve 85% of his sentence before release? Ok so they say you will get out in 4, and have him see parol every year, only to find out its all to be slapped in the face and made to feel like a POS because he has to serve 85%. Im still dealing with the fact that Im going to have to deal witht his for the rest of my life as well. I was 20 when he went in, now im 28. And ive stayed the entire time because this is a bull shit move on the courts part. just cuz someone cries wolf doesnt mean you act on it. hes no sex offender, when i was her age I was just as bad, i wanted it, I pushed myself on men at the ripe age of 14. There are 2 sides to every story. Your son is in for a VERY long road, as well as I am with my boyfriend. I wish you well …

  3. David

    I was accused of having oral sex with a seven year old in a she say he say case and went from 5years in jail to 40 years with 20to serve and have to register for the rest of my life in a case where there was no evidence to support allegation but that is how these politicians have made these laws to wreck people’s life they have made it so easy to convict someone and the lawyers know this so be fore your son either plea bargain or goes to trial the cards are already stacked against him

  4. Todd Drouin

    If I may, as this case is eerily similar to my own, if you have taken a plea there can be no appeal except for some form of misconduct. The thing is without the plea you leave it up to a uneducated jury who will only see the law as it is written. As in my case, if there was any sex consentual or otherwise it is a guilty verdict. So a plea is always the best you can do.

    Another aspect I wish to draw attention to is the brainwashing of the “victim” from this point on. My so called victim was my friend for several years before we started dating. Once the stuff hit the fan they took her into councelling and convinced her that she could not have consented. So from that point on she believed she was a victim. Now twenty years later I am 40 and she is 35 and she still believes that she was violated despite our long term relationship.

    My best wishes to your son and his family. Please let him know that he can still live a long productive and happy life.

    • Todd you just gave me some food for thought about plea deals. While I have heard that after so long its to late to appeal I would imagine that misconduct would be something to look into.
      I to took a plea deal for my small involvement in the sex registry thing so there is hope that all this can be straighten out. I believe everybody should appeal this injustice of the sex offender, even those that are caught up in these internet sex sting operations where no victim is involved. That should be put a stop to as that is a disgrace and one of the worst miscarriages of justices I would say in todays society of course there are probably more. We all still have a right to correct.

  5. david

    Well…it’s certainly the end of the beginning. I’m so sorry for you and your family. For what it’s worth, what your son did, in my opinion, barely merits being called a crime. Certainly not deserving of the punishment he will be facing.

    Taking whatever plea the prosecution offers seems to be the safest option, considering the amount of prison time your son could be facing. It doesn’t sound like you have much confidence in your lawyer. Being labeled a sex offender is, as you know, very serious. There’s lot’s of guys who say they wish they would have fought harder/not taken the plea. Considering your son’s age maybe a jury would be sympathetic?

    I wonder what some other folks with more legal experience would say about your situation.

    You are right to mistrust the system. My opinion is to fight it as hard as you can. Once your son becomes a S.O. the system takes over. As you know, if you read the RSOL site, laws are constantly changing and becoming even more punitive. So whatever penalties you are facing now could actually be worse in the future.

    My heart goes out to you. It’s absolutely insane to ruin young men’s lives over such stupidity. Far as I’m concerned, what these fools have done with sex laws are WAY more of a crime than anything your son did.

    • Barb Wright

      Well, we caved and took the plea. I did consult several lawyers and did my own research, and the evidence was too overwhelming to risk a jury trial. But I intend to work with the Ohio chapter of RSOL to fight these laws, and am seriously considering an appeal. I am concerned that the Ohio Supreme Court just ruled the application of the Ohio registration system to a 21 year old constitutional. But I did some research: unlawful sexual conduct with a minor more than 4 years younger than the defendant has four potential levels, ranging from an F4 to an F2. If the legislature saw fit to distinguish the seriousness of the felony, why are all three lumped into Tier II? And why is unlawful sexual conduct with a minor (between 4 and 10 years age difference) the only fourth degree felony under Tier II? The others range from third to first degree felonies. Proponents of registration cite comfort to the victims of violent crime; how does this apply to a “victim” who consented to the “crime?”

      Thanks for your thoughts and support.

      • david

        There isn’t much logic in these laws. I’ve noticed that the system divides people into “offenders” and “victims”. There’s no gray area. I guess because if someone is under the age of consent the law insists that they are UNABLE to consent. I think we all know when something is consensual. It doesn’t sound like your son forced himself on the girl or did anything to coerce her into doing something she didn’t want to. I find it hypocritical of this country’s laws that if, say, the girl were to COMMIT a crime she faces the possibility of being tried as an adult. So children have the ability to determine right from wrong if they commit an egregious act…but have no free will when it comes to participating in a sexual encounter. Seems messed up.

        I believe more and more people will be convicted of sex crimes because the internet makes it so easy.

        I’m glad you’re doing research and considering an appeal. 25 years on the registry for a first time, non-violent offender with only 4 years between the parties ages? Seems like hitting a fly with a sledgehammer.

        Another problem with all this…well, one of the problems….is that the laws and regulations are always changing. So today they say it’s 25 years on the registry, but then in the future some politician will want to increase the time. It’s starting to happen in other states where offenders are supposed to be getting off the registry and politicians are trying to change the rules. There’s no logic to the their reasoning. What seems like common sense is ignored. Not to sound negative, but this club sucks and i’d advise anyone to fight like hell if there’s a chance they won’t have to join.

        Let us know how it’s going and best of luck!!

  6. Ma’am each case is different but I hope your son does not have to go to jail. I know how frightening and intimidating all this is at this time but God is with you. If you look at the whole scope of things a sin is a sin and once police get wind of it. They want to be the avenger. Man is not so forgiving. If the parents of the girl don’t want to prosecute the law will still step in. One should take care of their own affairs. Probation may be good but getting back into Gods’ good grace is better. One thing about the sex offender is some states’ won’t let a sex offender attend church or he has to have a chaperone as they can’t go by themselves to church.

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