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.