In Relationship with RSO. Seeking Advice.

By Ella…

I am currently in a relationship with a person on the registry in Maryland and we are seriously considering starting a family. I want to make the most informed decision I can and I would love to talk to people who may be in a similar situation. I so badly want to make the right decision, and want to hear as many perspectives as I can.
My boyfriend was convicted of distributing child pornography 15 years ago because he had a server that was used to share music and movies (like Napster) but he didn’t realize people were putting child porn onto it. He is a Tier 2, meaning his total time on the registry is 25 years. When he was first placed on the registry it was only 10 years but then Maryland changed the law to make it 25. He completed his probation years ago, so he is allowed to be around children, but of course still cannot go onto school property.

My main fears are honestly for any potential children to be bullied, or encounter interpersonal issues with this. I already understand that in many ways, I will feel like a single parent because I will always be the one to take them to and from school, daycare, etc. I am fine with that. My main fears are honestly when my child wants to have friends over, or birthday parties, etc. I understand we will (probably?) have to have a conversation with the parents of every new friend they want to have over. Which is something we would do- we would want to be open about it instead of letting parents find out on the internet and freak out. But I am so afraid that would mean those parents talking to other parents, who tell their kids not to play with my child. Or my child being made fun of or bullied. Am I just being paranoid?

I try to tell myself that maybe it will happen only every once in a while, but I get so afraid it will be a constant struggle, and that my kids will be ruined for life. I have talked to a few people from my local registry and a local advocacy group, who tell me that they have heard various perspectives- some say it’s not a huge deal, and others say it’s awful. The general consensus I’ve heard is that there are of course struggles, but plenty of people on the SOR have families and children who grow up totally normal and successful. It would be extremely helpful to me to hear what some of you might have to say. Thank you very much.

  1. Hi there. I have the same concerns. So my husband has to register. In Florida it’s for life. Our children are 10,9,6,4. His offense occurred in 2012. I am worried about the future as well with possible bullying. It’s actually why I started looking For forums like this and people to connect with. We are currently about to buy a home in new construction, waiting on approval from sheriffs dept, and I am so concerned about living in a large community with many families and children and some folks judging and making assumptions (unfortunately we just had another debate tonight about it). Then people possibly telling their kids not to associate with ours etc. I have the same questions to anyone who has children in middle school. Elementary has been okay so far. He’s allowed to go to their school as long as we call the school first and provide an advance notice. But in his stipulations the judge stated that he could go to and from daycare or school where his children attend for pick up and drop off. So generally because it’s kind of a sticky situation, I go to the school for meetings conferences etc. right now my boys are in basketball and I’m taking them to practice and games. We are going to ask the judge if he can have permission to go to their practices and games. No idea how that will fly. But just know that you can always ask the judge for permission for anything and he can override certain stipulations. Currently we have an attorney that trying to help us ask the judge if he could be around children that are supervised by their parents so we can have friends and family with children come over. It’s all very complicated. But you just cover one situation at a time.

  2. I have learned over time living on the registry is not easy for children but if you have a good support system you can have a family and make lasting memories. I will say my children were questioned and talk speead around from time to time but my children were trained on how to handle the sistuation. I wish you all the best.

  3. I appreciate all of your comments. He takes full responsibility for what he did. As an example, in the beginning I used to say “that terrible thing that happened to you” but he would always correct me and say “no, it was a terrible thing that I did.” Also keep in mind that this was 15 years ago and the internet was a completely different beast back then.

  4. Hi, I feel like you may be overthinking things.
    I’ve been married to a RSO for 5 years and have a 3 year old. Other than the work & travel restrictions, I’d say we live pretty normal lives. Our son is not yet in school but I don’t think there will be a problem with my husband doing pick ups or drop offs, but we’ll cross that bridge when we get there. Also, we don’t disclose this information voluntarily – these are public records and are available to anyone, so they can do their own research and ask questions if they’d like.

  5. You need to acknowledge the fact that Napster story is BS. You can use file sharing to take files from someone else’s computer, but you cannot add files to someone else’s. He is not being honest with you about the CP so think about that before continuing any relationship

    1. In my state the dealing statute reads something like “…knowingly distributed depiction of minors…”, so they have to prove the “knowingly” part of the statute. This does make his claim a bit dubious but not all states may require proof of knowledge for a conviction. regardless, its perfectly understandable for an SO to minimize their offense due to the public’s perception that he can never change or that viewing child pornography necessarily leads to contact offenses. Would you still love him and want to start a family with him if you knew he had knowledge of the child pornography? If yes, make sure he knows that and be open and honest with him about your concerns. In the end, its his job to reassure you. Good luck to you both.

    2. Yeah when I read that it raised a brow. Sounds like some denial but that’s between him and her.

      Your kids will be okay. It was a non contact sex offense. I have a 2 year old daughter and I’m just never alone with peoples kids. We would disclose if someone wanted to sleep over but regular playdates etc. No.

    3. People keep thinking “it’s Napster”, but she said “like Napster”. I can tell you from experience that it’s all too easy for a website that’s not actively moderated or maintained to be completely subverted. I ran a fairly large website back about 10 years ago, and some of the less popular areas were constantly being flooded with child pornography. Many times I’d wake up to find at least a full page of illegal pornography, which, due to the centralized nature of an http server, is fully my responsibility to deal with.

      I have no idea if the boyfriend’s story is BS, but for the sake of fairness, it’s quite possible that he’s trying to simplify the explanation because most people don’t understand how various server distribution technology works. There’s also plenty of “distributed data stores” that are basically similar in concept to Napster, but do allow uploading.. they’re not common, but they exist. Generally they are branded as community cloud storage these days

      So I’m not gonna rush to judgement. I don’t have enough information to decide. As registrants, learning to not rush to judgement quickly should be a given. So I was a bit disappointed to see these comments. Suspicion is fair, but judgement is a bit much considering the lack of info.

      1. Thank you so much for your reply. Yes, it was his computer in his dorm room that he set up as a file share server so anyone could upload and download anything they wanted. I used plenty of similar services in college when that was the best option. He tried to review things on it as much as he could, but of course that becomes overwhelming. Again, thank you for your response, I truly appreciate it.

      2. Also for clarity, this was going on around 2001-2003. The illegal music/movie download landscape was completely different back then. Thanks again, truly.

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