Continual Shame

By Mike…

I was Convicted in 1996 for child molestation in Washington state. I was sentenced to four months’ work release, two-year drug and alcohol class, two-year domestic violence class and six years of cognitive therapy. I completed my sentence and was released from the DOC in 2001. I registered with the King County Sheriff’s office upon release and I was listed as a low level #1 sex offender. Once a year a county officer would come to my place of residence to ensure I was living there. Not too intrusive other than when a sheriff shows up at your door and the neighbors are watching. I never had a neighbor ask but I was sure they were wondering why they were at our home.

Fast forward to 2015. I have been a plant manager for many years and was in-between jobs. A head hunter put me in contact with a company in Texas. We did two phone interviews and they then flew me out for a two day visit to their manufacturing plant. After the visit I returned to Washington and received a call a day later. They did a 7-year background check that came back positive and then offered me a job. They paid to relocate me and my wife to Texas.

First thing I found out in Texas is that if you’re a Sex Offender you must get a new driver’s License EVERY year. Everyone else gets a new license every Six years. I must pay full price for this drivers License. If you’re a sex offender in Texas you will pay five times that of everyone else. Next thing I learned was that no mater what level you are the State of Texas puts your information on the Web (Public). They even post your shoe size on the web site for everyone to see.

Well after working for two years for the company that moved us to Texas someone from my work reported to HR that they saw me on the state web site. I was called into HR and asked about my offense. I told them everything and was ultimately released. The company did not want to look bad for hiring a sex offender.

Next in February of this year I received a certified letter to surrender my passport to the state department. I did and reapplied for a new passport and had it expedited because my wife and I had an upcoming trip to Costa Rica planned. I was reissued a new passport with notice on it saying I am a sex offender. Then two weeks ago my wife and I took our vacation trip to Costa Rica where I had been twice before, with no issues. We traveled to San Jose and when we landed the flight crew asked us to stay in our seat until everyone was off the plane. We then were meet by Costa Rica immigration officers and I was told I could not enter their country.

They told my wife to continue with her vacation and she was terrified. She had not been there before, and they were about to separate us at the airport. A Delta agent helped us, and we are grateful for their help. We were re-boarded and a flight back to LAX with-in about a forty-five minutes. I have traveled for work and for vacation with out any issues until two weeks ago.

I have been reading about new laws that now impose new punishment on me and my family. I have been on 14 cruises with Carnival cruise line 13 of those after my conviction. I am now reading about all the places I cannot go due to the new IML law.

I truly was a horrific individual growing up and in my young adult life. I can not change the past and have spent many years reflection on the pain and suffering I have caused other in my past. I thought I had fulfilled the sentence for my crime, but I keep getting new sentences and punishments.

If society wants reformation for sex offenders, they should not continually punish but help sex offenders to change and be productive in the communities in which we live. Finding a residence and employment are very difficult with the current laws. Who knows what’s next?

  1. Thank you all for all your comments. We are also moving to another state before my son gets out of the military brig next August. It has been very difficult to really dig in and do research on the different states.
    Mike, as yourself, my son is low level and level one. We have been looking at Washington, Organ, and Texas. My son has spent 12 years in IT with the Air Force. It scares us to death to think of the parole not letting him work on computers because of his crime. He has 20 months in and 20 months on parole. We are not sure of the register part yet. I’m hoping to have my son’s wife and 4 year old moved out of Alabama around May of next year. Hopefully, my son will get out in August. Thank you for the input on Texas and Washington.
    We were going to try for Dallas area if we decided the best state to move to was Texas. Alabama is bad for RSO. I am going to do some volunteer work with NARSOL in hopes to learn more about the different states. I am a retired school teacher. Good luck to all of you good people, and keep your head up.

    1. Debra,

      You ought to consider attending the NARSOL annual conference in Houston, June 6-9. This will be my 3rd year in a row and I have found it very informative and helpful.

      Mike

      1. Mike, I would love to attend, but I have to babysit my mom. Please take good notes for me. Mom cannot ride with me that far. It would be too hard on her. I really need to go to help my son. I wish they had more than one a year. Debra

  2. My fiance is on the registry and I recently discovered this site. Reading your post, odd as it may sound, reassured me in a small way. So many things you said completely reflect our situation… His case happened right around the time of yours, he is also in operations management at a plant, has to travel a bit to other plants for work, and has had some trouble coming back or getting into a few different countries. He is always afraid the other shoe is going to drop and he will be let go. The main difference being that the company knew of his status when they hired him.

    When he took the plea back then, he was put on the registry for 10 years. But then a few years later the state changed their guidelines and it was increased to 25. I am terrified our future children are going to be ostracized due to this. He, like you, takes full responsibility for what he did. But when he made very stupid decisions and mistakes at the age of 19, he of course had no idea his life would end up like this.

    Anyway, I say that I was reassured in a way because as crappy as this issue is, it makes me know I’m not alone. There are other people going through the same crap. I have had a lifelong issue with anxiety and as you can imagine this is the perfect topic for my anxiety to grab onto. So your post, whether you know it or not, is very helpful to at least one other person 🙂

  3. Living in Texas, I can commiserate with what you have been going through. In some ways Texas is way behind a few other states in their treatment and handling RSOs. I have also learned from personal experience that it is much better than some. It’s a good thing you didn’t move to Oklahoma! There are groups in Texas that are trying to get changes through the legislature to change and adjust some of the regulations. Of course it takes time, money, and patients. And with every change in Austin you never know if things will improve or get worse. Of course, they have passed regulations that allow you to file to be removed from the SO Registry. You have to have been living in Texas for ten years and not have any other convictions related to your original crime (such as “failure to register”, etc. It can be very expensive to qualify for because you have to take certain tests, have interviews, etc. Of course, this does not apply to those who are Federal. They do not qualify because the Federal government says so!

    The cost of renewing the license every year is supposedly to help offset the cost of tracking and keeping an eye on you. I’m sorry you lost your job. I hate to ask what you are doing now! The small city I live in is pretty ‘red neck’ and it is extremely had for RSOs to get any decent job unless it is in construction.. Since I’m over 60 and partially disable, that pretty much leaves me out of things. Having been out for over ten years, I have applied at almost every possible employer not just once, but several times. About the only thing open to us are menial, low paying jobs as cooks and dishwashers with no opportunity to move up within the companies because of insurance restrictions. As in many other cities in Texas, walso have to deal with closed shelters during hurricanes, etc.

    My advice for anyone who is thinking of making a move to a new state or to try and travel within or outside the US is to do your homework. Learn everything you can about the situation you are moving into. Almost every state and every community in it has different rules and guidelines for RSOs. It may save you much trouble and heartbreak after you make the move.

  4. I am so sorry that our society has so much hatred for people who have committed a sex offense they do not believe in change and forgiveness and want to punish them for the rest of their lives. I know people really do change with the right kind of help. There are programs that truly change the brain; eg. Pure Desire

  5. The IML law is not new. I got caught up in it and round tripped Cancun from Charlotte a couple of years back myself.

    Make yourself aware of all laws before you travel. Visit RTAG.org for more helpful info.

      1. Law makers found an easy platform to run on so they can keep their cozy offices term after term. Hard-liner DAs, lock ’em up politics, and enough legal jargon to effectively trap and pin down the accused. When someone “wins” against their system they try scramble to pass more legislation and keep the gears turning. Much of their perspectives are reactionary. People voting based on emotions to pass bills based on “Lily white versus Black as sin” presentations. They want that appropriations funding, so they can run the system cheap and put themselves up at the Hilton.

        Sad sad state of affairs. That’s what the concept of checks and balances was meant to prevent. But when you have the will of the people and do alright by them you suddenly have carte blanche.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *