I was released from a PA State Correctional Facility in July 2020, after spending 10 years (of a 6-18 year sentence) locked up. I’m classified as an SVP with lifetime registration.
Banned from the county that I lived in my entire life, and where my support group is located, I am living one county west,
Shortly after my release, I approached an LGBT organization that I was interested in being active in. I was completely up front about my past to the President of this organization. She told me that she would not be comfortable with me volunteering due to my past and a lot of their programs are geared around LGBT youth. I understood her position and went on my way. I still participated in LGBT events that did not involve youth, but always felt uncomfortable around her.
There is another LGBT group in our area, that was willing to allow me to volunteer, as long as I kept within my parole stipulations. Only a few of the board members were aware of my past. I’ve been helping them out with various functions for the past year.
I recently found an ideal job, working with NAMI (National Alliance on Mental Illness). I was straight forward with the staff, and they have accepted me for the person I am today. Unfortunately, the offices that I am to work at happen to be in the same building as the first LGBT organization that would not let me volunteer. When the lady for the LGBT organization found out I was in the same building as her, she contacted the landlord to complain. I am now “banned” from going to the office and need to work from home.
A week later, this same lady, went to the board of the LGBT organization that has allowed me to volunteer for them, and told them of my past. While some of them did know about my past, the others did not have an issue with me (I guess, since they have gotten to know me and my work ethic) but they are afraid that she will go to some of our bigger sponsors to “scare” them away from the organization. So, I’ve been told that I need to step back from volunteering.
I’ve also found out that this lady is going to other organizations that I have nothing to do with, and telling them about my past.
Since I’ve been released two years ago, my depression has been out of control, and these past few weeks have been horrendous. I honestly don’t know why she feels it is her right to spread the word about me and my past, but I’m finding it so difficult to the depression and the self harmful thoughts that often creep in.
What rights (if any) do I have to protect myself from this lady spreading my story around and preventing me from working and volunteering?
Thank you so much for any advice.