By William J . . .
I was born in 1980 in Metro Detroit , Michigan . I have two brothers 5 and 7 years older than me. My father worked in the auto industry and my mother stayed home mostly , albeit the odd job here and there, due to mental illness. The house was and still is neglected and deplorable with waist deep rotten garbage and rodent infestation. I suffered extreme physical and psychological abuse from my mother as well as sexual abuse from my brothers and other people in the neighborhood with my first memories of sexual abuse starting as young as 5 years old. I would go to school covered in filth and malnourished. I developed a stuttering problem and wet the bed until I was I was 13. The nightmare didn’t just end at home with my mother. At school I was bullied and teased mercilessly , as were my brothers. I was bullied even worse for being effeminate as well. I reached out to a teacher when I was in the 3rd grade about what was happening. They sent someone from CPS to my house to see for themselves. They left with my parents receiving a 24 hour deadline to have the garbage picked up from the floors. My father beat me severely for telling my teacher before making us clean the filth up. I was left there to suffer many more years of abuse. The police had been to my house handfuls of times and witnessed the conditions of the house , my mothers mental state, and the neglect and abuse us boys were suffering. My father worked afternoons and we were left to fend for ourselves. By adolescence I was already starting to suffer the behavioral consequences of child abuse. When I was 13 I engaged in inappropriate contact with a younger boy in front of another kid in public. The police were notified,questioned me,and I admitted to it. I was adjudicated as a minor and put on probation in 1994. I was also put back in the same abusive and deplorable living conditions. When I started out in grade school I was thought to be gifted. I was placed in accelerated classes. Shortly after I started high school I quit going.
I felt like I had no hope and no one cared. Life felt overwhelming and I was alone. I was being forced to live with the ones that did to me what I was being labeled a monster for, being forced to live in filth, and suddenly immense regret and shame at what I’d done. Why didn’t the probation officer notice this? Wasn’t he supposed to assess my environment before placing me back there and assure that I received proper therapeutic care? None of those treatment guidelines were followed. I developed a deep depression.
My older brother joined the Marine Corps at 18 to escape the toxic environment . Just before my 16th birthday he was set to be deployed to Okinawa, Japan for a year with his first child to be born shortly after. By that point I was apathetic and drinking any chance I got. My mother devised a plan and manipulated me into going along with it. She went out and bought me a large amount of beer and a pack of single blade razors. A couple hours later I was taken to a mental health facility with cut up arms with specific instructions to refuse treatment and physically resist while only ever saying the words “ I’m not talking to anyone but my brother.” The idea was that a family emergency and the Red Cross was the only thing that would intervene in my brothers deployment. When I tried to follow the plan I was forced onto a gurney, restrained, and sedated. I did what I was told after that. I was released a week later because I was not crazy. I was being abused! The plan didn’t work and my Mother didn’t speak to me for months afterwards.
The system criminalized me for behavior that was being done to me and no one had taught me any better. My development was stunted from the trauma . I had no way of knowing the severity of my actions. I am not the same person I was then and I made a pretty bad mistake. The stigma of being a registered sex offender for life for behavior at 13 while being under psychological and physical / sexual abuse is cruel and unusual. When my parents signed a plea in 1994 there was no registry . In 1995 laws were enacted that retroactively placed me on the registry for 25 years while I was still in the care of my parents. This was never explained to me. As far as I knew it was supposed to be over when I turned 18. New laws and amendments have been and still continuously are being retroactively applied to me ,however, placing me on a list for the rest of my natural life with erroneous requirements and restrictions with any simple error on my part punishable by a lengthy prison sentence. It resembles the act of public shaming and banishment . The consequences of juvenile delinquency due to my environment bled over into young adulthood. With no stable foundation or support, I left Detroit and was homeless and travelling, never staying in one place longer than a few days and trying to find meaning or just escape from the torments of my past.I was never sure of what was required of me if I continued to live in MI. The laws are ever changing and extremely coqnfusing . It started out I would be done at 18 then they said 25. I was later to discover they meant 25 years but it was never explained. After I left 2006 and 2011 saw amendments were added that unbeknownst to me subjected me to even more requirements and a considerably shorter window of time to report my presence in the state if I chose to come back. This meant that I had to register if I was residing in Michigan or about 2/3 of the rest of the country.
I unexpectedly found myself back in Michigan in 2012. The window of time to report had been 7 days and I always kept my visits shy of it just to be safe. It was my second day in town and I had contact with police doing random ID checks . Not knowing of these new requirements that changed the window to 3 days (even though it had only been 2!) and after being adjudicated a minor of a crime nearly 20 years prior, I was arrested and charged with a felony for failure to register as a sex offender. After 2 months in jail a detective from the city and my public defender railroaded me with threats of 10 years in prison and violence at the hands of other inmates once I got there. The defender said at some point , “You know what they do to people like you in prison? Sign this and you’ll get out in a couple more months. It worked. Detectives and public defenders are allowed to lie to you and use psychological techniques to get favorable results for themselves and the courts. I was terrified.I did 5 months in county jail. I then checked out with the state police and left Michigan for Texas, where I had friends and the opportunity to work. When trying to register in Texas the police informed me that it doesn’t require juveniles to register longer than 10 years after they are released from supervision or have their names publicized. I thought I finally caught a break and could start a normal life. I found a job, rented a house, and was doing well for myself. Unfortunately, due to a clerical error between the state police and the local police department , two more failure to register charges were filed against me as if I were still living there. These were felonies, and warrants were issued for my arrest. I was arrested multiple times in Texas but Michigan refused to send a transport for extradition or change the warrant each time. When my lease was up after five years, a background check revealed my conviction from five years prior. It didn’t disclose the original charge, as it was a juvenile case, leaving people to guess as to why. I was fired from work and struggled to find any new employment that was going to be ok with my criminal record. I could not find anyone willing to rent to me and ended up homeless and destitute. I am living with HIV , diagnosed in 2018. I suffered great emotional and physical duress as well as obstacles detrimental to my treatment being homeless.
The ACLU eventually got involved in my case, and I was included in a class action lawsuit that found the state’s actions against me were unconstitutional. I have to navigate the criminal justice system while being 1200 miles away and kept impoverished because I can’t afford a lawyer to fight for me. I have an advocate in MI that is guiding me through some aspects of this but I really need to find a civil rights attorney that would be willing to file a suit against the state for my pain and suffering , lost wages, and wrongful imprisonment/ conviction. Furthermore I’m hopeful that the state does individual risk assessments on juveniles that are captured in this cruel and endless punishment disguised as a civil regulatory scheme. Children as young as 10 years old that were victims themselves are living life sentences on the adult sex offender registry . Now the ACLU is suing the state for the fourth time over their latest version of the registry because the old ones have been struck down numerous times by federal courts and the Michigan Supreme Court and the new law is more of the same. In the meantime while I wait I am restricted from traveling and living where I can be with what little family I have left and limited options for pursuing an education. I can’t work where I choose. I’m in limbo and my fate is to be decided by a bunch of politicians and legislators that exploit the opportunity to demonize registrants for voters support and justice for juvenile offenders gets forgotten or swept under the rug. As it is now the only way off of the registry for me, is to die.
I was grossly neglected, abused, and systematically ignored by those in my community who could see what was happening. To make matters worse, I was put into a corrupt criminal justice system, which was supposed to protect me, but only served to endanger me even further. It was clear that I was suffering the behavioral consequences of child abuse and yet nothing was done to stop it. To this day, it is still happening to my mentally challenged brother while the police had the audacity to go search that house of horrors periodically looking for me and completely ignoring the abuse that is still occurring. My mother should be institutionalized. I need more than having to struggle to get my freedoms slowly given back to me, freedoms that should have never been taken away in the first place.When a child is abused, the consequences can be severe and long-lasting. Physically, the child may suffer from injuries, while psychologically they may experience depression, anxiety, and post-traumatic stress disorder. Low self-esteem, difficulty trusting others, and difficulty forming and maintaining relationships are all common issues that abused children may face. They may also struggle to learn and display behavioral issues. The effects of child abuse can reach far into adulthood. Victims often suffer from substance abuse, promiscuity, and mental illness, which can impair their ability to work and form meaningful relationships. This is true for me as well. I am currently in a place where they help with my rent, but I am not receiving the proper therapy. I’ve been doxxed due to the unconstitutional conviction and received harassment in my community. I’m suffering from mental health issues and negative health consequences well beyond the scope of any punitive or civil commitment for my crime that was committed when my brain wasn’t even fully developed yet.
I don’t know who exactly is to blame for this continuous miscarriage of justice nor am I seeking vengeance. I’m seeking relief and reparation so that I can have the opportunity to heal and reach my full potential. I am a good person . I am kind and I believe somewhat intelligent. I would never harm someone intentionally . I have not committed any other offenses of this nature. I have hopes and dreams that I am held back from pursuing . I know that I have a light inside me that if given the chance to shine I could really do something good in the world. I don’t deserve to be deemed a monster and a pariah. If anyone reading this has any insight or direction to help me with this plight I would be grateful. Thank you for taking the time to read this. It took a lot for me to share.