Years of feeling lost, anger, and distrust.

By Jeff . . .

Well, where to begin. In 2005 I was charged with Statutory Rape, as a 15 year old. The “victim”, 13 a girlfriend of 2 years, in a non-sexual relationship that eventually did become sexual. Even after being charged, she was writing me letters as I sat in juvenile hall, however I did not get the letters, I was notified through my attorney and mother of them. All parents knew of our relationship, including her entire family, dad, mother, grandma, aunts and uncles. No one objected, except for my mother telling me to stay away from her that she didn’t like, nor trust her. As you could imagine, I didn’t listen to my mother, which ultimately led to a worse outcome. In this time I had burglarized a couple home, which the state stacked those charges against me in addition to the statutory charge. The girl whom I was with, tried to come in on my behalf but the state wouldn’t allow it as she wasn’t of age of consent, well neither was I. I was charged in 2006, and given 32 months in a juvenile corrections facility. I was not told that I would have to register, in fact that didn’t come until 4-5 months after being convicted, in April 2007 there was a court hearing held while I was locked up and did not attend that established I would have to register for 5 years as a juvenile upon my release in 2008. I was 3 years in, and in 2011 the legislation changed and I was then required to register for a lifetime. No means of recourse, no judicial review, nothing, I just had to accept it I suppose. I have been looking for a way off the registry for 15 almost 16 years now. Nothing has changed, no one has help after many consultations and discussions with lawmakers and governors, not even a response back, except from a select few, WAR, and NARSOL which had told me they could not take my case as it does not effect a larger majority. I have faced a couple failure to registers, which were dropped. So in all these years I have not been in violation of registration. As I type this, I begin to grow tired of repeating the same story, I have so much with nothing changing. Years of people telling me that I should be on the registry and yeah that is the grey area, all this acknowledgement that it is wrong yet nothing changes. It has affected my relationships with individuals, employment, housing, and many other things. Yet it is not punitive, but it is much the same as probation, you are to adhere to certain standards, and if you mess any of them up you are in violation just as you would be on probation. You essentially report to a probation officer when you have to register. In Dec 2017 I graduated with my Bachelors degree in Science and Technology with an emphasis in Construction, yet I have struggled more now than I ever did prior to going to school. I was homeless for 4 or so months while attending the university, however I didn’t stop going to school. I slept on park benches, abandon houses, and in the college. My life has been nothing but a struggle and every day I wonder when this will land me in incarceration, due to something that occurred when I was just a child, purely and age based crime. No violence, nor forcible rape happened. So how could I be a threat to public safety? These laws, are fear driven, and people think they are safe yet the registries do not keep people safer. If someone wishes to commit a sex crime, they will, nothing stopped them before and a registry surely won’t stop them before it occurs. People flip like a switch and commit sex offenses all the time with no priors, new and old offense occur regardless of how it is regulated. You cannot have a reputation as an offender, which is a right. I have a child, and I wonder if something that occurred while I was a child will cause him humiliation or if he will lose friends because of it. I have researched the laws for years and years hoping to find some way out of it, or hoping for a change but it never comes and if a change does happen it surely won’t happen very fast. Everything in my state has been struck down as ex post facto, and that it is not punitive, but regulatory. Even the statute says, if a juvenile commits a crime that an adult would commit and it would be considered a violent crime then it should be considered as such for a juvenile. Yet a statutory charge for a juvenile and an adult is quite different. It has been proven that juveniles have not yet fully developed and are different when it comes to development. New research has come out that has been ignored, and it probably has to do with big business I am sure. Say you have 10,000 sex offenders, which is rounded down in my state. At 20 dollars every three months, that is $200,000 dollars quarterly. that’s $800,000, plus the renewal of each registrants license at approximately $30 per each person, per year, which is another $300k. That is 1.2 million dollars a year just for 10,000 registrants. These laws, make people feel helpless and a person with not much to lose and no recourse except prison is a dangerous person. If anything these laws create more crime due to the punitive impacts they create. I am certain that I am forgetting much of the information I wanted to type, but after telling my story thousands of times, you try and forget as best you can, do to the pain it has caused. Thank you for taking the time to read this, and I wish you all the best in life.

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