Tuesday, June 7, 2016

A good man's life ruined due to the public sex offender registry

My readers know that I do not often use someone else's words in my posts. I seem to have too many of my own bubbling over to need borrowed ones.

However, I recently read a comment on the RSOL website that will not get out of my head. I could never write what this man has written, for I have not had his life's experiences, and after obtaining RSOL's permission to use it, I hope I can do it justice.

John had written a comment to Steve Yoder's article "What’s the Real Rate of Sex-Crime Recidivism?" that was posted on the website blog. Another reader replied to him with a commiseration and comment about the waste of taxpayer money to track someone who doesn't seem to have been a threat to re-offend for thirty years.

This was John's response.
Commit another sex crime? Absolutely not!
I finished my probation in Jan. 1991. Between 1991 and 2007, I was called to jury service 4 times and actually sat on a trial, even though I told the judge and both the plaintiff and defense attorneys of my conviction. I have been to 8 other countries, including Can., Mex., and the UK. I traveled all over the US, worked for the government on military bases that required security clearances, and handled some of the most expensive military defense systems in the world. I’ve been invited to a Presidential Fund Raiser; I have met US senators, a couple of state governors, and one state supreme court justice.
There have been a countless number of laws passed after the dragnet of SORNA pulled me in. Those laws not only had a stifling affect on me but also on my wife, my children, and my grandchildren; we all have been affected in negative ways.
I took advantage of the break I received from the justice system and turned my life around. I raised well behaved, career oriented, college educated, civic-minded children. But then came the destruction of SORNA. Anything that I had done that was good, right, or proper had become irrelevant. In fact, I just read the other day that I won’t be able to be buried in a National Cemetery because my Registered Sex Offender status has cancelled out my Vietnam War Military Service.
He then asked questions that I would like to have answered.
My question is this. If after my conviction, it was okay for me to do the things that I mentioned earlier, than why can’t I now do some of the little things in life? Such as, attend my granddaughter's school function and not have her be embarrassed because I need to be escorted?
Why is it illegal to go to a family reunion just because of playground equipment in the park?
Why did I have to report to the CLEO and have my mother's home address listed on an on-line sex offender registry because I was in her home for more than 3 nights in one year while she was in hospice care?
Why is it that I can bob for apples at a Halloween party with my grandchildren on Oct. 30th or Nov. 1st, but I will be arrested and sent to jail if I do that on Oct 31st between 5 pm and 8 pm? (That one proves legislatures are imbeciles, and because the police actually drive around to RSO’s homes to enforce it, they look like the Keystone Cops.)
He ends with reminding us that he is not the exception and hearkens back to Mr. Yoder's explanation of how this got started.
I’m sure 850,000 RSO’s could fill volumes of books with questions of why. But as of today we learned that Justice Kennedy may have violated a common rule of interpretation: “A text, out of context, is a pretext." Due to this misinterpretation, from the kid in the back seat mooning the car behind the school bus to the most dangerous re-offender, there is no difference between them. He assigned that pretext to all. 
For once, I have nothing to add.