By Lenore Skenazy…..
The note in my inbox was straightforward, and suicidal: “I don’t have much time left and that brings me some comfort. I can’t even imagine a life of freedom and happiness anymore. I hope my story will at least help people understand the grey areas of this stigma.”
In 2013, Mikey tried to use a cell phone to take a picture of a woman’s butt in the bathroom of his home, during a party. He was old enough to know better. It was a stupid thing to do. He is paying dearly for his stupidity.
While the woman did not press charges, another guest who happened to be in law enforcement did. Mikey confessed to her and asked for mercy. If he had done this deed early in the 2000s, he would have gotten it. Mikey was found guilty of invasion of privacy. That was considered a simple misdemeanor, because there was no physical contact, and no minors were involved. As such, it was punishable by a fine and up to two years in jail, period.
But Mikey attempted the picture after his state had adopted the Adam Walsh Act. The Act widened the number of crimes defined as sex offenses, and dramatically increased the penalties, public notification, and registration requirements for people convicted of them. Pennsylvania was not required to adopt the act, but it did. Any state that didn’t was at risk of losing a chunk of federal funding.
And so, Mikey stood accused of a crime that could brand him a sex offender. An independent psychological assessor met with Mikey, tested him, and testified that he had no mental abnormalities. Jennifer Hahn, a member of the Pennsylvania Sexual Offender Assessment Board who did not meet with Mikey and relied upon the charging allegations exclusively, testified the opposite.
The judge accepted the state assessor’s opinion and designated him a sexually violent predator. Now Mikey is on the sex offender registry, in the most dangerous category, for life.
Read the rest of the story at HEATSTREET.com.