By Sandy . . . Some of you will remember a story from a little over a year ago about a registrant named Daniel Silverman. Dan was convicted of a sex offense in 2009, served 13 months, and has been out in society since late 2010. Based on polygraphs and his probation officer’s recommendations, his probation was terminated early.
Knowing he would be virtually unemployable at any meaningful job, Dan did what many registrants do and created his own company. As an artist and a photographer, he created work traveling to comic and other similar conventions and creating green screen photos for people.
The company was successful and grew very popular, and Dan had a client load of approximately 40 conventions of all sizes each year, allowing him to earn a decent living and start saving for retirement.
Then it all came tumbling down. Someone started anonymously emailing the convention organizers, telling them that he was a registered sex offender, sending a link to his public registry listing.
We know where it went from there. Virtually all of his clients severed his contracts, but he managed to hang on, even adding a few new contracts. Then a year or more later, a self-styled defender of the people, Trae Dorn, at a blog called Nerd & Tie, saw fit to publish the entire story again, giving a “reminder,” he said, that a registered sex offender was actually daring to run a business and earn a living. He named conventions that had employed Daniel.
He gave Daniel’s full name and the name of his company, and he suggested that anyone who hired him was putting their clientele at risk of harm, a claim for which there is not a scintilla of evidence and is in fact contradicted by his former clients and the courts. Dorn even included a link to Daniel’s entry on the sex offender registry, something that the original, anonymous, vigilante e-mailer had also done. Within hours, Daniel had received cancellation notices from virtually all of the accounts he had left.
Again, suicidal and facing bankruptcy, Daniel hung on, slowly rebuilding his business. I have touched base with him a few times, and he was feeling more upbeat as time went on.
Now he has written me again, and nothing I could say would convey the situation as well as Daniel’s own words.
I’ve tried to carry on with my business as best I could. I recently got hired to do celebrity photo ops at a convention near Boston. The show owner asked me about my offense, and I gave him my information as well as an affidavit stating that I had passed my polygraph examination (showing I was truthful), that I am not a threat, etc. He agreed to have me at the show after reading my side of things and decided to stand by me. This was a welcome surprise. However, as a result, his convention came under attack by a few people who feel the need to track me, it seems, because they firmly believe that sex offenders are all predators attempting to find new ways to rape and assault people, particularly children.
It all ended up sprawled across the pages of Facebook. Dan continues:
There were other posts elsewhere. Some threatened me physically. One person was planning to create fliers about me to pass out to all attending the event. The convention owner decided to attempt to defend me as he has known me for several years. He may not have done the best with his choice of words, but people grew angrier. I became afraid to attend the event, fearing that something would happen to my property or me. I also wanted to help out Gary, the owner of the show, so I resigned from doing the photo ops. He posted my resignation email and even THAT made people mad.
As a result of having to back out of this show, I have lost much needed income that was meant to get me through the rest of this year and January. I am scrambling to make ends meet.
Sex offense is the new witch-hunt. We are not people … not in the eyes of others … but monsters who should be put to death. People do not care about the truth or circumstances surrounding the offender. And even when the offender has served his time for the crime he was convicted for, he is not allowed to move on with life. Sex offense is the one crime that you can never pay for, no matter what the justice system says. And this public registry is ensuring that people who have tried to move on, cannot. It’s that simple.
For once, I have nothing to add.
Sandy, a NARSOL board member, is communications director for NARSOL, editor-in-chief of the Digest, and a writer for the Digest and the NARSOL website. Additionally, she participates in updating and managing the website and assisting with a variety of organizational tasks.