By Sandy . . . Each day’s emails and email alerts in my inbox always include at least one especially disturbing situation that threatens the ability of those on the registry to be allowed to resume a normal life, no matter how long ago the offense that caused the registration.
The planets must have been in a particularly evil alignment when I started opening today’s offerings.
First was a story from several days ago where the art work, highly acclaimed art work, was ordered pulled from a university museum art display because the artist, Bruce Habowski, a well recognized and respected artist, was listed on the sex offender registry in Maine due to an unlawful sexual contact charge in 1999. Almost twenty years ago. Unlawful sexual contact, almost always code for consensual underage sex.
Then came the hysteria about registrants living in motels and the tragic events that were sure to occur should some oblivious family be put in a room next to such a person. I could almost write the legislation myself, requiring hotel and motel managers to reveal such information to guests checking in and implementing a question about sex offender registration status as a mandatory field for all new arrivals checking in.
And then came the email containing a link to a story with these headlines: “Florida man tries to set motel fire to ‘barbecue all the child molesters.’ ” It seems that an especially diligent vigilante somehow gained knowledge that the motel in question was the registered address for a couple of people on Florida’s registry and decided not to be too picky about whose room or whose car he lit up. Media reports indicate that two of the four intended victims were indeed registrants.
But all of these stories paled when I opened a personal email, not one containing a link to a media story, but from a fellow advocate and NARSOL state representative.
NARSOL state contact AndyO in Oklahoma and his wife have for several years done what I have always felt bad about not doing every time I see the ads on television: They sponsor a needy child in an impoverished country with financial donations through an organization established for that purpose.
Andy wrote to his fellow NARSOL contacts and advocates this morning to tell us that they had received a letter from the organization canceling their sponsorship due to – you guessed it – his status as a registered sex offender.
I cannot share that story right now. For one thing, it is deserving of a post of its own, and I want to include the letter from the organization, which will increase the length.
For another thing, my seethe level is still too high and my blood is still boiling too hot in my head after reading the organization’s letter for me to write about it rationally.
I will share Andy’s story and include the letter from the organization in Part II within a day or two.
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.