Carol Nesteikis, 66, has never committed a crime. But for two years, from six in the evening to six in the morning the next day, she lived under de facto house arrest with her 32-year-old son, Adam. It wasn’t because she wanted to. The home itself was a kind of punishment, she says.
Adam was sentenced to 10 years on the sex offender registry and two years of probation in Illinois for exposing himself to a neighbor, something Nesteikis says he was coerced to do by a man who was abusing Adam. Since the victim of Adam’s offense lived nearby, Adam was required to move out of his family’s house the same day he pleaded guilty—and for two years was ordered to remain inside his new quarters during the evening.
Adam has an intellectual disability, however, and functions with the mind of a 10-year-old. He would starve on his own, Nesteikis says. She and her husband had to move away with him, and spent $150,000 to find and maintain a home that meets another requirement of Adam’s probation: he must live at least 500 feet away from school property and daycare centers. His curfew, Nesteikis says, became their curfew.
It’s a fate shared by many parents of people with intellectual disabilities and sexual convictions across the country. Because the children often can’t understand and comply with the rules and restrictions of their sentences, it falls on their guardians to suffer the financial, social and psychological burdens of the crimes.