Shame — Part II

By a daughter seeking kindness               Also see Part I “How it started”

Part II – What it is now

Page forward to March 2019. My dad had a new accusation against him and immediately was placed in handcuffs at age 71 while eating dinner. He was taken away without shoes and without his medications to the local jail. My dad was close to death before I could get him out; he was in a diabetic ketoacidosis (DKA) state after only 24 hours locked up. They had my dad for three days, three days during which I did not sleep. He is diabetic, and not only did he not have his medicine, he was, for those three days, fed meals heavy in carbs and with Kool-Aid to drink. He poured out the Kool-Aid then filled up his small cup with water from the water fountain and ate only the protein and veggies on his tray. By the time he was picked him up, he was totally dehydrated and was having DKA symptoms. My dad almost died; I almost lost my dad for good over a false accusation with no proof whatsoever. How can that happen in America?

This accusation was and is a lie. The person making the accusation is a minor male who has made false accusations against another person previously. My father’s being on the list from the conviction in 1983 predisposed law enforcement to believe the accusation without any actual investigation.

The horrible thing about an arrest for a false accusation of a sexual nature is that, to the public, it is assumed to be true. The damage cannot be repaired.  You can never, ever  fix or undo the collateral damage it does permanently to the ones who are innocent and their families that stay by their side. Once the accusation is out there, it spreads like wildfire. And family members suffer the fall-out along with the falsely accused. The damage done to families is a form of post traumatic stress disorder, PTSD. The damage done by a false accusation not only causes PTSD in spouses and their children but with out proper mental health treatment, PTSD will be impact the next generations to come.

The abuse he suffered in the past continues today, just in a different form. At age 73, now 39 years after the conviction and imprisonment for a crime he to this day does not remember, he is abused almost daily by the public sex offense registry. He is shamed constantly. He is targeted by vigilantes and scammers. He is ridiculed in social media and in our town and neighborhood. Everyone has hated my father for 39 years except for me and a few other family members.

Imagine for a moment that you are my father. Imagine that you have been charged with a crime for which you are innocent, you almost die, your family is fearful, and the public is spreading multiple lies about you. How do you recover from that?

The abuse and the shame spread to us. Here I am today filled with a great deal of anger. My family has been smeared on social media. When the accusation occurred, the local police department posted my dad’s information online with his last name in caps over and over, a method that invokes fear into the public. My town is small. The public was never in danger but we were! We suffered greatly and deeply. My family was barely a family, and now the registry has permanently destroyed what little family I had left.

I lost my job. I worked in a doctor’s office, and the patients kept asking me about what happened or would stare at me. I could no longer perform a job where I was being mentally harassed by those I was trying to help. I saw comments by patients I knew for over 20 years on Facebook. I could not believe people were willing to say such things where others could read them and they could have a group discussion about my dad with out knowing who he actually is, how he grew up, the traumas he suffered. I knew some of the patients personally, had considered them friends. They hurt me so deeply with their gruesome words.

The most horrible lie, written by a perfect stranger, was that my dad molested his children. Now think about the psychological damage that lie does to my siblings, myself, and other innocent people. I tried to sue the man who wrote it, but no lawyer would take my case due to the complexity of social media.  This was on a local law enforcement page, and rather than turn off the comments so we would not be hurt by them, they chose to leave them on. This man, a person I do not know, someone who does not know me or my family or anything about my father except what he was charged with and that he is on the registry, wrote horrible things, vicious lies, about me and my father on social media, kicking my PTSD into overdrive. The words were out there as though they were true, there for everyone to read. The shame was unbearable. A man on the west coast, with a few words on a law enforcement social media page, destroyed me and my life 2000 miles away.

I endured a thoroughly unpleasant and disgusting verbal conversation with a scammer who had targeted my dad. He got his name and telephone number from the public registry and was being very intimidating and frightening until I hung up.

The social media impact on my life caused by this registry is unforgivable. I have had many friends drop off the radar once they come across the info on Google. I have lost a marriage and several relationships after that due to the registry. You become a leper in society and wear shame permanently from this registry that is meant to keep the public safe. It’s those not on a list that are committing crimes. This law has destroyed my life and my family, and we did nothing criminal!

I have been officially diagnosed with PTSD. I cannot eat or sleep without medical prescriptions. I am struggling financially. I have a new job which I love, but the money and benefits are nowhere near my previous employment. The one positive thing is my job is no longer stressful.

My family who worked incredibly hard to stay a family is now totally broken apart. I barely see anyone anymore besides my parents. My dad has aged tremendously. He has worked so hard to show everyone that he is a good man, and this has devastated him.

My adult nephew lives with my parents. He has had difficulty in holding a job and mental health issues, impacted negatively by social media.  I blame this on the way we were treated growing up due to my father’s situation. I worry about people breaking in and hurting him and my parents. This should not occur; people shouldn’t live like this in America. These are the sorts of conditions and the sorts of fears that one associates with third world countries. Is that what we are becoming?

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    • #79576 Reply

      H n H

      Reading your story is heartbreaking and so real, believe me, I know. We need some strong leaders like Candace Owens or someone with strong integrity and quick witted wisdom who can stand up to this system with honesty and facts. Sadly, (and it’s with a heavy heart I say this) Noone in power gives a ratts behind about you or your family. Look at our nation. Our politicians are the most hypocritical and selfish bunch of people who have ever lived. Nothing you’ve gone through can be corrected, as we all know Congress refuses to acknowledge the harm these laws cause.

      I pray you’ll find a way to find some peace and somehow find some way to be content in your life, for you and your family and father. No leader reading anything on this site has any integrity to do what’s right, the events of yesterday confirm this. My “give a care” for this fight is exhausted.

    • #79601 Reply

      Donald A Berry

      I’ve come to the point it’s War. Threaten Me or My Family because of the Registry, I’m using Deadly Force to protect Myself and My Family. Threaten Me or My Family Members on My property the Police will be coming to pick up a Dead Body!!! You got to be insane to Threaten somebody who has already losses everything!!!

    • #80303 Reply

      Perry

      It might be, at least I hope it will be, encouraging for you to know that I’ve written one of the Democratic Senators here in Pennsylvania about creating Legislation to abolish The Registry and the reasons I asked him to do so. Now; I have to be as realistic as possible, when I say that the likelihood of him actually following through on this request may well be Nil, but I had to try. I will continue trying as well! Those Elected to Federal or State Office as Representatives and or Senators, won’t take up causes like Ours, because they too, will be seen as ‘Sympathetic’ to Registered Citizens and extended Family Members. Hence, they’ll not be Reelected. So they totally avoid the Issue altogether to preserve their ‘Standing’ for everyone else who are their Constituents wherever they come from. Yet, those same Officials will Woo and Court You to Vote For Them, and promise you they’ll help you…until they get in Office. Then, They suddenly have Amnesia, and don’t know who you are anymore!! So it’s going to take ALL OF US ON A UNITED FRONT, to come together and collectively become a Political Interest Group that will have a rather Significant Amount of Power of Our Own, to Force these same Officials, Federal and State, to begin seeing the real damage their past Law Creations have and continue to do! I hesitate to mention what they alternative just might become.
      Nuff said!

    • #82216 Reply

      Andy Hudak III

      Ideally, the registry would go away because the types of consequences that occur to offenders and their families increase even in situations where there are victims, nevermind this false accusation example.
      They all increase the impact of the original victimizations to everyone involved, and often last for years.
      But there is a positive trend happening.
      Around 10 states have implemented the significant reform of keeping the registry, but only for investigation purposes by law enforcement, and not being put on the public registry.
      Some have opted to keep high risk to reoffend folks on until they can demonstrate that their risk has been lowered. (e.g.: completion of specialized treatment, which cuts already low recidivism rates by an additional quarter to a third for each level of risk)
      In Montana, we added access to where an offender lives for all victims charged or not charged in a particular situation, to honor victims that choose to not have a relationship with their offender.
      This prevents accidentally pass victims ending up living across the street in small towns when the guy gets out of prison, unless they do not mind, and have engaged in some sort of restorative justice process. (Usually clarifications, not just apologies)
      Our measure just barely failed last month … and that says something, since we are a major red state has historically, often enacted laws with long sentences and punishment. This time, we had support from both sides of the aisle.
      Yes, it got tabled at literally, the last minute by the bill’s sponsor, but there’s no denying that I could feel a change in sentiment this session … compared to what I have experienced historically going back to when the Adam Walsh Act unfortunately swept our nation.
      Keep speaking up. Culture moves slow, but it does move…

      Warmly, and with hope for ongoing positive change,
      Andy

      “Follow your heart but take your brain with you.”
      — Alfred Adler

      “We cannot make anyone else change. However, learning non-power and control relationship skills within safe, empathetic, accountable, and compassionate relationships, almost always leads to choices to grow towards our most resilient and integrated selves.” 🙂

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