A SC registrant
@Mary, I am sorry for what your son has went through. I too was a victim of false sex abuse allegation stemming from a 1999 divorce/child custody battle. Quite simply, my ex- wife separated from me taking our three children. She placed them in, I thought, a very harmful environment. I contacted child protective services in the county we resided in as a family. She moved to the adjoining county. After almost a year, a “founded” complain by me, and a treatment plan designed to the best interest of the children, my ex living at her parents decide to take matters into their own hands. They had a friend living in the county she now resided in working for CPS there. The case, 6 months after the separation and only 2-2 hour court appointed visits with my children, was transferred from my county to hers. The very next day, with the initial home visit, the case worker commented, “every thing seems in order” “I don’t see the neglect the father was referring to in his complaint with ______ county, however, I do have allegations that the father has inappropriately touched one of his daughters”. The nightmare began. With all the exculpatory evidence slid under the rug, a mother just doesn’t make these allegations, nor does a child lie about such a thing. When they moved out, my daughter in question was barely speaking. Most child victims disclose their abuse within 48 hours, this came some 5 months later and was not disclosed to my county’s CPS agent. That agent had numerous of times ask if the children had been physically, sexually or mentally abused. All times were reports in the negative. No traces, signs, behaviors or actions that would suggest any of those. Because I went to CPS being a concerned father, the mother, I find out after I am released from prison, only put the charge on me for two reasons; 1) to get me out of the picture and 2) because she believed I was trying to prove her an unfit mother so that I would win custody of the children. At that time I was working two jobs and running a newspaper route first thing 7 days a week. Where would I have found the time to tend to three children? Regardless, because of lack of evidence, the entire family (her mom, dad and brother and the ex-) was allowed to leave (I say flee) the state, quitting their jobs, cutting all ties, I sat in county jail for three years trying to go to trial to prove my innocence. Instead, after sitting in a jail cell on protective custody 23 hours a day for that 3 years, I plead guilty to an “attempting to commit a lewd act”. I was sentenced to the maximum and received 15 years under “non-violent” sentencing structures which meant I had to do 7 1/2 years for something I never done. I was told it was non-violent and I wouldn’t be exposed to the registry. Now I’m out and found out not only do I have to register, but have to do so for life. I can’t find work, I earned my paralegal certificate in prison and am currently in my senior year earning a BS in Legal Studies to further assist in my case. I have a civil suit in against all those involved and every lawyer for every defendant has done everything in their power to try to get my case dismissed. This is a current motion to dismiss now before the court of appeals simply because I didn’t redact personal information and then when I corrected that, I redacted too much, another motion to dismiss! I’ve been looking for work for almost three years now to no avail. The people I’ve encountered along the way, the laws I’ve read and the continuing consequences based on the registry laws imposed once you are released are unconstitutional. One saying I learned very well when behind the fence was “if it looks like a duck, quacks like a duck, it must be a duck”. There are no protection for people like your son and I Mary, because it’s what they call being “caught up in the system”. It would seem to me though with the old saying “its better to let 10 guilty go to prevent 1 innocent from facing conviction”, then with 1 innocent in anything, 1 is far to great of risk to put people like your son and I in harms way, basically making them destitute and homeless the way we as a nation have allowed the government to do. I served in the U.S. Army and am receiving benefits for service connected disabilities (thank God for the VA) which is helping me in my schooling. My dad, a retired 32 year Army Vet and my oldest sister another 30 years of service in the Air Force. I didn’t know I signed the dotted line to fight for the injustice, lack of proper assistance of counsel, denied the right to a trial, and now facing the consequences of someone else’s actions. I look at it this way.. who is worse, someone who might commit a crime like this or someone who falsely accuses someone of the same. Regardless, no matter how you look at it, innocent or guilty, these laws are just wrong and are against everything I’ve ever believed that this country is supposed to be about! Thanks for sharing your stories and thanks for reading mine.