Yes, I too have to register as a sex offender. Yes, it changes you. It changes your life, your job, your friends, others opinions of you. After all the **** I went through, I still believe that if you harm anyone (child or otherwise) whether it be rape, murder, theft or whatever it is, there should be serious consequences for that! I also understand each circumstance is different, especially with sex offenders because there are so many grouped into an abysmal lump of inconsistent policies/laws and there is no classifications as to certain crimes, other than to name them a little differently.
I was in Bosnia when I received my charges…well, not technically, but you’ll understand soon enough.
It was 2000…I remember it clearly, because I had just finished 6 years in the Army. I was mid twenties. February that year, I met with and had sex with an 18 year old. I knew her, so It wasn’t a stranger hookup.
Fast forward to 2004…I was in Oklahoma with my dad. I got a call from an Attorney in Austin, Texas that was helping with a recent separation from my wife (married June 2000) and he informed me that I had 6 sexual assault charges and a pending warrant for my arrest. “ok ok, i’ll make the drive to Austin (about 8 hours) and talk with the police” I told him…”it’s a misunderstanding”.
So I went. Packed a bag for an over-nighter at a hotel and left at 5pm. I pulled into Austin and was driving around, oh, it must have been 1 in the morning looking for a hotel along i-35 when cop pulled me over.
Yup, I went to jail that night…and stayed there for over 6 months. I stayed in the Round Rock city jail. Georgetown county it was.
I went, shackled to court several times over the course of those 6 months. I learned all kinds of things, such as how many actual “sex offenders” were in jail or going to court. There were a few of those kinds of guys in jail/prison that no one talks to because they were on the news for hurting/raping a kid or it was known that they committed such heinous crimes. That kind of stuff is not even tolerated in prison.
Most of the guys that are held there, are held separately from other offenders, such as murder, theft or drugs. In the area I was in, there were over 250 men that have been or were going to court for a sex offense. I talked with most of them and I’d say that 80 percent of them were there because of a mad girlfriend, or they dated in high school and were 18/19 and their girlfriend was 15/16. I heard countless events about how all a woman has to do in that county is make allegations…and that was enough for a warrant, arrest and possible conviction. Well, not possible but more likely probable. I say this because that county, at the time, had an amazing 99.4 percent conviction rate of any sex offense.
I thought this was a joke, but later found out that they were not bulls*******!
In my case, I got all but 1 charge dropped, because I stayed and fought. I talked to the prosecutor, I spoke to the judge in court many times. I pleaded with them to look up my service record…it would be concrete evidence to prove I wasn’t guilty. But they kept referring me back to my public defender (which we jokingly called Public Pretenders) who didn’t want anything to do with truth. He wasn’t paid to care, he was paid by the public to defend me. He did not defend, he just told me to cop out and plea bargain. And I did. Which I later found out was a stupid a** move on my part.
I started this whole ordeal by being offered 25 years in prison. I left court after those six months, with a single charge, sexual assault, probation and having to register as a sex offender. I felt like a winner after all that time they were throwing out. True, I was a soldier. I was used to getting banged up by circumstances, but I had no idea the connotations associated with registering as sex offender. I got 5 years deferred adjudicated probation…another mistake. I should have taken it to trial, but with all the promises by the prosecutor that he’d give me the maximum on everything allowed, I admit, it scared me a lot.
I fought for freedom and now it was being taken away from me without my consent. I was confused, angry, had feelings of being let down by the justice system and all that stuff. I was also embarrassed. I had later read the 13 pages of what I couldn’t do and or where I couldn’t go and who I couldn’t talk to. I remember thinking “what in the hell is all this?! And why?”
It’s 2015…in 2005 I said “f*** you” to my probation and left for Florida, where my family lived. I stayed there a while then moved to Oklahoma with my girlfriend. We had a wonderful daughter. We named her Amanda. She was born in 2006.
In early 2007, some kind of accident I still don’t understand, took the life of my daughter. It’s still very hard to talk about…I was devastated.
A month after that, 5 US Marshall’s showed up in my house to arrest me. I was still very depressed and didn’t put up any kind of resistance like they thought I would with my military background.
I went to court…dozens of times. I was incarcerated so there was really nothing else to do. I was sentenced to five years in prison, the max they could do, for my probation violation, then I was shipped back to Oklahoma for facing federal charges…they called it “traveling in interstate commerce”. What that meant was that I crossed state lines while I was absconding from probation in Texas.
So, just like that, I was facing a 5 year sentence in Texas for probation, which was essentially for sexual assault (I didn’t read all of the probation stipulations because I was ushered out of court quickly after judgment and the paperwork was withheld from me. (NOTE: DON’T TAKE DEFERRED ADJUDICATION if you don’t fully understand it)).
And I was facing a six month sentence in federal court for another state line cross while on probation.
I did time. A lot of it. I had a lot of time to think and reflect about things. I suppose I could have become jaded, suicidal, depressed. But I didn’t. Sure, I was sad and f***ed up for a while, but I pulled myself together. I thought about how unjustified the justice system is and how these plethora of sex offense laws are doing nothing but misinforming the public about it.
I’m a grown man now, not a young punk in the Army who thinks he’s bullet proof. I still have to register as a sex offender. Has my life changed? Of course it has. I could list all the cant-do’s and feelings of insecurity or the looks I get sometimes, or the way someone treats me when they find out…it’s f****ng horrible how people can be at times. But I’m alive, healthy, relatively free in this country I fought to defend. I have a family still, well, most of them are still here (the rest have passed) and I have a loving girlfriend and we will be married next year. Oh, and we have a little one that will be born in December. No, I don’t know if it’s a boy or girl yet.
If any of you need to talk or bs some things off your chest or even join up to help pass new legislation, I’m down like four flat tires. Contact me and I’ll send my email.