Reply To: The sex offender registry: a non-punitive civil regulatory scheme

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Ben H.

It is a non punitive scheme… I after suffering a break up in 2014 overdosed on Xanax (60mg, purposefully) 2 days after moving back to my parents house, after I was moved to a mental hospital for five days then, transferred to county jail to await my probation revocation for the attempted suicide, I was called down to meet with a detective.

The detective advised me I had failed to notify the state police I had moved back to my parents house within three days, even though before the third day was over I was hospitalized (302’d I did not have the ability to leave the hospital.)

Thankfully warren county Pennsylvania was nice, instead of running a probation revocation consecutive to the new higher degree felony (F2), I was sentenced to 2 to 4 years in state prison for the probation revocation and 3-10 years for the failure to comply with (Sorna) registration requirements.

Because I did not fight it I only had to serve 3 years in state prison (turned out to be 3 and a half, I was released last November).

Disclaimer: I was convicted on 3 counts of possession of child pornography when I was 19 years old in 2011, I am 27 now on parole and trying to put the pieces of my life back together. I plan to attend college soon. Also, originally I was sentenced to 30 days in county jail for my initial offenses and was placed on life time registry, after A.S. V State Police I was dropped to a 10 year level 1 offender.

Also even though I was sentenced before the registry laws I violated where in effect in PA, even though it has been held to be unconstitutional when applied rectroactively, even though I no longer have to abide by the more onerous requirements in Pennsylvania. I have no recourse to fight the failure to comply with registration requirements, as I did not file an appeal within one year the sentencing for it, even though at the time it was assumed to be constitutional (Muniz would overturn my conviction, except the courts in Pennsylvania now argue that even though the decision was striking down retroactive application of SORNA laws, the decision in itself is not to be retroactively applied).

I just want to move on with my life, I want a degree and a family, just to meet someone who could love me. I broke the law committing my first offense of that there is no doubt and I have never said I did not.

I have coped over the years by abusing drugs on a daily basis when I wasnt in prison, I now attend AA and NA meetings and I am scared I will be ostracized when the members find out I am a sex offender, I am scared to one day walk into work and see on my coworkers faces that I am a sex offender and they finally know. I do not attend family gatherings because I can not stay sober and handle the shame and guilt I have burdened onto them.

I love meeting people and making friends, but when they finally find out I am a sex offender, well it makes me seek isolation, drugs, and it turns out I actually hate making friends.