Friday, November 6, 2009

Another Letter from a Reader

ConstitutionalFights received this (edited) letter from a Mother of a Registered Sex Offender in Illinois. Click here to view the entire letter:

"Will somebody help? Will somebody listen? Does anyone care?"

In the eyes of the law, my son is a registered sex offender in Illinois. This is the furthest thing from the truth, a truth nobody has wanted to hear.

Paul at the age of 18 was very close to his 2nd cousin, Heather who was 12. Paul is ADHD and learning disabled (All documented; report dated just weeks before his arrest show his comprehension level at the 4th grade, 7th month. This was an evaluation for special education paid for by the state to determine goals for life after high school). The cousins were together everyday due to Heather’s Mom being a caregiver for my mother.

On Memorial weekend, 2003, Heather’s family went on a camping trip which included Paul. Heather’s Mom noticed them sitting close and wanted to know what was going on between the two of them. Both children denied anything was going on and yet she insisted that the children were lying.

Upon returning home from camping on Sunday, Heather’s mother grounded her..She was not allowed out of the room except to use the bathroom until she told the “truth”. Finally on Thursday Heather told her Mom that Paul had touched her and was allowed out of her room for telling the “truth”. Heather couldn’t say exactly when this happened, only that it happened twice; once in February and once in March at my house. I know for a fact that it couldn’t have happened in March, because Heather was grounded the entire month for hooking up with a 23 year old on the internet, lying about her age, saying she was 18 and having him call my house so that they could set up a location to meet.

Heather’s parents went to the police to file a complaint and until Paul’s arrest, Heather continually called him and told him to just tell the police he did it and everything would be over with.

On Sunday, June 15th, Paul was stopped by the neighborhood police while driving one of his other cousins home. My husband and I were at the police station within minutes of the police bringing him there. They refused to let me see him since he was 18. I knew because of his low comprehension that he would not understand what was going on. Paul was kept there, booked and arraigned the next morning because he “confessed”. He told the police “Whatever Heather said I did, I did”.

For 5-1/2 years we have been in a nightmare and it has now come to a head. Paul has had much difficulty in gaining employment, not only because of his “sex offender” status, but due to his disabilities. He finally gained employment, delivering pizzas and he was the happiest I had seen him since this nightmare started. When his boss found out he was an offender and couldn’t deliver to schools he was fired from his job and has not been able to gain employment since.

I am now watching my son slowly die emotionally because of this label. He is appalled that this label has been put on him, knowing he would never touch or hurt anyone in his life and that nobody wants to hear the truth. He’s been accused of “touching” Heather and to think that he is now labeled with others who have viscously attacked children. I, and my family have lost ALL faith in our system. Where is justice? When this all started I had faith and believed in our system, that the truth would prevail, that others would see he didn’t understand when he “confessed” because Heather and the police told him to just admit he did it. Now I see that it’s actor against actor, state’s attorney against defense lawyer; the best actor wins.

My son was released from a state mental health facility in mid-February after five weeks diagnosed as bipolar, brought on by the stress of being labeled a sex offender. He will receive services from a mental health provider and their goal was to have him moved to a respite program for 21 days when he was released to help with the transition to home. We were devastated to find out that it was not possible because it is across the street from a school and sex offenders can’t be within 500”.

To know that there are so many more on the registry just like him is appalling! What has happened to society when so many lives can be destroyed by laws created from mass hysteria, confusion, panic, and the media do little or nothing to make the public safer. They are nothing more than feel good laws designed for the appearance of being tough on crime - especially during election years.

When looking at the registry within my own neighborhood, I can no longer differentiate between the teenager who had consensual sex with his younger girlfriend or who is the violent predator that is capable of committing such a heinous crime.

The broad definition of the term 'sex offender' has devastated so many individuals who are only guilty of a one time lapse of good judgment. Contrary to popular belief, many of these individuals are of no risk to the communities where they live and work.

Is there anyone out there who cares enough to help bring justice to this young man? Does anyone care enough to help fight a wrong

Thank you,
Sue C.
Indian Head Park, IL