Editor’s Note: At the request of the registrant, his name is being withheld, however, he granted CA RSOL permission to share the following letter which he wrote after the October 1 meeting in Los Angeles.
Last week I attended a meeting of a group of lawyers, educators and other advocates committed to reforming the sex offender laws in California and other states. These laws deprive registrants of Megan’s Law and similar laws of their constitutional rights for the remainder of their lives.
Attending this meeting were also a number of registrants, such as myself, and other family members affected by current sex offender laws. A wife of a registrant came to tears when she described how her husband was denied participation at the local YMCA due to his status as a registrant. A married couple described the case of the husband who was 19 years of age when he dated and had sex with his wife (before they married) when she was 16. They have both been struggling with discrimination and problems for the husband to find employment for many years. Minors convicted of sexting are also required to register in many states. There were a lot of tears in this meeting.
Here’s a story of a child of a registrant who describes her experiences:
I intend to support this group of sex offender law reformers in whatever way I can. I don’t see myself publicly presenting my history, but I may use my technical skills on the Web to help this group. It’s possible that my support of this group will be apparent to some people who are opposed to this group, known as CA RSOL (California Reform Sex Offender Laws). This may result in additional conflicts and / or threats to me personally.
My case occurred over 20 years ago. If you did not know about this event or how it affected our family,I apologize. There was no violence, trauma or predation in my case. Since this is public information, including newspaper reports years ago, I assume that most everyone in the family and close friends is aware of it. I have been suffering with the public display on the Web of my identity as a Megan’s Law registrant for many years. This is one of the reasons I believe I was denied employment after job interviews when I was laid off from my last job in 2003. I recently filed for bankruptcy due to chronic unemployment. Living on Social Security is not easy.
I also lost a girlfriend a few years ago when I informed her of this status. There are also restrictions that prohibit registrants from participation in Facebook and MySpace. Due to the residence restrictions, it may be difficult for me to move to Las Vegas near my older daughterwho has asked me to move there near her and her children. I served 3 years in California prisons including parole for my offense. I attended group counseling as required and have dutifully registered with the LAPD every year without exception for more than 20 years.This was the only crime for which I was ever prosecuted in my life, other than a misdemeanor for protesting in front of St. Basil’s Church in 1969, for which crime I was eventually acquitted, along with most of 20 other defendants.
Some Megan’s Law registrants have been murdered by people who simply wanted to kill a sex offender registrant, and found their address on the Megan’s Law Website in their state. I have not been directly threatened over the years, but I have had to withdraw from local community civil groups due to the fear that my participation may be opposed by people who ID me on Megan’s Web. I have been hesitant to date any woman to whom I would need to disclose my status. This has hurt me very deeply over the years.
In the United States, one out of every 438 people is on the Megan’s Law registry. In California, with over 100,000 registrants, the ratio is one of every 373 residents.This large number is more than twice the ratio in the UK, for example, for their sex offender registry. Most likely someone living on your block at home or the next block is registered. This does not effectively increase safety, as shown by various studies, but tends to create an increased sense of fear and alienation in the community. It’s possible some other members of your extended family are also registered and suffering from this form of discrimination.
If curious, search the Megan’s Law Website (http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/ ) for people with one of your family names in California. Check to see how many of these people are homeless (no address listed or “Transient”).More specific data and details about proposed legislation can be reviewed in the attached document published by the California Research Bureau.The latest data available to date may be derived from the California Sex Offender Management Board published in August 2011http://www.casomb.org/docs/Residence_Paper_Final.pdf .
I am not asking you to do anything. I just want you to know that there is a possibility that this new movement may succeed in removing at least some people from this oppressive registry and public display. This is good. If I can be removed from the registry, even better! There are also opportunities to volunteer support for CA RSOL, including legal expertise, fundraising help and spreading the word, which help would be greatly appreciated. I also know they need help in translating meeting comments from English to Spanish. Currently they are looking for translator assistance for their next meeting. This is something that I recommended since the man sitting next to me in the first meeting asked me to translate several statements during the meeting. My translation skills are minimal.
The next meeting of CA RSOL will be held on November 12 at the Unity Church, 2222 Bush Street, in San Francisco. Following this, a meeting in Southern California will be held on December 3 at the ACLU building, 1313 W. Eighth Street, Los Angeles.
They also need help in garnering the support of ACLU. A good email list of attorneys who may have an open mind on this issue would also be helpful.
You can also ask your friends (no registrants) to sign up as supporters at http://reformsexoffenderlaws.org/statement_sign.php .
So there’s hope!