Living with 290: A Wife’s Story

Two years ago, my world was rocked to its foundations. My husband had just retired from a very long interesting military career. He went into a terrible depression and refused to acknowledge that he needed help.

He got himself into a situation which happened to be a sting. He was charged with the intent to meet a minor for lewd and lascivious acts. All because the so-called minor asked him two questions that pertained to a sexual nature. He only answered them. The questions were general like: Do you consider yourself a good kisser? Answer: I’d like to think so. Then she proceeded to play on my husband’s emotions: My parents aren’t here, they are out drinking and I’m scared and hungry. Can you bring me some food???

He was working in another town so I was not with him. However, I was able to read the “discovery papers” provided by the sheriff’s department. He went over to the house and sat in the car until he got a text message saying she wasn’t quite ready, so come on in. Once he entered the house he was charged with felony residential burglary. In California if you enter a building to commit a felony you are also charged with the burglary with carries a state prison sentence of many years.

After several court appearances, our attorney told us about the plea deal: One year in county jail and 5 years probation and registration on the sex offenders registry. They would drop the felony burglary charge if he accepted the plea. He has some pretty serious medical issues. One week after being in county jail, I got a phone call from the sheriff’s department asking me is I was aware that my husband was an inmate there (like I didn’t already know that), did I know he applied for electronic monitoring, and if granted where would he live. My answers were yes, yes, and apparently he would have to live in my house. They said come and get him tomorrow. Now this man, who was so dangerous to society was released before I got there and was left to wander the parking lot.

So probation begins. By allowing him to live in my house, I have been told I am subject to all the terms of his probation. I had to remove anything that pertained to children. I could not have liquor in my house. I cannot have my grandchildren in my house. My things have been searched during house probation visits. I have been lead into the living room and been required to sit there while they search. WHY? Because they have to have the premise secured. I was even escorted by two female deputies from my bedroom to the living room. I am not a criminal, but am treated as is I am the one who committed a crime. Why can’t I have my grandchildren in my home? I would never leave them alone with my husband – Never did, why would I start now? He’s not into young children – Too noisy. I can’t even have them there with supervised (other adults) present.

My husband lost his job, I retired to spend our retirement years together. So our income has been cut drastically. We have had to declare bankruptcy. I’ve been looking for employment, but if a background check is included I live with the fear that his SO status will be revealed because I live in the same house with him.

He is required to go to weekly sex offender treatment class where the offender will learn to rehabilitated. Some of those tasks they are required to do are so awful that I wonder where they come up with them. His particular counselor has the belief that once you are convicted of a sex crime you will continue to commit them and therefore cannot be rehabilitated. Meanwhile, my husband refuses to leave the house because of paranoia and the threat of vigilantism.

My life has been destroyed. My friends and family that know about this have abandoned me because I won’t leave him over this situation. I don’t believe for a minute that my husband is the monster the district attorney, the probation officers, and the judges seem to think he is? He had no visible victim, no sexual paraphernalia on him. He was charged with a crime he NEVER intended to commit. But because law enforcement decided he would definitely do something to this girl based on two questions he was charged. As far as I’m concerned, he is only guilty of making stupid decisions without thinking through the consequences. I’m the one serving the sentence. Some of you may be offended by my story.

I am writing it in hopes that someone out there can direct me to a support group of wives / girlfriends/significant others of registrants. The counselor that I was seeing is of the mind, that once a sex offender they will at some point reoffend or that this was not the first time he has done something like this. She point blank asked me if he sexually abused my children (before she even knew I had children). Thankfully, my children are adults and live with their families.

Any suggestions for me?

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There are a couple of resources out there I know of. One is Daily Strength, Family of Sex Offenders, here there are more groups here,

Besides CA RSOL and RSOL National, there’s W.A.R. (Women Against Registry), which is an advocacy group set up for wives, mothers, family members of registrants. They are here, for Facebook, here That should at least get you started. Good luck!

Dave in the Philippines

I agree with Dave. Daily Strength is a good online support group. These stories make me sick as we are yet to endure the time of probation. I am dreading it already. Why does it always have to involve intimidation, not only for the “offender” but also for the families involved. They have rights and should not be subjected to such interrogation. Luckily, our therapist does not believe in some of the methods others use and wants to help rather than harm. A good therapist should always believe in their patients, to have them come out a better person. Even probation’s role is supposed to be one of aiding and guiding. Why can’t they just do their jobs?

California seems to be digressing to the same level as Florida. From what I gather from reading this is this man was convicted because they only think he could possible commit a sex crime. The talk of proving beyond a reasonable doubt is a slap in the face to truth and justice. They turn lies into truths.

I was in a similar situation with a counselor who believed all who have been convicted of sex crimes will continue to commit sex crimes. When I didn’t fit his idea of what a “sex offender” is, he was quick to lie about me to get my probation revoked. Make sure he is extra careful around the counselor, and documents EVERYTHING!

My wife also wondered, “why am I treated like a criminal.” In her case she refused to accept blame for what I did. Why should she? Good question. I wish to own my own guilt, thank you. According to our psychologists, having family that accepts the offender in the house (not share his guilt) is an important way to lessen the chances of reoffense. So why aren’t the spouses, relatives and close friends of the past offender treated as the heroes they are? They’re doing the job of reintegration for free — or less.

I have been through the very same scenario 13 years ago. No victim, no pornography, no sexual paraphanalia. These “stings” are easy pickins for law enforcement and border on being illegal and unconstitutional.
I was part of a very supportive church family, some loyal friends and an outstanding counselor that really knew me prior to my arrest. Some things that helped me was researching about my case, studying case law, getting legal definitions, understanding all I could about the choice I made. Keep in mind that your husband was targeted by police through this sting. Law enforcement has a perfect profile for these stings; middle age, usually white males, expressing some type of dissatisfaction in their lives, either a job, a change of some kind, a disagreement with a spouse; they know what to look for and how to word things to create criminals. These stings are federally funded and are money-makers for the cops; they make fantastic headlines and news stories.
Like you, I lost everything too, but that was just “stuff”. What I didn’t lose were a few close friends, the love of my two adult children and my fighting spirit. Good people do foolish things, but it doesn’t make them bad people. Stay close to this website. CARSOL is a wealth of knowledge and encouragement. Be vigilant, be extra careful, document everything (CYA). You’ll both get through this, you’ll be discouraged, but you’re not alone in the process.

I was convicted in the early 90’s as a result of a sting much like the one you describe. Have been on the registry for most of my adult life, when I agreed to the plea, I had never even heard of the term ‘registered sex offender’. As the years have passed the penalty for being on the registry has gotten worse and worse and worse. It has gone from being a minor inconvenience to a life destroying requirement in the last 22 years. I know this is not the plea agreement I signed up for, and I wonder if I could have my plea withdrawn as a result of it. As far as I’m concerned the plea agreement between me and the state has been breached by the state.

As far as counseling, I echo prior statements… very wary of the counselor. He is not your friend or buddy. When speaking to him, assume him to be a police officer, because in essence, he is one. Anything you say to him could have a deep impact on your husband’s future. Honesty with this counselor is simply not an option. You husband needs to learn to say whatever he needs to say to get through the session and go home, and nothing more than that.

Good luck and God bless you for standing by him.

Something needs to be done about these stings. It is unfair to provoke help from someone and turn it into a perversity. But what about sex crimes is fair? Nothing! I echo responses here be Leary of the counselor. They do not have you or your husbands best interest in mind, but that of the state.