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ACSOL’s Online EPIC Conference: Empowered People Inspiring Change Sept 17-18, 2021

Living with 290

Living with 290: One night.. lifetime destroyed?

How should I describe this nightmare to you? Many of those that come on this page are very familiar of the hardships..

I was a young man back then… I was going to be career soldier like all those in my family.. I signed on at 18.. been deployed and seen the world. Did my part, the good and bad.. A friendly smile handing out food or a grim face with a gun covering a fellow soldier.. It started or did it start, I’m not sure..

When I got back from a deployment I went with some buddies to a party.. Drinking, smoking, hormones flying everywhere.. And there she was.. Did it just happened? I don’t think it “just” happened.. Plenty of alcohol and a one night stand.. No violence involved… I left back to another deployment… 4 months passed and came back.. 6 months past and my Commander informed me I was under investigation for sexual assault of a minor.. THE UCMJ got involved.. It is an on going joke, totally reversed from the civilian system. You are guilty until proven innocent.. You are pulled out of the barracks in the dead of night and forced to stay awake in interrogation room with air horns blaring and an army investigator yelling and screaming and threatening to lock you away for life.

This is during the time of the rape scandals in Japan and Okinawa involving soldiers. The military implemented a extreme zero tolerance.. Found out alot about her, she was a high school troublemaker.. Ins and Outs with the law and she got caught doing something and she said she was raped by a soldier which mentally screwed her up and that was why she did what she did… I still don’t know her age, but in my paperwork said minor/child under age 16.

Court martial was pretty fast. No mentioning of registration.. 7 years in military prison.. It was a robotic nightmare.. Everyday was the same. Food was okay I had worse.. Toe the line during count and go back in your cell.. You get it in your mind its another deployment.. Very rigid and structural life.. Your interaction with human speech was very limited.. You speak out loud or out of order the guards deal with it swiftly and harsh..

A year into sentence they started a Sex Offender Treatment Program.. I signed on, got nothing else to do with my life except look at 4 walls of my cell.. It was the best thing ever.. They had a professional running it.. Hell I still call him once a year to say Hi and tell him how I was doing and how life is..

I learned alot, about myself and about others.. Years went by I graduated from that program, the system started to give out incentives for those who went to those self help stuff and other treatment programs.. So I went to others so I can take CLEP tests for college points.. Then one day happened.. The military prison was full and to the brim. I was called into the probation hearing room.. I got it. Another set of nightmares and joy. I had access to a phone, limited access to a internet thru a counselor.. Needed shelter and a job… It was hard work doing stuff by letter, 15 minute phone calls, brief emails… And then the “Time limit” hit, since I was unable to get anything in order my probation got terminated.. Another year came and went.. Got called into the probation room again, I was given another chance. I was lucky I was going to do the college route and the college got all my info from conversations and paperwork from last year. One of the college counselors remembered me from last year and she helped out alot, I am forever grateful to her.. She made most of the arrangements for me, knowing my crimes.. Place stay, temp job during college, and college. We were able to get me approved for student loans, and money be waiting when I get to the college accounting room..

And it happened.. Got out.. got the complementary airplane ticket to parts unknown.. A stranger in a strange land, no where to really go.. And stuck with the game plan.. Got my 4 year degree in Engineering and Mining.. Graduated with Honors. Worked for a prestigious company. There was trouble everywhere but the paycheck was good.. Hostility with the probation department, mainly because of their SWAT tactics in doing checks on me.. Lots of people hated me because of my crimes.. Then the layoff.. Rough 2 years.. literally going door to door with my resumes.. Open and honest living on ramen noodles and can tuna.. Found a small ma and pa outfit who took the chance and hired me.. lots of hardwork, I was given the opportunity to pull that place out of the hole it was laying in.. used alot of my contacts (who didn’t care about my crimes) and now the place is like a second home.. Not alot of money, some jobs I couldn’t do because of my crimes… but its okay… sigh… I should be thankful but in my heart I know I can do better if given the chance.. I still get the usually hostility, from my neighbors, from random people who have too much time on their hands with the internet.. also from the police… and the residence checks… So that is the story of me, hopefully there be better chapters ahead…

Just keep moving Forward and Press On.. Charlie Mike (Continue Marching)

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Thanks for posting from one ex vet to another. Your story puts my own into perspective. Sorry this happened to you.

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