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Kat’s Blog: Lessons Learned

Our family member has been on the registry for a year. I know that in the grand scheme of things, that time is merely a drop in the bucket. We had no idea what we were in for. We educated and prepared ourselves as much anyone can before we started this seemingly endless road thru hell. Read what we could, talked to those willingly to share, asked questions when we finally figured out what questions to ask. Soon we realized that if we didn’t help ourselves no government or law enforcement agency was going to offer up any assistance in navigating this mess they call the registry.

We assumed this journey on Hell’s Highway would be difficult. It is.

We assumed life on the registry is pretty much the same experience for everyone. It is not.

We assumed registry rules would be clear cut, understandable and the same across the board.

We were wrong.

You know that old adage, “never assume, it makes an ass out of u and me,” now, that was correct.

But when you’re a new traveler on this highway thru hell, you do the best you can to make sense out of the senseless. You want to assume that if you learn and follow the rules then you can pick up the pieces of your life and move forward. Instead, what you quickly learn is that between your P.O., the local sheriff and police, the registry folk and any other government entity involved, everyone seems to have a different interpretation of what those rules read. Now, if they can’t understand and agree on the jargon, what’s the likelihood that you can?

Granted, we’re new at this, a year on the registry isn’t long, but here’s a few lessons we’ve learned over the past year that may be helpful, may give you hope, may just get you through one more day if you’re just starting out on this journey.
Life on the registry is hard. It is hard for registrants, their families and even their friends.

But, it’s not impossible. Many registrants find they can live a good life in spite of the registry.

There may be rejection. You may be rejected by family, friends, housing authorities, employers, etc.

But there will be acceptance too. Sometimes you just have to wait it out.

Nothing ever happens fast enough.

Every day you will want to know “is anything new, have any registry laws changed”. We are all working to change things, but it takes time and it takes involvement by all. Don’t assume that others will get the laws changed for you, do your part in helping to make that change.

So, buckle up for the journey on this highway thru hell known as the Registry for it is long and fraught with many land mines, but if we navigate it together maybe we’ll all get through this in one piece.

 

-Kat

 

Join the discussion

  1. Eric

    Yours was a great post, but I have been on this road eight years, five of it off probation, and it seems there is and endless amount of surprises along the way. Always finding one more inconvenience, one more obstacle, one more thing that prevents me from living a normal life. The latest, I met a woman (one of the key elements in not reoffending) she accepts me for the error I made (what more could I ask). We have been together a while and I want to stay at her house overnight as I live about a half hour away and don’t want to drive home after our date night, but she has rental properties on her land. for me to stay there I need to register her address, and of course it will come up on the registry as an SO lives there. I only want to stay there maybe one night a week. We agree that would no be good for her rental properties. I have talked with the police I register with, I have talked with an attorney and I am getting very conflicting answers. Some police are saying one night isn’t a problem no need to register the address for that, some say it might be a problem, the attorney says I risk going back to prison and should not stay there under any conditions. so needless to say this is humiliating to have to discuss with the woman, it is hurting our relationship, It temps me to be dishonest, It makes me angry at the justice system, and I feel terrible about myself. Oh, by the way, my crime was a non-contact. I never touched anyone, nor did I have any contact with anyone. Welcome to the registry.

    • C

      You want to stay there one night a week and would have to register that address? Are you still on paper? How often is the man visiting you? How would they find out you sleep somewhere else one night a week? I’ve been registering since ’94 and except when on parole for three years, I never told the cops when I was sleeping elsewhere, and maybe not even when on parole.
      If you’re going to maintain a residence there, that’s one thing, but one night a week? Come on.

  2. texan

    Best of luck Kat.. I have been on it for 23 years, literally my entire adult life. Dont let it discourage you from living. If anything, it has made me more of an opportunist when making life choices. As a result, I feel that I am more successful than my peers, financially, family-wise, and my overall view on life is not to sweat the small stuff. Dont let them beat you, you need to beat them!

  3. Billy Jack

    Well written Kat. Yes, it can be so hard. I have lost my career, my friends, and some family. I too had a non-contact offence, and never spoke to anyone. Who would know that this would be a life long one and done crime. I have lost jobs, offers, and opportunities. I am living, but barely. My income is minimal to cover rent, but not much else. i don’t go out, I don’t try. I had a great relationship, but she left after I got put on a tag for staying over at her place. Who would know that’s a no no. So, here I am. Been thinking of ending it all. But i hold on for my son. Keep fighting this bastards.

    • Eric

      Billy Jack…our numbers are approaching one million nation wide. We are a sizeable political force if we get organized. Groups like ACSOL are getting us there. We have won significant court cases. We all know this is abuse and excessive punishment against a select group regardless of level of offense. We will win because we are in the right. Everybody makes mistakes, we all paid our price, we don’t deserve a lifetime of being ostracized and shunned form life. We will win and the registry will fall because it is just wrong. Criminal cases are to be tried on an individual basis. I should not be punished fro what another person did. This is totally unconstitutional. I am not a danger to anyone. Stay with us. We need every one of us for political power. Victory is coming, true justice.

  4. Chris f

    Good write up of the initial shock and experience of the registrant and family.

    Educate yourself, participate in groups like this one and your local groups, adapt, and learn how to fight back and educate others whenever possible.

    If you or a friend or family member is any good with research, law, or history then please have them participate here in some lively discussions and debates.

  5. Doug

    Hello Kat,
    I have been on the registry for over 30 years. Ihave been luckier than most. I have always been succesful in my trade.
    There have been issues and some wonderful things happen during the past 33 years.
    I married an old girl friend , from 40 years ago.
    She devoiced me ,about 10 years ago.
    This was over tring to live with the stigma , and one family member who wanted to blame me for his screwed up life . (not the dope he is doing.) His interferance was more than she wanted.
    She never moved very far away. So I bought a puppy, a Yorky .
    Well she fell in love with the pup and moved back in. I’m not sure if she likes me any better , but it’s my dog.
    You got to do what ever it takes ! We avoid situations , and people who want to bring us down.
    We are getting married again this year We are planning a trip to St.Thomas, for a honeymoon . At 74 , that has me worried.
    You have to keep trying, Life on the registry is a handicap . Treat it like a handicap , that has to be over come. 30 years ago there was no one on our side. There was no light at the end of the tunnel.
    Janice has put hope , and a future in all of our lives !

    • Bruce Ferrell

      Well said Doug. I’ve been registered since ’93… 25 years now. While I was still “in the system”, things were more difficult. But it’s been a long time since then. Life does get some better when parole/probation is done… It’s less arbitrary if nothing else.

      There can still be problems… People that I decided I could trust, I found I couldn’t. The other side is that people I never imagined I could trust, I found I can.

      I’m highly skilled in my field. That’s helped in the workplace. Too many employers do unlawful checks. You get the offer contingent on passing the background check and then the call comes withdrawing it. But some do the right thing and they can be a good place to ply my trade.

      Like everything else in life, there are trade offs. And like someone else said, it’s just something that I get to over come. On those occasions that I find myself overwhelmed. I not ashamed to say, I sit and cry for a bit (longer sometimes), then get up and do it again. For a while, I did try to opt out (what a lovely euphemism), found that just made things worse so I don’t do that anymore.

      So here I am, grinding away… The man in the arena.

      Good luck Kat

  6. Harry

    The friends that RIcs have are ture friends and some are unlikely individuals

  7. USA

    Well, I’ve been on the registry for maybe 20-21 years. I lost my self esteem, career, jobs and it’s put a damper on relationships! I actually had no idea it even existed when I was acting out! I was extremely lucky, considering! Today, the registry is a completely new place. Unfortunately, I almost don’t feel sorry for you! If you act out in today’s world, your nuts to even put yourself in the position to get arrested for a sex crime! So, please stop portraying yourself as a victim!

    • Matt

      USA…..without knowing the circumstances, that was really uncalled for. It is bad enough that people with no education on this makes assumptions, but someone who has been on the list doing it. Quit preaching and piling on.

    • wonderin

      Wow! Sorry for your pain USA. Hope things get better.

    • Joe

      Well, my 6 year old “acted out” when I took away his xbox for a week.

      From everything you have shared over the years, you did not “act out”. You sexually assaulted a person, against their express will. You were convicted of felony sexual battery. Yes, yes, we know, you got probation (big whoop) and had the conviction reduced and expunged and you think that makes you better than the rest, but the fact remains you have been on this registry for two decades because you were convicted of felony sexual battery. Let’s say that again real slowly. Felony. Sexual. Battery. I most certainly do not feel sorry for you.

      If you got on the registry 20-21 years ago then that means that, at that time, the California Sex Offender registry – created in 1947 – had been in existence for a mere 50 (fifty!) to 51 (fifty-one!) years. You had to be nuts to put yourself in the position to commit a registerable sex crime at that time. If you had no idea that the registry existed (before sexually battering a person and being convicted of felony sexual battery) then you were simply ignorant.

      If Kat here is not to portray herself a victim (of unreasonable and over reaching sex offense laws for something she did not do, which she certainly is – NOT of the offense her family member committed), then I can only surmise that you have no problem with the registry and your place on it.

      That said, I find this post very general and full of platitudes. Especially from someone so new to this. Especially on this site that is busting at the seams with concrete legal information. Sorry.

    • Curiouser

      Seriously douchie post, man. Even for you.

    • Roger

      @USA, just when I thought you couldn’t be more arrogant, you surprise me by escalating your poisonous keyboard to new levels of pride and ignorance.

      You are playing the same sadistic social-leveling that society is doing to you, JUST LIKE THE WHITE-PRIDE PECKERWOODS IN PRISON who stoke their self-esteem and justify the harm they spend their entire lives doing to others by classifying a murderer at the top of the social ladder and sex crimes at the bottom, gladly performing vigilante executions.

      The difference is that your weapon is your sadistic keyboard, and your artificial distinction is the DELUSION that because you hurt people BEFORE the registry, you can feel sorry for yourself being mistreated by the effects of being on the registry, but others who committed their offenses AFTER the registry began are on a lower social level than you and so are not to be pitied for the vast injustice the registry does to them.

      This has caused your ego grow to a mind-boggling Macy’s Thanksgiving Day balloon size, filled with the hot air of judgment that you constantly blast out.

      This primary purpose of this website is to offer hope to ALL of us on the registry. We are ALL victims of this knee-jerk, fear-based, politician-vote-getting, unconstitutional farce called the registry. It’s just a matter of degree.

      Another purpose is for people to commiserate and share their stories, and maybe get help.

      And we can all blow off a little steam by venting our frustrations with the registry. There is nothing wrong with that. I would much rather see someone vent fear and anger here than see him in the news committing violence in a misguided belief that would help our cause.

      By taking positive action non-violently to fight the registry we show that MOST people who have committed a sex offense are not monsters, but rather are normal people who made bad choices but can change.

      Most of your messages are negative and insulting.

      If you just want to come and vent sadistic shit, please just email it to yourself and stay away from this website.

      If you want to be part of positive—albeit usually slow—change, then tone down your rhetoric and focus on the solution.

      By the way, I have been on the registry longer than you and will never get off. So how do I stay sane?

      I SHOW UP, STAND UP, AND SPEAK UP for positive change.

      We are all in the same boat, and we sink or succeed in our fight against the registry TOGETHER.

    • steve

      Can you please just ban USA already. He brings nothing to the table except idiocy.

      • AJ

        @steve:
        I’m against banning for a number of reasons. There’s an easy way to “ban” him without taking such a severe measure: stop reading and responding to his posts. The fun wears off when nobody takes bait. There are a handful of parties on here who have dropped away once they were ignored and/or dismissed.

        • NPS

          It should come as no surprise that @USA would make another vile comment. He has a history of attacking and insulting others on this site. Whenever anyone writes about his/her situation, it’s always “I don’t believe you. Sorry,” before he goes on to make himself superior to others.

          @Joe mentioned “you have no problem with the registry and your place on it.” In fact, @USA has explicitly stated that the registry helped him stay on the right path and not recommit offenses. One can infer that he is indeed for the registry. If I’m not mistaken, he once wrote that he was for the registry on this very site.

          Yes @AJ, people like him who are ignored tend to disappear. That has happened with @USA as well. The problem is, he keeps coming back after a long absence spewing the same rhetoric. It’s as if he thrives on discourse. I agree, no one should be outright banned. But it would be nice if this site occupied a mute button so those that don’t want nor invite his vitriol can utilize it.

        • Cassandra

          Never argue down!

        • Will Allen

          People who support the Registries should be banned. They deserve no voice. Perhaps a supporter could speak briefly if he/she showed that he/she is a decent person and he/she wanted to have a respectful conversation. Other than that, forget it.

        • Notorious D.I.K. / Kennerly

          AJ: Hear, hear! He is obviously getting some sort of perverse satisfaction whenever anyone takes his poisonous bait. I am reminded, most inexplicably, I must add, of Brigadier General Jack D. Ripper’s famous line “Women…women sense my power, Mandrake and they seek the life essence. I do not avoid women, Mandrake, but I do deny them my essence.” The lesson then is quite obvious: we must deny USA our essence. Without it, he will dry up and blow away. I try always to incorporate the valuable lessons of “Dr. Strangelove” into my daily life.

    • mike r @USA is a troll

      Man this guy just does not quit. NPS nailed it in everything she stated. He already admitted that the registry keeps him from re-offending, as stated. This guy wants to ride the high wagon but how many people on here think the registry has kept them from re-offending???? Very few if any and that is a fact… Apparently USA is the candidate for the registry and he has his charges all reduced and expunged supposedly. I think there is a little more to his story, but who cares. Stop TROLLING……Get a job or something……….. Away from kids and women though. I will LMAO but it really is not funny, scary more like it….. I guess if he is telling the truth about his charges he is one of the ones that the registry would miss if it did not contain low risk offenders. He sounds pretty high risk to me though by his own admissions…. Bring it on to USA I will just ignore you as I can see everyone knows what’s up……Trolllll

    • someone who cares

      USA ~ I don’t know who you are, or who Kat is, or whoever is on this site is. One thing I do know is that the Registry is cruel and unusual punishment. You do have a good point when you say that whoever commits a sex crime in this day and age must be crazy, knowing that the registry exists. But, it is mostly people who are NOT on the registry (yet) who commit these crimes, and I believe these people just don’t know what’s in store for them, or they simply don’t care. Some cops who surely know the consequences are caught up in sex crimes. So, that being said, I think that those of us who suffer because of the registry would not want to go through this ever again, with or without having to register. If the registry was abolished, and someone really commits another crime, they will be punished accordingly, and I think prison is a pretty good punishment. Those who have lived a good life without ever wanting to re-offend should be able to live a normal life. The registry never deters anyone who wants to commit another sex crime. Who knows, maybe some people (not saying you necessarily) don’t trust themselves enough to stay on the straight and narrow and need the registry to keep them in line? Just maybe, that is what the real reason is why some people think the registry is necessary, they don’t trust themselves. Just my 2 cents.

  8. Henry

    Great post! I often wonder if there are others out there who feel and think the same way as me and my family. I have been on the registry for over 20 years. I am also married with children. We had to take the kids out of school due to the bully problems. Getting your kids out of harms way is paramount with the registry. My wife has a disability and does not work so she home schools the children. I work, but absolutely hate my job. Everyone knows I am on the registry and they purposely ignore me every day I come into work. We have lost all our friends and family on my side and our church has abandoned us as well.

    Life on the registry is not just hard, it’s damned hard. It was just fine when it was law enforcement eyes only, but as soon as the public got a hold of the info, society created a new form of jurisprudence called “social justice”. SORNA really screwed things up for all of us and it needs to be declared what it is…unconstitutional. Cruel and unusual is only the start of the registry. Legalized torture is what it really is.

    However, I found your post Kat, to be very refreshing. My family also suffers from not knowing all the facts and the confusion is maddening. It was good to hear that there was another RSO family that has the same concerns as we do.

  9. Facts should matter

    The worst part is the daily uncertainty. You really are hopeless, helpless and powerless all while having zero privacy, security, protection or safety.

    My life is constantly under siege and held hostage because it’s been hijacked by this law.

  10. Robert Curtis

    End The Matrix

    To:
    The Registered Citizen

    I am also on the Sex Offender Registry (Ca.). My intent in contacting you is to give encouragement and offer you a way to fight the Registry as I have. Do NOT be afraid or think for a moment that one person (you) can’t make a difference. I at first only had my skills as a hairdresser but after selling my salon I purposed to serve all hairdressers as a scissor sharpener and later developed a way to harness politically my relationships to impact elections throughout the state of California. Just recently a senator called me for advice from the floor of the California State Senate! Why should that matter to you? I can show you how to harness power within your community. I invented a machine to use in salons and barbershops for sharpening scissors. I am seeking those on the registry that are fed up with the crap being fed to them. I offer you either a red pill or blue pill. Take the Blue pill and stay in a life of fear where the registry dictates to you and your family…or take the red pill and I’ll show you just how deep the rabbit-hole goes! I am only offering you a choice. The decision is yours.
    ____ Blue Pill
    ____ Red Pill (call the number below)

    Morpheus (well, sort of…)

    Robert Curtis
    (949) 872-8768 (use the nearest phone…)

  11. USA

    One word: pathetic! You guys don’t even know who or what Kat is? Do you know what they did? Conviction? Who was their victim? I was under the impression “Kat” was going to address what they learned by this whole experience! I never hear anyone address how they can avoid any further legal issues? Ie: counseling? Church groups? Read a great book? It’s always about poor me or I’m going to appeal my case? Nobody ever owns up to their mistakes! I might start looking in the mirror and realize nobody (I hope) wants to even know this site exists! Do any of you really want to be on here? I wish I was banned for life!!! Then, when just one person provides a misguided (in your view) comment, people lash out on him or her! Ie: arrogant! Ban him! He is nuts! We are nuts by spending all this time trying to make sense of all of this! As I have suggested before (I’ve not read one response), we should be looking to Amend SB 384 and trying to pass other laws that will help us in the end! We now (may not get this chance again) have the most liberal Governor Ca has ever seen! Take action, rather than reaction! It’s no longer me me me me, but rather us us us! Best regards

    • Roger

      @USA. STOP your personal attacks on people. They obviously make you feel better about the crimes you committed out of choice! You of all people have no right to judge anyone! You are a hypocrite. If your crime was on billboards around your town, you would be persecuted as badly as those with more serious crimes. Get off your high horse.

      The guidelines for comments are displayed above the comment form. I assume the moderators are getting tired of you not keeping the “tone of your comment civil and courteous”, and if you continue to blast raw anger and judgment, they might indeed block you.

      You complain ACSOL is not taking action on SB 384 and other bills. Since you don’t seem aware of the details of how legislation works (have you EVERY showed up to help us fight?), the legislature is not in session until January. We can’t fight anything when nothing is happening right now, but we are planning. Brown can’t sign anything that doesn’t exist. So I’m not clear on what you are ranting about.

      Yes, ACSOL will address specific problems like some CP being pushed up to level 3. The reality is that we fought for many years to get the registry to give most people a chance to get off of it, but it won’t start for a couple of years.

      ACSOL is not a therapy or support, so recommendations on not recommitting a crime are not what we focus on. We recommend the emotional support group in LA, but we don’t fund it. I would guess you are not attending it since you are filled with resentment that you spew on this site. We also recommend that each person get the local help they need, like therapy, but it is not our focus. People can read our website and others for information. Many offer ideas in the comments.

      We focus on changing the law and stopping bad bills with the goal of making life bearable for registrants. We have gotten rid of all presence restrictions and most residency restrictions, which makes life easier for all California registrants off probation/parole.

      Let me make this clear to you: if anyone decides that the process is taking too long and becomes physically violent, that will justify the legislature to believe their old stereotypes of “frighteningly high recidivism” to justify getting rid of the registry and keep all of us on for life.

      Be part of the solution to get us all of the registry someday. Stop being so selfish and self-absorbed.

      • JV

        If people with only CP charges gets upped to a level 3 then I feel that this will have taken 1 step forward and 2 steps back.. it’s kind of odd you would think that if a person was convicted of CP the they were probably downloading it not to say that it’s not wrong but if they had no physical victims how are they considered violent or a predator it’s very confusing especially when the are people who got contact offences will have a chance to get off but people who have images and videos as their only crime is considered ba high risk.. I can see if they where creating then that would mean that they had contact in a way but if its for possession why are they being escalated on the list???

  12. mike r @USA

    @USA, I am going to pretend you are for real and ask you once again, and I am dying to know, why are you on this site? and what exactly have you done to do anything you are talking about with SB 384, or with anything to help OUR cause? And what is it exactly that you think people can do to amend that atrocity of a bill? Mainly WHY ARE YOU EVEN ON HERE?????????????
    I am sure these questions will be ignored once again as he has no answers to any of them.

  13. USA

    Thank you all once again. It’s pretty sad when you don’t even know if or who Kat is! What did Kat do? It’s also rather shocking when people personally attack you for giving a personal opinion? You clearly have to have reached a real low when you lash out at others who disagree or provide an alternative view. I truly don’t care what anyone thinks! I also don’t have to give my reason for being here. Maybe it’s to provide real insight? Truthful insight? You guys can argue, lash out at me or be as narcistic as you desire. Yet, this is the type of behavior that brought you here in the 1st place. Being arrogant, pushy and feeling superior/above everyone is the exact reason anyone is here today/including myself. The real difference between you and me is that I changed my views and behavior! You haven’t! Lash out some more! Where is this anger coming from? Hmmm

  14. chris f

    Aren’t you the same USA that keeps lashing out and personally attacking people like me, Mike R, AJ and others that post opinions about constitutional and legal issues even though those are the types of news and discussions this web site promotes?

    I know…I am feeding the troll…I just love the hypocracy in his statements.

  15. USA

    Thank you Mike, Chris, Roger and whomever I missed! Your true colors have come out. The anger, attacks, hatred and need to control via your narcistic ways have been shown in your fullest. Ie: troll etc. You guys can all throw whatever you want at me (name calling/insults/put downs)! None of it matters. I just look and read in awe. Look at the source! I just want to thank you all. If it wasn’t for all of you, this site wouldn’t exist! Best wishes

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