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My Son is No Sex Offender

My 33-year-old son, Adam, is a registered sex offender in the state of Illinois. Because of this, our entire family exists in the netherworld of the registry. The federal laws mandating a publicly available sex-offender registry were passed in the mid-1990s with the purpose of notifying communities about “sexually violent predators” living in their neighborhoods. But my son is not violent nor is he a predator. My son was convicted of a single, non-violent misdemeanor. He was never in trouble before, and he’s never been in trouble since. There are around 900,000 people in the U.S. on the registry, and you don’t reach such numbers by listing only those who are truly dangerous. My son, like the vast majority of the people on the registry, presents no threat to society. Full Article

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  1. James

    The author’s daughter would be wise to start advocating in her state now, rather than at some point in the future when she is personally impacted by her brother’s legal circumstances.

    It is regrettable that many who are advocates now, have unwittingly contributed to the current state because of apathy in times past until they themselves saw first-hand the horror of the registry. The average citizen needs to see that this issue could potentially turn their own lives upside-down out of the blue, and act accordingly to bring about smart reforms.

  2. Eric

    That is a great article. Welcome aboard to the nightmare. You said it all very eloquently that the registry may have strayed out with good intent but has become a behemoth that devours human lives. I didn’t realize that Wetterling has spoken out to what this thing has become. Our numbers nation wide will be one million this year, include a couple of family members for all of those and you have quite a lot of people impacted, but we can also be quite a political force. It is to the point that most people know a person on the registry, and they know the laws are not just. We are all put in the same category, judged and labeled the same. No other offense has this mentality.

  3. AERO1

    Hes a sexofender now no matter how u look at it just be thankful he only got 10 years on the registry and not life.
    He’s allready got 7 years down he’s only got 3 more years to go shiit in reality he kinda got lucky

    • someone who cares

      AERO1 – I have to disagree. He is not a sex offender. He committed an offense that is not only deemed criminal but sexual in nature by others, and therefore, he is labeled a sex offender. He has the mentality of a kid, and how many kids have played doctor? Are they sex offenders, too? I don’t think so.

      • AERO1

        I take in consideration that he has the mental capacity of a child so the real ? is how in the hell two grown-ass men with the mental capacity of a child are left alone with a 5 year old looks like the parents are truly to blame but no matter what race age or mental capacity we are all are subjected to to the laws of this country the Department of Justice doesn’t discriminate obviously and for a offender to have a case against them with the victim so Young and only got 10 years on the registery I dont care what anyone has to say he’s luck man

        Good luck

        • someone who cares

          AERO1 – Very good point. It was the parent’s responsibility no to leave their child alone. That brings us to the same old topic of stranger danger again, and why the Sex Offender Registry and ML is useless. No registry or public Hit List would have prevented this from happening because A, the people involved were not on any HIT list, and B, it was not a stranger coming to the house. It is common sense that the parents need to make sure their kids are safe.

        • MP

          Aero 1 and someone who cares…..you are blaming the parents? Are you kidding me? Adam is disabled and was being egged on by the other person. I have a intellectually disabled brother. There is no reason to think a 5 year old can not be around an intellectually disabled person, even alone. None. A parent can not be in the presence of their child 24 hours a day. That is ridiculous. An intellectually disabled person may be very low in comprehension in some matters, and not in others. There are such varying degrees of capabilities, even within the same person. And because of this it can be confusing to those “normal persons” who are not around person’s with a disability and I get that. But think of it like this, just like the ‘sex offender” with various issues, crimes etc…so are the minds of those who are intellectually disabled. Don’t label them all the same. And it is no easier to predict the behavior of someone with a disability as it is with a “normal” person.

  4. My say

    Maybe i have just gotten to a really bad place but, it’s just another story. Meaning, I have met many sex offenders over the years/decades and i have yet to meet a monster. I do have to wonder what she and her family thought of the registry before it touched her family. Just playing the odds, i have to lean towards the idea that she was fine with it. If that is the case – “welcome to the list, may it consume and destroy your life. You deserve it for supporting it in any way.”

  5. ReadyToFight

    I’d have given my left nut to only have 10yrs on….not my right one, but my left one yeah….definitely.

  6. Brandon

    Most if not all adults would of been labeled a registrant if the laws were on the books when they were teens. However most adults wont admit it acting like they are holier than thou bringing out their pitchforks. Instead parents need to take responsibility for their kids and stop relying on the government or companies. If one can’t figure out if the water is hot for a kid to be in the tub, you shouldn’t engage in procreation. If one can’t figure out that they should be watchful of people around their children, while spending hours looking up people who committed sex crimes; one shouldn’t engage in procreation. Monkey see, monkey do; when will you see the government has/is failing you.

  7. AERO1

    @MP
    So ur saying you would leave your five-year-old unattended around I really close neighbor or really close family member because you don’t have the ability to monitor a helpless five-year-old 24 hours a day really.
    A severe and fatal accident can happen within seconds you see it on the news everyday and what’s the first thing the parents say
    I barely took my eyes off of them for one second
    so yeah the parents are to blame they should have been monitoring them all .
    Can you imagine if the babysitter or the ladies at the daycare said I’m sorry about what happened to your five-year-old but I can’t monitor her all day .
    By the way being a parent is a 24-hour job

    Good luck

  8. M C

    @Brandon, not just teens but young adults and it’s not about what’s on the books it’s about getting caught. When I got in trouble at 19 for a relationship with someone who was 14 I knew many many many friends doing the exact same thing and it was almost always because many of our maturity levels as 19 year old men were just closer to that of those in that 14-16 age range and we were all just out of high school (at that time at least in my area people were usually turning 19 not 18 their last year of highschool). It certainly wasn’t appropriate for any of us to do this and some level of punishment is warranted but long term registration for it is also stupid. I don’t know ANY of these other people that got caught and put on a registry like I did and I don’t know ANY who more than 5 years later had any interest anymore in anyone underage like that and I know at least two who are even married now to that 14 year old they were sleeping with at 19. I’m even willing to bet many of the male politicians who voted in the registry laws did similar things themselves amongst many other pro registry people. If just 5% of males did this kind of stuff, and my experience suggests it’s way more than that actually do, you would have at least 10 million on the registry just from this behavior alone. They would just need to be caught first.

    • NOYB

      Yes MC mine was 15 and was over 37 yrs ago. No internet then and you’re right common back then so many not caught- we were! And made a showing of, why are we still on the Registry MC, didn’t we get punished a long time ago? How come we are STILL BEING PUNISHED for our forgiven common sin TODAY !?!??

  9. Detroit

    Carol:
    Thank you for sharing your story. In challenging these laws, attorneys need to show the “effects” of these laws. Your son’s situation needs to be brought to the attention of the courts to show them how the registry affects peoples lives.
    Also, you are only 60 miles from the Michigan border. Michigan doesn’t have restrictions in reference to parks. The special olympics in Michigan is located in Mount Pleasant. As your son is free to participate in events in Michigan, I would urge you to contact them so your son can return to enjoying his life. I wish you, your son and your family the best. Good luck.

    Eric:
    Registrants are already a political force in some areas. They just need to become better organized. Also, some police departments are becoming overwhelmed by their registration duties.
    In Michigan, registrants have gravitated to the cities of Detroit, Flint and Saginaw. This has caused these three cities to have large portions of their population to be on the registry. Saginaw currently has 680 registrants in a city of 48,000. One out of 70 residents in Saginaw are on the registry as compared to one out of 340 in the U.S. These numbers have overwhelmed the Saginaw Police Department to the point that they no longer do “compliance checks” and pretty much leave registrants alone as long as they report when required.

  10. someone who cares

    MP ~ I apologize. That is not what I meant at all. It is so hard to communicate via a forum without being able to explain that great. I don’t treat anybody differently because of a disability. I just wanted to bring up the stranger danger. Her son was egged on by someone, but that someone was not a stranger, but a person known to their family. We all need to protect ourselves, meaning parents need to try as best as possible to monitor and educate their children, which I agree is not always possible. No sex offender registry will accomplish that. Does that make more sense?

  11. Saddles

    My son is no sex offender hmmm? First what is an offender? I sort of wonder about that one myself since I was “Caught Up” in all this internet jazz or if its improper touching a teenage girl or something like that than it might be considered offensive. Would name calling be offensive? How about I don’t like the purple and blue hair your wearing, or tight fitting jeans, is it Sex related?

    No I would not think anyone is a sex offender unless they have been drinking the “Kool Aid” to much and I’m sure some one here has been doing that. Most of these sex issues via computer are an inducement and switch bait coy to trap.

    Sure I was caught up in this garbage back in 2012 and it cost me a few jobs but now I have been trying to get by little by little. I’m just glad my sister helps me out as I don’t work but am getting along somewhat. At least I’m not out on the streets, since parents are deceesed and my sister helps me on rent and groceries.

    Sure one can get in a steryotype of pitty pot but don’t do it as it will eat you alive if you dewell on it. I have a home type business and work by myself. Those reading this need to get over this stigmatism and get on with your life. Look I’m 66 and I still have my good days and bad days mostly its because of sleeping habits.

    Most all these internet related sex offenses are one big con job> I’m sure some on here would like to tell that officer that hooked you into this to “Kiss my grits” … course that has a double meaning to it, if you know what I mean. Best thing to do is to just tell the truth that the officer was playing a fast one on the person caught up in this. Its like a double jepordy that is out in left field. So where does biblical truth and understanding come into play and who is playing the devil in this thin line of true value.

  12. Jeff Schein

    Children are thought to behave.

    You don’t expose genitals to a younger child.

    You should join the mental gymnastics team.

  13. A.D.A.T.

    Here’s a unique idea…. how about we limit sex offenses to acts that actually involve unsolicited sex. Not sexual activity. Not sexual thoughts. Not sexual touching. Just actual sex. Penetration. Everything else falls into different catagories anyway. Thinking isn’t a crime. Touching falls into the assault category. Activity such as internet offenses are nothing more than voyeurism.
    Clean up this snake nest of offenses. Getting to the point that walking into the wrong bathroom could land you on the registry.

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