Imagine, if you will, that you are an 18 yr old boy. This means that you have to put aside all of the knowledge, insight and wisdom that you have since acquired and think only with the raging horomones of adolescence.
So here you are, an 18 yr old boy at a party. You meet this little 16 yr old hottie. Stuff happens. Consensual stuff.
*please note that I am in no way advocating or debating teenage sex. As a mother to small children and an aunt to 3 teen girls I personally believe very strongly in and teach with passion the merits of abstinence until marriage. But the fact that teenagers ARE having sex, regardless of your or my beliefs, is just that ~~ a fact.
Since this girl is such a hottie, you decide to start dating her. About a month or so later she comes to stay with you for the weekend (supposedly with parental consent). You are rudely awakened the next morning to a loud banging on your front door. When you answer it , you find yourself face to face with a very angry man demanding to know where his 14 yr old daughter *who has run away* is. You have no clue who this man is or who his daughter could be, therefore absolutely no idea where she could beand you tell him this.
But OH wait what is this?….it couldn’t be! His 14 yr old runaway daughter turns out to be YOUR 16 yr old hottie. And now you are dealing with an irate father (as any good father would be) , who doesn’t want to hear you explain what happened. He wants to press charges AGAINST YOU!
OH my GOODNESS! You have just committed a FELONY! How in the world did this happen? More importantly what are you going to do now?
You call the police. They are here to protect and serve right? You tell them briefly what happened on the phone. They want to help you. Want to know who and where you are so they can help you clear this up. Relieved, you tell them.
When they arrive at your apartment , they are friendly and assure you that they can help you. That they can make everything ok again. But they need to know exactly what happened. So you give them ALL of the details.
To your surprise, you find yourself being cuffed. You watch as they tear your apartment completely apart. Bewildered, you are thrown into the back of a police car and taken to JAIL. What happened to “innocent until proven guilty”? 3 hours AFTER you have spilled your guts, they read you your rights. You are 18 so you have no clue that what they’ve done is completely illegal. Because “they” are those who have sworn to “serve and protect”.
Except that “they” have decided that not everyone is worthy of being “served and protected” and sadly, you just don’t qualify as being worthy of this right.
You are assigned a public pretender (and we won’t even go there!). You are shocked and quite frankly scared to death to hear that you are facing FIFTEEN YEARS IN PRISON. Unless, your public pretender advises, you plead no contest. Then you will only serve 3 years in a youthful offender prison and won’t have the rest of your life ruined. So you take the advice of those who are here to help you.
Of course, it is never mentioned to you that upon investigation your little hottie completely corroborated your story. And that upon hearing of his daughter’s responsibility and consent, the irate father felt compelled not to press charges, so the state picked them up instead.
It is never mentioned that you would be better off taking your case to trial , and telling your story to a jury, who would also hear the girl’s testimony.
It is never mentioned that your life will still be ruined because after being sentenced to 3 years in prison, 4 years of house arrest and 2 years of probation, you will have to REGISTER as a SEX OFFENDER for the REST of your NATURAL BORN LIFE.
It is never mentioned that one day your name and face will be on a website that well-intentioned parents and community members will spend hours diligently searching for predators that they need to protect their children from.
It is never mentioned that the only details these people will see are the ones the government chooses to post. That you were convicted of a lewd and lascivious sexual offense against a minor child under the age of 16 yrs old. Age and sex of victim “unknown”.
It is never mentioned ANYWHERE ON THE REGISTRY that you were 18 yrs old at the time of the “crime”, that the “minor child” was a 14 yr old girl who was consensual and shall we say… misleading about her age in order to look “cool” to her girlfriends because she had an older boyfriend.
It is never mentioned that one day, there will be subsequent high profile abduction/murder cases that will cause a nationwide panic and all of a sudden you will be classified among the likes of John Cuoey.
It is never mentioned that parents will grab their children in fear because of the ignorance that the laws have allowed to escalate leads them to believe that because you are on that registry you are a predator who is ready to pounce on their children.
As parents we want to do everything that we can to protect our children and keep them safe. We need to KNOW who the real predators are.
As a mother of 5, I need to know where the true threats lie. There are so many men who made mistakes as teenagers and do not need to be classified along side these violent and dangerous predators. Please don’t mistake what I am saying. These young men have committed a crime, made mistakes, and that does need to be recognized and handled in a manner that fits the crime. The sex offender registry needs to be better classified so the public can be better informed.
Our current laws do little to protect our children from the true predators and only provide a false sense of security. Most sexual offenses are committed by known family members and friends and are never reported. The high profile cases are farther and fewer between…those are just the only cases that happen to be hyped up by the media.
Help us to better protect our children by being aware of who the real predators are.