THE UNFORGIVABLE CRIME
31 years ago my husband was 26 years old. With only a statement from one individual, the STATE of FLORIDA charged him with “Lewd and Lascivious Behavior”. He was tried and convicted without any concrete evidence then sentenced to 3 years in prison and 10 years of probation.
Once released from prison he put it behind him to start his new life. Knowing our God is a just and righteous God, my husband was at peace.
Likewise, we assumed the Judicial system that confined him would now treat him as a free man since he had fulfilled the penalty set forth by the STATE of FLORIDA. We now know his release from prison was just the beginning of the LIFE SENTENCE.
Fast forward to 2006: The Sex Offender Registration and Notification Act has been enacted.
It’s been over 19 years since his conviction, he’s broken no laws, hasn’t “reoffended”. SORNA becomes retroactive; therefore, he must begin registering every 6 months with the Nationwide database of Sexual offenders. Nonetheless, it’s the law and he followed it. So since 2006 he has been registering EVERY APRIL AND OCTOBER.
Fast-forward to 2017: 31 years later, my husband is facing prison time for “Failure to Re register” because on his scheduled day to reregister in October of 2015 he forgot causing him to be late registering. He was arrested December 9, 2015 charged with a Third degree felony for forgetting that one time. Surely, there’s got to be more to the story–you say? Nope! You see all it takes is to be late one time to be charged with a Third degree felony. No exceptions of circumstances (only death or life support) nor consideration of your clean record and diligence registering in previous years.
If you could for the sake of understanding this UNTHINKABLE SITUATION put yourself in his shoes for a moment. No, not the “sex offender” but the human being that unintentionally forgot to re-register that one day. It shouldn’t be that hard to do if you are human and can admit we all at one time or another have forgotten something very important. Letting your driver’s license expire, renewing your vehicle registration late, knowing you have a bill coming due but got busy and paid it late, missing a scheduled doctor’s appointment, a meeting with your child’s teacher, I could go on but for now you get the point—-it is a human trait ; we’re not perfect we forget things.
He’s now set for trial in June 2017 and facing 2 years in prison for re-registering late. If at any moment you think I’m not laying out all the facts: It’s public record and I more than invite you to come witness the trial. I would like to close with a few facts.
1. My husband made a mistake, he let something important slip his mind. However, when he remembered he immediately called the sheriff’s office. He was told it’s too late you are being charged with a Felony.
2. He wasn’t hiding he had been at the same address 21/2 years. The sheriff had his address, phone number, vehicle registrations, photo and fingerprints. NO SHERIFF DEPUTY KNOCKED ON THE DOOR, CALLED ON THE PHONE OR ATTEMPTED IN ANYWAY TO CONTACT HIM.
If he is such a threat to the community why didn’t the Manatee County sheriff’s office try to locate him???? Why didn’t they notify the neighbors of this threat???? You know like they notify the neighbors you are moving into the neighborhood with NEON ORANGE FLYERS placed on the mailboxes. It would have been as simple as knocking on the door one evening in October 2015 to see he was home!! Not out lurking the streets, not out offending or breaking any laws but home after a honest day of working 2 jobs!
The real CRIME HERE is the Manatee County sheriff’s office didn’t exercise due diligence when it came to PROTECTING THE COMMUNITY from a ” sex offender” !!!!
If the Sheriff’s deputy in charge of his case would have followed up on an unreported “known sex offender” it would have triggered my husband’s memory; I wouldn’t be writing this letter and he wouldn’t be facing a 2 year prison sentence.
Really what good is the National database of Sex offenders to the Manatee County sheriff’s office? They can’t even find a missing offender in their own backyard! We gave them the address, phone number,vehicle registrations———they didn’t locate him because they didn’t try!
Praise God! my husband is NOT a threat to the community but rather a God centered, hardworking decent human being that just forgot to report one October day.
The opinions expressed within posts and comments are solely those of each author, and are not necessarily those of Women Against Registry.