My brother was 21 years of age and at a graduation party for himself and his classmates. It took him a bit longer to graduate because he has Cystic Fibrosis as well as learning difficulties. Everyone was drinking and having a great time. He met a girl there and she too was drinking. As the night progressed the two ended up having sex. The next day cops were knocking on the door to arrest him for raping a 14-year-old girl. His story to the police made no difference. After a long court battle, he took a plea of jail, 10 years of probation, and 10 years on the registry.
In the early 2000s New York state changed the law and made the registry lifetime. Those who were sentenced to a time frame were now looking down the barrel of a lifetime registry despite having been sentenced to a specified time. He completed all requirements and attempted to move on in life. He got married and they had a beautiful baby girl. He wasn’t supposed to be able to have kids due to his chronic disease. His wife left him for someone else and he was raising my niece alone. I of course stepped up to help. She is now 8 years old and lives with me, her aunt. Why, because we all decided to move out of New York state, so we moved to Florida. The doctors recommended that he move here due to the salty air. It would help his lungs and breathing. He met a woman who was in law enforcement and the minute the agency found out that they were involved a big red bull’s eye was drawn on his back. So now he is in trouble here for not doing certain things that he had no idea were even a thing. It’s so hard to explain to an 8-year-old girl why her father can not do certain things with her. “Why can’t daddy take me to the park” or “why can’t daddy take me trick or treating”. It’s heart-wrenching. He has enough to deal with as far as his health goes. Now, he is also subjected to people finding out where he lives so he gets threats. Someone has attempted to run him over and the cops did NOTHING. He has paid his debt to society, he is not someone out there looking to do harm.
Time and time again I see this in my line of work and I am so saddened. There are people on the registry that made honest mistakes. Most laws state that crimes of this nature have no defense, you can not claim a lack of knowledge. That’s not fair. Why should they be punished for a lifetime?