Wife of a man on the registry for non-sexual offense Tier 1

I have been with my husband for 14 years. We have had to deal with the stress, fear, and anxiety for what happened to him when he was 18. This was 20 years ago.
In Vegas, When he was 18, he was with a girl, 17, in a relationship. They met in high school. She had some emotional and mental problems and was very possessive of him. He decided he wanted to break up with her, but she didn’t want that. Instead, she told her dad some story and he called the police on him. My husband at 18 was rounded up by the police in front of his family at home and taken to jail. When the court date came, the judge gave him the charge of ATTEMPTED sexual seduction of a minor. There was no actual sex act in the charge. He spent months in jail–luckily didn’t have to go to prison, since his charge was a tier 1 misdemeanor…But he experienced horrific things in jail and has PTSD from the experience. He was forced to go through sex offender classes with rapists and was forced to lie and say he was a sexual deviant. This led to a suicide attempt, which thankfully was unsuccessful. He had to register once a year, on his birthday, every year. By the time he left Vegas, we had been together for a year. I met him when he was 25. He had been registering for about 6 or 7 years already. Then we moved to Oregon. He was under the impression in Vegas for his last registry date that he was done registering. He told the clerk at the station where he reported in person that he was moving out of state, and then she said upon giving him his last signed registration that he “was all done!” Because he went through the motions for years of registering on his birthday every day, he never researched what to do when you leave the state, nor did I know. After a few months in Oregon, he was arrested for failure to report. I got a lawyer for him who had the charges dropped and arrest dropped off his record. The lawyer even told him that his charge wasn’t even in the legal system in Oregon. According to Oregon law, there was no crime, but they had to label it as something, so it was a level zero crime in a tier one. He still had to register. For the next ten years he registered in Oregon, for a combined total of 17 years. The minimum requirement he had to do was 10 years when he received the order to register…Then apparently it was changed to 15 years. Nevertheless, he fulfilled the requited time to register and he is not even searchable on any registry in any state/ or on the National Registry. His background checks are clear. We recently moved to another state and called a criminal defense lawyer about getting off registry. Since there were multiple states we lived in, the lawyer had no clue what to do, how to remove him. We tried looking it up ourselves when in Oregon, but the whole thing was so convoluted and expensive (would have needed to hire an attorney just to understand it), that he decided it was easier just to keep registering. The anxiety and fear of rejection from a judge in trying to get removed was so strong in him, he decided that it was easier to just keep plugging away. We are in the new state, and he hasn’t registered since his mandatory reporting period is up. He is not on any registry that we see. But there are no clear answers from here on out.

I thought I could trust a neighbor recently who I often talked to, and tried to tell him about my husband’s past. But once he heard “sex offender registry” he stopped listening to facts, claimed he deleted my texts about my husband’s story (as I was trying to further clarify) and didn’t read them. He is now threatening to blackmail my husband in telling neighbors with kids or he’ll tell them because he made a blanket assumption that my husband’s charge had to do with kids–he refused to hear the story. My husband never received an order to stay away from children or places where children are present. Again, he was actually charged with a non-sexual sex offense—which makes no sense. (To restate, at 18 my husband was reported to the police by the father of the girl he had been dating before anything even happened.) –Still, my neighbor won’t talk to us, won’t listen to facts, and insists on being willfully ignorant. Like many people here, they have encountered people who think they have to take action without even understanding the nuance of the individual situation. Now we are once again facing anxiety—it’s now constant–when will we have to explain ourselves again to a neighbor, who may also not even listen to the facts. I am thinking of legal recourse of blackmail, slander, and defamation and potentially harassment if the neighbor tells anyone, but that too is costly and mentally taxing. Now I have learned to isolate myself more, not have deep conversations with people, lest I stupidly put my trust into someone who may harm us or lead to our harm.

I have read horrific stories about the lives ruined from the stigma of the registry, especially from cases like in my husband’s situation. I have seen stories about CHILDREN who have to register as offenders because they were exploring their sexuality with other children before even knowing that the law could come in and take them away to juvie, forcing them to be on the registry, just for being curious as children are—and people who do stupid stuff when they’re young when there is consent. The current system is medieval dark ages stuff. And because the stigma is so strong and a label of sex offender serves as the umbrella hiding the truth of what’s happening to people, no one wants to address the injustices.
The registry should not be a one-size-fits all solution. There are people out there who have committed horrible acts and I have no comments about them. I don’t know the answer. But for people like my husband, the registry is NOT the answer.

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