It has been awhile since I have written you. You do remember me, don’t you? I am your neighborhood sex offender. You know the person the police warned you about many months ago. My name hasn’t changed, I’m still the same father, brother, uncle, or neighbor or the person down the street. You were told that I’m a monster and your children are not safe due to my presence.
Each morning I watch as family members or the neighbors leave for work. I have not been able to find a job as any potential employer is afraid that I will cause harm to his business. The new laws now make it near impossible to find and keep any job as most are located in forbidden areas or near a place where children may congregate. While I watch each of you head to work, I’m packing up my home as I was told by the police the area we live in is now a restricted area and I am not allowed to live here any longer. It doesn’t matter that I’ve lived here for over 10 years, due to my “status”, I must move or face going to jail. So I’m packing. Where I’m going to live hasn’t been decided as of yet, I’ve not had much luck finding a place that is outside the restricted area in this, our town.
Like you, I have children and a wife. I fear for their safety daily because they stayed by my side rather than divorce me or shut me out. My children do not understand why the adults in the area around us tell them terrible things about me. They do not have many or any friends because their parents are afraid that my children will harm their children or that I will harm their children. I have seen my children suffer from the other children at school who make fun of them and call them terrible names.
I could just leave my family behind so they have stability in their lives. We talked about doing just that, but forced separation after working so hard for many years to be a family again is not an option. My family would rather live in a shelter than allow the city to separate us. That may not be an option as well. It has been hardest toward the children. They don’t understand why we have to move. They don’t understand why they must part from their friends or go to another school.
It has been over 20 years since I committed my crime. I have not so much as gotten a parking ticket since then. I served my sentence and no longer owe the state anything. I had thought that when I completed my punishment, I would be able to rebuild my life. I find this just isn’t so. From the actions of someone else, has brought upon myself and my family unending punishment. From the actions of others, new laws are being forced upon us on a daily basis. All I can do is comply with these laws or be punished for failing to follow them.
From the advent of horrendous crimes committed by others, it seems like every town is making restrictive zones that will prevent my family from living within. The few areas that these towns decide are open for us to live in are either industrial complexes, or areas so small there is nothing there we could afford even if a place opened. So we become homeless. All I can figure is these towns would rather us be homeless and harder to keep track of then letting us live where we have been for years.
My family has watched over the last few months as town after town or city after city has adopted new ordinances that prohibit former rehabilitated sex offenders from living within 2,500 feet of schools, School-bus stops, day-care centers, parks, playgrounds, public libraries, churches and other places children might congregate. Each time I open the paper, I read where another area is being considered to be off limits. It isn’t just the town we live in, it is the surrounding towns as well.
I have looked at the studies about the restrictive zones and find there is no difference if the zones are in place or not. The common element being we are a mobile community and if someone wanted to commit a crime against children, there is nothing to stop them from going to an area they are not known to commit their crime. I’m sure the same studies are availible to these who make these laws. I could give you statistics and facts that show this hysteria is unjustified. These studies are compiled by the U.S. Department of Justice and show the recidivism rate is less than 5%. The problem is the elected officials you depend upon have stated there is a huge percentage, 80% or better, that sex offenders will always commit another sex offense, that there is no way these people can be rehabilitated and they deserve everything that happens to them.
The government has gone so far as to deny basic constitutional rights, guaranteed to all citizens, and stated they no longer are applicable to rehabilitated former sex offenders. Those who make the laws continue each term to make the laws more punishing than the last bunch. They have stated and the courts have agreed that they have a right to create new laws today and apply them to someone who committed their offense 20 or 30 years ago. They have created laws that have taken any due process rights you may enjoy, away from former rehabilitated sex offenders. It looks like they have either forgotten we have these same inherent rights or have chosen to ignore these inherent rights when passing these laws against RSO’s. Many of these laws have unconstitutional written all over them, yet they still make them.
I have more often wondered if our leaders are trying to make a caste system like that in India . If you ever commit a sex offense, you become an untouchable and no longer have any rights. People can do to you as they please without worry of punishment. Our children and wives are treated in such a way that makes them guilty just by being with me. There is little basis for each town to create more onerous laws than what the state has in place. These towns do such out of fear, fear that all the SO’s from the town next to them will drive RSO’s into their town. So the cycle has begun and multiplies as each town tries to out do each other before RSO’s can move in. Some states have gone so far as to tell the public the intentions of these restrictive laws is to drive RSO’s out of their state. One can but wonder if we even belong in this country any longer. Before much longer, we will have no place to live and be forced to leave America .
Well America , school is finished for the day. The children will be home and homework needs to be done. For now, I still make dinner and have it ready for when my wife gets home from work. How much longer she holds her job depends where we find a place to live and it is within commuting distance. We as a family try to live our lives the same as anyone else. After dinner, we have more packing to do. Hopefully the children will have a peaceful night tonight and my family can sleep in peace without the worry that someone will decide they do not want us in the neighborhood and do something to harm my family or destroy our peace.
May God Bless you America . As a nation, we should be above the hate and hysteria that prevails today. Thousands of rehabilitated former sex offender’s are being driven out of their homes while doing nothing more than working to be a law abiding, contributing member of society.
Your Neighbor, family member, familial associate,02/02/07