Sunday, January 19, 2014

Dear Prudence: I want to kill myself so my family gets the insurance

Emily Yoffe
Emily Yoffe
Original Article


By Emily Yoffe

Dear Prudence,

My husband is a loving man, a wonderful father, and a sex offender. Before you or your readers assume the worst, when he was 16 years old he had sex with his 13-year-old girlfriend. Despite his girlfriend’s pleas, her parents got angry, he was convicted, and now his life is now ruined. I knew all this when I met him and I thought I could make things better. It happened 17 years ago and was his only offense, yet it is destroying us on every level. He cannot find work. Anytime he gets a job, someone finds the sex offender registry, complains to management, and he is fired. We recently moved because our neighbors were threatening us and our children. Our children are mocked and rejected at school and our home has been vandalized. We have been married 10 years and I am no longer the strong woman I once was. I am tired of struggling to keep a roof over our heads and food on the table because he cannot find work. No lawyers will help us, no lawmakers, representatives or senators, ever respond to my pleas for help over the last seven years of writing to them monthly. My conclusion is a harsh one, but I see no other way to help my family. Secretly, I have purchased a life insurance package on myself. And once I have paid for the allotted time, I plan on wrecking my car in a way that could never be described as suicide. The money will provide my family with a decent life. I am tired of drying the tears of my children. If my sacrifice can make their lives more stable, it is a small price to pay. If you can see any other option for me, please tell me.

—Rendezvous With Death

Dear Rendezvous,

If your children are crying now, imagine what happens after their beloved mother dies, the insurance company investigates—and given the timing of the purchase of your policy and your accident, they will—and your death is declared a suicide. You will be leaving heartbroken, and broke, children haunted by their mother’s abandonment to the care of a father who cannot provide for them. Imagine you don’t die, but survive but in dire shape, leaving your family in an even more desperate situation. I understand the agony of the terrible and unfair ostracism you describe, but suicide will only compound the despair of the family you love. Please call the National Suicide Prevention Hotline to get help for these dark thoughts. You’ll also find understanding and support regarding your family’s particular hardship by calling the hotline of Reform Sex Offender Laws. This organization makes the case that increasingly punitive and expansive sex-registration laws ruin the lives of people on the registry without improving the safety of the public. This New York Times article about youthful offenders illustrates this point.

I am going to take your account of the circumstances of your husband’s conviction at face value—that he himself was a minor having sex with a girl too young to give legal consent, but who was a willing participant. I spoke to Nina Ginsberg, a Virginia criminal defense attorney, and she says getting legal relief for your husband is indeed a daunting task. But she pointed out that given your husband was a juvenile at the time of the crime, some states might allow him to come off the registry 15 years after his conviction. Instead of writing fruitless letters to uninterested legislators, you need to be investigating this possibility. After you do your research, look at the appropriate state or local bar association for a criminal defense referral. Sometimes a short conversation is free; some bar associations have programs or referrals for reduced fee or pro bono legal services. You once thought love would solve all problems. Now you just as naively think money will. But imagine that you had married a man with an unblemished legal record who died when your children were young, leaving you as their sole support. I’m sure you would have risen to the occasion. The additional burdens caused by your husband’s status may seem insurmountable, but your children need the love of both their parents. Their father committed a regrettable act long ago. Don’t commit a more devastating one now.



Sex Offender Issues said...

You are not alone, and yes suicide is NOT the answer. There are a lot of support groups out there who would be willing to help, just look around. We have many of them listed on our LINKS page, here:

Cali Girl said...

A comment slightly off topic... SOI, it looks like the web site for California RSOL has been changed from what is posted on your links page. is a great site for information as well as a discussion area for questions and support.

Thank you for all your efforts!

Mark said...

Many lawyers when it comes to sex offender issues, registration issues and such, are scared to death because of tremendous political backfiring. Many are just plain stupid, and many do not smell money $$$$$ You may want to give the district ACLU a shot where you reside, they love cases like this to see if you have a claim to be removed from the registry. In spite of the social and legal imbroglio you find yourself in, killing yourself is the cowards way out. Get up and fight man, the worst society can do is sneer at you, because they already do this and more, so what do you have to lose? Regrettably, there is a plethora of persons just like you with even worse cases than that of your article speaks of. I will say this once more: GET UP MAN AND FIGHT. Remember Papillon - Steve McQueen's role? He never gave up and finally made it out.

Mark said...

"FORT LAUDERDALE - The city says a registered sex offender lives
too close to Birch State Park, even though a child at the park would
have to swim or kayak almost 400 feet across the Indra-coastal Waterway
to pass by his Coral Ridge home." You know what, put a huge fence in the water so the offender cannot swim the distance to reach his target. Or better yet, why doesn't Fort Lauderdale empty or drain the waterway and put up a large wired wall. THAT EL STOP HIM! The more I read these articles and especially this one, the more it just bespeaks the mental illness of the American public, governments at work. I have never witnessed in my many years alive a generation of mawkish, frightened, weeping ,spoiled, terrified of their own shadow, brainwashed, "i want it now," "please protect me," collection of the moist broken human beings on this planet. The day and time of a rational, logical, didactic forthright discussion on almost any subject is gone, and as a result, you have the most ludicrous, inane, logic defying articloes as the FORT LAUDERDALE

Mark said...

"Any sexual intercourse with a person under 16 years of age is prohibited unless the defendant is less than 4 years older than the victim except when married to the person {§14‑27.2, 14‑27.4 & 14‑27.7A}." This is the statutory law of NC. What crime did he commit then? The girl is 16, there is absolutely no mention of force, and under the NC law it is legal. What he did in school - stupid. Only because he is a school officer, they are going to fry this guy. And this is EXACTLY how this starts, and before it is over, this case will blow up like a zeppelin; they will heap on this guy the fact that he killed JFK to be sure. Now, in all probability, he will get a retained lawyer (a stupid coward who smells a few $$$$), or even better yet, an appointed conveyer belt attorney whom neither will in all probability advocate for this joker because they are terrified of the political torrent against these lawyers that will flow. It is called CONFLICT OF INTEREST. And again, 18+ years in the legal world, I speak from top of the mountain. This entire article except for a few paragraphs of the so-called crime speaks only of the police, and their policies, and training, and how good they are ad nausea!

Michael said...

Move out of the United States! I moved to Europe 3 years ago, where there is no sex offender registry and I can live and work as a normal member of society. You can have a happy life if you get out of the USA.

dlc said...

This is all about the law makers looking tough on crime. To accomplish this they have to divert the sheeple down the path that separates there minds from their wallets. The sex offender is the perfect venue to accomplish the lawmakers desires. The sex offender brings out the darkest fears especially against children. What come to mind when society hears the words sex offender? A stranger leaping out of the shadows and doing vile things to a child. Why is that? Because our lawmakers have leveraged the main stream media to push this image upon society. They have the sheeple right where they want them with their wallets open, ready to dig in and give them every dime of their hard earned cash to protect them from the evil sex offender. Be it right or wrong that's how they're all portrayed. Until the sex offenders rally together this image will never change and the lawmakers will keep tightening the rope. The sex offender is being treated like the pariahs of WWI and WWII with the lawmakers representing Hitler in all his evil glory. Actions must be taken now before its too late.

dlc said...

It's not easy, but the sting of being a sex offender can be overcome. It takes hard work and persistence. Education makes the charges look more like an aberration then normal actions by your husband. Suicide is not the answer. Your children and your husband will need you. I have a friend that overcame his sex offender label by going back to school and getting a B.S. in Engineering while graduating at the top of his class. Everybody knew he was a sex offender, but he earned his respect and trust back. It is possible, but it is not easy.

Mark said...

To DLC: AMEN!!!!!!

Reality said...

Education is great but a sex offender label can make it nearly impossible just from the financial standpoint.

The easiest way to shorten a life is to add a lot of stress and create poverty. Add no hope and unfortunately suicide will be common.

Support groups will need to be more common and not just for the sex offender as illustrated by this letter to Emily. This family is the perfect example of how evil the registry is.

Redeemed1 said...

Would you be able to give any advice/resources as to how to move to Europe? My wife and I are very well educated and have been trying to research what it takes to move (and work) to Europe, but every time we try to ask about employment we are told how bad the economy is and how they don't want to give jobs to non EU citizens.

We weren't sure if it's best to just go there and find jobs, or to land something before we leave.

Thanks for any help!

Michael said...

People with in-demand skills are always welcome in Europe, and the economy here is recovering from the recession (except for a few countries). If you are well-educated you should search for European work opportunities in your area of expertise. If someone offers you a job, they will take care of the paperwork to allow you to live here permanently. I have an advantage in that I inherited European citizenship from my father, so I have two passports. But there are plenty of Americans over here working and living permanently.