The following was sent to us via the "Tell Us Your Story" form and posted with the users permission.
I am engaged to a sex offender. We have been together for almost 4 years. He was 18 when he had consensual oral sex with a 14 year old. He served 10 months in the county jail and was placed on probation. In the last few months of probation, before we started dating, he and a friend crossed state lines without permission of his probation officer. After we started dating and on the day before his probation was to end his probation officer had him turn himself in and violated him for his trip across state lines. He is now at the end of his sentence and at the end of his treatment program in the state program for sex offenders. The program has actually been a blessing in disguise.
The real issue is trying to find a place for us to live when he gets out on parole. Besides the fact that he has a felony conviction on his record and that most landlords do not want to rent to someone with that type of record he also has to be on the state sex offender registry. When looking for an apartment to rent that needs to be affordable I need to ask if they will allow a sex offender to live there. There is no sense in my asking to be approved and moving in only to find out that in a few months when my fiancé gets out he won't be allowed to live with me and therefore I will need to move again. The state has done away with residency restrictions and I have called the local police stations to make sure that we can move to the local towns. When speaking with the landlords I have found that I may pass all the requirements and all other areas but as soon as I mention anything in regards to my fiance's record and having to be on the registry the landlord tells me that suddenly someone else qualifies more for the apartment, or finds some reason that I don't fit the requirements. I am not able to pin them on discrimination completely as I haven't put my fiance's name on the application, but they know my intention.
I am not ashamed of my fiancé. He is a wonderful, loving, supportive, protective man. He is so much more than the label the government has put on him and I love him with all my heart and soul. But because of the registry I am now forced to omit him from my life in order to find a place for he and I to live and have a future. How can anyone think that this is a good thing, helpful to a return to society? What if he was in this alone and didn't have me or his family to support and encourage him? It boggles my mind at how the judgment eminates from the phone through a simple call for information on a home. I used to have all the bias about if you are convicted then you must be guilty. I have certainly learned my lesson in life. I need to help make sure everyone else learns theirs now...