Sept. 8 2010 10:39 AM

A readers tells a story about the nightmarish reality of our sex-offender laws

    Regarding your cover story about homeless sex offenders [“Unintended consequence,” Sept. 1]: Thank you for bringing some of these issues to the forefront.

    Most families suffer right along with their loved ones who happen to get caught up in the nightmare of a sex offense. While some offenses do deserve punishment and the removal of those who are a risk to society, every situation differs from the next. Yet, our society clumps them all together in a similar net.

    Back in 2002, our son had a brief relationship with a girl who claimed to be 19, in El Dorado County. They did not have sex. When he discovered that she had lied about her age, he refused her calls and told her to leave him alone. He changed his phone number.

    A year later, on the day he was awarded full custody of his young son, he was arrested. I had been an educator for Poway School District for more than 20 years at the time. What followed is too long a story, a total nightmare, but it included such corruption on the part of the Sheriff 's Department, the attorneys and the court system that we will never recover. I ended up leaving a career that I loved.

    Our son spent three years in prison. Upon his release, he somehow managed to get a transfer to be able to live with us. However, my family was then threatened and harassed by our neighbors. And while living here, we were unable to see our grandchildren and some of our friends.

    I would lie in bed at night and wonder, “Could my husband get shot while doing yard work?” “Would some nut try to hurt one of us?” Then, Chelsea King's death occurred. The Kings lived only a few streets from our home. My heart was broken for her family, and yet, somehow I believe our system might have contributed to her death. Could it be that the homelessness, the ridicule, the constant stress might have pushed someone mentally unstable over the edge? Now, we are being punished yet again for a unimaginable senseless crime of another. And our son would have not been charged at the time if we happened to live in another state. So, in California, you are considered the worst of the worst, and in another state, your offense is not considered a crime and you are a free man. And, I cannot help but think that if these laws were in place 40 years ago, my own husband could have suffered the same fate. I met him on his return from Vietnam. I was 17, and he was 22.

    Every single member of our family has been effected. Every single member is punished. We are outcasts and lepers. The children in these families suffer the most. While saying the state is protecting children, they are destroying thousands of innocent lives. Our grandson now lives with a man who got a 15year-old pregnant. Same time frame, same county, but was never charged. Our grandson lives with this man, yet is not allowed contact with his own father, the man who loves and cherishes him.

    We have since moved our son to another location. The costs associated with this are ruining us financially. He cannot find a job, wears GPS, must attend classes at parole, (they schedule these classes in the middle of the day, so how do they expect them to even have a job?) and we, as a family, can never be together. And that, is the hardest thing of all.

    Name withheld


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