I joined the Marine Corps in 1999, got married in 2000, and had two wonderful children by 2005. I really didn’t have that bad of a life. Over the years though, I developed an unhealthy pornography addiction that that led to my conviction in October 2010. I was given a 4-year sentence in the brig. I served 3 of those and then was released on mandatory supervision for the remaining year. I have been offense free since my release in November 2013 and have been on the registry for 6 years. My state registration status only requires me to be on the registry for 10 years, so I only have 4 to go!
In the past 6 years I’ve had to deal with a lot of the negative repercussions brought on by the registry. I’ve had relationships fall apart, jobs lost, career opportunities squashed, etc. I’m sure many readings this know what I’m talking about when I say I feel like I’m always walking on eggshells.
Today though, I feel like I’m in a good place. I have 4 previous employers and many professional connections now that will ensure that I keep afloat. I’ve been dating my girlfriend now for over a year. She knows about my history and recently revealed my history to her mom and best friend, and they accept me for who I am today. My girlfriend and her youngest son live with me now and her brother considers me his best friend.
My two children I mentioned earlier are now teenagers and my first wife and I still get along well. It took her some time to trust me again after not only what I did, but by seeing that I’m not the same person I was. I see my children every other weekend and pay my child support faithfully and willingly. It initially started as supervised visits, but now that trust has been established, I have been picking them up alone for over a year now. I feel I have a great relationship with my girls.
Luckily, my military service was not completely deleted due to my crime, so I still have military veteran benefits. One of those was the GI Bill. I finished my undergrad degree in 2018 and after a short break, started my graduate program to complete my master’s degree. I should be finished with it by about the middle of 2020. Since my charges were military, they don’t show up on background checks. Only my status as a registrant shows up, so once my time on the registry is up, my charges pretty much disappear from my record. So, in 2023, when I’m off the registry, I’ll have a clean record and a master’s degree.
I also learned how to ride a motorcycle and bought my first Harley last year. This has opened me up to a whole new social world that I knew existed, but I didn’t know the extent of it. Provided my background doesn’t become an issue, I hope to join a veteran’s biker club soon after vetting them to ensure they aren’t criminal in nature.As for volunteering, etc. I haven’t been able to do anything like that due to finances. My dream career is to be a real estate investor, but it’s a difficult industry to get started in. Once I do though, I plan to use my money to support a cause near and dear to me. There seems to be a lot of felon integration services for prisoners recently released, but the help falls short after a couple of years offense free. These are the people that need and deserve the most help. I plan to start an organization to get felons (especially registrants) into sustainable employment, housing, and support.