There Are Nearly 1 Million Americans on a Sex Offense Registry. These Are Their Stories.

John J

John J
John J

I am happily married and have one wonderful child. For most of my adult life I have been an information technology professional, endurance athlete and musician. My wife and I have shared many adventures such as living overseas, seeing the pyramids in Egypt, the Parthenon in Greece and coliseum in Rome. We have been scuba diving, completed marathons and triathlons. It has taken an incredible amount of hard work, self-sacrifice, and education and yes God’s grace to have been able to experience all that I have been blessed to experience. My wife and I both worked incredibly hard to achieve a little bit of the American dream.

When our daughter was born we were both looking forward to being able to provide our daughter the very best we could. Almost 7 years ago, our lives changed forever when I was laid off from work and became extremely depressed. I closed myself off from my family and friends; and fell into an unhealthy cycle of abusing adult pornography from an unsecure Peer-to-Peer network. My carelessness resulted in under-age pornography being discovered on my computer. I was arrested, convicted and now I am on the Sex Offender Registry. In an instance, everything I had accomplished, all the years of study and hard work, all the dreams I had were swiftly taken away. I was filled with a sense of hopelessness. I had let my family, my friends and my community down. I could not forgive myself. I did not see any reason to live. I made a decision that I would commit suicide. Then everyone could go on as if I had never existed.

One day a therapist I had been seeing said something that completely changed my outlook. The therapist said maybe I thought I was a burden to my daughter now but if I committed suicide, my daughter would blame herself. This blame would haunt my daughter and negatively impact her life forever. Full stop! I decided in that very moment that suicide was no longer an option and each day I would make it a point to stay alive.

This new sense of purpose did not suddenly make all the negative consequences go away. I have been unemployed for 2 years. It has been easy to get job offers; in fact I have been offered 13 positions in 18 months. But each offer was rescinded when I disclosed my background. This lack of steady income has placed an incredible strain on our lives.

Some neighbors don’t let their children interact with our daughter. She is too young to understand why her friends can’t come over. We can’t explain why her father is never at any of her school events and never volunteers. Why her father, who plays 4 musical instruments, can’t play at church. These are discussions that one-day we will have with our child. We want to tell her first before she finds out from strangers.

I have many things to be thankful for in my life. I have an intelligent, beautiful, curious, child. A child that gets angry with me when I ask her about homework and enjoys my sense of humor. I also have a wonderful spouse who has been willing to give me a second chance and every day brings new ideas and suggestions on how to move forward. I also have family that has not abandoned me. I have a sister who was there during some of my lowest moments. I have a mother and a father who never stopped believing in me and through example have shown me the power of faith. I have my music, a garden, and somewhere that I can call home. I have been blessed in many ways that others in my situation have not.

Recently, after years of hiding and not going out except to run errands, help my family, and work, I have taken the next step. I have started to take part in volunteer work and be an active advocate to push reform for current laws that directly impact my family and so many others in similar situations. I realized that I have to “be the change that I want to see in this world.”

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  1. These stories are becoming as typical as getting a speeding ticket because law enforcement are setting up speed traps. The entire internet “crime wave” is completely driven by our very own govnt officials setting up traps for anyone to fall victim to.

    Who are the actual perpetrators? Law enforcement!

    Do your self a favor:. Google search “dr michael seto testamony us supreme court”, download the PDF testimony given by the world’s leading expert in this very topic. Look up Dr Michael Seto many published works including the fact that he is routinely invited to G8 & G12 world summits to give his expert knowledge to the rest of the worlds leaders.

    He is even hired by US law enforcement agencies on this topic. Yet NARSOL seems completely oblivious to this and many court cases / case law specifically stating these people are NOT A THTEAT to anyone.

    I have tons of published research info in this topic.

  2. Your story sounds just like my younger brothers. Peer to peer network and because the photo was on his hard drive they got him for distribution from being on the peer to peer to share his music that he made. It’s been a nightmare for the whole family. I wonder what will happen to him when he no longer has us to rely on. I fear for my parents safety, whom he lives with. There have been shots fired at the house and vandalism. I’ve felt so helpless. I just found this site.

  3. My son is a still serving his 20 months in a military brig. I have his 4 year old and wife living with me. We want to be moved from Alabama when my son comes out in 2020. He also is in IT. He spent 12 years in the Air Force doing IT. We do not know what state would offer the best for our family with his record. I have researched Dallas, Tx. and Eugene, Oregon. We have been told if we stay near a big city he might be able to get work in his field. Reading all of your comments on this board scares me for what he/we might have to go through. I pray for all of the good people out there on the registry. As a retired school teacher, I believe that everyone deserves a second chance.

    1. I’m 72 and have been on the registry for over 21 years. It isn’t fun and it gets to be damn irritating at times. I have been able to have a job from 1998 until 2012 when the company I worked for couldn’t compete with the Chinese. We reman’d front end axles and you could buy a new one cheaper than we could reman them. Hence, my job was gone but I was old enough to retire and not worry about any expenses. The three month sign-up is complete B.S. It was bad enough every year but now it’s getting worse. The State of New Hampshire is really lax compared to many other states. After I read the restrictions of other States, I think I’ll just stay here until the end. I know lots of people get hired as flaggers. No background checks here. I work for a cleaning company and the boss is a JW Christian and a real nice guy. Hired me for some small cleaning job from a friend and offered me part time cleaning. So I earn an extra 240 a week for 24 hours of office cleaning which is easy if your young but it’s a lot of work for me. But I’ll stick with it for a few more years. maybe you Southerners should consider a colder climate and get some real living done up here rather than get tortured in the South with the heat and the Law.

  4. My suggestion would be this, start a business and or do consulting as a 1099 or outsourcing people under you and be an owner. When you own your own business most companies don’t bother on doing a background since your a 1099. Then what I did i took the responsibility to go out and meet my neighbors and really get to know them. Some people would ask about my background and crime and some didn’t care. Being honest and owning I believe helps clear the air and some people no matter how much you change or do good won’t like you and that’s fine. I made it a point to say hello to all my neighbors and anyone who crosses my path. If they ask I tell them and if they don’t I stay true to my self. So action speaks louder than words and get out and live your life and keep your family safe I’m sure one day you will get off the list. Stay strong!

  5. Amen, from one RSO John to another RSO John, I am glad you didn’t commit suicide. Like you I was convicted of possession and like you I was, and remain, married with children. We have similar issues wrt trying to raise kids while not being able to drop them off at school or go to their baseball games. I also tried to kill myself but ultimately changed my mind b/c of the pain that I thought it would bring to my boys. Hang in there. Stay human.

  6. I am 49 years old. I too am an I.T. professional. I graduated with honors from the Computer Information Technology course offered at a near-by technical college. I was inducted into the National Technical Honor Society. I am CompTIA Network+ certified. I am also certified through C-Tech as a basic copper-based network cabling specialist.

    I am also a registered citizen subject to lifetime registration AND supervision. I can’t BUY a job in I.T.! Any advice? I’m in a small town and have a minimum activity business license to do computer repair, but I’m in a small rural town where the work is too sporadic.

    Please reply and advise!

  7. Our stories are eerily similar, only I am no longer married or have a child. Same career path, same adventurous spirit, same type of athlete.

    Keep trying!

    You may have a very difficult time finding work in the profession, but that may not stop you from being an independent contractor, offering IT consulting. Or, start a business with a partner, which may be enough to avoid the background checks.

    I have had some employment “success” by finding temp agencies who will work with those of us with “barriers to employment”. You may be limited to manufacturing, industrial, or warehouse work, but it can provide a livable income.

  8. John J , yes you are blessed. Way too many human beings, who made bad choices are now homeless and jobless.
    I too am blessed. My family did not abandon or shun me, but every time, without acception when prospective employers found out about my offence I never got a call to be interviewed.
    When I got off of Parole my old boss got in touch with me and offered me my old job back and gave me a better pay too.
    That was 6 short years ago, and I’m in my third year of paying on a brand new top of the line Dodge ram truck. Yes I worry about what will happen if everyone I come into contact with finds out I’m a x- sex offender.
    There is a better life than the one I had to live when I was on parole. I am living it now…and I pray that my employer won’t be forced to fire me if he starts getting pressure from those who believe x-sex offenders don’t deserve a life as a free person.
    Good job John…bless you …and please keep on doing what you are doing.

    1. Edward. There are many people out there that believe that sex offenders don’t deserve life at all.I read all the reply’s on forum’s and they are ruthless and mean spirited people, if you want to call them that. I was like them until I happened to get put on the list. I won’t go into details but it isn’t nice the way we are treated and especially by these retards we elect to keep the laws of this land balanced. But we on the SOL aren’t covered in that balance. WE are worse than murders.I really get fumed when I hear that B.S. but we made our beds now we must lie in them until thew light at the end of the tunnel shines thru

  9. My brother was recently convicted and sentenced and has a story that is very much like yours. Thank you for sharing. It helps to know, as his hope and faith decline from the in-prison treatment, that there are others who are making it through. Does anyone know if there is a group that exchange letters, or a therapy group that provides support for SROs once they are out? Like an AA group?

    1. Hope someone is able to respond with assistance to your question, important as it is, but really depends where you are at or your love one affected, location, location, location-sad but true. Jon C has a good article and I responded asking for the same as you Kirsten, don’t know where your brother once he is released, you are loved for searching for helping him, what a loving sister that truely seeks for him.
      Hope you can, California is where we are at. Good Luck Kristen and hope you will find help for him. Even if John J may respond, he will need to know the area your brother will be released as there are NOT nationwide programs still to this day, just the Registry. NARSOL directly might be able to assist in this matter, ACSOL is in Calif only.

  10. Allie on my son 23 is in the same exact place as yours he’s not allowed to use any electronics or go into any social media, he just got fired from his job as a waiter because aparently they found out he’s on the registry. He has been depress lately… we live far from each other and I would never have him move to Florida because of how strict the rules are here for RSO. We don’t know what to do to help him out other than to pay his rent and give him money for food. He has 2 more years of probation and is trying to go to school to become an electrician, he’s a great kid, I just wish someone would give him a chance to show them how hard he can work. Thanks for all of the positive comments. We keep everyone here in our prayers.

  11. Our stories are very similar. I too was an endurance athlete and worked in IT. I’m very glad to hear that you’re finding success and have a family to live for which to live. Your story is personally inspiring.

  12. Reading your story was like hearing my son’s story. He had a similar experience going from being on top of the world to feeling like he was less than human after his arrest & conviction. He is also an IT professional that hasn’t been able to find anyone that will hire him. He found some work by going on Craigslist under gigs for computer. There were some legit jobs that didn’t ask for background checks. That’s one way to get some work to keep your skills up & possibly ease into some longer term work.
    We need to band together to show the world that the label doesn’t tell the whole story of who a person is. Stay strong & speak out whenever you can.
    Good luck!

    1. My son is an RSO. He’s just plain miserable. He’s not allowed to use a computer or cell phone or anything electronic. He went through a job site to apply for a job which I had to do for him. It was actually a job placement service. He told them that he needed a job that doesn’t do background checks because he is a felon. They keep getting him jobs that last three weeks or a month sometimes. They pay excellent wages and he can at least pay his court costs and for the ankle monitor he has to wear. He had job offers and even hired till the background check came back. So right now he’s thankful for the job placement service. Why are the laws so severe for a RSO but not for any other crime?

      1. Is your son on federal or state probation/parole? If its federal there are very strict regulations on a blanket ban on computers. I imagine state side is the same. More often they allow use with the caveat that you have to add a monitoring service at your expense. Any lawyer worth his salt can get that removed or changed on the grounds that its not narrowly tailored or too vague/broad, whatever fancy wording they use for that. No computers? Sorry son, no calculator. Sorry kiddo, you can only drive cars made in the 70’s. Oh wait, it has a radio? computer. Need some money from the bank? Gonna have to wait until Monday when they open, that ATM is a computer. Plenty of times it’s been overturned because computers run today’s society. Most places don’t even accept paper applications anymore. Don’t let the felony discourage you from applying though! I’m not wealthy, but between my wife and I we make enough money to live, put food on the table, and spoil the kids come xmas time. I’ve found better luck just admitting to a felony on the application and where it asks details I put something along the lines of “Will discuss at interview, prefer to speak only to HR” because honestly? They are the only ones that need to know, not hiring managers. I actually had one hiring manager ask me if I had a felony, he pulled up a form on his computer, said ok, that’s for HR to know, I’m going to leave the room, please give as much detail as you can and submit. I work there now. Medium sized ISP(that’s funny in a way isn’t it?) My company will hire felons, and doesn’t want the hiring managers to know any details of the conviction. They’re actually coached to not take even the fact they know one exists into the decision making process. Anyway, It gets better. It doesn’t get great, but it gets better and I do love my life. 3 beautiful children, a wife that loves me, and a job that’s secure. Yes I have to register, no I don’t agree with the registry as a whole. I guess I’m the black sheep here because I think with (heavy) revision it could be a very useful law enforcement tool. The laws for RSO are severe, but so are many other offenses, they just don’t carry the same stigma. It’s not just sex crimes that need reform, but the entire system. Did you know until fairly recently 1g of crack was treated as the same as 100g of cocaine? A struggling addict with a couple rocks could have(and did) end up with the same sentence as someone trafficing kilos of coke. Throw in a gun with it? My cell mate, first time offender, 5g of crack and an unregistered hand gun. 32.5 years. Again, not taking away from SOR being absurd and unfair, just highlighting it’s the entire system.

  13. JOHN J – The comment from your therapist is extremely insightful – glad you listened and were able to prevent a tragedy for your family! If you are an IT person, you may want to look into CNC Programming. This programming is used to program machines that are used to shape and cut precision products such as machine, car, and aviation parts. You are working in a production shop area, and there is no contact with kids, etc. This is such a hard skill to find, they are far more interested in your talent and work ethic than your conviction. I found this for my cousin who just completed a 3-month training program at a county college, and had a job offer within 2 weeks. He had NO previous experience!
    Here is some information about it. Best of luck.

    1. Thank you Janet. I certainly appreciate the information. I will look into CNC Programming and look into opportunities in that area

  14. Hi John,

    My story is very similar to yours, albeit at a much younger age. I graduated with a degree in Computer Information Systems on May 8th, 2008 only to be forced to please guilty to possession of child pornography before the Month of May was over at the age of 22. I never got a chance at anything. 10 years later with some serious therapy and proper medication for Major Depression (caused in no small part from the Registry) I am seeking my Master’s in an IT related field and have found hope in the Fair Chance Pledge.

    My hope is to build my skills to the point where no one can ignore my resume and try 18,50, 100, 500 times until someone gives me a chance. We only lose the war when we quit or die!

    Here’s a list of big name companies who have pledged to hire felons in IT related jobs. I hope this somehow helps you or others with IT skills.–> check here for more information:

    1. So, did Trump kill this since it was Pres. Obama’s initiative? Was going to bring this to someone’s attention, but first wanted to be certain it still exists.

      Best of luck to you, by the way.

  15. It is an uphill battle for most, if not all, labeled citizens. From finding a roof over their head or a steady source of income to put food on their table, to feeling loved or being a human, it is a daily challenge. I felt good to read that you did not give up and that you have a positive outlook on life despite the negativity directed towards you. God is watching over all of us, and He does not give more than we can handle.

  16. It is important that every day we thank God for what we have and what He has permitted us to do with those gifts. It is also import to get involved with community activities so that community members and neighbors can get to know the real you. Living in the shadows will solve nothing. Truth known, many of your neighbors are probably thankful they have not been called to account for their failures. It is so critical that RSO’s live a lifestyle that we ‘kill’ the paranoia and ‘false facts’ that has given media something to sell stories for and excuses for politicians to make voters thing the bureaucrats have a good handle on solving non-existent problems. John, it would be a pleasure to have you and your family as neighbors. God bless!

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