I served a little over two years in federal prison for three separate sex offenses. It was due to a long-term addiction I suffered through for about 20 years before I was arrested. I was on active duty with the Air National Guard as an officer and had served close to 30 years in the Air Force, although not all of it was active duty. I threw away a wonderful career and destroyed my family. That was over seven years ago.
I received a lot of help from the Dept of Veterans Affairs in finding a homeless shelter after my incarceration. I lived in the men’s shelter for 8 months until I was on my feet and could afford to move out on my own. While there, I spent almost all of my time at the local jobs center where the staff there got to know me very well. The job center manager approached me one day with an offer as a clerk at a construction company. I gladly accepted the position and started in July of 2015. After 2 ½ years that job was done because the project was complete. Afterwards, I had numerous fantastic job interviews and some wonderful job offers – until they did the background check. Then suddenly I was a pariah – and kicked to the street. Eventually, I contacted the same man I had first met, the former director of the men’s shelter, because he had been after me for at least two years to come work for him. He’s my employer today. It’s a tough job that does not pay much, but it gets me by.
I also became an active board member of Meeting Ground, a local non-profit that caters to the needs of the homeless. In 2016, I was approached by the Executive Director and asked to join the board since they wanted a veteran rep. I served two years of a three-year term and resigned. A year later, I rejoined the board at their invitation and am a member today. Meeting Ground has given me an important purpose and has helped me to become a part of my community.
I went through group therapy sessions every week for 4 ½ years and finally completed that requirement last Fall. I still see my therapist individually once a month but that will eventually come to an end as well. Therapy was incredibly helpful to me and I fully participated.
I’ve also made a point to maintain my individuality and self-worth. For instance, if you were to spot me in town, you would notice that I am always barefoot. Some would say that I shouldn’t allow myself to stand out like that because questions might be raised and then my status might come to light. But I refuse to live my life in fear like that. I hold my head high and am not ashamed of myself as a person. Yes, I am deeply ashamed of the crimes I committed years ago, but those crimes do not define who I am as a person. The board that I am a member of is aware of my status and supports me.
My point is that I am seen as a productive member of the board and I am not judged for the crimes I committed in the past nor for how I choose to live my life today. Much of that comes from my own attitude and the way I carry myself. I am confident and I participate. I do not hide. Both my therapist and my PO know that I am a nudist. I do not hide who I am.
I have had lots of problems with the registry and want to volunteer in Maine to stop it
Yes I know what you mean I want to say my name is Richard L ok for now. I am a sex offender ice listed sex my 15 year old girl yeah I was wrong I lost my wife ruined my whole family membership with my other two children yes the girl was my step granddaughter I am now engaged to a Filipino woman and the Philippines that has three great children age of 22 20 + 12 two boys one girl the girl is 22 I’ve gone to jail paid my fines did everything I possibly could do winter classes for 5 years once a week take polygraph test every six months past mall all the time when I’m still being treated like a third class citizen I own my own business but now I’m totally retired 100% disabled from the service I travel some here and there I really have a hard time going overseas I go to Hong Kong and that’s it I’m trying now to get into Thailand Vietnam I tried to go to the Philippines but no dice on it
So all you fellow RSO out there keep your head high is what you did in the past is in the past what you do from this day forward what counts us all playing together hopefully someday the registry will be closed for most of us. All we can do is hope and pray I keep other people informed let them know that we paid for our mistakes we don’t need to be a third class citizen in the first class world in our rights are being violated keep up the good work God bless you all
Richard does your passport have sex offender printed in it? Someone told me that they do this…
Thank you Tim for your positive comments. I have always been an optimist and it helps me a lot along with many other things too, but I’m doing well. We’ll see how things go when I eventually move back to my home state of Texas. That’s an important goal of mine that is a little over two years away now. I think it’s very important for those of us who carry this stigma to set goals and look forward, as you have mentioned. Take care.
Way to go Victor, this is a good story and I hope that the readers can see that. We are not what we have done, we can be productive members of society and better for society as a whole. Safety in a society is not all about who, or what people do, it is more about what we have done since and where we are going. I like you do not live by the label attached to me, I have several labels before this one that I choose to live my life by. Such as friend, mentor, paramedic, firefighter, law enforcement, truck driver, father, son, brother Etc…. the point being that we can choose to live in the past or live for our future and use all our past labels to focus on and move on. I’m sure that your experience in the military has been a tremendous help. I wish that more ex-Offender’s could see there true potential and act on that.
Labels can be helpful in that they give us identity and a way of life, but they can also cause much suffering and basically suck. This is a fantastic story of somebody who kept working towards building a better life for himself, even amongst the aversion society places on people who have been tagged with a label. I personally feel that if Victor started wearing shoes again, he may be less judged in today’s social climate; however, that is the beauty of people’s free will. The Native American’s wore Moccasins, which offer very minimal support on the bottom of the feel and they had a label for the “white man” which was “tender-foot.” Victor is not a tender-foot!!!!