Wednesday, March 13, 2013

My Lucky Day

First, note the date:  03-13-13.  Those that know me know that I consider the number 13 my lucky number, ever since I married the love of my life on October 13, 2001.  It's why there is a "13" in my email address.

I hadn't even noticed the date until my 10 year old daughter pointed it out to me this morning while I was fixing her hair.  As soon as she told me, I smiled a great big smile, as I just KNEW right then and there that it was going to be a good day.

It was!  In fact, it could rank right up there with the top 10 of Best. Days. Ever.

Stopping along the way to Little Rock to pick up Carla, my BFF in this fight, we strategized all the way there.  At one point, she said that if we win today, we should all celebrate with purple milkshakes from The Purple Cow, (a restaurant).  I thought that sounded like a splendid idea.

The three of us arrived at the capitol in time and once inside, my daughter and I headed for the restroom while Carla headed off towards room 171 where the senate judiciary meetings are held.

A few minutes later, my daughter and I made our way to room 171 to meet up with Carla and the others from ATAT. Just as I was reaching for the doorknob to open the door, I heard a man's voice call out behind me, "Ma'am...  Ma'am!" I turned around and found myself face to face with Senator Jon Woods and saw that his hand was stretched out showing that he wanted to shake my hand.  As I accepted his hand in mine, he introduced himself to me, although that SOOO was not necessary as I knew who he was.  I told him I was honored to meet him.  I was just SOOO surprised that he was talking to me.  To me!!!

He clearly knew who I was.  Maybe he recognized me from previous sessions, or maybe he recognized me because my daughter was with me and he'd seen the video.  I'm willing to bet it was the latter.

Anyway, as we stood there, he explained to me that he was striking the language involving an offender with a victim under 18, which I told him was a huge relief to us.  He then went to on explain that he was rewording a word or two about the remaining part of the bill.

I looked at him and said, "Well, if you're taking out the victim under 18 part, then, really, what is the point of the bill?"

He kinda hemmed and hawed, and seemed as if he really didn't know, but told me that he was pulling the bill for now and it would not be presented today.

I found Carla in the meeting room as she was distributing copies of a study she printed out from the Justice Policy Institute.  The room was so packed with people who were there to testify against another bill on animal cruelty.  We left the room and met our fellow advocates out in the hallway to talk.

Turns out, Carla had met with Senator Woods just moments after he spoke with me and he told her the same thing, adding that he wanted to call her about the bill.  She gave him her business card.  We do still have concerns about this bill as the purpose of the bill now is to attempt at some sort of compliancy with the Adam Walsh Act.  We may still need to fight it, but at least NOT on the original issue.

My daughter is again hopeful that her daddy can petition to get off the registry in June.

(Please don't worry, my friends and fellow advocates, even if/when he does get off, I am not going anywhere.  My fight has long ago not been just for my husband... if it ever really was...)

We left the capitol just before lunchtime and did, indeed, celebrate with purple milkshakes from The Purple Cow.

In the car on the way home, Carla and I speculated as to what could have happened to make this turn out the way it did.  She recalled meeting a lawyer outside of room 171 last week and how that led to meeting other important people and having conversations with them and described it as being the first domino in a row of many to fall.  I like that analogy.  We know that many people emailed the senators complaining about this bill.  Then, there is my daughter's video.  Who knows which domino in the line was the one that made the whole thing fall, but in the end it doesn't matter.  All of the dominos fell.

My point with this is that if we had done nothing, this bill would have passed without any fanfare and Arkansas sex offenders and their families would suddenly find themselves on the registry for life, with no hope of ever getting off no matter what they did.

But, the fact is that action was taken and that action created desirable results.  For those of you out there who think you can't do anything to fight the laws in your state, you are sadly mistaken, and you will never know if you don't try.  We are proof that the system CAN work in your favor if you are determined enough.

You just gotta let them know you mean business and that you're not going anywhere...  And please, above all, DON'T wait until it's too late just because a bill that is being proposed won't affect you.  We all know lawmakers take snippets out of our liberties one small bite at a time.  If they bit off more than they could chew, they would never get away with it, but all these tiny nibbles DO wind up being part of a much larger bite as time goes on, and rather than resembling the bite of a mouse, looks more and more like the bite of a great white shark.

If your state is proposing ANY legislation targeting sex offenders, then you shouldn't be sitting there looking at your computer screen and just reading my blog.  (Okay... you can read and THEN take action.)

You need to be writing letters and emails to those legislators and showing up at hearings and giving them a piece of your mind rather than just sitting there letting them take a bite of your ass.

Go get 'em, Tiger!

It works...  It really does.

Friday, March 8, 2013

FEAR = False Evidence Appearing Real

Hang onto your hats, folks, it's another blog post ~ 3rd one in 3 days!

As I've said before, I blog when I have something worthy to say.  I feel this will be worthy.

As some of you know, I created a video featuring my daughter's reaction to the news that Arkansas is considering removing the eligibility to be removed from the sex offender registry for persons with victims under the age of 18.

Admittedly, I was desparate and felt pushed into a corner, only having two days to prepare for the bill, which was scheduled to be presented Wednesday.

I knew I would draw the attention of the Haters, and I didn't care.  I still don't.  You cannot be an outspoken advocate in this movement without having people hate you.  In fact, some would say you know you've made it as an advocate when people start to hate you.  Over the last couple years, I've learned to develop a thick skin and I've learned to let their trash talk roll off my back like water off a duck.

Still, I thought you guys might like to sneak a peak at what they're saying about the video.  A friend of mine sent me this link alerting me to where the Haters were coming from.  I wouldn't even bother posting it here, but since they actually posted a link on their page to the evil unveiled's ancient trash talk page about SOSEN, I figured they were fair game.

What goes around comes around and karma and all that.

So, here ya go.  Enjoy reading:

The title alone, "Parents Whose Children Have Been Sexually Abused" is enough to make one cringe.  I understand that terrible things happen, terrible crimes are committed by terrible people.  I understand these people's pain and anger, I really do.  My heart goes out to them.  But comparing their own horrible experiences to someone like my husband is absolutely unfounded, but they refuse to see it.  The parents in this group feel victimized.  Their children feel victimized.  But, my husband victim has stated she had a crush on him and persued him, and did not feel victimized in any way.  She says the same thing I do:  That he should have known better.  She grew up to be a well-adjusted woman who now has a family of her own.  She told me herself she never felt like she was victim or that it should ruin her life or anything.  In other words, she is FINE.

And, after my own child sexual abuse, I am FINE, too.  In fact, there are hundreds or thousands, or heck, maybe even millions of us victims who are JUST fine, contrary to what the Haters would like to believe.  We don't all have to hang onto our abuse, clinging to it like it's the only thing that defines us and allowing our hurt, hatred and fear to ruin our lives.

I have to wonder just how many of these parents are actually making it worse for their children.  I am sure there are at least SOME children that would prefer to get help and move on and not let it ruin their lives, but their parents are making them relive the abuse day after day because THEY can't let it go.  These Haters said I was revictimizing my child by having recorded her secretly and posting her reaction to YouTube.  I knew they might say that.  I also knew that if I asked her permission to record her FIRST, then she might not have given an honest reaction, and I knew the Haters would then say it was rehearsed or performed.  I knew it was a lose/lose with them, so that was why I opted for recording first, and explaining my intent second.

Some Haters say they feel sorry for my child but not for what's going to happen to her if her daddy stays on the registry.

Well, I feel sorry for their children, yes, because they were abused in the first place, but more because they are being revictimized every day by a parent who can't, or won't learn to forgive, get help, and let go.  Their hatred for people like me only makes things worse for themselves and their children.  As my friend said, "They seem to think that spending their lives hating others will benefit them.  But, we all know that it won't.  They need to forgive and move on for their own sake.  It's so sad!"

Yes it is sad, so very, very sad.

One of the Haters on YouTube, who is obviously one of the people on the daily strength group actually messaged me on YouTube this message yesterday:

Before you post a you tube video trying to pull sympathy for your case why would you not go into that first... This is a very twisted thing for you to do without thinking about your daughter and her feelings and rights to privacy... So how did your husband end up On that list??? It is hard to get a sex Offender accused let alone put on that list!!! Tell me your story please I want to know why he is innocent ?

To which I responded immediately with:

Thank you for messaging me. I appreciate your interest in this, I really do. It is easy for people to make assumptions about things they don't understand, so let me try to explain things.
I just learned about this bill, SB653, a bill that would severely impact my daughter more than anyone else in my family, including my husband, who has long since adapted to life on the registry. My daughter is only in the 5th grade, and once she gets into high school, having her daddy on the public registry puts her at GREAT risk of harm and harassment. We are doing everything we can to avoid this.
The bill was filed last Thursday and I didn't learn about it until the weekend. I had TWO days to prepare for this bill. Last time I was at the capitol, I testified against another bill in which a senator said to my face, "I don't care about families of sex offenders." Then, on SOSEN's ARC Talk Radio Show last week, the topic was lobbying and a woman in Indiana said that a 13 year old testified against a lifetime registration bill like this and the bill died right then and there.
Admittedly, I was desperate, plus I knew how much my daughter was looking forward to the possibility of her daddy getting off the registry. She talks about it daily, always bringing it up, so hopeful that one day SHE will have a normal life. Maybe videoing her wasn't the best course of action, I acknowledge that. But, when you get pushed into a corner, the way I felt when I learned about this bill, sometimes we don't make the best decisions.
Yes, my husband is guilty of his crime which happened in 1996, he is not innocent. And, he is remorseful. I know the victim, who was 15 at the time, and she told me herself that she had had a crush on him and persued him. It does not matter, he should have known better!!! My daughter wants to blame the victim, and I have to constantly tell her it is not the girl's fault. Daddy made a stupid mistake. Still, is a mistake like that worth punishing a man AND HIS FAMILY for the rest of their lives?
Your statement that it is hard to get a sex offender accused or put on the list is sadly mistaken. It is actually MORE likely that people, particularly jueveniles, will be put on the list than they are to be a victim of a sex crime. I forget the number now, but the majority of people on the list were under 24 at the time of the offense, [I believe the figure is actually close to 1/3] and most were Romeo and Juliet type cases.
There are an overwhelming number of false allegation cases as well, since NO ACTUAL PROOF needs to exist for a conviction in a he said-she said case. The courts will ALWAYS find the defendant guilty. Most false allegation cases are a result of a nasty divorce where there is a custody battle. All the mother has to do is say he touched the child, and it is all over for him and he is in prision and on the list for life.
Anyway, if you are truly interested in learning more about my story you can read my blog at or better yet read my book: Consensual Consequences: A True Story of Life with a Registered Sex Offender. Before you think I am *just* trying to sell my book, you might be able to find it at your local library, and if not, I'd be happy to send you a complimentary copy for free.
It is more important to me to get my story out there than it is to profit from it. Since 95% of all registered sex offenders never reoffend (according to the DOJ), most offenders are people just like my husband who made one stupid mistake and who are paying for it for the rest of their lives, and their innocent families are suffereing the consequences.
Again, thank you for asking. I really do appreciate your interest. I wish more people would start asking questions rather than making assumptions!
There is also more information available at and many other websites out there as well, but I don't want to overwhelm you. Please, if you have any questions, don't hesitate to ask. I appreciate it.

Unfortunately, she has not replied back nor has she shared my message with her fellow Haters, even though she has since posted more trash talk on their page.  Why didn't she share my message with her group?  I would send ANY of them a free book if that is what it took to get them to open their eyes and  look past their own hatred and fears and see that there could be a difference between their monstrous abusers and men like my husband.

My good friend says this of fear:

Incidently, there is another group on dailystrength who are showing their support of the video and what we do.

I appreciate their support greatly.  To them, I say THANK YOU.

Wednesday, March 6, 2013

Clear as Mud

Hello all,

I have received SO many emails these last couple days from people wanting to express their gratitude and support for posting my video featuring my daughter's reaction to SB653.  It has been truly amazing and so very encouraging...

And since I went to Little Rock today to testify against SB653, I know many of you have been anxiously awaiting an update.  I am exhausted, but I didn't want to disappoint you, so here I am.  :)

My ten year old daughter went with me to the testify, and one of my other two daughters joined us there.  The third daughter wanted to be there, but since she has a newborn at home, I told her not to come.  It was wonderful to have my family around me.

Carla and her husband were there as well, and we all signed up to speak against SB653.

Many bills were presented, but they never quite got around to SB653.  Instead, as we neared the noon hour, the senators decided to discuss this bill instead of presenting it.  There were some questions and concerns coming from some of the senators, mostly expressing concern over Romeo & Juliet cases.  They felt that R&J's should not be excluded from being eligible to petition to be removed from the registry.  The problem, though, lies in determinating the age difference between the young adult and teen and also the age limit of the offender.

Brad Cazort, with ACIC, stated that maybe the age limit should be 20 or 21.  I believe it was Senator Hutchinson who said he knew of a man who was 24 who had an underage girlfriend, and even though they are married now, with children, he is still on the registry.  He felt that age 24 was not too old.

Now, they didn't ask ME, but if they had, I would have said there should be no age limit at all, that if an adult engages in sexual activity with a willing teenage partner, they should definitely be charged with a crime, but such crime would NOT indicate any sort of "threat to society" and therefore would not need to be on a public sex offender registry, and certainly not for life.

More discussion about the bill ensued, but as the session ended, I left with more questions than I came with. It seems they plan to revise the wording of the bill and present it next Wednesday.  Considering their focal point with R&J's, I am not at all sure testifying about how this bill would affect my child would be the way to go.  I am not so sure my ten year old should come back with me either.

Here's what I do know:  Current Arkansas law says that every registered sex offender has lifetime registration, but that sex offenders CAN petition to be removed after 15 years, so long as they are A) Not level 4 offenders, B) Have been in compliance and C) Have not committed any new crimes.

Where it gets muddy for me is the comparison between this law and the AWA.  It would appear that Arkansas is at least making an attempt to become somewhat AWA compliant.  I think I heard that we are compliant with maybe 9 conditions out of the 14 or so that the AWA has specified must be met.  Only 9 out of 14?  That seems to me they're a long ways off yet.  What happens if 9 of the conditions are met but the rest are not?  Do they get just a small percentage of the Bryne grant money, or none at all?

In an update I just received from Carla with ATAT, she states:

This is the law the way it stands NOW.
Arkansas does not have the Adam Walsh ACT (AWA), in a way this is good, in another way it’s not.
a.       Some of the AR laws are more restricted then AWA and some of the AWA are not.
b.      AWA add juveniles as young as 5 to the list, AR does not.
c.       AWA makes every SO stay on the register for life. AR does not or at least not all of them.
With this new bill SB653, they want to change this.
I will be asking the other state leader for more help on WHY AR want to pass this law, as soon as I know you will. I feel like I am missing a big part of the picture.

Yeah, Carla, I hear ya, I feel like I'm missing a big part of the picture too...

Ya know, between you and me, I don't get why they're getting their panties in a wad over this to begin with.  They say themselves that every registered sex offender has lifetime registration and that they can PETITION to be removed.  Petitioning to be removed is quite an arduous process.  It's not a file-the-petition-and-boom-you're-off kinda thing; it's not an automatic Get Off the Registry Free card.  The offender still has to go before a judge, and quite possibly be reassessed, among other hoops that must be jumped through.  Basically, an offender has to get all of his ducks in a row before they will even consider letting him off the hook.

As I said yesterday, only some successfully petitioned off, while some have not.

It's pretty clear to me that these petitions are handled on a case-by-case basis.  And isn't that a good thing, really?  Isn't that the way it should be?  Why create a blanket approach that says no one can get off if you did this or did that.  How does that really help?  Keeping harmless offenders on the registry does no one any good at all.  Not the victims, not the communities and certainly not the offenders and their families.

Go on and continue to dilute the registry with harmless offenders, and see what it gets you:  A useless registry.  Personally, I would want to know about the ones that actually offended with force or violence, or the ones that molested pre-pubescent children.  The rest, I don't want to know about because I know they are not likely a threat.  The ones that ARE a threat to society are able to hide inside a registry that is saturated with harmless offenders, and those are the ones that are impossible to find on the registry when you go searching.

Yeah, Arkansas lawmakers, your public registry is protecting people, alright, but not the ones you want protected.

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

Arkansas Proposes Lifetime Registration

Hello Dear Readers,

In the last few days, I learned of a bill, SB653, here in Arkansas that would force most registered sex offenders into lifetime registration.

The Arkansas sex offender registry was 15 years old in 2012.  For 15 years, since its inception, offenders were told they could petition to be removed from the registry after completing 15 years of offense-free registration.  For many, including my family, this has been the glimmer of hope we have needed, dangling like a carrot in front of our noses as the end of my husband's term draws near, this coming June.  All these years have passed without any new laws regarding the 15-year term of registration.

Last year, offenders began filing their petitions, and some have been successful, some have not.  Now, this year, as if an afterthought, Arkansas lawmakers decided to draft up and propose a bill keeping any offender with a victim of 18 and under on the registry for life.  Why wait until now, why didn't they think of this law at any time in the last 15 years?  To come up with this bill now seems in itself cruel and unusual punishment as they prepare to rip the rug right out from under our feet just as relief is on the horizon.

Since yesterday, I have been furiously preparing as best I can to testify against this bill.  Last week, on our newly-returned American Reality Check radio show, the topic was "Lobbying" and one caller suggested we actually take our children to testify against bills and mentioned how a 13 year old testified against a bill very similar to SB653 in Indiana and the effect was powerful enough to bring the legislators to tears and the bill died right then and there in committee.

I had never considered taking my youngest daughter to these hearings before.  In fact, I believe I responded to the caller that I didn't think I could do that, or that she was ready.

When this bill hit me upside the head and between the eyes, I suddenly felt a new level of desperation I'd never felt before.  I realized I had to tell my husband, and especially our daughter, about the possibility of him remaining on the registry for life, if this bill passes.

I thought long and hard about this, and decided to video record my daughter's reaction to the news.  She did not know I was recording until the very end.  I didn't want her to know because I didn't want her to feel like she had to perform, rather, I wanted to capture her true feelings as she felt them.  I was just hoping she wouldn't over-react and get angry and lash out, something that could have easily occurred.

After the recording ended, I explained that I wanted to use the recording to send to the legislators so that they can see first-hand how this law would hurt a child.  I especially wanted to do this because a certain Senator actually said to my face last time I testified before the senate judiciary committee, "I don't CARE about children of sex offenders."
Hearing that at the time felt like a massive slap across the face.  I was so stunned, I didn't even know how to react.  Since when are children - ANY children - throwaway and worthless beings?

My daughter, my sweet adorable daughter, granted her permission to use the video even though she was embarrassed about having thought we were going to Washington, DC.  She is a brave little soul.  Brave, I know, because she has been through so much by these laws already and these experiences have shaped her into the person she has become.

I posted the video to YouTube today and immediately sent off an email to every Senator we will face tomorrow.  I have yet to receive a response, but I am not discouraged.

Meanwhile, I've shared the video with as many people as I can, even at the risk of being criticized for it.  I know that some would think I exploited my child.  To this I would say that I am certainly not the first.  Many laws that have been passed here in America was passed exploiting the name of a child.  The Adam Walsh Act, Jessica's Law and Chelsea's Law to name a few.

Some people probably think the video is not done professionally.  This is true.  Considering I had less than 24 hours to put something together, I felt it was more important to get it done than it was to polish it into a work of art.  I didn't even clean up my office area, it's a mess.  I didn't wear makeup or put on a nice outfit.  I wanted the video, above all, to be REAL.  And it was.

I have two versions of the video.  There is the short version, the version I sent to lawmakers:

And there is the long version, which the portion with my daughter is uncut or edited in any way.

The long version, I think, really shows the legitimacy of my daughter's feelings.  She is not coached in any way.  The end of the video is particularly sweet, when she discovers she is being recorded.

I hope you enjoy watching either one, if you so choose to do so...

Please do help spread the word, if you can.  Even if the bill passes the Senate tomorrow, it still has to go through the House and other steps before it can become law.  For now, there is still hope in Arkansas.

I will report back here as soon as I can after the session tomorrow.

Good night!  Wish us luck tomorrow.  We are gonna need it...