A Shining Light (from a Trailer in Oklahoma)

Hi Readers —  Last summer I spent a day with Mary Duval, her son Ricky, and Ricky’s wife. Mary and Ricky were in town to appear on a John Stossel show about the country’s sex offender laws, mostly because Ricky had ended up on the sex offender registry at age 16. He’d met a girl at a club, had sex with her twice, and only later learned she’d been 13, not the 15 or so she’d told him she was. Anyway, the whole, harrowing story is here and I’ve written about it before. What brought Mary to Stossel’s attention is that she fought the law that turned her son into a “sex offender,” and eventually got it changed in her state. She even got her son’s conviction expunged. This kind of victory is rare. Other young men like Ricky are on the registry for life.

Injustice made Mary into the kind of activist they make movies about…when the activism doesn’t involve sex offenders. Just about the same time her son was convicted, she went blind from Marfan Syndrome. A divorcee, she moved the family to a trailer in the middle of Oklahoma, since Ricky couldn’t live many places in town. Sex offenders have to locate a certain distance from schools, churches, day care centers – any place children may congregate. (And yet bank robbers don’t have to live a certain distance from banks.  And murderers can live anywhere. Go figure.)

Anyway, that day Mary was in New York, we painted the town red. We went to Central Park, and Fifth Avenue and Chinatown. What’s really fun if you’re blind? We sailed into a fancy perfume store and soaked up all the scents, even as the snooty salesgirl glared at us. We went to Barney’s, the ultimate in chic, where a sloppy-looking handbag cost $3000, and Ricky and his wife took pictures of the crazy New York prices. It was a great day. And as we walked along, Mary’s cell phone kept ringing. “Who’s that?” I asked.

“Oh, that’s a mom who’s been suicidal for about a year. Her son was 15, he got a sext from his girlfriend, who’s 17, but the prosecutor got him for kiddie porn.” Or, “Oh, that’s a mom whose son is on the sex offender registry – the cops found something on his computer. And now when anyone rings the bell at their house he has to answer the door, ‘I am a convicted sex offender.’ She’s having a hard time.” Another mom called, also upset. She had to take all the photos of relatives under the age 18 down from her walls, because her son was on the registry and that’s what his parole officer demanded.

The moms called Mary for strength. She listened, offered some bracing words, maybe snorted with gallows humor and told them to call her again anytime. “That mom who was suicidal? She’s finally coming out of it,” said Mary, sounding damn pleased. “She’s getting ready to fight.”

I wish I could say the same for Mary, but in the less than a year since I saw her, she was diagnosed with cancer and went through chemo. She managed to make it to a couple of legislative hearings to explain that while we all want our children to be safe from predators, some of the sex offender laws aren’t making that happen. In fact, they’re making our sons less safe. And then, very recently, she broke her back.

Right now, the word I’m hearing is that Mary is in a coma.  The prognosis is grim and her message machine is full.

Of course it is. The moms keep calling her. They need her. We all do.

Hoping for a miracle. – L.

60 Responses

  1. Oh dear. Many wishes for recovery…and for all of those moms who need that shining light to find it. And for the politicians to get their heads out of their holes and see reason. But mostly for Mary and her son to have a better day tomorrow. And the next day, and the next…

  2. The world needs more women like Mary Duval. She has been a source of inspiration and strength to so many of us moms who hit rock bottom when our sons (or daughters) were charged with a sex crime. She is fearless and a hero to me!

  3. Mary is an inspiration! I’m sad to hear she is not doing well.

  4. Mary is an amazing woman. I hope she pulls through!

  5. I think her miracles have already happened. She has not lived in vain.

  6. I have smaller children so I certainly have been one of those parents wanting “sex offenders” to live in a marginalized fashion until i recently watched Lisa Ling’s one hour show about these men. Obviously many of them deserve the status they’ve achieved. I frankly think raping a child is worse than killing one. But the laws and courts should recognize this is not a One Size Fits All situation. If it were Rob Lowe would be a sex offender.

  7. [...] Link: A Shining Light (from a Trailer in O… [...]

  8. Dang Lenore. This may be the heaviest post you have ever submitted in the odd-year or so I’ve been reading here at this blog.

    Mary, Mary, can you hear us honey? We love you. We are sad to hear of what you’re going through (I know she can’t hear me if she’s in a coma, but that reality doesn’t stop people from talking to deceased persons at the graveyard). We need you as a beacon of common sense for this fight. Get strong, girl, so you can keep up the good work.

    LRH

  9. to WomanFormerlyKnownAsBeautiful- I have to disagree with you on one point. I was a molested kid. I got counseling, grew up, and have a beautiful daughter of my own. Nothing can be done to recover from dead…

  10. We need more people like Mary, more people willing to stand up and fight no matter the cost, no matter what it takes.

    Mary we need you to pull through to help others become what you have become, to help others not only stand up and fight, but to also hold out a hand and pull those in need through their fight. Mary, we’re here to help pull you through; all you need to do is grab our hands and we’ll help you through just like you’ve helped so many others.

    Lenore thank you for sharing, I had tears in my eyes by the end of the post. I really hope she makes it through and can help many more people for years to come!

  11. Thank you Mary. Hopefully, due in no small part to Mary’s determination, the not too distant future will see an end to the collect madness which the sex offenders registry represents.

    I wish Mary, her family, and her friends, all the strength they need to get through this difficult time.

  12. Heroes don’t always wear capes and tights or fight villains with swords. Often a hero is a regular person who is willing to follow his or her beliefs and do the right thing against overwhelming odds. Mary is a true hero by this definition. We need more courageous people like Mary to make sex offender laws more sensible. Hopefully there is someone out there who is willing to “take the baton” from her.

    May Mary and her loved ones find strength and comfort at this sad time.

  13. My prayers go to them all. Thanks for the heads-up, Lenore.

  14. This is so sad to hear… what a real hero.

  15. How sad. My thoughts are with Mary, Ricky and the rest of their family.

  16. This is a heart warming story that this mom found strength in her time of need. As mothers I think we all have some mama bear in us that rises up to protect our children and then all the other ones who need us. This mom is an inspiration to all of us who need to find our path to help others around us.

  17. Mary is loved by many. After her cancer operation a vertebra collapsed in the small of her back. Yet that did not stop her from going to Nevada to stand before the state’s legislature to speak to the entire assembly. She was in intense pain but didn’t let it show. What a woman.

    Personal pain never stopped her from anything.

    First, it was being struck blind and many many obstacles along the way. With only $500.00 a month disability, Mary accomplished more than the average sighted person could dream of.

    Lenore, your right, Mary is “the kind of activist they make movies about…” I really hope it happens.

    She is a very personal and close friend of mine and I miss her daily phone calls and e-mails.

    God bless Mary and her family

  18. Girls under the age of legal should have to wear a letter on the chest portion of any shirts / blouses that they wear that identifies them as not legal. That legal should be “N” standing for not legal.

  19. Girls under the age of legal should have to wear a letter on the chest portion of any shirts / blouses that they wear that identifies them as not legal. That letter should be “N” standing for not legal.

  20. I was one of those tearful, desperate mothers calling on Mary.

    It was my hope one day to meet her, to tell her in person how much her voice on the phone, her voice in the dark speaking out for our sons meant to me.

    She spoke out for those of us who can’t – here in the land of free speech those of us whose sons are still in the clutches of The System, speaking out will only ensure prison time and further punishment.

    PBS has been airing a series about the Freedom Riders, the beginning battles of the civil rights movement recently. If you have not watched it, I highly recommend you do.

    Sex offenders ARE the new Jim Crowes, and the same shameful, horrible laws that once applied to blacks are now being resurrected for those “Listed”.

    To the Woman FKA Beautiful, I too was molested as a child, and it is NOT worse than being murdered.

    My son was falsely accused and horrifically punished for a crime he did not commit. I was molested as a child myself.

    I can say first hand from having lost a child – where there’s life, there’s hope.

    My son’s life is FAAAAAR worse for having been falsely accused than if he’d been molested.

    A molested person can make the decision to rise above, put it behind, and move forward with their life.

    A person placed on a sex offender registry is marked for life. Their loved ones are marked for life. The public shame and scorn does not end with the accused – it is extended to parents, siblings, wife, children and anyone who dares t obefriend that person.

    The reigstry has not been shown to save children – it has been shown to be an expensive enslavement tool that is costing YOUR children their future in borrowed debt to pay for it.

    Elizabeth Smart is to be commended for defying the current “better off murdered” victimology to bravely declaring her life is just fine. She has compromised herself, however, by lobbying for laws that would not have saved her or any other child. Her father invested in a GPS tracking company, then promoted laws to force it’s use.

    Someday the Soccer Mom fueled sex offender hysterics shall pass, thanks to mother/ heroines like Mary Duvall who protect and defend their children without HARMING other mother’s children to do so .

    God bless and keep you, always, Mary.

  21. Heartbreaking post. My prayers are with this family and to all the boys/men who are unjustly on the ‘list’.

  22. Sorry, David, but that suggestion makes no sense. I think a better idea would be that we as a society stop treating sex as something you go out and do with just anyone you just happened to meet somewhere, without bothering to get to know them or anything about them.

  23. Or, here’s an idea, David – rather than shaming minor children, both boys and girls (because it’s still statutory rape if it’s with a boy!), we can continue to penalize people who don’t even bother to ask first “hey, how old are you?”

  24. Guys, the subject is about Mary Duval and her fight for human and civil rights for all people. Lets respect that and not whether one should use t-shirts or personal conduct. Please save that for another thread. Please show some respect.

  25. Stirring this dialog and debate, while illuminating the horrors for those on – or collaterally punished by – this insidious list, would bring a big smile of pride to Mary’s face. That, I can most assuredly tell you.
    Godspeed, Mary.

  26. A poem I had written for Mary last year.

    SHE AIN’T AFRAID

    She fights the virtuous fight
    from behind a Cimmerian door
    ne’er in need of the light
    it’s where she wages her war

    Cloaked in the armor of Joan
    and the shield from a righteous throne
    she parries the lance’s strike
    thine enemies standing addled
    rattled
    and frayed to the bone

    She sees only just
    in the heart of her minds eye
    Oh, such clarity rules
    in this house of honor
    a most laudable lair
    swinging open her gates to a tolerance orphaned
    taking haven, these vagrants of truth
    for her sentinels mighty
    guard with their lives the brethren least
    from the garroter’s braid
    and the jaws of the beast

    Standing vigil; no eye blinking
    her own teeth bared
    grinning to the foil of the crip
    flaunting the spoils
    of a dog triple dare
    She jeers them for making the trip

    The whetstone grinds as she sharpens her blade
    a baleful threat to the foes she has made
    Get outta the heat and into the shade
    She ain’t afraid
    She ain’t afraid

  27. Thanks for sharing Mary’s story. She sounds like she has been a great strength and resource for many people. I hope her spirit keeps fighting her fight even when she can’t.

  28. Ahh, but people lie about their age ;)
    Ive learnt my lesson now, but asking for ID is perceived to be very odd, lol.

    I know people who have met girls in bars. So, it is natural to presume they are 18 or above (legal age to drink in bars, and enter them unless directly supervised by parent). Two of these have actually dated for a period of time. Both times the girl was just short of the legal age for sex.

  29. Mary – thank you so much for the difference you have made… let’s hope that her action has started a chain reaction that will make the world safe to raise young men in again.

  30. A friend’s son/brother (both mother and sister are our friends), let’s name him A, was accused of sexually assaulting a 5? 6? year old girl when my daughter, then 3, was in the room. A is developmentally delayed, believed to be autistic or aspergers or something. He was 16 at the time.

    I don’t know what happened. I don’t know if it is true. I do know that it could be a case of “he went too far” and because of his mental disability, he didn’t know to stop.

    Last we heard, A was on a 3 day hold in a psych ward for an attempted suicide. I want to be sympathetic and all that to him but I can’t be. And I’ll explain in the moment. He should have been better supervised.

    I have no sympathy to what is happening to A, because when it happened to me, 33 years ago, nothing was done.

    Ever.

    Even with multiple victims (at least two girls and a boy), the police did nothing. My predator’s rights had more importance than the damage he did to 3 preschoolers. His place of employment covered up the details and the list of what happened to hide and protect that boy so that he could go on and have a “productive” life.

    Yet, his victims were left without counseling, without therapy, without even knowing why they were preyed on.

    Yes, I am sympathetic to the plight of these mothers and their sons. I too am a mother of a son. I believe the laws have gone too far, punishing teenaged mistakes with lifelong repercussions. I think a punishment should fit the crime, but listed on the sex offender registry for life is too much. Loss of internet, community service, prison time, probation, counseling, reparations, but not a lifelong scarlet letter – if it only happened once.

    I can’t change what happened to me. I can try to teach my son to be smart. I just hope he listens.

  31. Sorry, WFKAB, but with life there is hope and children are not as fragile as today’s society would like to believe. I may not be thrilled about having been molested as a child, but I am quite happy to be alive. I was, inarguably, altered by the experience. I am not defined by it. I have a lovely life and two gorgeous children. I win.

  32. North of 49 – I THANK GOD every day of my life what happened to me happened before these witch hunt days.

    In my case, nothing was done to the molester, nor was I put through any sexually abusive “Treatment” to “cure” me from the trauma. No one told me my life was forever ruined or felt I would have been better off MURDERED!!!!!!!!( For God’s sake!!!!)

    I was not taught as a child to hate, I was taught that vengence was The Lord’s – not mine. I do not feel the least burdened by guilt, vengeance, or (even WORSE!) satisfaction that someone(and all those in his life) is suffering miserably on my behalf.

    In other words, my parents allowed me to live my life as the sweet happy little girl I laways was – not a VICTIM forever blaming my flaws and foibles on someone ELSE for all eternity.

    I have sympathy for ALL those who have been abused – inlucding those who went on to seek help after becoming abusers themselves.

    Before deciding who deserves your sympathy and who doesn’t, I strongly suggest YOU take a look in the mirror to make sure YOU have not become an abuser, yourself…having no sympathy for mentally disable people on suicide watch, and wixhing harm on others – however you justify it – has all the earmarks of being an abusive person.

    Do yourself and the world a favor and look within. Then and only then are you qualified to judge others – which, of course you would know better than to do.

    We are ALL God’s children – brothers and sisters.

    Act like it.

  33. SOSEN CEO, Mary Duvall, AKA Ricky’s Mom, Has Slipped Into a Coma http://t.co/77uwpyN

    I know they need finanicial help in a big way. Please do what you can

  34. I realize Ricky only thought the girl was 15, but at least this is a step in the right direction for some boyfrinds/girlfriends. Some say it encourages teenage sex,but the intent is to NOT make those teenagers lifetime sex offenders.

    http://dfw.cbslocal.com/2011/06/04/romeo-and-juliet-law-changes-statutory-rape-definition/

  35. Wow…obviously something’s at work to silence this woman. Can I ask any passing people with a faith in God to say prayers for this woman? Don’t be afraid to ask the Saints to pitch in and help, too! I pray she receives the best of care, love, and kindness from everyone, as well as some comfort. Not many people get the chance and take it to change an injustice.

    While I like the idea of sex offender registry lists, I think that the application is haphazard to say the least. I know of sex offenders (real ones, not just teens caught in crappy situations) who have never registered, and have never suffered any ill effects for their actions (as far as what I can tell). Then I hear stories like the ones above, and see that many innocent people are being convicted of horrible things. Unless someone actually did molest a child, or coerce/force a rape, I see no reason to restrict where they live.

    I also believe that people who are sex offenders (pedophiles, rapists, etc) need to have constant supervision and therapy. They have done evil things, for whatever reason, but they are people as well. I don’t think that their sentences should ever be shortened, because acting on an impulse or inclination is always a choice. There is always a choice to cooperate with evil, or to avoid it. Sex offenders may have a mental illness, but that means that a long with sentencing they should be required to have intensive therapy.

    @Lafe- I would have to agree with you. Parents should be teaching their children by word and action that you should know who it is that you’re having sex with. How in the world is that unreasonable to some people? Get to know people FIRST before exposing yourself in the most intimate way possible to them. I’m so tired of people telling me that I “am going to have sex sometime” that I “have to” do it, or even that “you can’t have a good relationship without it”. Really? I’m engaged to be married, still virgin, and both Mr. Serrano and I are waiting for the wedding. Is it hard? YES. Is it worth it? YES. Unlike a lot of my friends I haven’t had to worry about pregnancy scares, STD or STI’s, and as a result there’s one less stress factor in our relationship. (And no…Mr. Serrano hasn’t cheated on me. Believe it or not, but men can control their genitals and impulses too!) I used to think that I would never be able to find someone to love because of my refusal to use myself as a sex object. It is not kind or loving to tell kids that they “are going to do it” as if sex weren’t even a choice. It is a beautiful choice, and it shouldn’t be treated like choosing between chocolate or vanilla ice-cream cones. Go ahead and go on a diet!

    That all being said, while kids SHOULD be taught to know the person they have sex with, and while they SHOULD wait until marriage, a lot, due to society, culture, peer pressure, or just good ol’ raging desires and hormones, do fall into having sex well before they are ready. Should that happen, we need to protect the kids as much as possible. IT IS NOT REASONABLE that a boy is automatically convicted of being a sex offender for having had sex with a girl 2 years younger. Yes, sex outside of the proper context is a sin, but shit happens. When it does happen, could people please not jump off the “OMG EVERYBODY’S A PEDOPHILE!!!!!!!” cliff?

    Given the amount of media and culture that seems hell-bent on sexualizing children, tweens, and teens, its reasonable to think that kids are having sex at younger ages. They have these hormones, they have near pornographic images flung at them from the television and written media daily, and none of it is honest. Little girls are subtly told that they should be “sexy” or no one will want them. Of course, the parallel with all of this is that suddenly there is no innocence in childhood. Suddenly a little girl yelling “Daddy” must be acting out a sexual fantasy that was forced on her, and her daddy is a perv. Suddenly grandparents can’t hug their children or take them on trips without fear of suspicion. Suddenly all males, no matter their age, are just another potential predator.

    Good for this woman who fought and has won and continues to give comfort to other victims of the “Justice” System. I hope she recovers fully, and if not, I hope that she leaves the world knowing she has done something awesome for the people she leaves behind.

  36. @SgtMom:

    Thank you. I lived in an abusive family as a child (no sexual abuse, thank God) and I’m always very sad when people say that death is better. It feels as if they are saying that if I had any decency, I would have just died. I hear it used a lot in “choice” arguments…I was that abused kid who wasn’t very welcomed or wanted.

    I would much rather be breathing…because you’re right! You rise up and recover, though it might take years, because life is objectively beautiful. I might have made it through life with one heck of a history, and some issues to work through, but I’m alive! And because of my experiences, I’m drawn towards helping others in the same situations

  37. @ Northof49

    Forgiveness is a process that can take a lifetime, and it is right to be angry that justice has not been done. That person who abused little children should have been watched more closely because of his condition. I’ve worked with autistic kids before, some of them adults, and it is true that at times they literally have no idea that what they are doing is inappropriate. They are completely surprised, and become very depressed, when they learn that what they were doing was wrong and cannot be fixed.

    I knew one guy who took photos of exchange students while they were at the beach, making lewd comments. He honestly had no clue that what he was doing was wrong, and we had to monitor him after he was gently told he couldn’t do that, and that no, the exchange students were no longer willing to be friends with him. He was depressed for a long time afterwards.

    I have sympathy for the people who struggle with mental illnesses, but if it is known that they have an illness that would impede their ability to know what is appropriate and what is not…I have no sympathy for the people who are negligent and just assume everything will be okay. Never assume!

  38. Best wishes for Mary’s recovery. She is a hero, pure and simple. The world needs more Marys.

  39. SOSEN.ORG has set up a fund for Mary and her sons, so if anyone wants to offer some financial support, please go to http://www.sosen.org/ and donate.

  40. Bless her heart! Mary, her family, and all the mothers she supports will be in my prayers tonight and every day. It can be so easy to forget about the families of those that are convicted of any crime, whether it was proper or not. But everyone is human, and as a result, deserves compassion, or at least a prayer that maybe the big man upstairs will change their hearts. Fight on, Mary!

  41. katorikurant – My son is on a sex offender registry from a false accusation. I became aquainted with Mary years ago through our mutual situation.

    I do not see any redeeming value in sex offender lists. As far as I’m concerned, it’s a replacement hate fest because our favorite, “classic” hatreds have been outlawed – no more lynching “negroes” or “smear the queer”. We gotta make nice to them now, but it’s open season on sex offenders. Anything goes.

    As a kid I was taught about Nazi Germany doing the same thing “so it never happens again”.

    Except it’s now happening again. Here. In The Land Of The Free.

    If you read the old Jim Crowe laws you will find almost word for word our “new” sex offender laws. NO NEGROES ALLOWED is replaced with NO SEX OFFENDERS ALLOWED.

    Pandering Politicians beat their breasts bloody passing ever more draconian laws to beat down sex offenders are the same ones caught sexting white house pages(Mark Foley) or sending photos of his flag pole to constituents (Weiner’s weiner scandal).

    You will also notice that males are prosecuted and persecuted far more often and far more severely than females who do exactly the same thing.

    It’s just not so bad when a female does it, apparently.

    I say we “list” everybody, or nobody. I say equal punishment for equal crime.

    Or better yet – a little “do unto others” would go a long way.

  42. When Mary learned of her illness, she was in California to confront Mark Lunsford, a controversial “child advocate” who is idolized by many but plagued with trouble surrounding mismanagement of money and whose son Joshua Lunsford was also arrested for a sex crime (18 years old fondling his 14 year old girlfriend). Lunsford pulled strings to keep his kid off the registry. We’re not all nationally known advocates with ties to sex addict Walsh, so the rest of us would have to do what Mary had to do, fight for her son. Lunsford, meanwhile, was scamming us with the “Ride for their Lives rally, a fundraising venture to raise a million bucks so he can schmooze with our US legislators to raise support for already existing laws. Yet far too many people have canonized Lunsford while demonizing Mary Duval. This is a sick society, indeed.

  43. Sounds like an amazing lady. Many prayers for her and her family.

  44. @SgtMom

    You know I was agreeing with you, for the most part, right? I know it was a super long comment, but dang.

    I don’t agree with how the sex offender registry list is being applied- people peeing on the sides of roads, getting physical with boyfriends or girlfriends, and stuff like that doesn’t warrant anything more than a warning at best. I am also well aware of the negativity surrounding males. I always thought it was not just to constantly place the blame on the male- females are just as capable of messing up, too!

    I think it was Michigan, but there was a teacher who had sex with her 6th grade student. Nobody wanted to come out and say that she was committing statutory rape, and that it was wrong. It was probably because she was female, and much of the media did not want to bring attention that a homosexual had committed a sexual crime. I tend to think crimes are very equal opportunity- anyone of any age group and any sex can do horrible things, and it shouldn’t matter to the media or the judge what their orientation is, if what they are doing is unlawful.

    I’d be much more for the list if they reserved the list to actual rape (coercion, forced, etc) and if the “justice” system would take into account the ages and mental states of all involved. At the very least, I would want to know if an actual child pedophile (male or female) was anywhere near me. As far as I’m concerned, if you rape someone (male or female) or some child (male or female) then you’ve forfeited your right to live like everyone else, and it should and will have repercussions that last your entire life. I have known a child predator, and while I was lucky to have gotten away, a little boy on the other side of the neighborhood was not. The difference was that my family knew his history, and warned me about him. He did attempt to get me once, but luckily I was a fast kid. I didn’t even understand at the time why I got away from him and why I was scared of him- not until later when I heard of what he did to a child who was at summer camp in our area. I hope that man gets the counseling he needs, and that he is also kept as far away from children as possible.

    In your case, SgtMom, I wouldn’t think your son should qualify. I’m sorry for what he is going through because of this, and it is entirely unjust of the state to allow unsubstantiated accusations to destroy people’s lives. Its one of the reasons I’m very skeptical and cautious around any so called “justice” anything in this country.

  45. You say you “like” sex offender registries. We couldn’t be further in disagreement if that is the case.

    I realize you think your intentions are good, katorikurant. It SEEMS right. Right?

    But it isn’t. Not on any level, not under any circumstance.

    It’s like the poem from WWII, ” first they came for the Jews, but I didn’t speak up because I was not a Jew…then they came for me, and there was no one left to speak up….”

    Somehow, in my deepest gut, I knew all this sex offender stuff was over wrought, and lists were as anti American as it gets. I even immediately associated it with Nazi Germany.

    But…everyone else seemed to think it was OK…so I didn’t think about it too much. I watched my kids carefully, and having been molested as a child myself, I have a pretty accurate sixth about molesters. My sister’s neighbor, a cop, once offered to watch my kids. For some reason, even though everyone else thought he was just the greatest guy, I didn’t take him up on the offer. I just had a bad vibe from the guy. A year later he was arrested for molesting children.

    I got into a spat with my husband’s sister, who knows no bounds when it comes to retaliation. As my son aptly puts it : “My life was ruined over a chick fight”.

    So now my entire family bears the shame, my son bears the mark of Cain. I walk the same walk, and live the life just as those truly guilty. At first, yes. It was unbearably awful. Awful. Awful.

    One of those Trial By Fire ordeals where you come out a better person.

    To save my own son’s life, I have had to advocate for those I once reviled. I have learned how corrupt and broken our Justice system is. I have learned how much good is in people society proclaims to be “monsters” – while seeing just how evil and monstrous all those “good” folks are. Good folks that apittle and froth at the mouth demanding castration, hanging, lynchings, murder, and God knows whatever else pops into their righteous minds.

    There are so many immediate things harming our children. Poisoned food systems, water, air. Things that are harming our kid’s health TODAY! Right Now! that are blithely over looked because we choose to chase monsters. Autism, diabetes, cancer, lowered IQs are skyrocketing…but milions of dollars are relegated to registering sex offenders.

    Public education is a joke. Medical coverage for all the “new” diseases our children are beign bombarded with is a joke. We gotta “protect” our children by making useless laws that do nothing to protect them just so we can sleep with the lights on at night, knowing the boogie man is at bay…until you read in the paper the next day. Hundreds of thousands of kids are maimed and killed in auto accidents every year – but it’s the funny looking man on the internet we worry about.

    …and I can tell you, at least one has done no harm. And if it’s THAT easy for him, an innocent person, to be there – it’s just as likely there are many, many more.

  46. Today the Supreme Court of Ohio decided the case of In re D.B., holding that Ohio’s statutory rape law, R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b), is unconstitutional as applied to children under the age of 13 who engage in sexual conduct with other children under 13. This decision reverses the judgment of the 5th District Court of Appeals.

    The case arose from a series of incidents in which two male friends, age 12 and 11, engaged in sexual activity, but only D.B., the 12 year old child was charged. Although the trial court found that there was no force involved, D.B. was adjudicated delinquent under the strict liability law for engaging in consensual sexual activity with his 11 year old male friend.

    Brooke Burns, an Assistant State Public Defender from the Juvenile Division of the Office of the Ohio Public Defender, filed the appeal on the basis that both boys had engaged in sexual conduct with a person under the age of 13, and therefore applying R.C. 2907.02(A)(1)(b) to charge one participant as perpetrator and the other as the victim violated the equal protection and due process provisions of the state and federal constitutions.

    The National Juvenile Defender Center together with the Juvenile Law Center and the National Center for Lesbian Rights, filed an amicus brief in August of last year in support of the challenge.

    The Court’s 7-0 decision (all 7 justices concurred on the due process analysis, though only 6 of the justices concurred on the equal protection analysis) found the statute to be unconstitutionally vague in violation of the Due Process Clause of the United States Constitution because it “authorizes and encourages arbitrary and discriminatory enforcement” and found that it violates the Equal Protection Clause of the Constitution because only one child was charged with being delinquent, while others similarly situated were not.

    Congratulations to Brooke and the entire team at the Ohio Public Defender Juvenile Division, a division led by Jill Beeler, engaging in effective appellate advocacy to ensure the protection of the constitutional rights of juveniles in Ohio’s justice system.

    Please see the opinion through the link below.

    http://www.sconet.state.oh.us/rod/docs/pdf/0/2011/2011-ohio-2671.pdf

  47. The court case Violet writes about has made me feel almost physically ill. Children being sexual with each other at that age used to be euphemistically called “playing doctor”, now they are being criminally charged.

    The U.S. wars against nations for trampling human rights, and in fundamentalist states – sexual rights explicitly; such as women being stoned to death for sex outside the marriage. And yet this goes on inside the U.S. itself. It is mind bending.

  48. And Sgt. Mom, I usually enjoy reading your comments, but your response to the comment about how the sex offender lists are okay for some people may have been my all-time favorite — Thank you!!

  49. Cops hate teenaged boys. When my brother was 16 or 17, he was repeatedly harassed by the local police when he was not breaking any laws. My dad had to go to the mayor to get it stopped. I’ve known of teenaged boys having skateboards confiscated by the police, when they weren’t breaking any laws. I’ve also known of teenaged boys being harassed by the police just for walking down the street. Apparently, cops think teenaged boys are all up to trouble, no matter what they are actually doing.

    I think this is why boys are usually the ones charged as sex offenders. The example in the blog post about the 15 year old boy being prosecuted for kiddie porn when his 17 year old girlfriend sexted him shows this pretty clearly. How dare an evil boy receive a sexy message from his girlfriend?? Notice she wasn’t the one charged, even though she was older than he was. Blatant sexism against boys.

  50. neltherian, Your post is disgusting! No one cares about where you go for what. Perhaps the law might though!

  51. Thank you, Tuppence. Believe me when I say I wish I didn’t know what I know.

    Concerned Mom – you have every right to be concerned – and frightened to death if you are the mother of sons.

    For over a decade now I have wondered where the other mothers, sisters, friends, girlfriends of males are in this travesty.

    WHY have they not cried out in defence of the innocent males in their lives?

    I found and interesting article written by a “feminist” mother who’s son has been falsely accused of rape. She says she has actively advocated for the “truth” that women never lie about rape. She raised her son to be “A feminist’s dream” – yet he was falsely accused anyway.

    I think we all become numbed when hearing these stories, thinking they only happen to “other people’s sons”, and they MUST have done something to deserve it.

    Take a look:

    http://www.elephantjournal.com/2011/05/women-lie–anonymous/

  52. I had a conversation about the sex offender list with someone recently. She keep insisting that the lists (albeit, in a “correct” form) were important and necessary. Because the most important thing — They were put in place at the request of the victims.

    Much like allowing insurance companies to define what constitutes safety, letting the victim decide the punishment is a very very bad idea: It will NEVER be enough. “Victims rights” have no place the penal system, nor the court system. That. is. not. justice. It might feel like it is, even to bystanders (who will almost always prefer to have their empathy go to the crime victim, rather than the perpetrator); Having one’s blood lust sated can feel very good, but that personal satisfaction isn’t Justice, with a capital J, being served.

    Courts shouldn’t be seeking to “revenge” on the behalf of anyone. They’d do well to remember the allegorical figure of Justice. Her purpose is to balance the scales, but her blindness doesn’t allow her to see who or what is on either side.

  53. My son being on a sex offender registry was an act of vengeance by my sister in law. She and I got into a spat, and she set out – sucessfully – to ruin my son’s life.

    I was shocked, and very saddened, to find HER son’s face recently on the internet, under a banner that reads “Being arrested isn’t funny, but the mugshots are” . He looked so frightened and forlorn in the mugshot.

    His sister,( the same one who falsely accused my son of rape) is claiming domestic violence, domestic violence in front of a child, and several more very serious crimes. From what I could tell online, he was jailed over 5 days.

    The vengeance thing eludes me. I just don’t “get it”.

    I used to wish my sister in law and her family harm after all the harm and horror she put my family through, but all I feel now is nothing but sadness . I don’t know if the boy is guilty of the accusation or not, but I do know the accuser has falsely accused before – several times before my own son – and I knew my nephew to be a sweet gentle soul, as my own son is.

    This comes at a particularly trying time. We just spent thousands of dollars and several years petitioning the court for my son to deregister as a sex offender.

    It was finally granted in March. My son and I cried together, we Thanked God, called very person who loved and stood by my son to tell them the good news. Finally, after 13 years of torment and hell….

    The accuser was on record as being ‘strongly opposed”, but they granted it anyway.

    The next day we went down to the police station to present the papers, only to be told this state does not recognize these grants, even though they are from the state that required his registering. Now he must go through the expensive, time consuming process once again, here. This state may not grant to petition – it depends on the politics of the situation, it’s all about careers and Tough On Crime yahoos.

    It just never seems to end….

  54. SgtMom, thanks for sharing more of your story. I can’t believe when you finally thought it was over, it wasn’t. It’s just too cruel. Good luck to you and your son. May it all be behind you soon.

    Have you seen this website? What you wrote made me recall it. It’s called The Forgiveness Project. “The Forgiveness Project encourages and empowers people to explore the nature of forgiveness and alternatives to revenge”.

    http://www.theforgivenessproject.com/

  55. No I haven’t see the site, Tuppence. Thank you for passing it along.

    While I have come such a long in all this, I still have a way to go. I’m at the point where I can see there is an ending – and that ending is forgiveness.

    Thank you

  56. [...] But the forces supporting this nonsense are strong. And those opposing it are outnumbered. [...]

  57. This is true. But this has always been true in the course of our American history – human history as well.

  58. [...] a recent post about one mother’s legal struggle to help her son Ricky.  (Thus, Skenazy is on the exact same [...]

  59. [...] a recent post about one mother’s legal struggle to help her son Ricky.  (Thus, Skenazy is on the exact same [...]

  60. [...] things today. The first, and saddest, is that Mary Duval has passed away. I wrote about her here. She was the mom-turned-activist after her 16-year-old son Ricky was put on the sex offender [...]

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