BRANDED: A Woman’s Life on the Sex Offender Registry

Jan has agreed to share her story to raise awareness about the inhumane and devastating effects these continuously changing laws have on the former offender, their families, children and society as a whole. Although this is Jan’s story, it is similar to the over 850,0001 men, women and children (as young as 8) who are on a sex offender registry in this country.

My name is Jan. I am a wife, mother, daughter, sister, and grandmother. Twenty six years ago, when I was 22, I made a very stupid choice. I had consen­sual sex with a 15-year-old boy.

I subsequently pled guilty to one misdemeanor count of sexual conduct with a minor, and I served one year probation. I tried to move on with my life in a positive way putting my one and only crime behind me. I married, had a family, furthered my education, and became gainfully employed.

Arizona law requires anyone convicted of any sexually related offense to register as a “sex offender” for life regardless of a crime’s severity. In 1992, registration consisted solely of informing the Sheriff’s Department if you moved. But over the last 26 years, subsequent legislative sessions have created new laws prohibiting “registered sex offenders” from many things and requiring new conditions which apply regardless of a person’s risk or date of the offense. Failure to abide by any of these new laws can be a felony. These new laws apply to me even though I have already served my time.

I want to share my story and give you insight of what it is like to live on the registry. In 1999, Megan’s Law passed to “make communities safer” by making the registry available to the public. My four children and I were declined housing due to my “status as a sex offender”. A credit reporting agency falsely listed my crime as felony child molestation implying my victim was under 12 years old. I also received a letter from the Department of Public Safety in 2002 stating that I must obtain a new driver’s license or state ID card that is only valid for one year. People not on the registry in Arizona only have to go to the MVD every 12 years for a new photo and eye exam until they are 65 years old. Having to go back every year to get it renewed is a huge source of anxiety and humiliation, and great cost due to the $10 renewal fee. Additionally, I have had difficulty renewing my license many times which puts me at risk for felony charges.

In 2004, the picture from my driver’s license was shown on commercials on a news broadcast called “The Face of Danger,” which highlighted Sheriff Arpaio’s plan to install software in all public schools that would alert local police if a “registered sex offender” showed up on campus. I have three children and was petrified every time I had to go to their schools. My children and I missed out on many activities and memories because I stayed away from their schools, even though I had legitimate reasons to be there. I feared for my children if my presence had triggered an alarm.

Lawmakers pushed to make everyone on the registry subject to community notification. I started a website under a pseudonym to protect my family’s privacy and spoke out against these laws. I became the target of vigilantes. They threatened me, exposed my real identity, published many websites with my picture stating that I was a “pedophile,” pro-pedophile,” “child molester,” and “child abuser.” They published my address, telephone numbers, and email address. They told businesses I worked with to sever ties with me or be placed on their “Corporate Sex Offenders” web­site and be outed a “Pro-Pedophile” and the companies complied. The vigilantes stated they knew the names of my children, had their photos and were watching them. The FBI refused to help. The local police department responded to me with, “What do you think the registry is for?” When I filed a federal lawsuit in 2008 to try to force a federal judge to order an investigation into the vigilantes, the battle never resulted in any criminal charges. I was not able to get the response or treatment that any other citizen would get.

In 2009, the legislature amended the fingerprint clearance card statute. Anyone required to register as a “sex offender” was no longer able to obtain a fingerprint clearance card and was barred from obtaining a good cause exception hearing. The legislature also expanded the types of employment that require fingerprint clearance cards. My realtor’s license was revoked. All of my post-secondary education since Megan’s law passed became useless. I now have thousands of dollars in student loan debt (accruing interest) that I have no way of paying back.

John Stossel of ABC’s “20/20” picked up my story in 2009. He interviewed me and some of the vigilantes. The story was titled “Age of Consent.” It is viewable on YouTube.

In 2011, I gave up the fight. I am unable to obtain a job. Because we are a one income family now, we cannot afford health insurance. I suffer from terrible anxiety and depression and rarely leave my house. My last suicide attempt was October 2017. In my suicide note, I told my loved ones not to be sad or cry for me because I was finally free of everything, and I would no longer be a burden to them. I wanted them to know that I had finally found peace.

For 26 years, I have tried to become a better person and to rise above my past, rise above my own childhood trauma, and give my children a better life than I had. For the same 26 years, our government has undermined each of my efforts. We are supposed to be a country of second chances where people aren’t judged by their worst decision. I wish our government would remember that. I also wish they would think of my innocent husband and children who have suffered through these ever-changing and restrictive laws every bit as much as I have.

Every punishment should fit the crime, and every punishment should have an end.

23 comments for “BRANDED: A Woman’s Life on the Sex Offender Registry

  1. Dan
    May 28, 2018 at 7:48 pm

    Dont know what to say…but can say this your not alone..yes I got put on that NO Sense stupid a** registry….1991 I was 17 years old … girl excuse me ..she was 16years old ..no evidence… I had a court appointed lawyer he told me to plead no contest and I would get Deferred Probation.. Meaning if I did my 8 years it would only show the arrest and not A felony.. Well I Completed my 8 years and I have no felony but I gotta register for the rest of my life… It was the expo That got me… I have mixed feelings … Depressed the same situation… I have kids too and I know I gotta keep going on for them… And also for my beautiful wife cannot forget her… Look we gotta be strong … Somehow we got a fight and show them that every case is different… It does destroy families it destroys the person that’s on the registry… You’re right you do Deserve a second chance… I deserve a second chance..

  2. Becky
    May 28, 2018 at 8:43 pm

    You are an inspiration. Keep your courage.

  3. Becky
    May 28, 2018 at 8:45 pm

    You are an inspiration. Thank you for sharing your story. Many are working on this outrageous registry.

  4. May 28, 2018 at 10:12 pm

    Thank you for sharing. Sometimes getting the “correct” information out to the world, about sex-related crimes_ is like throwing air at a fake wall. Nothing flys and nothing lands on anything of substance. Sheriff Joe is a cruel and unusual person of power, in and of his self, but the Sheriff or Maricopa County (Phoenix, AZ) is not the only fake wall out there.

    This is the major part of the problem with SORNA rehabilitation—for lack of a better word: anyone can take advantage of a scenario that is open-game for Senators, police, lobbyist and people of power in general (to include dramatists like John Walsh). So the real stories (truths of burden) get circumvented by the population because it is so easy to use sex in any vocabulary to incite social triggers that “no one in their right mind” could disagree with.

    We all get emails from scammers that tell us there are Predators in our neighborhood. Most of the scams are titled using some well established website name like Kids Live Safe dot com; yet are sent by foreign and local mail bots that use some tiny bit of legitimacy to foreclose on everyones emotions. There was recently the MugShot dot com a-holes that are from Arizona, BTW, who took advantage of someone being a criminal and holding them ransom before the mugshot could be removed. (side note: I think we all know what goes on the Internet never leaves the Internet.)

    I have been on probation for 10years. I was given a lifetime probation which, I believe is a violation of the 5th and 14th Amendment (USC). I now have the chance to be removed and am in pretty good shape because I never had a big issue with my criminal behavior as I was addicted to adult material for about 6 months I had an online relationship with a 16yo gal from Germany. (EU is way ahead of US with maturity diplomacies.) The shorter length of time spent obsessing over teen aged women kept me from going deep into the bottom of morality and I score very well on my MSIs which, is the main reason I can be expelled from probation of lifetime.

    So Jan, yes, there is some light at the end of the tunnel. Please never consider the train going of the track as a solution. Once you find a group like SOSEN and WAR and… (can’t remember Janice B’s group name) you can become part of the solution. Yes we all need to work to feed our families, but we are not always going to work like we did before. I was a great master at my craft, possibly the best in the State, but now I can no longer get the security clearances you spoke of and am “forced” to do a different line of work. In all, I found out that the new work I do is more independent and brings me better money than my old job. So in a sense it worked out for the better in that part of my life.

    Stories like yours, Jan, are important because they help the-rest-of-the-world (you know, those people who watch reality shows every day and go to a nascar race to hope there’s and accident) to see what “type” of people are on the registry. I tell people straight out what I did and why I am a Registrant (never use the SO word). Most 99% will accept you for being outright and can see you as a person. My sister told a friend about my criminal history and that friend went ballistic, blah, blah, blah. Months later, her son got caught in a sting and did a 180 on her emotions.

    We must accept finite disappointment, but never lose infinite hope.
    —Martin Luther King, Jr.

    • TDAL
      June 11, 2018 at 12:01 pm

      Right on Larry,

      Attack of the databases!
      A very power filled tool indeed. Perhaps more significant than the printing press!

      The MEN in grey anticipated the ability for unfriendly groups to develop AT LIGHT SPEED via social media. It scares the establishment to death. Social media got a man of color elected POTUS. Social media lives not without a database as its foundation. Same goes for word processing; the current method of law development.

      Btw e-,mail provided was created completely for SORagents, I never access it, sorry. Like the podcasts!

  5. kayt
    May 29, 2018 at 12:08 am

    Jan,

    Thanks for your open letter. It has been about 5 hours since I read it and I’m still trying to figure out what to say in a nutshell.

    Maybe the best thing to say is that I hope you have joined an organization such as Sosen, war, and others for support. We had so many problems that your story is like reading about my own life. Sam is the registered citizen, but all things ended up somewhat the same – vigilantes, educational changes, licenses, jobs, schooling. Except, I went incognito and Sam lived in another area and our son was home-schooled for five years because of it.

    Our son is an adult now and says that he feels that he was very loved and that has made all the difference in his life. He says a cushy life is not important, but love is. He has a college education, is engaged to be married and a very nice social life, so he has done well.

    One thing that I want to say is that there are better places to live than Arizona – there are worse places too but meeting up with other people who have had the same problems is helpful in making wise choices.

    I just want to reiterate that a support group is so important. I am somewhat a social hermit and it even affected me, I needed support!
    No one can fight the forces of evil alone, we need one another.

    I wish for you all the best.

  6. Will Bassler
    May 29, 2018 at 12:44 am

    Anyone who believes that the registry is not a form of punishment needs to read this article. Over the years SOSEN is posted a number of articles about the damage that the registry does to registered individuals as well as the amount of collateral damage that is done to family members including children. There is no justification for the registry, the screams of public safety are hollow when you recognize the fact that less than 1% of the people on the registry reoffend and of the new sex crimes that are committed in this country each year far less than 1% are done by people on the registry. So how do you justify treating another human being the way the person in the story is been treated. No one who is religious of any faith can justify the horrors inflicted upon her or her family members. and no one who supports and believes in this country’s constitution can condone such actions either.

    my personal opinion is that if you call yourself a religious person and close a blind eye to the needs of other human beings then you are a hypocrite. If you consider yourself a true American and allow this to go on, then you are nothing more than a political terrorists. finally if you are a politician who is more worried about your political standing than upholding your oath that you took to defend Constitution of this great republic, A Constitution which is based on individual rights not the rights of the mob then you have no business even running for office because your kind of people are the looters of society and do more damage to this Republic than any terrorists from another country.

    • Tim L
      June 11, 2018 at 10:27 am

      Will,
      If course the registry (,the electronic list) will not prevent crime, but the again it was never really about protecting the vulnerable. It was about THEIR DESIRE TO UTILIZE DATABASES TO MAINTAIN POLITICAL POSITION.

      NETWORK LAW PRIOR TO THE DOE CASES, placed important rules (law) on securing privacy, based mostly upon AT&T cases. The MEN IN GREY, HOWEVER, had erected the databases and wanted to utilize them to full effect. IMHO, the sex deviant was but a means to an end. Big brother loves the idea of using electronic devices to snoop on those who are a threat to their political security. There is no justification for collecting DATA on the law abiding.
      James Clapper lied to Congress by denying NSA’S BEHAVIOR. Mr. Snowmen made that clear. Remember these databases are operated by contractors and not the elected.

  7. Jerry
    May 29, 2018 at 2:35 am

    Welcome to the pain of my world,i to lost my Realtors license and a very good income.My dad owned the company and that still didn’t help.That was 28 years ago and because of the very stupid fear mongers in the Texas capital that make the SO laws and all the fear mongers that live in this state I have worked minimum wage jobs since.I lost my wife,children home and was threatened by people who found out. It’s a pointless continues persecution that never ends even when you have not had any more trouble in your life since the conviction.But they don’t care,and no matter how hard you try it will be there no matter what to keep you down.

  8. Caiya
    May 29, 2018 at 3:46 am

    Jan,
    My husband has been on the registry in PA for going on 9 years for something he didn’t do, but took a plea to.
    We’ve since had our ups and downs because on December. 20th, 2012 he was made to register for life due to the AWA being adopted.
    Thankfully, to some degree, PA is one of the more same states.
    Last year the State Supreme Court ruled in favor of an appeal and said that people already on the registry at that time, can’t be forced to register for longer than what they were told to when they were convicted.
    So, he’s back to the 10 year registration.
    And we have no recidency or access restrictions, so there is that.
    As for your situation, being stuck on a single income etc.
    I’m the Queen of cheap. Let me know, if you ever want help with things like couponing, doing paid surveys and studies for money, product tests, etc. (all free)
    You won’t get rich, but it’s a nice “hobby income”.
    Look me up under Caiya Wolfgang on FB if interested

  9. Karen Young
    May 29, 2018 at 5:15 am

    I hate the Registry!

    • Tim L
      May 31, 2018 at 2:10 pm

      What is the one thing you need to consolidate power?….a database, the two parties do not hate them. in fact the two parties need databases to secure their political futures as parties. The database is a serious threat to liberty AND national security.

  10. Joe
    May 29, 2018 at 12:19 pm

    Jan your story is truly heart breaking. Move to Texas into Harris county not Houston city limits. It’s easier here from my experience.

  11. Jan
    May 29, 2018 at 3:29 pm

    Many thanks to all of you for being so supportive. Looking back on everything that has happened to me and my family over the years it still seems unbelievable, even to me sometimes. I know there are thousands upon thousands of you out there who are similarly situated and suffer the same or even worse struggles on a personal, social and psychological level. It is my greatest hope that my story and others like it continue to be told and awareness be raised surrounding the reality, ineffectiveness, devastation and utter uselessness of these laws in regards to their ability to prevent or stop anything. The tide is finally starting to turn and higher courts across the country are ruling more and more against the constitutionality of these laws-in rapid succession. They are finally openly recognizing them for what they truly are and what anyone affected by them has always known to be true. That these laws were based upon untruths, skewed figures, knee jerk reactions to a very small number of horrific crimes perpetrated by people who will never live a day under the wrath of the very laws their crimes created. These laws are vindictive, shaming, anti-reentry, unconstitutional, abusive, oppressive, punishing, segregational, detrimental to society as a whole and do absolutely nothing in regards to their “stated intent” of public safety. It’s been 24 years since the passage of Megan’s law. 24 years, these laws have had to prove their validity and they have come up empty handed.

  12. Sharon
    May 29, 2018 at 5:46 pm

    I am interested in the”Queen of Cheap!” Gotta love it. Cayia, I will see you on Facebook!

    I love that we can support one another!

    Will Bassler, my personal opinion is that sadly, everyone knows that the registry is punishment and we all know people who are hypocrites.

    Jan, I can’t imagine enduring having your picture broadcast on media. I think that you should find a way to leave that area and start a new life. There are better states.

    Isn’t Sherriff Joe Arpaio in prison yet?

    • May 29, 2018 at 9:01 pm

      Amazingly, Sheriff Joe ( my friends call him Sheriff Joke) is not in prison and even more amazing is that he is now running for US Senate. I truly hope no one votes for him, especially in the primaries.

      He is the perfect poster boy example of how untested and un-researched laws take place—like the registry—in our country.

      If I won the lottery I would give it all to Janice Bellucci to get us all to the Supreme Court. P.S. I remember her website now: all4consolaws.org

      • Kayt
        May 31, 2018 at 10:41 am

        ……when the color pink was going to take on a whole new meaning……..

        • Tim L
          June 11, 2018 at 1:42 pm

          LOL!

          SOR is very much a socialist line of thought. One presuming humans do not learn how to treat each other.

  13. Amy
    May 30, 2018 at 1:55 pm

    I am on the registry in Virginia for Carnal Knowledge back in 2009. It’s so difficult to be punished repeatedly for a mistake we made while life had us down. True, no excuse to engage in hurtful behavior or place ourselves in company that do not have our best interests at heart. I have faithfully registered on time ever 3 months. I have been turned down from decent paying jobs and I too am stuck with a huge student loan that I can not repay and a useless degree. I still write to Congress in hopes that one day myself and many others that don’t post a threat to society may be removed from the registry.

    • Kayt
      May 31, 2018 at 10:34 am

      Amy,
      I’m so sorry.
      Maybe life will change for you.

  14. Tim L
    May 31, 2018 at 8:06 pm

    Jan,

    You’re normal. He has complained? Would be be willing to testify at reg. Violation? You’d likely win at trial! I have done it twice. Call them out! It is very easy just demand trial! I spent from January 2011 to ,May 2013 in district court openly confronting the courts & The people about this sham. BTW, I happen to live in Speaker Ryan’s district.
    Too bad he’s bailing his position. Citizens need to remind themselves that under felony indictments one has the right to call witnesses in defence! EXERCISE IT! Much luv!

    • Jan
      June 9, 2018 at 6:03 pm

      Tim, please message me privately.
      Jan

      • Tdal
        June 11, 2018 at 2:04 pm

        Jan,

        My internet use is limited by choice not by law. I post here as a party interested in the DATABASE as The central issue. Here they discuss a particular & peculiar USE of a database(s) known generally as sex offender registration. Indentured servants to the maintenance of a machine, a property, an electronic device is a more accurate definition. Making humans subservient to machines is onerous territory! That Mr. Roberts was made leader for his deceptive framing of the question not withstanding time. You can fool some of the people some of the time….but you can’t fool a jury with the bar of honesty. To enter into a trial in these cases is however possible. I spell out a number have the courage to call, six zero eight four three six two five six two.

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