I’m not someone who checks the sex offender registry regularly or thinks about it all that much. I checked it before we bought our house four years ago and maybe twice since. So when a friend mentioned she had found an old high school classmate on there, it occurred to me it had been a while and it might be worth a look. I was not prepared for what I found.
I live with my husband and young daughter in a sleepy, little neighborhood full of old homes. Part of my neighborhood is classified as historical and we often have tour buses slowly driving up and down the street. We are still considered rural and many here live below the poverty line so we are not without problems but we love it here-one neighbor fixes our furnace, the other leaves homegrown tomatoes on our back porch, my daughters best buddy is her teachers granddaughter, I can’t go to the grocery store without seeing at least one person I know, and our house has a real white picket fence-we’re talking Mayberry here people! So while I am not naïve enough to think we are safe and nothing bad ever happens here I was lulled into a sense of security that I never felt when we lived in a big city.
And then the rug was pulled out from under me. As I zoomed slowly in to our neighborhood and then our street it started to dawn on me one of those little red boxes was very close to our house. Then I realized it was directly across the street. I almost didn’t want to look at the details. My heart sank to my knees when I saw first degree criminal sexual conduct. It sank further when I expanded the list to see another first degree charge, then a second degree charge, and finally kidnapping. Then my eyes locked on the words TIER THREE and my blood turned to ice. For those that aren’t aware-Tier Three is the classification given to the most dangerous and most likely to re-offend sex offenders. I went into overdrive. Google would save me! So I started searching and searching for any information about his case I could find. Maybe this was a Romeo & Juliet case, maybe he was falsely accused but couldn’t afford to appeal, give me something, anything Saint Google! I searched for hours. I eventually found that he was sentenced to a minimum of 12 years and maximum of 50 years. He served 12 and was one year into parole. When I clicked on the statue for the first degree charge and saw “penetration, under 13 years old” I lost my shit.