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Can It Be Okay To Befriend A Registered Sex Offender?

post #1 of 23
Thread Starter 
I had befriended a young, disabled man who works as a bagger at the local grocery store. He helped my daughter & me load our groceries into the car, and we exchanged phone numbers. Later, he called us and wanted to talk to my daughter (he's 33 and she's 26), but she declined. He wanted to meet us for bowling, and maybe go to the movies. I had several phone conversations with him and thought that it would be good if more of the disabled community to get together for social opportunities.
THEN, my good friend's adult nephew informed us that the guy is a registered sex offender. So I backed off, not answering calls, etc. This was earlier mid-summer. Now I've found out that the guy is very ill (he has cerebral palsy) and has been airlifted to Southern California and is not expected live. AND I found out that several people in the community had been trying to "get the word out" about the guy's s.o. registry, even tho there are no details about the crime (just sex with a person under the age of 16). The guy's social age is that of a child, I've been told, off record, that it's maybe 14, probably less. The store mgrs. even received complaints that they shouldn't hire someone like that to work among the public.
The guy used to live in a group home, and I looked up his father's name (the same name) and that monster (the father) is in prison for very severe sex crimes. So I know that guy's truly disabled and that there is a history of sex crimes in his family.
Was it okay for me to have tried to be friends with him? Was it okay for me to then shun him? My opinion was of someone who was bravely dealing with his handicap, and trying to have a life - his dream was to get married; to strengthen his body so he could work full time and get off Social Security; to get to go to dinner, and bowling, and the movies with other people besides his brother. I've been told that the 2 brothers were very active in the Salvation Army, helping set up and clean up before and after events; but that the congregation in the S.A. is now leery of having them around now that the word is out.
Should the community change their opinions so radically now that they know? Was the guy really a threat even though he hasn't done anything wrong in at least the three years he lived here? My heart feels ashamed of myself - I really did make it a matter of "Guilty till proven Innocent".
What is torturing me is that now we have a client who is going to plead guilty to a misdemeanor unlawful intercourse with a minor, to avoid the risk of a jury trial for felony. It was consensual, accoriding to both parties. The girl is now 18, but at the time was 17; he's just turned 19 and was 18 at the time. They were in the same grade of school growing up. What if the disabled guy's circumstances were similar??? What if being shunned by the community has contributed to destroying the guy's health to the point of death???
As the dinosaur in "Toy Story" said, " NOW I HAVE GUILT!"
post #2 of 23
Your county sheriff website should have some information, including the case number for whatever happened. Write down the number and go to the county courthouse and ask for the file. This stuff is all public record. They have to show you. I just did that earlier this summer when I noticed someone I recognized from the sex offender website riding his bike past my house on a regular basis.
post #3 of 23
phew....................well a very complicated and deep one !
My view is that you acted as an honest, upright member of society. You obviously care for people from all walks of life. How were you to know this persons background ? When things changed into something that was not for you and your daughter, you were friendly and polite. You have acted with total respect and although you say this person had not ´done´ anything for 3 years, one does wonder if he was gromming you or your daughter for something more sinister. My good friend in the UK works for the police and she deals with this subject area. Most of the sex-offenders (and I know this can sound like a sweeping statement - but there is imperical evidence) do repeat their offences. They blend into a new home town and be-friend innocent well-meaning people. Now I am not saying this guy would have turned out like this, but it is a major worry when sex offenders are relocated.
I dont think you have anything to feel guilty about, but I understand your concern about what you saw as a vulnerable member of your community.
post #4 of 23
Like Fatkitties said, many states have an online registry of sex offenders linked to their sheriff's department. I would check there. Mentally/physically challeged people are just as capable for some pretty horrible crimes, just as the non-mentally and physically challenged are. I think you did the right thing. You need to protect yourself. Check on the sex offender registry and that will give you your answers.

http://www.meganslaw.ca.gov/
post #5 of 23
Whoa! I really have to sleep on this one. I can understand how you might feel guilty, but perhaps it's better that you err on the side of caution?
Let me explain. We have a great number of families with members with Down Syndrome in our town, because there's a special school right on the outskirts, and a supervised workshop a few towns over. The degree of their disability really varies, from very low to average IQs, and I believe the same could be said about their maturity, or emotional age, or whatever you want to call it. Those going through or past puberty have normal sex drives, but some don't appear to know how to deal with it, and can be overly aggressive with members of the opposite sex. Those individuals don't understand the niceties of dating, developing a relationship, and then becoming intimate. Parents warn their children not to be alone with some of the town residents, because they fear sex offenses, which, IMO, is understandable. Perhaps that's the sentiment among many of your town's residents?
I wouldn't want to put a mentally disabled person who commits a sex offense (or an 18-year-old who sleeps with a 17-year-old consensually) into the same category as a rapist or pedophile, so I can see where you're in a quandary.
post #6 of 23
Thread Starter 
Thank you for the link - his conviction was for sodomy with a person under the age of 16. And one of my neighbors (married, with 2 teenage boys) is registered for unlawful intercourse with a child under the age of 14 and one of our female clients is registered for sexual battery My male neighbor is popular and I wonder where the outcry is about him Maybe cuz he's tall, good-looking, drives a nice truck and is very pleasant to be around
post #7 of 23
Thread Starter 
BTW, thank you for all your understanding. I was just trying to protect my daughter, as he specifically asked me if he could date her . she's been in special ed. throughout school, and has had to deal with sexual harrassment throughout the years. One very large boy was so aggressive with her that I had to put her in another high school 45 miles away - the teacher and principal didn't want to discipline the kid for grabbing her hinder and her crotch!! At the meeting, I told them that if it was a "regular" student, the cops would've been called & the offender hauled off to juvie; and they just told me that I needed to remain calm about it, that there didn't seem to be any harm done What could I do about such moronic minds as those, except to get my child away from them
post #8 of 23
Joey: I applaud your willingness to be kind and compassionate to another person. It was reasonable to limit his relationship with your daughter and it was also very reasonable for you to befriend him and help him if you could, And now he is ill and maybe dying and a note or a gift or something developmentally appropriate as agift would also be reasonable.

Is he close enough to visit? It is a blessing to visit the sick and how can kindness without being walked all over ever be the wrong thing to do. Bless you.
post #9 of 23
As you saw by checking the list, your next door neighbor CAN be a sex offender! For this reason I signed up to get an email alert whenever any registered offender moves within a mile of my house. And since my little town is less than a mile long, I know the locations of all of them wihtin the city limits. I just got an email this morning that one moved, he's now on the other side of town, but again, in my town "the other side of town" is a 10 minute walk. I have a 4 year old daughter, so I pay close attention to any with offenses concerning children. But I think it's good info to know if your neighbor has been convicted of rape, too!

and a side note here, while it is important to know who the sex offenders are, what they did, and where they live, it is also important to know that it is illegal to harass them! Even if they are doing something illegal, do not take matters into your hands. Call the cops. Let the cops handle it. Because if you say ANYTHING to them, they can turn you in for harassment.
post #10 of 23
I wouldn't but that's just me....and i definitely wouldn't like a registered sex offender trying to "hang out" with my daughter...i would be too afraid he'd try something, even if he's sought help. I know that may sound harsh....but I live in a city that is completely overriden with crime....and I'm a former rape victim...I wouldn't chance it. Good luck whatever you decide. www.familywatchdog.us - this site has a list of all registered sex offenders, what they did, when, and where they currently live.
post #11 of 23
People who are single and without responsibilities can afford to take risks and befriend a greater range of people. People who are married with children need to be careful about who they have contact with. I did not have children, but I lost a cat....sometimes I feel glad that I did not have a child, I could have put my child in danger if I were ever get involved with an unsavory person again.
post #12 of 23
Your mention of the 18 year old being brought up on charges for having consesual sex with a 17 year old just scared the willies outta me. My son is 18, his girlfriend 17. I remember being that age. Who would pin a sex offense on that poor kid? That is crazy!
post #13 of 23
Tough call. One would like to think that having "done the crime, served the time" is the end of it, but we all know better.

Never hurts to be cautious, and you can never be TOO careful.

IMO.
post #14 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by mooficat View Post
phew....................well a very complicated and deep one !
My view is that you acted as an honest, upright member of society. You obviously care for people from all walks of life. How were you to know this persons background ? When things changed into something that was not for you and your daughter, you were friendly and polite. You have acted with total respect and although you say this person had not ´done´ anything for 3 years, one does wonder if he was gromming you or your daughter for something more sinister. My good friend in the UK works for the police and she deals with this subject area. Most of the sex-offenders (and I know this can sound like a sweeping statement - but there is imperical evidence) do repeat their offences. They blend into a new home town and be-friend innocent well-meaning people. Now I am not saying this guy would have turned out like this, but it is a major worry when sex offenders are relocated.
I dont think you have anything to feel guilty about, but I understand your concern about what you saw as a vulnerable member of your community.
I totally agree! You need only to meet one or two sex offenders who are being confronted about there crimes to see that they are in general the scum of the earth. Only worried about how others might hold crimes against them, with never a thought for the poor child or teenager who's life they destroyed.

And not being caught for another crime is very different from not committing another crime.

I'm glad you were kind to this poor person. It shows what a good person you are. But protecting your daughter was definitely the right decision!
post #15 of 23
Why can't you ask him about it?

If you are friends, and have found this out... maybe let him share his side of the story. Although, now that you've found out about what the charges were, it may be different, but if I found out someone was a registered sex offender I would give them a chance (a single chance, and they'd have to explain honestly and well) because sometimes people are charged wrongly and sometimes people make stupid mistakes like the 16-yr-old-21-yr-old thing. Although that's not what his sounds like...

As for a 18-yr-old and a 17-yr-old, no, the 18-yr-old cannot typically be charged. Most states have a law that specifies a law of consent as well as an age gap. For instance, in Ohio the law of consent is 16 years old, and in order to be charged you must be at least 3 years older than the minor. Also, typically in cases like that, the parent of the minor must bring charges. So, Telynn, you probably have absolutely nothing to worry about. Check the laws in your state for specifics.
post #16 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Zissou'sMom View Post
Why can't you ask him about it?
Quote:
Originally Posted by catsknowme View Post
Now I've found out that the guy is very ill (he has cerebral palsy) and has been airlifted to Southern California and is not expected live.
This explains it...
post #17 of 23
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by AnnasMom View Post
This explains it...
Yes, I can't go back now. And how I wish that the young men of the Christian community would have reached out to him

I agree that most molesters are creeps - they are among my husband's case files, and as a former victim (or maybe just being a cat person) I have yet to not pick up on the "evil vibe". I am very careful to be respectful and I realize that everyone has a right to the best defense possible; that said, an attorney's job obtain for the client the best result possible. If a person is guilty, then they need to take their licks. I will always perform to my best abilities for any person (but I'm just the support staff) but I will not be bleeding my heart for someone who just wants to lash out at the victim (when perpetrator feels that they are the victim, I feel amazement, and then I realize how sick their mind really is - scary! )
But with this boy, I didn't pick up anything like that I just don't know if I was more open-minded because he was disabled, both mentally and physically, or if his was one of those gray-area cases and he really wasn't that "bad".
post #18 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by Abigail View Post
Joey: I applaud your willingness to be kind and compassionate to another person. It was reasonable to limit his relationship with your daughter and it was also very reasonable for you to befriend him and help him if you could, And now he is ill and maybe dying and a note or a gift or something developmentally appropriate as agift would also be reasonable..
i would have to agree with this, He is still a human being. Also he did not hurt you or any member of your family, kindness here is not going to hurt you.

It is really easy for a male to get this these charges. I know a guy that was listed as sex offender, his crime was being drunk and going to the bathroom on the side of his house, and a couple of little kids saw it. i have seen his file on line.it does not tell you the whole story.
but it sure made him look bad.


i did not get the impression that this was not something he did several times it was one time. and as you said he is disabled, both mentally and physically. everyone can make mistake in judgement, and it would more easy in his case, i know how lonely for a female in this case . i get i talk to my cousin on Yahoo who was born with MS, he never been able to walk, or talk but his mind is as shape as they come..he is trapped in the body that has failed him. at least with computers he has a way of talking to people,he is not as alone as he once was.. But that does not stop him from wishing he had a gf and wife and kids
post #19 of 23
Have you ever thought that the person he had sex with was a little brat?
Maybe a mature 12, 13, 14 year old who wanted to play mind games, then let him have sex with her and then ran to her parents stating that he raped her?
I hear this all too often with the younger generation as they seem to think they can make alot of money with it.
post #20 of 23
I am going to go out on a limb here and assume that his victim was also delayed developmentally. This is actually quite common. However, even if the victim wasn't just an opportunistic situation (often attending school/residential facilities together), there is often very low impulse control in terms of sexual relations with developmentally delayed people.
IOW, there are many delayed offenders who as has been mentioned, have the mental age of children. However, they may have the internal hormonal urges of an adult! Can any of you imagine the anguish and the frustration that goes on in their minds??

I know as a sex offender treatment worker, this category of sexual offenders is handled drastically different in terms of treatment modality than an average able-bodied/appropriate mental age offender is.

This would go a long way in terms of my decision whether to befriend or socialize with any sex offender.

There are so many variables when it comes to sex offenses/offenders/victims that one blanket answer can't possibly begin to answer your question.

When it comes down to it, only you know what you are capable of as well as morally obligated to do.
post #21 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by jcat View Post
I wouldn't want to put a mentally disabled person who commits a sex offense (or an 18-year-old who sleeps with a 17-year-old consensually) into the same category as a rapist or pedophile, so I can see where you're in a quandary.
depending on the crime, i would consider being this person's friend/acquaintance. i feel capable of defending myself should he decide to attack me. but i would not want any children of mine to be unsupervised in his presence. & i would make sure they knew he was not to be talked to without me. mainly because their size & naivety makes them easy targets.
post #22 of 23
Quote:
Originally Posted by fwan View Post
Have you ever thought that the person he had sex with was a little brat?
Maybe a mature 12, 13, 14 year old who wanted to play mind games, then let him have sex with her and then ran to her parents stating that he raped her?
I hear this all too often with the younger generation as they seem to think they can make alot of money with it.

yea, that . I have seen just that thing happen a few times.
post #23 of 23
And then there's the situation of the guy I know in Texas, who is in the registry. The charges brought against him were malicious and everyone around him knew that, but the damage was already done. His reputation was ruined with the charge (and he HAD a reputation to lose), so he decided to plead guilty, in order to save himself and his loved ones the horror of the trial. Nothing to be gained by going to trial, so he elected to take his lumps and get on with his life. It's truly sad that such a gentle man could be put in a position where there was more to be gained by pleading guilty to such charges than by being proved innocent of them.
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