Meet Travis Iosue, as a young child, he was what you would call a bit aggressive, always wanting the attention and never wanting to stand still.. His worried Mother took him to see doctors where he was diagnosed with severe obsessive compulsive disorder, Tourette's Syndrome, and attention deficit hyperactivity disorder. He was still seeing a doctor back in 1995 when he was invited to "hang out" with some friends of his. Travis, although he was 17, had the mind of a 12 year old, and as a result many of his friends were younger than he was.. this night, he was the oldest child in a room with three young girls and another boy. At some point, one of the girls sat on his lap and Travis says he "pushed her off" but never was he alone with her..
The next day the Police arrested Travis. The girl had told her mother that Travis had put his hand on the outside of her shirt, over her breasts, and touched her for sexual gratification..
That night, however.. according to the testimony of the other three children in the room, the girl had not said anything and acted like everything was fine. She laughed and played like normal.
Still, Travis was arrested and put in jail, in spite of the witnesses that said they believed the girl was lying. Travis's court-appointed lawyer, Randy Lepley, pressured Travis (against his Mothers wishes) to make a deal. In the deal, Travis would plea guilty and get five years probation but he would be allowed to "go home". All he would have to do is have no contact with minors.. Travis, being a minor himself, violated his probation in less than a month and was sentenced to 20 years in prison, next to murderers and rapists..
Prison is not a good place to be, regardless why you are there.. but to be sentenced for child molestation means the prison population will make an example out of you. Travis had his nose, right arm, eye socket, shoulder and front teeth all broken as well as he now suffers from dizzy spells..
Travis spent 16 years in prison.
When the victim's mother was called, after Travis's release, she said her daughter "still has nightmares about it" and she feels Travis should still be in prison. However, her voice is alone.. The victim's father was reached separately and he felt that his daughter made up the story and wanted to come forward with the truth but was in fear she would be arrested..
Still, after 16 years.. Travis should be able to put his past behind him and move forward?
unfortunately not.. Travis must register as a sex offender. Meaning he wears a GPS device around his ankle, can not live within 500 feet of where children gather and anyone with a computer can look up his address and harass him. Try getting a job with that on your resume.
America has quite a history with the sex offender registry, the first state to pass such a law was California in 1947 however communities were not told who was on it till 1996 when Megans Law was passed requiring all states to make public who were sex offenders and their personal information. In 2007, The "Adam Walsh Child Protection Act" was passed giving states more legal permission to "throw the book" at offenders who don't register. One person was given a life sentence in prison because they couldn't register with a home address because they were homeless..
What does it take to wind up on the list? using the bathroom outside (even if the one inside is broken) would do it, sending a friend a picture of yourself in the nude would do it as well.. I even read of a teacher who was given jail time because a computer in her classroom somehow showed porn and they felt she was "to slow in stopping it".
So it seems clear we need to be a little more detailed on what gets you on the registry. Crimes against children, without a doubt.. However, in cases like Travis, where the facts do not add up.. we need to think twice before we react.
The government spends how much money taking care of these people in prisons? that would be much less if they could get a job after they were released, but due to the registry.. who wants to hire them?
As for Travis, he went back to prison again.. seems something set off his ankle bracelet in the middle of the night and his parole officer thought he took to long responding to it, then the next day he had his family over for a 20 minute birthday party, at the half-way house where he is forced to live, that wasn't scheduled with his parole officer.. These two events cost him two months in jail..
There are two things most commonly heard amid those in the sexual offender registry.. the first is "I wish I were dead" and the second is "I would have an easier time if I had murdered someone".. both are true.
While there are ways to get off the registry, it is rare it happens and it always takes years. There are legislators trying to make changes in the law but unfortunately it takes majority votes and the people who vote all represent a population who is afraid to live near someone termed a "sex offender".
I am glad that there is a system that keeps track of sexual predators, but still, I feel sorry for Travis, and others like him.. who were given a title they didn't deserve and will continue to pay for it for the rest of their lives..