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Mothers Of Sex Offenders Stand By, Fight For Sons

"This is not happening, this is not happening, this is not happening," Christine Smith recalls thinking after seeing her son led out of a court room in handcuffs, having just been sentenced to 18 months in prison and one year of probation after pleading guilty to possession of child pornography. Her son would also be required to register as a sex offender once released from prison for the sex offenses.

As a mother, she felt helpless. Her 21-year-old son was facing a lifetime requirement of sex offender registration. How would he find a job when he got out of prison? Where would he, legally, be allowed to live? Would he ever date? Who would marry and start a family with a convicted sex offender? Could he legally ever have a family of his own?

As the mother of a convicted sex offender, she also bears part of her son's burden. She wonders if there will ever be a day when he won't be considered to belong in the same category as rapists and child molesters. A sex crime conviction can divide and devastate families, can destroy marriages and friendships and can serve to alienate the convicted person for life.

There are almost 750,000 registered sex offenders in the United States. Some have the support of family, some do not. The existence of a support system - whether family or friends - may be one of the most effective pieces of rehabilitating a convicted sex offender and reducing the likelihood of reoffending.

"Isolation can be a breeding ground for depression and deviancy," according to Nancy Irwin, a psychotherapist and sex offender treatment professional.

Mothers of convicted sex offenders are turning to online support groups to learn ways to cope with the overnight change that a child pornography conviction can cause to a family. Many are also becoming activists, speaking out against what seems to them like a harsh penalty. There is another side to the crackdown on penalties for sex offenses.

"Yes, what my son did was bad. Yes, he should be punished. But he doesn't need to be punished for the rest of his life," noted the mother of a 20-year-old man who served 10 months for downloading child pornography and faces another 15 as a registered sex offender.

Source: CNN.com, "Mothers of sex offenders share responsibility, burden of label," Emanuella Grinberg, May 12, 2012

6 Comments

To Whom It May Concern;

My son is 22 years old. He is charged with 4 counts of attemted statutory rape of a 14 year old girl. She is now 15 . The girl, in her own words, has problems. In others words, the girl is crazy. She was obessed with my son, to the point if she can't have him no one will. She found out he had a girlfriend, and that is when she claimed she was in a relationship with him. No one wants to hear his side of the story. He was intimidated into signing a confession, by the guilford county sheriff's department. He was forced to take a plead of 10 1/2 years by his public defender.
I'm at a loss as to where to go from here. I'm afraid that this girl will continue this dangerous type of self-destructive behavior, leaving innocent men in prison for crimes that they didn't commit.
If there is any help that you can give, I would greatly appreciate it.
Sincerely,
Teresa Lee
Mother of innocent convicted sex offender

I just watched my son of 20 years of age charged with child molestation. The girl, who was 13 at the time, Facebooked him until he responded and offered him everything everything under the sun over and over again. He met with her once and the "made-out" he touched her and the parent (who had multiple drug charges against him pressed charges. He will now be in prison for 2-3 years and a sexual offender. My problem with all of this is that the girl continues to stalk older boys and has no consequences.
The court system has not caught up with the sexuality of teens. I am a labor and delivery nurse and the first year I worked I delivered many 12-13 year old girls who had been sexually active for quite some time.
I am not saying what my son did was right however I do believe that being labeled and paying for the rest of his life is wrong.
I think that the parents of these girls should have some consequences as they do not monitor their children and pay attention to what they are doing.
Sincerely
Karen K

My son was only 14years old when he was convicted of committing a sexual crime. It's a long story but he was bullied into this situation by 3 other boys. My son struggles with some learning disabilities also so he did not realize how to problem solve to get out of the situation.He is now 17 yrs old. The past few years have been hard but he has survived them gracefully. I worry about his future a and what this label will do to him. He has to register as a sex offender for the rest of his life. We accept what he did was wrong but I just don't understand why he has to pay for this for his entire life.im just looking for support from other mothers who are going through the same situation.

I agree, my son is also 20 yrs old and convicted of aggravted sexual assault of a young troubled girl who had "consented" contact with him. She was very troubled and it wasn't the first contact CPS had with her and her mother. The system has GOT TO address this. Instead of just saying the girls are victims and they can't address their issues, they need to get these girls and mothers into some sort of counseling to change the behavior instead of just throwing our sons into the prison system and thinking problem solved. Yes, they did wrong but a little girl flaunting herself in front of a boy is also wrong!!

My son 13 yrs old when he was arrested it was by far the hardest thing are family has ever been through. Now he can't enough talk on the phone to his two younger brothers. I need to know how other mothers get through this. I know it was my son that did wrong but i feel his brothers and i are paying for it too. I see my son monthly which is hard too i am not used to asking permission to see my son. Are lives are upside down. Please Help! Any Advice would help.

I am devastated and need help and would join any organization to help our sons with this problem with online porn. My son is 38. He evidently looked at child porn for a while. I would love anyone to answer this, but he swears that he went some boards which were "share" boards. One investigator told me that when you go to these boards, it draws everything out of your computer you were looking at. So my son was arrested for having child porn on his computer and "distribution" since it shows he "shared". They said that they could go for more, and if our son didn't take the charges, then they would turn it over to the feds. We hired an attorney that backed down to the prosecuting attorney in no time. Cost us large amount of money. When he was arrested, no matter how many times we have told our children to not do this, the officer told him that he would have better chances if he just admitted at he looked and how much. Our son told them "too damn much". That got him, along with the share boards. So our son, got 6 years in prison, and 5 years probation. And forever being a sex offender. But there are people in the same county that have molested for years, raped for years etc, and they get probation because they could afford a attorney to fight it. I just don't understand why all are put in the same catagory. It just doesn't make sense. There is a SOSA program in Washington, where if you have a "victim" then you get a lot less time, and they immediately put you into classes. Because our son doesn't have a victim, he has to wait for the classes until the last of the prison time, so they won't let him out early. These laws just don't make sense. Anyone that can help with suggestions, and support would be great appreciated. Thank you for listening to a devasted mom.

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