Labeled for Life: A Sex Offender Speaks

By: Kari Huston Email
By: Kari Huston Email

"Sex offender" is a label this man admits he deserved after he molested a young Goshen girl back in 1988. To protect his identity we'll call him "Ed". "Ed" contacted Newscenter 16 because 19 years after that crime, Indiana suddenly made him register as a sex offender.

“Just a couple of weeks ago they sent me a letter saying that I had to move because I live within 1000 feet of a school,” “Ed” says. The Elkhart County Sheriff's Department informed "Ed" that he would be charged with a felony if he didn’t move out of his house of 10 years.

Indiana considers “Ed” a lifelong sex offender on their registry, even though he was convicted in 1988 before the registry existed.

If “Ed” has been a danger to society all this time, why is Elkhart County only now catching up to him?

“Because of the Legislature making it a felony I have no discretion as to what I enforce and what I don't,” Detective Brian Holloman.

In the summer of 2006 law changed and Indiana began regulating how close a sex offender could live to a school, park, or daycare.

Since then more and more sex offenders are being added to the website, some like "Ed" for life. “In order to be a lifelong offender they have to be convicted of one of these offenses that requires registration: The victim is under the age of 12, or force or threat of force was a factor, or they have been determined to be a sexually violent predator, or they've been convicted of more than one sex offense. If none of those apply than it would be a ten-year registration period,” explains Detective Holloman.

“Ed” feels something similar to a parole board could be formed to give sex offenders a chance to prove they should be taken off the registry. “I went through this counseling. I’ve been crime-free for 20 years, let's give me the benefit of the doubt,” “Ed” suggests.

There are those like Detective Holloman, who feel that if a victim carries the memory of a sexual assault for life the offender should carry the stigma of a label just as long.

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