My son was charged in Michigan with a "felony 1 criminal sexual conduct child under 13." He in fact did indecently touch a boy of 6 years old. He was 12 when this happened, and 13 when he was charged. He performed oral sex on him.
He was given a public defender in the matter. We informed the lawyer that we were thinking of pleading guilty knowing my son did the crime. Yet the lawyer did some looking into his law book, turned to us and told us we should plead guilty for he could get us no lesser charge. We did not know the laws, and only knew what our lawyer told us. We only met with him at court the first day we went to court. We talked to him 10, maybe 15 minutes before going into court. We both only understood what the lawyer told us.
At the time, we were concerned how long my son would have to go into court, and how long they would draw this out. Also we were afraid the media would get ahold of the story. As it was, my son went through hell going to school, which he had no choice but to do. The mother of the little boy made his life hell. She went out of her way to go to some of his old friends' houses, and she also went to the school making known what he did. He was harassed on the bus, and at school. She also put a large sign out in her yard stating the town name and that they let a 13 year old rapist go free, which she was made to take down after some time had passed.
I even had to call the cops on her for harassing us in a public gas station in town after court proceedings. That made the paper. It didn't give any names, but it gave enough details that anyone who knew us, and what our case was about, would know who they were talking about. She had told many people about the case before it was even through in the courts. I had to get a restraining order against her, because she used to come, sit, and watch the place where I was living during and after the court proceedings. They only made it so she had to stay away 500 feet, which gave her room to sit on public property at the nearby hair salon. So I couldn't call the police on her, even though she was literally stalking us.
The thing is that we were friends in the beginning. She used to come out to where I lived and maybe once a week if we were lucky take us to the local store a mile away to do grocery shopping so we could eat. I also babysat her 2 kids for her. The day this happened she came by to run me to the store for cigarettes. She wanted to leave her kids alone with my 11 and 12 year old. We argued about this in the first place. I told her no, I didn't want her to do that. There was no reason for her to. We were only running to town for maybe 10 minutes. Yet I finally gave in. It seemed if I didn't do so, I would not be able to go to town to buy anything. We were gone for maybe 10-15 min's when it happened.
We would like to prove my son's rights were violated by not having more time with the lawyer, and not understanding the law fully. We were given a public defender, and only being on welfare at the time, I was not able to afford anyone else. We were stuck with public defense, and it seems to me now that was not a wise choice.
My son is to be on a 25 year list in Michigan. Since then we have moved to Pennsylvania to get away from the harassment my son constantly received. Here he has to register for life. At least that is my fear. We have not gotten the paperwork stating how long as of yet. We don't want this to start happening all over again. No one here knows of his charge. He is not on a public list. We have told only a few very close friends.
My son did as he was told to do. He was registered in Michigan as well as here. He went through group therapy in Michigan, got back into counseling, and also is in counseling here in which they know the story. My son and I both agreed he would receive counseling when we got here. He has gone from 5 F's in school in Michigan to getting B's, C's, and a couple D's. He is trying to do better, just struggling in some areas. We are working closely with him. He may even have a summer job this summer with someone who adores him, and has a roofing business.
Now we have the fear also that this new Jessica's Law will make it so he cannot go to school anymore. Its been tabled so far, yet in time they may get it passed. If my son gets his picture put on the web site along with his info, he will be screwed out of an education. Also he will not be able to go to church any longer.
Submitted February 15, 2006