How Our Autistic Son Ended up a “Sex Offender for Life”

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I was speaking at the Minnesota Association for the Treatment of Sexual Abusers last week, even as this story was sent to me by my dear friend whose 20something son has Autism.

This issue is so thorny, fraught and sad: If a person is developmentally disabled and therefore not in step with others his or her age, is it any wonder they would, for instance, make inappropriate overtures, or even want to watch child porn, since they relate to the age of the kids in it, and yet are already sexualized young men and women?

It’s not a pleasant topic, but neither is having your child accused of a heinous offense without there being any  way the child could understand the consequences. And with that cheery thought, I present you:

Mislabeled a Sex Offender: The Kelmar Family’s Fight for Justice

Posted on April 6, 2016 by The Arc

My name is Brian Kelmar, and I am the father of a 24 year old son who has autism and auditory and sensory processing disabilities. Our nightmare began almost six years ago, right after my son graduated high school. It’s a case of the “perfect storm” that resulted in my son being punished and treated as an outcast in our community and in society.

Do words like “trusting, bullied, eager to please, and not understanding social situations” sound familiar? These words describe my son and how he interacts and/or experiences the world around him.  Like others with autism, he had few friends growing up, let alone a girlfriend.  That core need for friendship hasn’t changed. He continues to long to fit in and feel included, and have friends in his life that he can talk to. So, when a female friend of my younger son started texting my son, he was so happy that he found someone nice to talk to.

The girl’s texts started innocently enough with just small talk.  The communication began when he was away at a college summer orientation where he was learning about the autism program he was to begin in the fall. The texting from her soon became very sexually aggressive, and he did not understand what the texts were about. He answered her questions with short words or answers, such as “like”, “what”, “ok”, and “huh”? She pointed out to him, “you really don’t understand what I am talking about” in regards to her sexual statements like “friends with benefits” and “hooking up,” along with more graphic content which he did not understand. When reading the back and forth texting, it’s clear to anyone reading these messages that they were going right over my son’s head.

After he returned from orientation, she repeatedly began asking him to meet with her. He had no idea of how to handle her sexually aggressive messages, and he certainly didn’t foresee what would happen next. When he met her in person, she became very sexually aggressive.  Like other people with autism and sensory issues, he can easily become overwhelmed and shut down, similar to a computer that has too many programs open at the same time.  This is exactly what happened during her sexual advances. When his mind “rebooted” and his thought process reengaged, he told her to stop.  She did and he took her home.

That same evening the police came to our house in the middle of the night. Since the front door is closest to my son’s room, he answered it.  Not understanding the situation and thinking the girl was in trouble because she was the aggressive one, he answered their questions before I got to the door.  The police took him to jail for two days until I could get him released on $100,000 bail.

In an instant, my son’s life was changed forever.

My son and our family entered a criminal justice system that we had no idea how to maneuver, and a system that had no idea about autism. Our lawyer had no experience with autism or working with people with disabilities. We were told by the attorney that the only option was to plea bargain. Later I discovered that is how most cases are resolved, through plea bargaining (experts estimate that 90 to 95 percent of both federal and state cases are resolved through plea bargaining).

During the sentencing phase, the judge heard testimony from the court appointed forensic psychologist with comments like:

“It was the alleged victim that was grooming him for a sexual encounter”

“He did not understand the situation”

“She was the aggressor”

These statements were all true, based on the evidence of the text messages.  The judge understood the situation, and gave my son a ten year suspended sentence.  We never had any written plea bargain agreement. Then he was sentenced to 10 years probation. What we did not find out until after the sentencing was that due to the way the law was written, he would not only be on the sex offender registry, but he would be put on the violent sexual predator list for life.

This was absolutely devastating and the consequences last a lifetime.  This punishment will limit his ability to be employed, where he or our family can live, where he can travel to visit family members or even his future family (if they are under 18).  He can’t even travel to see his own grandmothers now because of the laws affecting travel between states.  This whole experience has been like a slow, agonizing psychological death sentence for him, and for our entire family.

Our hope is that other people with intellectual and developmental disabilities (I/DD) and their families can learn from our experience. Here are some lessons learned:

  1. Never let your child (regardless of age) speak to authorities without you or another advocate and a lawyer present – no matter what. While there are various organizations like The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability® (NCCJD) and some state agencies which can step in and mitigate the situation, the best scenario is to ensure the person’s rights are protected during questioning.
  1. Contact NCCJD, which can provide assistance in cases like this, and can also provide quality, effective training for criminal justice professionals in your state. You will often find that many law enforcement, attorneys and other criminal justice professionals in the criminal justice system have had no training on I/DD. Through NCCJD’s information and referral and technical assistance services, their staff can work with your local chapter of The Arc and other community or state agencies to provide practical solutions that avoid destroying people’s lives before the snowball effect of the criminal justice system starts rolling.
  1. If at all possible, hire a lawyer who is has experience/expertise in both the specific crime specialty (i.e., sex offenses) and defending people with I/DD. Since few attorneys have this experience, at the very least, he or she should be open to learning more about disabilities and working with NCCJD and other advocacy organizations to provide the best defense possible.
  1. Finally, never agree to a plea bargain until it is written down for your approval and you know all of its consequences before you agree to it.

The sex offender registry laws must take into account a person’s disability so that true justice is served. If you or your family have experienced a similar situation, and are willing to share it, please send your story to NCCJD at NCCJDinfo@thearc.org. It’s time to bring this issue to light, and reveal the real life implications these laws have on people with I/DD and their families. We are well aware that ours is only one story of many, but together – our collective stories have the potential to become the catalyst for nationwide change. If we don’t speak out, who will?

We will! I hope that the issue of developmental disabilities-meets-sex offender laws becomes one that the news media take up.  – L

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It's not fun to think of all the possible intersections between people with disabilities and the sex offender laws. But we have to.

It’s not fun to think of all the thorny  intersections between people with disabilities and the sex offender laws. But…think we must. 

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50 Responses to How Our Autistic Son Ended up a “Sex Offender for Life”

  1. J.T. Wenting April 21, 2016 at 9:45 am #

    Even better: NEVER as a man talk to any woman unless she first presents you with a notaried copy of her current passport and birth certificate to certify that she is indeed over 18 years old, and deposit that in a secured bank vault before starting the actual conversation.

    Sadly the predatory behaviour of some women has led to a situation where as a man you can’t trust any of them.

  2. BL April 21, 2016 at 9:49 am #

    “he would be put on the violent sexual predator list for life.”

    This is using words without meaning. In what way is he a “violent sexual predator”? This list should be labelled “people we want to demonize just because we can, so there!”

  3. ChicagoDad April 21, 2016 at 9:56 am #

    Well. That is just horrible.

  4. bob magee April 21, 2016 at 9:59 am #

    This is a major problem in our society – the passage of laws that are designed with great specificity that do not translate well into real life. Mandatory minimums is best example of trying to craft a one size fits all set of laws.

    Law is not about justice – it is about enforcement of laws. One of the worst things that can happen to a citizen is being caught up in the justice “system”. It is rigged to drive all cases to conviction (hence the heavy % of plea cases) and is not concerned with justice.

    Unfortunately what is missing from this article was what crime this young man commited. Was the girl underage? (that is implied – at least that she was younger – as she was a friend of a younger sibling). Did she report that she was sexually assaulted? If so, what evidence existed that this was the case?

    I feel for the family as they naively trusted that the criminal justice system is about truth. It is not. It is about convictions.

  5. Andrew April 21, 2016 at 11:04 am #

    This sounds awful, but what crime was he accused of, and to what crime did he plead guilty?

  6. Ben in RI April 21, 2016 at 11:36 am #

    That lawyer failed them so badly, I’d be considering suing him for malpractice.

  7. Rick April 21, 2016 at 11:46 am #

    The American justice (sic) system is being used by over-zealous prosecutors and crusading legislators who’s only goal is advancement of their career. They don’t care how many lives they destroy. Dr. Paul Craig Roberts has documented this in his book 16 years ago “The Tyranny of Good Intentions:: How Prosecutors and Law Enforcement Are Trampling the Constitution in the Name of Justice

    http://www.paulcraigroberts.org/pages/books/the-tyranny-of-good-intentions-how-prosecutors-and-law-enforcement-are-trampling-the-constitution-in-the-name-of-justice/

  8. John April 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    So what exactly is he guilty of? What was the age of this female friend? I assume the DA’s panties got into a wad because the female friend was 17-years-old or younger. So if the “judge understood the situation” why did he give the man a ten year suspended sentence instead of just throw the case out? Of course, I’m not a legal person so I really don’t have a clue whether this was right or wrong but it sounds as if the poor man was yet another witch hunt victim.

  9. ValerieH April 21, 2016 at 12:11 pm #

    such a horrible tragedy.

  10. Lycere F. Cunningham April 21, 2016 at 12:40 pm #

    @ J. T. Wenting: Fuck you, this isn’t about IDs. I resent the idea that I, as a woman, would need to show my passport and birth certificate, because I am a Little Person who has always been mistaken for underage even as I am nearly 30 years old and no one ever believes my IDs are real anyway. They just accuse me of having fake IDs because they claim that no one under five feet tatll could possibly be a fully-grown adult. Because of this, I’ve never had any sexual experiences. And the suspicious, paranoid bleeders who insist on IDs before I can proceed are the reason why I’ve never been allowed to fully participate in the world as a sexually mature adult. You are my mortal enemy and if I knew where you were I would come and slit your throat,

  11. Tee Dee April 21, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    JT I don’t know what planet you live on but I wasn’t aware of a false rape accusation epidemic on this one.

    Manipulative people certainly exist but if you have trust issues that’s on you.

  12. Mike J. April 21, 2016 at 12:57 pm #

    Lycere, I don’t think declaring your intention to violently murder someone is going to get people to think of you as an emotionally mature adult.

  13. Vaughan Evans April 21, 2016 at 1:33 pm #

    The word “aggresive” is a useless dangerous word-unless the word is defined-or there are UNAMBIGUOUS contextual clues.
    If a girl or woman tells a boy or man that he is cute-is eth female person being aggressive?

    (I am 67. When I was a teenager, women and girls were treated condescendingly. It was an old boys’ network. All the women cared about was keeping their (wimpy and bullying)hubbies happy.

    (Most husbands were veterans. The government and the wives spoiled them rotten.)
    The SOB veterans treated working men and tradesmen condescendingly..
    The SOB veterans felt that just because they had so little-during the 1930’s they wanted their children to have everything they missed.
    This was a big mistake. It produced angry unhappy boys in the 1960’s and the subsequent start of the hippy movement.
    The SOB veterans cried in their beer-if their sons wanted to pursue a trade-rather than a university degree

    The feminists9who hated the macho culture are making the same mistakes as the SOB veterans who raised them. They feel that just because they were given “the short end of the stick” in sports, they overcompensate-to their daughters-by enrolling them in soccer and hockey.
    The result angry and unhappy adolescent girls-who are going on binge diets-and are not only bullying other girls-but murdering other girls.

  14. Vaughan Evans April 21, 2016 at 1:38 pm #

    In many ways, being a woman or girl was being “guilty even if proven innocent.
    They feel that just because they were treated condescendingly-they want to “strike back.”
    They are as bad as the Black Panthers.
    It was NOT peaches and cream for a boy to grow up into a man,
    Even though women get lower hourly wages than men, men often have lower yearly income, because the jobs are not steady. This is true of many construction jobs-_which depend on the weather-and other factors.

    NOTE ALSO

  15. Vaughan Evans April 21, 2016 at 1:40 pm #

    No one knows what causes autism.
    I have Asperger Syndrome(I was diagnosed with it -when I was aged 48.)
    -I think I have it because when I was conceived the genes for perception did not get transmitted.(This was discovered when I was 24,) This is why I had trouble with reading comprehension-and applied mathematics, and applied science.

  16. Muriel Strand, P.E. April 21, 2016 at 1:57 pm #

    don’t talk to cops
    http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=6wXkI4t7nuc

    and don’t plea bargain just to get out of jail, especially if you did not do it.

    the criminal ‘justice’ system is totally adversarial, and the outcome is punishment not rehab, as well as being a sinkhole for taxpayer dollars.

  17. Craig April 21, 2016 at 2:10 pm #

    Maybe it is just time to abolish the sex offender registry entirely. I bet is harms far more than it helps.

  18. marie April 21, 2016 at 3:09 pm #

    Maybe it is just time to abolish the sex offender registry entirely. I bet is harms far more than it helps.

    Exactly. The registry protects no one. Why? Because ~95% of sex offense arrests are of first-time offenders, NOT of someone on the registry. Only a tiny percentage of registered sex offenders will go on to commit another sex crime.

    The registry makes it difficult for registered sex offenders to find housing and employment so their families suffer. The registry offers up easy targets for vigilantes and for legislators eager to look tough on crime.

    It IS time to abolish the registry.

  19. FE April 21, 2016 at 3:17 pm #

    Has the Kelmar family tried getting help from the Institute for Justice (IJ)?

  20. david zaitzeff April 21, 2016 at 3:20 pm #

    most states have an age of consent at 16 and california and maybe a few more have it at 18. Is part of the problem with the story above the age of consent in the state in which it took place?

    In what state did the story take place?

  21. JND April 21, 2016 at 4:01 pm #

    The cops are pigs.

    What can I say?

    May each member of the so-called justice system involved in this travesty burn in hell — soon. Every damn one of them deserves it.

  22. Mike In Virginia April 21, 2016 at 4:42 pm #

    Was this a sting operation? I’m just wondering how the police knew to come to the house in the middle of the night. The story is not clear whether or not sex actually took place.

    It may seem odd for some to think of women as sexually aggressive, but I’ve experienced it. In my experience, it was troubled, rebellious teens. I’ve been in a situation more than once when I was in my early 20s where a 15/16 year-old was being sexually aggressive toward me, and because I had a full understanding of what was going on, was able to extract myself from the situation. I can easily see how someone with autism would be unable to figure out how to do that. Deciding that someone who is 18 is legally an adult and therefore must accept legal responsibility for their actions is an arbitrary legal definition that simply doesn’t apply to everyone in real life.

  23. Donna April 21, 2016 at 5:17 pm #

    What crime was accused here? Clearly some facts are missing. Did they have sexual contact? Did he send her naked pictures? What are the criminal allegations because meeting with someone under the age of consent and refusing to have sex with her (what the letter writer described) is not a crime?

    That said, if the attorney never told him that he would have to register as a sex offender if he pleaded guilty to the charges, he could file a Petition for Writ of Habeas Corpus arguing that the plea was not knowing and voluntary because he was not informed about the sex offender registry requirement and he would not have agreed to the plea if he had been. Only really something to do if the case is winnable at trial since this only takes away the plea and doesn’t end the case.

  24. Donald April 21, 2016 at 5:54 pm #

    Social skills are not awarded to anybody. They have to develop from social interaction. Unfortunately for the last 30 years, it was common belief that the world is too dangerous and social interaction has been thwarted.

    We then wonder why so many kids live on Facebook, wear their headphones as often as they wear shoes, or spend their life staring into their phones. We then freak out if one of these children (that’s socially inept) grow up to adult age and asks children if they’re selling girl scout cookies.

  25. BL April 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    @Donald
    “We then wonder why so many kids live on Facebook”

    The biggest lie is that Facebook and like websites are “social” media. They aren’t. “Social media” is a marketing term, which is a polite way of saying “lie”.

  26. Cedric April 21, 2016 at 6:00 pm #

    How is it that this person was allowed to be sentenced? Many states have laws in place to protect those with mental disabilities against things just like this, thus making her the predator. I see these romeo/juliet relationships all the time and they were the norm in my HS (graduated in 1995. Johnny quarterback goes to college and comes home on the weekends, etc, or his GF goes to campus. It happens 100 times a weekend, probably, here in Lincoln. Yet, its a crime- I don’t see any of those being hauled into the local constabulary.

    Sounds like this was either easy pickings for a DA, or something is missing from the story – her age, what happened, etc.

  27. Meg April 21, 2016 at 7:43 pm #

    I’m not questioning the veracity of this account but without the rest of the story, it’s terrifying but also just confusing.

  28. Meg April 21, 2016 at 9:34 pm #

    I’m also going to add that I’ve never heard that people with developmental disabilities like to watch child porn, and i think that is maybe not a thing to say lightly.

    I have no idea, but I know my former bil with Down’s Syndrome was very much into grown women.

    Like I said, I don’t know…..but this doesn’t feel like something that should be said unless one is very confident in its truth.

  29. Vicky April 22, 2016 at 12:40 am #

    Sex Offender laws have become grossly imbalanced and unjust. New crimes that place citizens on the list, are added frequently. The justice system is abusing the charge of Sex Offender to grow funding for themselves and other umbrella entities. If we don’t make them stop and rewind back to sanity, more people will be on the Sex offender list, than not.

  30. James Pollock April 22, 2016 at 2:07 am #

    “What crime was accused here?”

    Statutory rape is fairly strongly indicated. You have a ten-year sentence, registration, and, most significantly, Stat rape is strict liability, and therefore, even if intent is lacking, conviction is appropriate.

    ” Only really something to do if the case is winnable at trial since this only takes away the plea and doesn’t end the case.”
    I think it’s winnable, but not easily so. If the facts are as stated, the defense can argue that he is a victim of rape, not a perpetrator, since he is/was incapable of providing meaningful consent. Tough to prove, and probably goes against the presuppositions of at least some of the jury pool. This is where key facts are missing… how did the police get onto this case? Did the girl’s parents inquire as to where she was and what she was doing, and call the police? Was this a case of “hell hath no fury”?

    I think this sounds more like a case for executive clemency (the law was applied correctly, but the correct application results in an injustice) than an appeal (the law was applied incorrectly). But if the current executive can’t stand a PR hit for helping a convicted child molester, well, the petition won’t succeed even if it has merit..

  31. Mae April 22, 2016 at 2:28 am #

    @Jt Wenting. Any excuse for a misogynistic rant, obviously.
    @ meg. I don’t think Lenore was implying that people with intellectual disabilities have a particular predilection for child porn. Just that it seems reasonable that people with a cognitive age younger than their chronological age may seek connection, and possibly sexual connection, with people of their own cognitive age (which is then of course, very tricky if that young person is under the age of consent). I think this is a really good point because society does tend to want to see sexuality as a very black and white thing. And also, we don’t deal with the sexuality of ID adults well at all, particularly women, as it’s easier to ignore that they are sexual beings.
    Anyway, a very distressing story but more information would be useful.

  32. sexhysteria April 22, 2016 at 3:53 am #

    This boy is a scapegoat and martyr for the traditional ideal of the helpless, innocent female, no matter what her age, no matter how sexual or aggressive she actually is.

  33. Katie G April 22, 2016 at 6:23 am #

    Again, WHY ARE THE GIRLS NOT FACING CONSEQUENCES?!! There was the 19yo boy who thought he had sex with a 17yo girl who was really 15 and had lied- but she got off with no official repercussions. There’s sexism, if ever I
    saw it.

  34. Suzanne April 22, 2016 at 6:58 am #

    I have a hard time understanding why the girl in this story hasn’t been prosecuted and why SHE isn’t the one on the registry. One thing with these “sex offender” stories that I am so tired of seeing is the girl doing something wrong/illegal/aggressive and the boy being punished for it.

  35. Donna April 22, 2016 at 8:38 am #

    While I am completely opposed to the sex offender registry, remember that we only have the father’s view of what occurred between his son and this girl, woman (I don’t even know since he never said an age, what criminal act actually happened, or what crime was charged). Things may be exactly as he presented or this may be a very skewed view of what occurred.

    As a criminal defense attorney, parents are the ultimate bane of my existence. My ideal law practice would be one in which I only represent orphans (who became orphans as adults so there are no quasi-parents out there to screw things up). I long ago stopped communicating with parents except to give them court dates if their child is a jail and very occasionally answer a procedural question (eg. what happens next?). And any time I go against this and communicate with a parent for some reason, it bites me in the ass and makes my job 10,000 times more difficult.

    If I had a dime for every time a parent insisted, often despite extreme evidence to the contrary, that his/her sweet little baby couldn’t possibly do the things for which s/he is charged or that s/he was doped or that the cops have it in for their precious baby or a million other excuses that mean that their child should not ever in a million years be convicted of anything, I would have more money than Bill Gates. See, children lie to their parents. Even adult children. They tell them whatever sob story they make up that professes their innocence and insist that they are being railroaded. And parents, who want to believe the best in their kids, readily believe any idiotic crap their kids throw at them.

  36. Dienne April 22, 2016 at 9:40 am #

    I’m sorry but there are far too many inconvenient details left out for me to take this father’s story at face value. As many others have already asked, what actually happened between his son and the girl/woman? What age is she? What, specifically, was he accused and convicted of? His repeated attempts to label the girl involved (who is apparently underage?) as a “sexual aggressor trouble me greatly.

    Also, if his son is so unable to understand the implications of a situation and the consequences of his actions, maybe he shouldn’t have been attending college unsupervised. I know this is Free Range Kids and all, but some “kids” might actually need a bit *more* supervision.

  37. Yocheved April 22, 2016 at 10:07 am #

    Were his doctor’s letters shown to the court, and an independent psych eval done? Diminished responsibility should have been taken into account here!

    I am so angry for this family, I have no words.

  38. HotInLa April 22, 2016 at 12:45 pm #

    That is just disgusting that this girl ruined this young man’s life, with no repercussions. She’ll probably go on to do it to some other innocent person. Incredibly sad. She should’ve been punished.

  39. MattB April 22, 2016 at 1:01 pm #

    I can easily see her as the sexual aggressor since I’ve been there.

    I tutored at Sylvan in my early 20s, and had multiple early teen girls have to be reassigned, and very quickly refused to work with girls under 17.

    They’d try and ask questions about my sexual history, anatomy, try and rub their hand on my leg, you name it.

    It was awkward as hell, since I didn’t want to humiliate them in front of the other people in the room, but had to extricate myself in a manner that made it clear I had nothing to do with it. My go-to phrase was “I think given your comments you would be better served by a female teacher”.

    Since even the 13 year olds had developed breasts and hips, I can easily see someone with a development disorder being taken advantage of by someone with more experience.

    I’m not overly inclined to give too much credence to the father’s story either though, as Donna pointed out. My wife has been groped by both Downs Syndrome and Autistic men, quite a few of which were much larger, and parents made excuses for them.

  40. Steve April 22, 2016 at 3:25 pm #

    You can judge a society by how they treat their most vulnerable members.

    The USA should be ashamed.

  41. Raven April 22, 2016 at 3:37 pm #

    As a practicing public defender, I find this story horrifying. Not having any experience with a particular disability is exactly why you seek to have a client evaluated by a qualified professional if there is a question of their competence. A person can be competent for some things and not others, and effective communication is extremely important. Sadly, I also find this story believable because not all public defenders do their jobs the way they ought to. Thank you for the linked information on where to get resources and training information. Sadly, not all individuals with ASD, ID, or TBI, etc. have supportive families able to help them navigate the criminal justice system (or life in general).

  42. Papilio April 22, 2016 at 6:39 pm #

    Oh sheez – I feel like punching someone now >:-(

    JT & Lycere: get a room you two

  43. Donna April 22, 2016 at 7:26 pm #

    “Not having any experience with a particular disability is exactly why you seek to have a client evaluated by a qualified professional if there is a question of their competence.”

    First, you don’t know that the attorney didn’t have a mental evaluation. In fact, the father mentions a “court appointed forensic psychologist” which indicates that some type of psychological evaluation was done. Competence? Criminal responsibility? Psycho-sexual? Who knows. Actual facts are very slim in this story. Second, there is really no information in what we know to say that there is any reason to question this guy’s competence. There may be, but it is far from autism = incompetent or even autism = needs a mental evaluation. Autism is an extremely wide spectrum and many are perfectly competent under the extremely low level of understanding and ability to communicate that is required.

    I do wonder if a really good autism expert could have negated criminal responsibility though. But that takes money. And, frankly, we still have no idea what the guy did or what he was charged with.

  44. Beth April 22, 2016 at 8:55 pm #

    So, according to the story, he “shut down” and …. nothing happened? I’m with the rest who would like more information. I disagree with the consequences, but do wonder why they are so severe if nothing happened but a shutting down, rebooting, and telling her to stop.

  45. Chuck April 22, 2016 at 11:48 pm #

    Blake, a young man with autism, learning disabilities, auditory processing disorder, and borderline ID, is a registered violent sex offender for the rest of his life. If Blake’s story was told without details about his age, he would be eligible for victims’ services rather than reporting to register as a sex offender every three months. Blake struggles to make friends, and has been routinely bullied and taken advantage of his entire life. An encounter with a girl 6 years his junior placed an unwitting Blake in a sexual encounter that has destroyed his life.

    After months of Blake receiving sexual texts from the young woman, she began using phrases Blake did not understand like “friends with benefits” and “roleplaying.” She met with him in person to “hook up,” and performed oral sex on Blake. Blake eventually asked her to stop once he was able to process what was happening, which she did. She told her parents about the encounter, leading to Blake’s arrest.

    Police arrived at Blake’s home in the middle of the night to question Blake. Blake’s parents were asleep upstairs while he was questioned. Thinking she was the one in trouble, Blake fully complied with police, incriminating himself and getting arrested in the process. Blake never understood his rights, and was charged with two counts of carnal knowledge with a minor. Blake was charged, and misunderstood his plea deal as explained by his lawyer (who had a mental illness and committed suicide soon after representing Blake). Blake is now required to register as a violent sex offender for life. As a result, Blake deals with depression in addition to his diagnoses pre-dating these events, and is unable to fulfill registration requirements independently.

    http://www.thearc.org/document.doc?id=5253

  46. Chuck April 22, 2016 at 11:50 pm #

    The previous post is an account of the story from:

    The Arc’s National Center on Criminal Justice and Disability (NCCJD), Sex Offenders
    with Intellectual/Developmental Disabilities (Washington, D.C.: The Arc, 2015).

  47. David (Dhewco) April 23, 2016 at 7:14 am #

    I wonder if the police were informed of this young man’s mental difficulties before going to interview him. The girl knew the younger brother of this guy. I am sure she knew. Reasonably sure the parents would have known. I don’t know if they fully understood.

    Was the girl so vindictive that she couldn’t finish this guy’s oral that she tells her parents??? What girl tells her parents about sex she wanted to have? Or, did she convince herself somehow that it was the guy’s fault?

    There’s just so much about this story that I don’t get.

  48. Donna April 23, 2016 at 12:55 pm #

    “Was the girl so vindictive that she couldn’t finish this guy’s oral that she tells her parents??? What girl tells her parents about sex she wanted to have? Or, did she convince herself somehow that it was the guy’s fault?”

    Or we are only hearing one side of the story and the girl’s version of what happened is much different.

  49. JP Merzetti April 24, 2016 at 2:09 am #

    Brian,

    I believe that your family got blind-sided by a short-sighted system that is far more punitive by nature than helpful or protective. (both of which your son needed far more of than what he actually received.)
    But unfortunately, this is the world we live in, now.
    And what exactly does it teach? What is its purpose? To be far more predatory than your son had intention of being.
    They cannot imagine any real innocence or vulnerability anymore, except in the narrowest of terms.
    While many will waste endless time arguing legalities, procedures, protocols and punishments – real lives get wasted basically for nothing.
    I just don’t believe at all that what your son was actually “punished” for….was anything that really fits into a criminal code.
    They have warped it into a self-serving chaotic mess that doesn’t create any real knowledge about how the world works….but rather, some kind of fantasy world that few of us live in, embrace or even recognize anymore.

    I am indeed saddened by what you have gone through.
    This is another betrayal of trust in a society that doesn’t know how to earn that trust. (let alone, maintain it.)

  50. MG May 2, 2016 at 10:57 am #

    I am a therapist who works with adolescents who have been accused who have committed sexual offenses. I am often asked to complete assessments for investigations and when I gather the data needed for such assessments, I am often confronted with a barrage of data that suggests child neglect, endangerment, abandonment, sexual exploitation and abuse that has gone unaddressed or under-addressed until a young man such as the one that is described here is accused of committing a sex offense. The advice given about the plea agreement is probably the most important part of this story. I have also seen kids like the one described in this story go to “sex offender treatment” programs and be accused of lying if they don’t “admit” that they were the perpetrator and pass a polygraph about it. The legal system and often the treatment providers become hellbent on whether or not the kid is lying, they fail to help in any way whatsoever and often increase the risk of kids of committing another sexual offense. There are few services for females who are sexual aggressors and it seems as though the response from the legal system, schools and other decision makers is to pretend that it doesn’t exist.