Arrested in an undercover sting in the fall of 2013, I was completely unaware of how insane our country’s sex laws have become. It was like going thru the Looking Glass into a world where law was turned on its head.
During this period of my life I was lonely, stressed and watching porn. I started visiting Craigslist Personals to meet other gay men online and exchange messages and photos. Overtly promiscuous online, in person, I was shy. Like most people, I really just wanted a loyal companion. Growing up gay in a conservative Catholic home and bullied at school for being different, I quickly learned to hate myself. This made it difficult for me to form healthy relationships. I provide this information not as an excuse for my actions but as a backdrop into my story.
At my arrest, I was taken down by a SWAT team. During the interrogation, I naively provided all requested information in hopes of getting home that evening; concerned for my cat, Smoky.
After my arrest, I thought my life was over. My passion is music. I performed once or twice a week at that time and also operated a small music and instrument repair shop. My business was vandalized. Local venues would no longer hire me. Some musicians dropped me from their circle. The band I played violin with fired me when I went to jail.
Unable to perform (or be anywhere there might be persons under 18), I was unable to afford my house and moved into the shop. One night I awoke to a brick going thru the shop window. I became very depressed and constantly thought about ending my life. Prior to sentencing, I was barred from the internet for personal or business use. Thankfully, the judge granted my request to use the Internet.
One of my first internet searches was for information about what it’s like being on the Registry. That’s how I found NARSOL (National Association for Rational Sex Offense laws).
What I wanted/needed so badly was to hear how others on the Registry were surviving. More than anything I needed success stories and eventually found a few. One story stated: “Yes, it is tough. So, get tough. Take responsibility. Work hard. Don’t give up. Be open and honest and you will find people who accept you.”
I became a regular visitor to the NARSOL website where I read about and make comments about life on the Registry (and Life in general). It feels good to know I’m not alone and that there’s good people fighting to reform sex crime laws.
In my personal life, I feel smarter and more confident now. Really, if one can survive the shame and humiliation of being on the Registry, one can freakin’ survive anything.
Everything is perspective; from an observer’s view, or from my own ego, I may not appear to be doing so good. Yet I am I am doing well! I haven’t had alcohol in over fourteen years, I have a job, a place to live, friends and family who support me, a really wonderful cat, a good probation officer, and skills and talents nobody can ever take from me.
This ordeal has turned my soul inside out. There’s nothing left to hide. My psychiatrist says, “The best revenge is living well”. That’s what I try to do.
Life is getting better, and the more I believe it’s getting better, the better it gets. I know who I am. I’m making more music than ever before in my life; I have a lot to express. In less than two years I’m off probation and look forward to performing again and to continuing down this path, wherever it takes me.