When I was 17 I met a 14 year old girl at a mutual friends birthday party. We began talking and hanging out as friends then it wasn’t long before I’d asked her to be my girlfriend. We were dating for about 4 months before I turned 18 and I know that that’s not very long at all but within those 4 months I was convinced that I was in love with this girl.
I’m now 21 years old and because of decisions I made at 17 and 18 years old I will be on the registry for the rest of my life with no way of ever being able to clear my name from it. I will be a felon for the rest of my life as well. The charge I was given was sexual conduct with a minor 14 years or younger which is a class 2 DCAC felony and comes with the same minimum maximum and presumptive sentence when punishable under ARS 13-705 as any persons over 18 that attempted to murder their victim in the first degree. Whereas if she had been 15 prior to me turning 18 under section 13-405 I would have been charged with a class 6 felony. There was 7 months between me turning 18 and her turning 15 which basically means that had things happened 7 months after I had turned 18 I would have been charged with significantly less of an offense.
Finding jobs or careers that do not involve fast food, working at a restaurant, doing construction, or working at a factory or warehouse is seemingly impossible. Even after I’ve successfully completed my probation, I can never really have a normal life again. I will forever have the stigma of Sex Offender attached to my name as reminder of my past. The feeling that I get in my stomach when I think about living the rest of my life this way is crippling. To think that anywhere I go, whether its somewhere else within the state of Arizona or going to a different state entirely I will have to register and have the potential of having flyers sent out to my neighbors. All I pray for all day, every night, and every morning that I wake up is that one day I’ll wake up with a fresh start.