Dear Members and Advocates,

I read something on Twitter that resonated. The tweet said, “right now we live in an infinite present. No future plans, no anticipation… It’s an endless today, never tomorrow.” It was written in relation to the Coronavirus shut down and how we are all living without knowing if or when things will fully return to normal or what that “new normal” will look like. Will things recover or will a second wave of this pandemic make things worse?

I related the message to the Florida registry. We exist in a life where we can’t plan because we live in apprehension of what tomorrow might bring. Will a lawsuit bring relief to us, or will the next legislative session bring a wave of even harsher laws? Should we pursue a goal despite knowing that a future restriction might wipe it all away? It’s a tough existence and this registry is something that’s at the front of my mind day-in, day-out for nearly 20 years. Which brings me to the point of this weekly update and something I discovered that I thought to share with you in the hope that we can help each other through this. Yesterday, someone sent a mental-health self-test which I shared on our website. I came out “PTSD Positive”.

For too long I haven’t felt right. I have nightmares about prison… often. It’s been a very long time since and I can’t understand why I’m still having them. Whenever the doorbell rings my heart skips a beat because I assume it’s an address verification and my neighbors are all outside watching. I know there’s a 99% chance it’s an Amazon delivery, but I can’t shake the reaction. For weeks before re-registration, I start getting nervous. I worry I’ll somehow forget to go or I’ll be arrested for not having done something I didn’t know I was supposed to do. I get anxious whenever I have to show my driver’s license to anyone. Will the clerk look at me with disgust after recognizing the code at the bottom? Will the guard not let me through the security gate? There are goals I’ve wanted to pursue but how can I invest time and money if I don’t know if the path will be blocked by some future law that will foreclose it?

It has been suggested that maybe my deep involvement in FAC is wearing on me, but I know that’s not the case. Only by giving this advocacy effort my 200% do I feel there can be a light at the end of the tunnel. And only by doing everything possible to try to  “fix” the mess I created for my family will I feel better about myself. As awful as it sounds, helping others with their problems somehow makes me feel more comfortable with mine or at least not so alone.

Whether you use FAC as a source of information and referrals, as a vehicle through which we can bring lawsuits we couldn’t afford individually, as a way to give help or receive help from others in the same boat or as a supportive family, this week’s update is a reminder that we are here for you. Until things open up and we can resume “meet and greets” and in-person support sessions, we’re just a phone call or email away.

As for myself, I’m not so concerned about this Post Traumatic Stress Disorder “diagnosis”. I believe in healing and that in this process, healing needs to come to both the victims and perpetrators.  I just want to get to the “post” part of the PTSD. This lifetime registry in Florida continues to inflict trauma and unlike a sentence, there’s no end to it nor is there any limit to how harsh or restrictive it can become. That’s another reason I can’t give up.

I know there is a light at the end of the tunnel. I see the faint rays of it whenever a good court decision comes out or as I see first-hand how our movement has grown over the years and we’ve been able to shift some public sentiment. I’ve been at this long enough to remember when FAC couldn’t swat a fly let alone spearhead a lawsuit with the best experts out there. I remember when all of the news articles were negative, where now it’s a mixed bag. And I remember when I had nobody to talk to about this, let alone a community of hundreds of people who are going through the same thing.

As an organization, we are blessed to have such a great family of members who are there for all of us, who support our efforts and who remind each of us as individuals that we are all in this together. As our motto says… with unity comes change. I believe it will.

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee.

SOME HEADLINES FROM THIS WEEK

PA: Another case finds Pennsylvania registry violates state and federal ex post facto prohibition

In an opinion issued yesterday in the Commonwealth Court of Pennsylvania, a person forced to register as a sex offender had the registry declared unconstitutional as applied to him, an individual whose offense was committed prior to the date of the registry or certain…

UPDATED: Lawsuit seeks to secure right under RLUIPA to continue ministry for registered sex offenders.

Noel Sterett, a religious liberty attorney and partner at the law firm Dalton & Tomich, filed a lawsuit today against Wakulla County, Florida on behalf of City Walk – Urban Mission. The lawsuit seeks to secure City Walk’s right to continue its transition home…

Despite loosening their sex offender residency restrictions, Ft. Lauderdale transient numbers climb.

A couple of years ago, Fort Lauderdale’s sex offender residency restriction (SORR) was declared unconstitutional. In response, the Ft. Lauderdale City Commissioners voted to lessen their SORR to try and make it pass constitutional muster. Despite warnings that the new…

Must Listen: Michigan Legislature Legislation Testimony

Testimony is from 41:30 to the end at 2:10(90 minutes) Some highlights… Dr. Jill Levinson 55:50-1:13 (Clin. Psychologist/researcher) Miriam Aukerman 1:20-1:28 (ACLU attorney) Jessica Zimbelman 1:28-1:33 (Public Def. Office) Brian Forett 1:38- (Registrant—family…

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