Dear Members and Advocates,
We’ve all heard the phrase “every parent’s worst nightmare” in the context of a sex offender. It usually conjures the image of an abduction and sexual assault or murder. But for every parent who happens to be required to register as a sex offender, our “parent’s worst nightmare” is that one day, some law will come out that will take our own children away from us.
We are facing our worst nightmare. Monday, Governor Ron DeSantis signed HB 141<https://www.flsenate.gov/Session/Bill/2021/141/BillText/er/PDF> into Law. The bill, titled, “Parenting and Time-Sharing of a Minor Child for a Convicted Parent” creates a “rebuttable presumption of dangerousness to a child” and “rebuttable presumption against granting timesharing” if a parent is on the registry. That means if you’re on the registry and you are a parent of a minor child, the presumption is that you will not get custody/timesharing with your own child if you become divorced. That presumption is rebuttable, but only upon “a specific finding, in writing by the court”.
Anyone who has gone through the family court system as a person required to register knows that no judge will make that “specific finding, in writing”. At least it’s a huge long-shot. But even to get to that point is going to require a lawyer (which costs money) and a risk-assessment (which costs money) just to make the longshot argument. It’s a mountain most people on the registry won’t be able to scale.
This new law does not only apply in cases where there are allegations of sexual abuse against the child by the parent. The law applies even if two people divorce simply because they don’t get along anymore. The law applies even if the underlying conviction that put the parent on the registry happened years before the child was born. Even if your offense was decades ago, you have done nothing wrong since, you marry, have a child, are a wonderful parent for years, the presumption is that in the event you divorce you will not get any timesharing with your kids!
This new law is one of my worst nightmares coming true. Had I foreseen that something as inhumane as having your own children taken away from you could ever become a component of registration, I’d certainly have had second thoughts about getting married or having a child in this State. The reality is that the divorce rate in this country is approximately 50 percent. Nobody enters a marriage expecting to divorce, but unfortunately often things don’t work out. If they don’t work out, even if it’s your spouse’s choice or the cause for divorce is their fault, you lose your children!
We are looking into available legal recourses immediately and will not sit back and take this.
The Florida Action Committee
Housing is Needed – We receive calls daily from members looking for housing. If you have housing to rent or purchase, please contact email [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, option 1. We will only share the information with the FAC Outreach team and the County Coordinator in your area.
Research Studies – Voluntary Participation. Shelley Kavanagh (Doctorial Candidate) is conducting one-on-one phone interviews with mothers of registered citizens living in Florida. For more information about the study and how to schedule an interview, click here.
June 26 Saturday 1:00-3:00pm Apopka (Orange)- Local FAC Meeting. For location, text “RSVP Apopka” with your name and number of attendees to 904-452-8322 or email [email protected]
June 26 Saturday 3:00pm-5:00pm Tampa (Hillsborough) Meet and Greet. For location, text “RSVP Tampa” with your name and number of attendees to (813) 922-8717 or email [email protected]
July 1 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – Monthly Membership Call – Topic to be announced next week. Phone 319-527-3487. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
July 8 Thursday at 8:00pm ET – New Member Orientation Call – phone 319-527-3487. Ask questions about the organization, share resources, discuss local issues and learn about volunteer opportunities. If unable to connect, text “CALL ME” to same number to receive call back and be joined to the meeting.
July 10 Saturday – 11:00am-1:00pm ET. Therapist-led Family Support Session via Zoom. Limited participation. Email [email protected] or leave message at 833-273-7325 Option 1 for access to the Monthly group session.
July 17 Saturday (NEW DATE) 1:00pm-4:00pm Titusville (Brevard) Meet and Greet. For location, text “RSVP Brevard” with your name and number of attendees to 904-452-8322 or email [email protected]
Need to Talk? FAC has peer volunteers that are here to talk one-on-one, call 904-452-8322. Volunteers are not available 24/7 but you will receive a call as soon as possible. If you have an emergency, call 911, or helpline at 1-800-273-8255 or a crisis center (Listing of Crisis Centers and Hotlines)
SOME HEADLINES FROM THE WEEK
If you’ve been following this forum during the past legislative session you will know that Senate Bill 234 has been on our radar and we’ve raised several calls to action opposing a lot of the horrible stuff that was in there. Our efforts made a significant difference…
Wait… didn’t we post this story a few days ago? Multi-agency operation, silly name, ominous headline… but no, that was Las Vegas, Nevada and this is Bend, Oregon… Whatever, it’s all the same old story anyhow… This time “‘Operation High Desert’: Federal…
Hot off the press is the following Order from the US District Court from the Eastern District of Michigan. Michigan – Final Order 06212021 While it’ll take a few readings to understand and be able to explain the full impact of the order, we didn’t want to delay…
Convicted paedophiles could soon have their passports and driving licences stamped with a ‘danger’ warning to stop them from working with children. It comes as Labour MP Sarah Champion is calling for the passport office and the DVLA to mark the files of the UK’s…
General Membership Call – First Thursday of each month at 8pm ET
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