Dear Members and Advocates,

This is a story I’ve waited years to tell. I wasn’t able to write about it while his case was pending, but now I am free to. Sadly, it’s a true story and it’s a cautionary tale of how far someone will go to shut down an advocate for our cause.

Chapter 1.

A few years ago, I got a call from a lawyer in New York who is a prominent anti-registry activist. I couldn’t immediately take the call because I was busy at work. Just a few minutes later I got another call from a lawyer in California who is active in our cause, which I also couldn’t take. Then, a few minutes after, I got another call from an advocate in another state… All of these people I speak with pretty regularly, but it was unusual to get back-to-back calls from each in a matter of minutes. I suspected that something was going on in the advocacy world, so I called one of them back. The long and short was that Derek Logue had been arrested, the charge had something to do with South Florida, and since I’m the guy down here, was there something I could do to look into it?

Derek Logue arrested? What?!? For those of you who don’t know who Derek is, Derek is somewhat of a lone wolf in the advocacy world. He’s not affiliated with any state or national group, but through his website, oncefallen.com, he has been a very vocal opponent of registration laws for far more than a decade and he’s been willing to use his own name and identity as the poster child for the anti-registry movement. Sometimes even appearing on national news channels speaking out in our defense. Some might consider him to be “outspoken”, some might consider the description “outspoken” to be kind for obnoxious, but I’ve always had a respect for Derek because he’s had the courage to do something I never was brave enough to do, and that is putting himself out there.

The incredible thing is that when I heard Derek had been arrested, the last possibility that came to my mind was that he was arrested for a sexual offense. I thought, ‘oh man, did he take his criticism of a politician too far? Did he open his mouth again?’ The farthest thing in my mind was that his arrest had something to do with anything sexual. I just figured Derek was being Derek and pissed off the wrong person. It certainly would not have been the first time.

The details were vague, but apparently someone had stolen user manuals from a car dealership in Miami, and somehow, some way, Derek, of all people, was the suspect.

Over the course of the next week, Derek spent his days in what he later described as a dog catcher’s van as they transported him from Ohio to Ft. Lauderdale. When he finally arrived in Broward County, the details emerged. According to the probable cause affidavit, “Derek” had somehow broken into a bunch of cars on the lot of a Lexus dealership and stole the owner’s manuals, before fleeing in a car. Then, apparently, some random detective in Palm Beach County recognized Derek, of all people, from the surveillance cameras.

WTF?!? So let me get this straight… Derek Logue apparently hopped on a plane for Miami, so he can steal owners manuals out of cars, drove off without having a driver’s license to even rent a car, and then high-tailed it back to Ohio? In the meantime police thought this was a horrible enough crime to put out a BOLO and then, a random detective two counties north happen to recognize Derek from Ohio as the perpetrator? Not only that, but the county was so incensed about these stolen booklets that they extradited the poor schmuck from Ohio to face charges?!?!

The whole thing seemed too ridiculous to be true, but here was a fellow advocate in the Broward County Jail and we needed to get him out. But how? See, without any ties to South Florida, no real estate or assets to collateralize, he just wasn’t going to make bond. Well that wasn’t good. I called a local attorney who has been good to FAC and a few friends of Derek from up north who pitched in some money for the bond premium and between a lot of scraping and a lot of people vouching, we were able to arrange for Derek to get bailed out.

Chapter 2.

On March 28, 2019, I found myself waiting outside the entrance to the Broward County Jail for Derek to emerge. It had been a few hours since the bail bondsman assured us his paperwork was submitted and his release seemed to be taking longer than usual. Eventually, out he came. Derek looked just about as good as someone who had spent two weeks shackled on an unwanted road trip could look. He didn’t want to spend one more second in the state of Florida than he had to, but the Greyhound bus that some friends arranged for him didn’t leave for a few hours and we had time to kill.

It was just enough time to stop off at the office of the attorney that generously agreed to represent him, then a quick stop at Target so he could pick up some clothes and get out of what he had been wearing for almost two weeks already, and finally we stopped at a Mexican place to grab a quick bite and try and make sense of what was going on. Derek was as you would imagine anyone who was arrested for something he had nothing to do with would be… totally dumbfounded. And one of the biggest kicks in the crotch was that before they allowed him to leave the jail, they forced him to register in Florida! It was good to see him, but not under those circumstances.

I’ve not always agreed with Derek and very often I thought his tactics did more harm than good, but as I sat across the table from him eating our fast food Mexican, I couldn’t help but feel a kinship with him. First, I knew for sure that he had nothing to do with this crime. Second, I couldn’t help but think that whoever was behind this had targeted Derek because of his outspoken advocacy. And finally, I realized that if not for the network of registrants and advocates that stepped up to bail out a “brother” on the registry, this guy would still be sitting in jail until his trial date, which could be who knows when. It can be any of us at any time and we need to be here for each other.

I called my wife shortly after dropping Derek off at the Greyhound station. She had heard me franticly trying to make bond arrangements all morning and then saw me run out the door so I could be there for him when he was released. “So what happened?” she asked. All I could respond was, “I have no idea!” And nobody did.

Chapter 3.

Months passed before the state turned over the surveillance images from the dealership. As part of the team that was helping him with this case, Derek shared them with me. It was laughable! It’s as if whoever orchestrated this had done a casting call for dark haired chubby guys and picked the one that least looked like Derek. It was clearly not him. It wasn’t even close! It’s not as if I had any reason to believe he was behind this to begin with, but after seeing this image there was absolutely no question in my mind, and there should have been absolutely no question in the mind of anyone prosecuting this. Yet, inexplicably, the case proceeded.

More months passed and the State wasn’t dropping the case. Derek had already provided credit card receipts showing purchases in Ohio at the time of the alleged theft. Friends and his roommate provided affidavits that they saw him up there during this time. It would have been very easy to pull flight manifests to show that he didn’t travel down to Florida during that time. Or, most obviously, someone could have just looked at the picture and they would have realized in a second it was not him. But for whatever reason, the state was not dropping the charges. Someone really had it out for this guy.

Chapter 4.

Last Thursday the State of Florida agreed to drop the charges against Derek Logue. Without so much as an explanation or an apology, this three year saga is over. For his involuntary trip down here and the “three or more days” that he spent in a Florida jail, he appears on the Florida registry for life, as a souvenir of the ordeal.

A few months after this first happened, Derek started stepping back from advocacy. It’s as if the ordeal had scared him off. And who can blame him? Anyone would have been traumatized. For a while he even considered letting his site go. But thankfully that didn’t happen. Every time I see Derek post a comment on our site, I’m comforted to know he’s still in the game. He might have been bruised, but he’s not broken. I hope that now that this chapter is over he will be coming back with a vengeance.

I also really hope this will not be the last chapter in this story. I hope that Derek starts turning over stones and finding out who is responsible for this. And then I hope he sues the crap out of them! I’m sure that whoever was behind this didn’t count on anybody stepping up for Derek. They probably figured he would be stuck in a Florida Jail for months – or years, unable to make bail, and eventually would just take a plea to finally see daylight. Well that didn’t happen!

Friends, we are all in this together. Though we may not always be aligned, we are all victims of the registry and as advocates, we all face a very harsh backlash. But, we are growing in numbers and we are growing in strength and when all hell breaks lose we have proven that we can be here for each other and get through it.

We are all extremely relieved that this ordeal is over, but at the same time very reminded of how ruthless some out there can be when trying to shut down someone with a voice they don’t want others to listen to. The last chapter in this story remains to be written. For Derek and the other advocates who put themselves on the front lines, let’s all be there to help them write it!

Sincerely,

The Florida Action Committee.

 Announcements

TONIGHT – Monday January 17 at 7pm – Fearless Group meeting.  Peer-led Support group – You are Not Alone. Dial (727) 731-2927 to join the Fearless Group and the peer leaders Daphne and Don.  For more information about the support group, contact [email protected] or call 321-754-0446, or see Fearless Group Post

Saturday, January 22nd– Legislative Committee meeting in Palm Beach (or attend via Zoom) from 10am-Noon.  Discuss pending bills, tracking bills, FL House and Senate committees, and how to communicate Call-to-Action alerts.  In-Person meeting in Palm Beach (seating is limited) or join by Zoom.  For location or Zoom link, RSVP to [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.  Provide your name and the number attending.  A County Coordinator will call you with location or email the Zoom link.

Saturday, February 5th – Central FL Meet and Greet in Apopka (Orange County) Noon-3:00pm.  Get ready to address and stuff envelopes for letter campaign to local leaders and representatives.  Meet other members and enjoy light refreshments as we work.  RSVP to [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.  Provide your name and the number attending.  A County Coordinator will call you with location and details.

Saturday, February 26th – Broward FAC Meet and Greet in the Hollywood from 11am – 2:pm.  Light Refreshments and special guest speaker.  RSVP to [email protected] or call 833-273-7325, Option 1.  Provide your name and the number attending.  One of the Broward County Coordinators will call you with location and details.

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)

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