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Sex Offender, the Modern Day Leper

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I am a registered sex offender. That revelation may or may not come as a shock to many of you. I don't make that pronouncement with pride. I don't make it to be flippant. I have to register because of an incident that happened nine years ago. It is something that I really don't want to dwell on. I want to move forward with my life and get past this episode, as I'm fairly certain everyone else who was involved with it has. The state, however, does not wish to give me the ability to do so. The state simply wishes to bat me to the ground and keep hitting, just like the cops in some of those youtube videos we've been seeing lately. It seems to me that the state just doesn't want to see people grow and become better persons, they just want to herd us all and treat us like animals.


I never really tried to hide my sex offender status. Anyone who would do just a little bit of digging could have figured it out. There are those who would claim that I used the pen name Szandor Blestman because of the offense. This is partially true, but not the main reason. The fact is, I was already using other pen names at the time. I had brought out my first book "The Black Blade: book 1, The Colors of Elberia" under my real name, Matthew Ballotti, in 1996. When I didn't have much luck with that book and the publisher went out of business, I decided to try writing a couple of horror novels and used the pen name Matthew Wayne, my first and middle names. I experimented with writing poetry under the name Pisces Miranti, which I thought was a pretty cool name, but that never really came out publicly. So it was when I decided to write an op/ed blog I decided I needed another pen name. I chose Szandor Blestman because, despite all that had happened to me, I felt like a blessed man and the name Szandor just looks cool to me.

I had heard through the grapevine that at least one website had found out about my record and had decided to blackball my articles from that website because of my transgression. I can't say for certain whether that is true or not, but it is a possibility. If so that is too bad because I don't believe a man's message should be censored because of one event that took place nine years earlier, or any time earlier. The message should be measured on its own merits, not on the past history of the messenger. I am one man struggling in relative obscurity to try to do what little I can against colossal wicked forces. I need the help and understanding of those who can give it, not to be held in disdain for a moment of weakness at a time when I was ill and under a great deal of stress.

I bring all this up because recently I was arrested once again. This time, I didn't touch the breast of a fourteen year old girl. I didn't so much as look at a young teenage girl with lust in my eye. I had not even been near any underage girls for a long time. I was arrested for taking a walk in a forest preserve. I was arrested because I am not allowed to partake in a normal activity that everyone should be able to partake in without being harassed by the "authorities."

Why was I walking in the forest preserve? Well, I'm a little overweight and I recently found out I have a condition called level one hypertension. In other words, I have high blood pressure. I was told that exercise would help me lose weight and lower my blood pressure. I heard that walking is good exercise. The forest preserve has a nice long path around three ponds, through some decently thick woods, with a bridge over a good sized stream, and an amazingly diverse plethora of wildlife considering the urban setting surrounding it. I love communing with nature. The walks through the woods were very therapeutic and meditative. I loved surrounding myself with wildlife and greenery and taking in the glory that is nature on this planet.

That's not how the state thinks. They have to put labels on everything they touch. In their one size fits all paradigm all fruit is the same. It doesn't matter if you violently raped a child, or an adult, or if you're an 18 year old who had consensual sex with a 17 year old whose parents found out and happened to not like you, or if you touched a youngster inappropriately, or if you somehow ended up with child porn on your computer, or if you were caught relieving yourself on someone's shrubbery, you are all the same. In one case in this area a man was driving and almost hit a teen who wasn't paying attention. He got out of his car and grabbed her upper arm to yell at her about not being aware of her surroundings and he was convicted of a sex crime because of this.

None of this matters, you are a sex offender and therefore, in their minds, judging by their laws, if you are walking in a park or a forest preserve you are doing so in search of children to have sex with. You are no longer a human being. You are no better than a predator stalking its prey. You can't possibly be walking because you enjoy being in nature and you need the exercise. The authorities aren't arresting people who have done harm to others and need to be tried for that particular crime, they are arresting people for thought crimes. If they can do it to one group of people, it won't be long until they are doing it to everyone.

To put an exclamation point on how inept these people are, I am labeled as a violent sexual predator. Not only did my offense not involve any violence, but anyone who knows me knows how non violent I am. Fondling someone, even though that touch is inappropriate and unwanted, does not necessarily make it violent. But not according to the law. Again, it's the one size fits all mentality. They can't look at every case and determine what label is appropriate and which isn't, they have to make the definition based on the law that was broken. I don't know how many others (though I do know of at least half a dozen) are incorrectly labeled, but I think it's way too many.

When I was arrested, it was done in front of two older men (my age) who I had become acquainted with because I had met them months ago while walking. They had no idea I was a sex offender, nor did they know what I was being arrested for. I was caught because my car was parked in the forest preserve parking lot and I have to register it as part of my sex offender registration. I explained to the cops that I was no longer on probation and I could therefore walk in the forest preserve. They told me that the law had changed on the first of January and that now I couldn't be there. I told them I didn't know that and asked if they could just give me a warning this time. Of course they said they couldn't do that. I spent the next twelve hours in a holding cell waiting to be processed and make bail.

I can't express how angry I was after getting arrested this second time. I can't tell you how unfair I felt it was. I have no job, no money, yet I was somehow supposed to defend myself against such charges. I wanted to challenge it on a constitutional basis and so I called the ACLU as soon as I could. When I told the kind lady who answered the phone my story she said something like "Do you know how many complaints we've gotten about these draconian sex offender laws?" So I asked why don't they do something about them. She told me they only wanted cases that they felt they could win. I think they have their own agenda and they don't care about protecting individual rights that are violated by these laws, they care more about winning, looking good to the public and especially their base, and social interests that really have nothing to do with individual freedoms.

To make a long story short, I had to borrow $1200 for a lawyer to negotiate a deal with the prosecutor, and that was cheap. I couldn't afford to go to trial on a constitutional basis. I pled guilty. I am now a repeat offender and that counts as recidivism, another highly questionable statistic that can be used for political purposes and to keep the public frightened. I didn't do any time, I didn't have to pay a fine except for court costs, and I only have to do 40 hours community service, but I don't feel I got my day in court, so to speak. I feel I was forced to take this deal, and if I'd had more money and time, I would have challenged this law. As it stands, it's all I can do to sit here and type out how I feel on this blog. The justice system in this country is sad, to say the least.

Sex offenders have become the modern day lepers. No one wants to stand up for them. We are shunned by society. People don't look at us as humans. People don't look at our pasts, our triumphs or any of the good done in our lives, they judge us by a single crime and decide we are too dangerous to associate with. Worse than that, they let the government judge us for them. We are not judged as individuals who may have made poor decisions, we are all judged as sex addicted, perverted child molesters who can't control ourselves. We are the dehumanized monsters everyone hates. This is not what was supposed to happen in an enlightened society, it is more like treatment one would expect to read about when studying ancient history.

If you like my writings, I am asking for your help. Please visit my website szandorblestman.com to see my archived articles and help support me by making a donation. I am also pleased to announce the release of the latest book by Matthew Wayne entitled "The Edge of Sanity" at smashwords.com. It is also available for the Kobo Vox. If you do not wish to make a donation this is a product you can purchase. The download for this book is only $2.99, but interested readers can receive an additional 25% off at Smashwords by entering the coupon code CX99R until Jan. 29th, 2012. Even if you simply take a moment of your time to download the 20% of the book offered for free that will be of tremendous help to me in gaining exposure for my work which will help create sales.

 

Comments (5)
  • One reader of many...
    avatar

    I am shocked by your honesty and courage!

    Then again, that's why I read you...

    I am sad that you can't afford justice. But at least you can borrow a bit of freedom.

    I will keep reading you.

    Thank you for writing.

  • sblestman
    avatar

    Thank you so much for that. I've been struggling with whether to fully disclose or not for quite a while now. I feel I owe it to myself and all my readers to be honest.

  • Same Boat
    avatar

    Im one too. I'm angry about this. I have to try to do something

  • Christopher D. Stover
    avatar

    Matthew,
    This is an unfortunate story.. So many states have ridiculous laws which are created and people don't find out until they get a ticket or get arrested!

    We, society, need to do a better job of classifying sex offenders and allowing them to reintegrate into society.

    I'm all ears if you have ideas of how I can help this cause.

    Chris

  • sblestman
    avatar

    Thanks Chris for the vote of confidence. Unfortunately, to help it takes a bit of bravery. People need to tell their local and state legislators that they think penalties are too severe. Doing this opens one up to a lot of ridicule. They become "soft on crime" and are as much as accused of being sex offenders themselves, or that they somehow condone child molestation. They conflate teenage trysts and indiscretions with child molestation. That's why it's important to be educated and armed with facts and stories. Many a young man just over 18 have been labeled child molesters and even violent child predators for having a 14, 15, 16 or even a 17 year old girlfriend. My opinion is that at those ages most young people know about sex and what they're getting into. Most understand the concept of consent. I know I did. Cases should be considered on an individual basis rather than choosing a blanket, arbitrary age. If you see a story about something like sexting or children engaging in sexual activity with other children and they were charged with crimes, as happens, a well written letter to the editor can be effective. Also, one can make a stand that people that have done their time and served their sentences deserve another chance. These draconian laws and rules simply do not work. People are not allowed to live with family because their houses are too close to a school or park. Family is the best source of support and the best way to keep people from re-offending. No one will hire a sex offender. A job can be so important to keep people from re-offending. Sex offenders will often times be isolated. This is the worst possible thing and can lead to re-offending. It's almost as if the system wants sex offenders to commit another sex offense. Plus, a recent phenomenon is that sex offenders are disappearing. Rather than live under these draconian laws, they try to forge a new identity and fly under the radar. This is very dangerous. It is time to end the public registry and the public humiliation and to stop believing in the state's propaganda that gives the state so much more power and keeps the people in a state of fear.

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Last Updated on Wednesday, 18 January 2012 18:36  

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