Mistake of Age Defense needs to be allowed in criminal court cases
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My name is Jeromy Wilson and I'm a monster, well that's what the law says I am and they want you to believe it with a brand known as "sex offender" which is a life time punishment.
My story: 6 years ago, I broke up with my then fiancé. Lonely nights when you're so used to laying next to the one you love every night is a tough pill to swallow. A few friends of mine at the time introduced me to an "adult dating app" known as Plenty Of Fish (POF). I was excited to learn more about this app and what it had to offer. Was I destined to be alone? Not if I could help it. I was determined to fill the void that my ex fiancé left when we split up. Little did I know that I would find someone that I could relate to and conversate with like that warm September day in 2011.
Her name was Mikayla and she presented herself as a 19 year old college student studying cosmetology all while she still lived at home with her parents. We talked for 2-3 months about life and what we both enjoyed doing (hobbies, interests, and more). At no point in time did I EVER think that my life would change from bad to worse real quick. November comes around, and she messaged me as normal. She got into a fight with her father and needed a break from home. I offered my help to her and opened up my home at the time. Absolutely nothing seemed out of the ordinary or wrong at all. Long story short, we ended up hooking up when she came over. I didn't force myself on her, it was a mutual sexual encounter.
Here's the dilemma: She was not 19 like she said she was. I found out via a news broadcast 36 hours after she was staying at my place stating that she was missing. I was astounded, angry, scared, and so much more. At that point, I did what I felt was needed and told her that she needed to leave. She couldn't stay with me. I dropped her off with her friends at he mall which is where she wanted to go. I knew that I had violated the law unknowingly and the law wouldn't care what the circumstances were at all.
3 months pass by and my phone rings randomly one early day of February 2012. It's Mikayla. She said she was pregnant (she wasn't). It was a 3-way phone call with the Omaha Police Department. My fate was sealed at that point. I had no idea I was violating the law and now face a lifetime consequence over something that was out of my control. I now am 30 years old with a 5 month old daughter. She means the world to me, and there's no way to give her the life she deserves with this stigma following me everywhere. Housing is hard to find, along with work, and soo much more. I know I'm not the only one in this position as there are plenty of stories just like mine out there.
My goal behind this is to hold the system accountable and make the law fair for those that don't present a true danger to the general public. There are criminals out there that intentionally seek out kids and violate them and the way it sits, I am classified as the exact same as they are. If a girl lies about her age, she should be held accountable too. A lifetime of punishment isn't warranted in situations like this. America used to have a defense known as "mistake of age" to prevent situations like these and if that were still a recognized defense by the courts, I wouldn't be on the sex offender registry, nor would I be a felon, which also strips me of other rights I would like to be able to take advantage of, such as the right to bare arms, vote, and so much more. I deserve a shot at life, and so does my daughter.
Lawmakers need to protect citizens especially in the digital world. Plenty of Fish should be held accountable, but aren't. We need to change this and protect our kids and our friends.
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