I was arrested in 2003 for meeting an underage girl that I had met online. However, the “girl” was a Kansas police officer. I ended up spending 89 days in jail and was offered a plea bargain that I accepted. I was charged with Lewd and Lascivious Behavior, a non-person misdemeanor. I didn’t know it at the time, but upon visiting the parole officer the next day I found that I would be required to register for 10 years.
Now, still on the registry 13 years later because Kansas added five more years to the original agreement (yes, I know that’s wrong) I find that more and more of my rights are being taken away each year, and sometimes retroactively.
This past year I met a wonderful woman on an International dating site. We hit it off quite quickly and soon began to email and then moved to WhatsApp, and then Skype. After several months of this, we decided that we should meet. She lives in Jakarta, and since I’d never been to the other side of the freakin’ plant before, I decided to go visit her.
Very early in our relationship I explained “my situation” with her, and while it rightfully concerned her, she felt that we should still meet. She also understood that there was a chance that even though I was coming there that I might not be allowed entry. It was a chance we were both willing to take.
I notified the Oklahoma SORA with (21) days advance as I was required to do, and I was allowed to enter, no problem at all. We had a wonderful time and she showed me around Jakarta. What a beautiful country! We began to fall in love.
We decided that she would try to come here, but the US Embassy in Jakarta would not issue her a visa on the grounds that they felt that she was an intending immigrant. Very frustrating. We tried another time, and again she was denied for the same reason. (We’re still trying!)
Three months after I had visited her, I knew I needed to go see her again. This time, I took an engagement ring. We had been “seeing” each other for about 9 months at that point. Once again, I fulfilled my state obligations, made my plans and flew to Indonesia. Once again, no problems whatsoever.
While there, she again showed me more of Indonesia. We took a train to Bandung and I learned so much of Indonesian culture. While there, I proposed to her and she accepted. I was so happy to find such a wonderful woman. She is so intelligent, wise, tender and loving. And it helped immensely that she was a Christian in a predominantly Muslim country.
Then, out of no where, being a smart girl, she asked “Will your legal situation cause us trouble in getting the fiancé visa?” Strange question, I thought. I mean, why would it? The government doesn’t tell anyone else who they can and cannot marry, right? What does one thing have to do with the other? One is a “sex crime” and the other has to do with immigration. Nevertheless, I told her I would find out.
What I found made me sick to my stomach. Her doubts and concerns were valid. Because my crime (my original arrest charges) were against a “child” (even though not real), Title IV of the Adam Walsh Act states that I could not petition for a family member to be sponsored into the US. Why? To help stop sex trafficking and abuse in other parts of the world! What the heck? And now, how do I tell this lovely woman the truth?
Well, I did, and she was heartbroken. But I had found out before telling her that I can apply for an AWA waiver that basically says that the government believes that I am of no danger to her. So, with the help of Allan Lolly in California, we decided to go that direction. It’s not right that I am being judged for my arrest, not my conviction, nor is it right that a law written in 2005 apply to a conviction that happened in 2003. But we know how it goes with this group that we’ve found ourselves in.
Then in June of 2016, I decided to go see her again. But things were different this time. Upon my arrival at the Jakarta airport, I was denied entry. I was told that I must return immediately to the US. I flew 21 hours to see her and now was forced to fly 21 hours back home. (Luckily, with a few well placed bribes, I was able to see her for 1 hour.) Nevertheless, this was incredibly difficult on her. They led me around with guards, confiscated my passport, and told me that I could not enter because of “immigration reason.” But I know it was the “Angel Watch” that caused this action.
We had made plans to take a plane to Yogyakarta, see some old shrines, and visit so many place. Now our plans were cancelled, and she ended up staying in the hotel that night alone. She cried the entire time and was still awake, crying, when I called her from home. This woman, who had never done anything wrong, was being punished by the US government.
This part of the AWA, above all other parts of it’s content, are overreaching and abusive. If the goal is to protect women and children from abuse, then why are murderers and rapists not disallowed of this very same privilege? If safety is the goal, why are American women and children not given the same protections? And if the legal system, with it’s trials and plea bargains are to be simply ignored and decisions are made based on arrest charges, then why spend the time? It’s clear that we are being subjected to crimes against humanity by our very own government.
I’ll be going to meet her again next month, in another country. We hope that it works out better this time. But just this morning we were talking about it, and she said she is “too afraid to think about it.” That’s so sad. It breaks my heart. She is like me: her hopes and her desire to see me out-weigh our fears. Our love for one another draws us together and keeps us together. If you’re “the praying kind”, I’d appreciate your prayers. She, and women like her around the world, (some even in the US), are one of the reasons we started this website.
This law is just a bad law, and what it’s doing to US citizens is just wrong. We have paid our debt, done all that we’ve been told, even when it’s unconstitutional, and it keeps coming. You know… tell me where I can and can’t live. Tell me I can’t go to playgrounds, and State Parks, or churches even. Tell me I can’t give candy on Halloween. Heck, even tell me I can’t go to McDonalds. Whatever. But don’t tell me that I, a law abiding citizen, cannot be with the one that I love, the one who loves me. Don’t tell me I cannot be with the one who makes me happiest. That’s wrong, and it has to stop.