Ryan was forced to register as a sex offender. This is his story.
My name is Ryan
My story is about stolen years of my life. (Late 2003- current years)
It began when my brother married a woman and had 4 children with her, two of which who had been molested by her brothers. They didn't last, and my brother would leave his children with my mother while he would go for work training, often for weeks at a time. Those two men were then arrested and charged with the violence. My brother was awarded full custody of the children.
Around the time I was 14, I was often the only one left in charge of watching them. I loved them and learned from the time I cared for them. I have fond memories of taking care of them. My brother had to find ways to earn a living for his family, so was often absent, and left the children with our mother while he was out of town. Although he had full custody of the children, one night his soon-to-be ex-wife showed up with officers on my mother's doorstep and demanded the children. Because my mother had no documents showing she had guardianship of the children, they were taken from our home by their mother.
According to my mother, a few weeks later, the woman took the youngest child to the doctor, and accused someone in our household of abusing the baby. My mother says the accusations started with my stepfather, other male family members, and then landed on me.
I am unclear, between all my memories, of some exact details, but what I do remember is that my mother and my grandmother picked me up from school one day, and took me to the police station. There, I was escorted into a room where a police officer was waiting, and my mother left me alone, because she said they were only asking questions. However, questions were not what I endured. The officer, although starting with general questions, quickly turned hostile, telling me what he thought happened between me and my niece. He pulled a large black garbage bag out and set it on the table, told me it had evidence against me in it. He shoved a pre-written confession in front of me and told me to sign it, threatening me with unless I wanted to spend the next 30 years of my life being raped by all the men in prison then you better sign, because he would make sure everyone knew what I had been accused of doing. I was so scared. Before I left that room, I was coerced into signing the confession, and I cried after I left, telling my mother what had happened.
What happened was spread all through the small town we lived in, thanks to gossip spread by the woman who accused me. When I showed up the first day of my new job, I was told they don't hire people like me. The censure only increased from bad to worse.
My family was poor. My mother had gone through a divorce, and was moving on with her life with a new boyfriend. I was left behind in our small town and a public defender was assigned to my case. When I went to court, I was told by the public defender to tell the judge I was guilty. I was sent to juvenile detention and two more hearings occurred that I recall. The first, certain records were not ready for admission. AT the second hearing the public defender spoke with my mom alone before the hearing, and he came back saying that it would be better to do the 12-16 months in TYC rather than have 10 years of probation. I was guaranteed by him that I would not do more than 16 months if I went to TYC. The hearing resulted in my being released from detention and sent home with my mother, who now lived with her new beaux. While out of juvenile detention, I reached a point of hopelessness, realizing that I was probably going to be sent to a youth prison and be recorded as a sex offender, and I slit my wrist. I was put into a hospital for a couple weeks and received therapy while I was there. I went home and tried to think positive.
February 23rd, 2004, I went back to court. We arrived early as instructed. My public defender showed up to court five minutes before my hearing, and hurried me in. There, I was signed over to go to TYC for no less than 2 years. I took classes in carpentry, mechanics, and horticulture. As soon as I was able (about a month past turning 16) I took the GED, and passed in the 90th percentile for several of the tests. I was often in fights, to drive off bullies and those who were tormenting me or threatening me because of the false label I was given of a child molester.
In the meantime, my brother's children were eventually returned to live with him, after a harrowing year or more of abuse, first by their mother, who lost custody, then by their paternal great-grandmother, who had abused my own mother when she was little. In the end, full custody was restored to my brother and all four children, happily, have no memories of the evil they endured.
I spent 4 years there in the system. During that time, none of my family came to see me, except one visit from my mother and sister. I was alone, and I had to learn to defend myself. I would be fine, until someone threatened me. When that would happen, I would fight back. I spent many long days of my life in a stripped down solitary confinement cell. I learned that reading was a way to get out from inside that place, and read hundreds of books. I contended over and over again with the facility personnel during supposed therapy sessions, insisting that I was innocent. In the final year, I realized I had to bend to their wishes, and I was forced to write a letter admitting to actions I did not do, and explaining why I knew it was wrong. I was finally released to a halfway house and eventually out on my own.
I was released June 20th 2007, 40 months after being send to TYC.
My mother was the only one there when I got out. I tried getting into life, but in all the wrong ways. I soon discovered that there was no way to outrun the sex registry. I spent months sleeping homeless in my vehicle, I have moved time and again because of being evicted due to the registry being uncovered. I began living a ragged lifestyle, giving up on ever being free of the registry, because there was no way out. I even got married by the age of 20 and tried to have a life.
I have been intentionally driven out of many locations here in Texas. In July of 2011, I was forced to relocate when a landlord forced me and my then wife to vacate our residence, I ended up facing failure to register charges, despite having contacted my registration officer in that city and receiving instructions from him to update him the following week at my check in. However, when I arrived, I was arrested by two officers he had waiting for me because he had already filed a warrant for my failure to register my place of residence. I was charged with failure to register, and spent 4 month in jail, before being put on 5 years of probation on November 22, 2011.
I was sentenced 12 days after my wife filed for divorce, claiming she had never known about my registration yet her father, a sheriff, made sure she knew about it before we were married.
This registration was again used ruin my life when a girlfriend's ex-husband filed false charges against me in September of 2012. He did this to convince her to reduce his amount of child support for their 3 children. This stole away my probationary status and I was arrested again. Although the charges were dismissed for lack of evidence, I was forced to pay for it, as my probation was revoked, and I spent another 16 months of jail time, followed by 4 months in prison, before my release in November 2013.
By this time, I was 25 years old. I had no hope left. The years ahead of me still on the registry seemed endless. During that time, I wanted many times to just remove myself from the world, because the registry was destroying all chances of starting a new life. I grew afraid of close relationships. I hid the registry as long as I could, and when someone learned about it, I bolted before they could treat me like so many others.
I ended up moving near my mother again. She lived in a marina, and convinced me to come live on a boat, because I could take off wherever I wanted and no one could force me out. Her boyfriend helped buy me a small boat, and I lived on the water, and I worked wherever I could find work. Flipping hamburgers, cooking and bar-backing at bars, anything that would keep my fed and pay the slip rent on the boat. Although I had fathered two sons by the time I was 20, I was so beaten down by my life, I had nothing to give them, and I was too worn down fighting with my inner demons to know how to be a good father to them.
I was headed downhill, fast. It wasn't that I didn't want to live. I just didn't know how to escape a life without hope.
In the fall of 2014, I met someone that I did not know would become the focal point for change in my life. I was too drunk, too messed up to realize what she would soon mean to me. We hung out for a couple drinks, I told her a few lies, as with any other girl I'd meet up with and there were many. But she listened to me and eventually, I began telling her real things that had happened in my life â€“ except for the registry. We saw each other casually from time to time. I even sat listening to a song on the radio and thought about her at times. One day, though, she tried to ask me about the registry, and I dropped her before she could drop me. Because that's how people were.
I started getting worse, more depressed, more out of control. I started riding a motorcycle, messed myself up a couple times by driving it when I shouldn't have. One night, I saw her again, this woman who I had tried to shut out, at the bar where we met, where I had started working. She came up and told me she was worried about me and if I ever needed to talk, she would be there. She told me she didn't believe what the registry said and that she wanted to know my story.
I started texting her, talking to her about my depression, my anxiety, the things I was hiding from everyone. I was on the verge of self-destruction, and to this day, she says she knew and was scared for me.
I tried to find more work, wanting to be able to help support my children, because one small job at a bar wasn't paying enough for me to live. When I signed on to help at another bar, the owner of the bar where I worked got angry at me and I quit. However, when I showed up at the new place I been hired at, they told me they no longer needed me. And that was when the flood hit, and I began spiraling downward so hard and so fast that on May 13, 2015, I crashed on my motorcycle in the middle of one of the worst storms to hit Houston that spring. It was on the way to wait out the storm at her house the one who said she wasn't giving up on me. I died there, a quarter mile from her house. All I recall is my lights hitting the back of the parked SUV, trying to swerve and going straight into the back of the vehicle.
The rest of the story of the next few weeks, I know only from recounting from both this woman who was trying to help me and my mother. The woman who did not give up on me would become my wife and was the turning point in my life.
Come back for the continuation.