You Might Be a Sex Offender and Not Even Know It! May 20, 2015
Have you ever peed in public? Or hugged a child? Or been naked in your own home? You might be in troublehttp://www.menshealth.com/best-life/you-might-be-sex-offender-and-not-know-it
By Corey Levitan
By Corey Levitan
Because I walk around the house naked way more than my wife would prefer, she recently played a joke on me. As I sometimes like to do, I donned only flip-flops to enter our garage and get something from my tool shelf. I was a full 20 feet inside when I heard the garage door rumble open.
I had to give her credit. This not only related her point perfectly—that I am perhaps not wearing pants as often as I should—but was undeniably hysterical. However, then I heard the voices of little children playing outside, near our driveway.
State laws that require pedophiles and rapists to register as sex offenders are a good thing. They prohibit them from being near schools, parks, or playgrounds, and make their identities easily learned by new neighbors and employers.
But some of the criminals listed on “offender locator” apps deserve to be there way less than others. In fact, you may have committed some of the very same crimes that got them listed alongside playground prowlers.
You may be a sex offender if. . .
1. You pee in public
Juan Matamoros was arrested for public urination in
in 1986. And that branded him
a sex offender to this day in Massachusetts ,
which lists his crime as “Sex Offense, Other State (Open and Gross Lewd &
Lascivious Behavior—2 Counts).” Florida
had to move his
family because he was not allowed to live within 2,500 feet of a city park, and
his registry entry now lists him as “transient.” Matamoros
In 2005, a construction worker, who just so happened to be a Mexican immigrant, was caught by a police officer peeing behind a garbage can in an alley. He was arrested and convicted of public urination within 100 yards of a Chicago school, and was eventually deported from the U.S. as part of Homeland Security’s “Operation Predator.”
According to Human Rights Watch's 2007 review of sex offender laws, sex-offender status for public urination is possible in at least 13 states. It's difficult to estimate how many people are listed just for public urination, since the crime is usually described with words like “lewd” and “lascivious”—which could refer to other activities.
Regardless, when you have to urinate so bad that holding it is no longer an option, you might want to consider just peeing in your pants. It may ruin the rest of your night, but the rest of your life will be spared.
2. You’ve ever paid for a prostitute
Are you one of the 14 percent of American men who, according to a 2013 study published in the Journal of Offender Therapy and Comparative Criminology, have ever paid for sex? Of course, you're not. Neither am I.
But if you were—just hypothetically—you've committed what is considered a registerable offense in six states.
3. You have a laptop and it's connected to the Internet and there are children nearby
In 2004, Julie Amero—a 37-year-old substitute teacher in
teaching a seventh grade language class when her laptop computer, which was
visible to students, began displaying pop-up ads for pornographic websites. Norwich, Connecticut
“The pop-ups never went away,” she said, according to a court transcript. “It was one after another. They were continuous. Every time I clicked the box in the corner, the red box, the red X, more were generated.”
When parents learned of the unexpected sex lesson, charges were filed against Amero—a total of 10 counts of “risk of injury to a minor, or impairing the morals of a child.”
Facing 40 years behind bars and a required sex offender registration, the teacher pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor charge and surrendered her state teaching credentials.
“Everybody out there should be afraid,” she said during an interview in 2009 with Good Morning America. “If it can happen to me, it can certainly happen to you.”
4. You have consensual sex with a teen while you are a teen
The state of
considered Wendy Whitaker a sex offender for life because, when she was 17, she
gave oral sex to a 15-year-old male classmate. Georgia
Not until she was 31—after she and her husband were forced to move three times—did a judge release her from her obligation to re-register, thanks to 2010 changes in the law that allows certain sex offenders to appeal their status.
5. You are a parent who allows your teen to have sex
When Janet Allison's 15-year-old daughter got pregnant in 2002, she allowed her 17-year-old boyfriend to move into her
home. This got her
convicted for “being a party to child molestation.” Georgia
She remains a registered sex offender—even though her daughter later married the boyfriend.
6. You hug another child
As of 2013, according to the Wall Street Journal, five Colorado residents were still forced to register as sex offenders because of crimes they committed as teens—including one 13-year-old boy accused of “trying to constantly hug a girl at his elementary school.”
7. You are naked inside a garage when your wife opens the door
Okay, so this one is speculation. As far as I can tell, nobody has ever been labeled as a sex offender for being visibly naked in their own garage. But there have been close calls.
Probably the worst happened to Eric Williamson, a guy in
who was charged with indecent exposure after a woman and her 7-year-old
daughter saw him standing naked, at around 5:30 in the morning, next to his
carport doorway. Springfield, Virginia
Virginia jury acquitted him of all charges, but according
Post, his “legal bills would probably wind up being between $10,000 and
Since online journalism barely pays me more than that, I can’t afford to get embroiled in a legal battle about how much scrotum I’m allowed to reveal in my garage.
Luckily, I think faster than garage doors open, and I was able to conceal myself before my wife exposed me to the neighborhood. She promises that she’s done with pranks, but I may be wearing pants around the house a little more often. At least in the literal way.