Since MugWatch began, I have tracked the news every day, tracking those arrested for sex crimes. The sex crimes I track are molestation and rape. The offenders that are arrested, generally post bond rather quickly and are back out and resuming their place in our communities. Unless you are on top of the news in your area, the arrest will likely go unnoticed.
In episode 25 of Lisa Ling – Our America – Labeled for Life, Lisa Ling exposes the story of Travis Iosue. Travis is just one of more than 720,000 Americans who have their name, birth date, address, and an up-to-date photograph publicly listed on the sex offender registry. Travis, even though his mother could prove a history of mental illness and that Travis had the mental equivalency of a 12-year-old, accepted a plea deal. It was his understanding that if he accepted the plea, he would be able to go home. Though Travis claims he’s innocent – the state offered him five years probation instead of a lengthy prison sentence for indecency with a child. Within a month of cutting the deal, he violated his probation, which mandated that he couldn’t hang out with minors, and was sentenced to 20 years behind bars.
He was released after serving 16 years. In the show, “Our America with Lisa Ling,” Ling follows Travis during his first free days as an adult, which have proven to be filled with barriers. Finding housing and a job are nearly impossible for someone who’s a registered sex offender.
Following his release, and given the length of time that has passed, Travis’ mental illnesses are no longer quite as severe, 16 years in Texas prison system has created other health problems.
Inmates aren’t kind to the child molesters in their midst, and Travis was a particularly vulnerable target. His nose was broken, and he can’t breathe through it very well anymore. His front teeth were kicked out. His eye socket was broken, so he has a metal plate above his left eye to keep his eyeball in place. His right clavicle was broken, as was his right hand, and forearm, and shoulder. He thinks he suffers hearing loss, and memory loss too.
In this particular case, when the prosecution didn’t do their jobs! When police didn’t do their jobs! When witnesses were not interviewed at all, I sympathize. My heart hurts for Travis and the life he will have to live.
Because the alleged victim and her family refused to speak to Lisa Ling and what little they did, they could not recall much information – I find it hard to believe Travis is not the victim of a liar and the victim of a system that used trickery to get him to plead guilty.
These are not the cases I am interested in following on MugWatch. I sympathize with teenagers who may be 18 or 19 and date a 16 year old. I sympathize with young adults who fall prey to “little girls” of 12 or 13 who look and act like they are 20-year-olds.
What I am most interested in are those who are guilty of sex crimes against children and women when they KNOW it’s a crime. Those molesters and rapists that go to great measures to violate their victims. Those molesters and rapists who go to great pains to cover up their acts, to control their victims and deceive the people who trust them.
Teenagers are dumb! No doubt about it. While I think some teens and young adults are capable of more serious crimes, I encourage people to use common sense when referencing the sex offender list. Consider the age of the offender at the time of the crime – consider the crime itself and most times, you can connect the dots to determine if the offender was just stupid and got stuck or if the offender is a real monster that abused small children or brutalized their victim.
The Sex Offender List has been called a legalized hit list and honestly, I can see how that could be the case in “some” cases – but the fact is, the public has the right to know what offenders live among them.
If an offender has paid their debt to society and has served their time, they have every right to live their life. But those around them have every right to live cautiously too.
And for those who are falsely accused or those who are most guilty of being stupid, I hope their accusers get what is coming to them. Karma is a bitch. Integrity is doing the right thing even when no one is looking – Karma knows if you have true integrity or not.
I hope Travis is able to live his life in a healthy, productive way and that the girl that accused Travis is living with the karma she created.