Friday, May 19, 2017


The sex offenders’ registry results in harassment and death threats, and is a sure job killer

Daily Mail
May 18, 2017

Harris County, Texas prosecutors may choose not to pursue a case of 'sexual assault' between two juveniles if they feel violence or coercion were not involved, according to public attorney Jackie Stewart Gravois.

But others in the state of Texas are not so lucky. Josh Gravens is one of them.

In an interview with The Texas Observer in 2012, he told how he and his sister had touched one another intimately twice in 1999, when he was 12 and she was eight.

That came after his own sexual abuse at the hands of a female babysitter and her two male friends, he said.

'I was sexually confused, and it started to play out with my sister ... Like, where my body part touched her body part. It was never penetrative.

'Obviously, it couldn't have been what they call consensual, but it was playing.'

A Christian counselling center told his mom she had to contact the police. She didn't want to press charges, so the state took up prosecution.

Gravens, now aged 30, admitted all of the claims against him at the time. 'I thought it was so important that I never call my sister a liar,' he said.

In a lot of cases, he says, the victim is called a liar 'and has to deal with it later on. I never wanted that to happen to my sister.'

He was then put on the sex offenders' registry until 2021.

That notes down everything from the person's current appearance - if Josh grows a beard or gets a haircut he needs to file a new picture - to their shoe sizes.

Registered offenders can be subject to random police checks at their home. They cannot vote. Juveniles can be refused access to school education.

Gravens was aged 13 when he was told he would be placed in the Texas Youth Commission (TYC) for three years.

There, he said, he would be beaten up because of his age and the nature of his crime, while the guards turned a blind eye.

After being released aged 16, he joined high school. Everything went well - he was named 'friendliest boy' - until a local newspaper did a report on sex offenders.

He was shunned by his former friends and even teachers.

The same thing happened - but worse - when he went to college to study political science.

After a TV news report on local registered offenders, he began to receive death threats and was chased by a truck full of men throwing bottles at him.

He dropped out, aged 19, and worked on a construction crew until he was let go for his own safety.

'Multiple people had said they planned on throwing me out of the tower,' he explained.

He then got a job traveling around the country, working on wind farms, until he forgot to register while working in Washington state for a month.

As a registered offender, he needs to register in any county that he stays in for more than a week.

He spent 13 days in jail, was fined $2,000 and spent $6,000 on a lawyer to get him out.

Gravens also lost his job, because his parole officer told him he didn't have to tell his new employers about his status, because his case was adjudicated, so technically he was never convicted of a felony.

He got married and bought a pizza restaurant in Witchita Falls, but decided to commute from another county because he didn't want to have to register as a sex offender where his business was.

The police found out; he was fined again and lost his business.

The local prosecutor considered sending him to jail for eight years, while he was expecting his first child.

He was spared that when his sister wrote a letter to the judge asking for clemency.

As of 2012, he was working in Plano, Texas, and considering going back to college. He still lives in the state.

Josh told The Texas Observer that his faith and the 'strong support' of his family had kept him going through his trials. But he knows many don't have either.

'I've never had thoughts of suicide,' he said. 'But if any person were weaker than me, mentally or whatnot, it would crush them.'

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