January 15, Updated: January 16, at 4: After they broke up, her parents filed charges. More than 10 years later, he was removed from the sex offender registry. Photo by Dougal Brownlie, The Gazette. For more than a decade, David felt "like trash" having to register as a sex offender because he had consensual sex with his girlfriend when they were both minors. Now, with the help of a local attorney, those days are behind him. He was officially removed from the registry Jan.
The Gazette agreed to use only his first name to protect his identity. David previously shared his struggle as a registered sex offender for a Gazette story about the impact the registry has on offenders. At the time, a U. State Attorney General Cynthia Coffman is appealing that ruling, arguing that the registry protects the public.
David offered his story as proof of how the registry can do more harm than good. He described the struggle he faced finding a place to live, earning a living, falling in love and starting a family because of the label. Friday, he leaned back in a comfy chair at The Gazette, rejoicing in life as a free man. That's how long David had been trying to get off the registry.
After reading David's plight in The Gazette, local attorney Daniel Kay took his case and quickly found out why: There was no precedent for a case like this.
Then year-old David's Missouri relationship with his girlfriend, who turned 14 while they were together, was a misdemeanor sex crime because in that state the age of consent is 17 - no exceptions. But Colorado honors the "Romeo and Juliet" exception, which protects young people from criminal charges in consensual sexual activity with other teens over age 14 but under age Federal law also shows leniency toward sexual relations between two people ages 12 to 18, as long as they're not more than four years apart David was three years and 10 months older than his then-girlfriend.
So by Colorado's standards, David did not commit a crime. That still wasn't the end of David's struggle, though. When he presented the judge's order to the Colorado Springs police, with whom he'd been registering for four years, they rejected it because the electronic filing lacked the judge's signature. Kay filed a second motion to end the battle. While David's sex conviction will remain a matter of public record - the criminal case was not sealed - he no longer has to check in with law enforcement, have them approve his residence or identify as a registered offender.
The freedom has opened doors David never dared crack. David said he's also confident the couple can secure shared custody of her kids. He'd previously undergone a number of assessments, including a polygraph, to prove he wasn't a threat to the children, but the case has been on hold while the children's biological father is deployed. For David, the experience also further confirmed that the sex offender registry "needs to be redone nationwide.
But for people with minor sex crimes, like him, the registry caused more harm than good, he said. David was able to rise above it, but he wonders how many others don't.