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Mother of sex offender speaks out

Melissa Shriver, khqa.com, April 24, 2008

The state of Missouri has some of the strictest sex offender laws in the country. It puts tight restrictions on where sex offenders can not live, and how often they have to register with police.

Supporters say those restrictions are necessary to keep an eye on sex offenders to keep you and your family safe. But those same laws also label all sex offenders as the same, no matter the circumstances or severity of their crimes. And that label follows the offender for the rest of his or her life.

So tonight we have a story every parent and teenager should see. We sat down with a mother of a registered sex offender who says a bad decision as a teenager left her son with life-long consequences.

This story begins here at Monroe City High School with a promising teenager. He was on the basketball and football teams. Everyone we talked with says he was a good kid and popular in school. After graduation he did what many kids do, he moved away to go to college. When he was 19 and at a Kansas college, he and a roommate stopped at a gas station before a night out. That's when this seemingly promising life came to a halt.

Mother Janice Holliday said, "They went to a gas station. They were going out. They ended up meeting these two girls and talked to them and got friendly. That's when it all happened. They went to the house to party, started drinking, dancing and one thing led to another. They ended up having sex. They left about 2 in the morning. Then the girls decided to leave, gave them their phone numbers and everything. "

Janice Holliday's son says it wasn't until police knocked on his door that he discovered the girl wasn't 17 as he said she claimed. She actually was two months from her 16th birthday. 16 is the age of consent in Kansas.

During the trial, the jury convicted Holliday's son of indecent liberties with a child because he admitted to consensual sex with a minor. In front of a crowd of supporters from Monroe City, Holliday's son was sentenced to almost 5 years in prison.

What was your initial reaction when you found out your son was being convicted?

Holliday said, "I was devastated because I didn't think anything like this could ever happen to my son."

Now her son has served his time and is out on parole. In Kansas where he was convicted he doesn't have to register as a sex offender. But when he tried to move back to Monroe City, he found things much different because here he is a sex offender.

What has it been like for your son to get out of prison?

Holliday said, "Well he's been very frustrated. Aggravation because he can't find housing, he can't find a job. He's in a class with people that actually rape babies. He tells me everyday, Mom, when am I going to find a house or a job? I tell him you pray to the Lord. You can't give up."

Because of his legal status, he can't spend time with his own child without supervision and can't attend her school events without approval from the school superintendent. He also faces a lifetime of registration as a sex offender.

Holliday said, "I just don't want it to happen to someone else's child. My son is a good kid. I just don't want to see another mother go through the devastation I had to go through because it's a nightmare."

Holliday said, "You just got to be careful. If you're a young guy and you're dating these young girls you need to be careful because they may tell you they're one age and they're not."

A warning she says every parent and teenager should listen to.

Opponents of sex offender laws agree with Janice Holliday -- that it's unfair to put all sex offenders into one category, no matter their crime.

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