I am writing this in an attempt to bring to the forefront an issue that, at least to me, seems to be a gross miscarriage of justice. A little background. My name is Steven Matthew Arnold and I am happily married, have been for almost eight years. I consider myself to be a God fearing Christian, a good father, and a loving husband. I had been raised to believe that sex, and sexuality, were never taboo subjects.I have been married twice before, and seem to have gotten it right with my third wife.
In January, 2010, our youngest son turned eighteen years old, considered an adult. He had been dating a younger girl from his high school during that school year, and as a parent, I was concerned about this relationship. In the beginning of May, 2010, I had the opportunity, through the social networking site Face book, to have a conversation with this minor that my son had been dating. I spoke with her quite bluntly about their relationship, and tried to find out more about her past sexual experience. In this conversation, I related to her some of the issues that my wife and I had been going through in our marriage, including the fact that my wife had had a partial hysterectomy. The conversation was not drawn out, I wasn’t offensive or profane, nor did I ever attempt to meet with the girl. Also, I did not attempt to have any other conversations with her.
In October, 2010, the College Station police showed up at my residence with a search warrant. It was at this time that I was made aware of Texas Penal Code 33.021(b), and was told that any conversation of a sexual nature with a minor was illegal under that Statute. I was arrested a week later and spent the next year fighting a legal battle. In the end, I plead guilty. Mostly because there was no way to prove a lack of criminal intent on my part, even through a polygraph. I spent one hundred nights in county jail on work release, began sex offender therapy, paid fines and court costs, was put on the sex offender case load through probation for six years, and began the process of having a polygraph every six months. Within a week of my arrest I was terminated from the career I had spent the last seven years building, and within two months my family’s savings were gone.
Having been abused for many of my preteen, and teenage years, I can not fault the justice system for being overly cautious where children are concerned, and I have to applaud the efforts of law makers to protect them. Having heard some of the horrific crimes those in therapy with me have committed, I am pleased that the justice system is so vigilant in the pursuit of sexual predators. Even when a very small percentage of those convicted are not in any way predators themselves.
In November, 2013 my wife saw a brief comment on one of the local news stations which said that the Texas Court of Criminal Appeals struck down Texas Penal Code 33.021(b) on the grounds that it is overbroad, and violates constitutionally protected speech. I have spoken with two sex offender therapy councilors, three probation officers for sex offender case loads, and two sheriffs sex offender compliance officers. Of these officials dealing directly with sex offenders, one therapist, only one, had any knowledge of the Criminal Court of Appeals ruling. All of the others were completely ignorant of the case which, I had thought, would set a precedent for those convicted under Texas Penal Code 33.021(b).
To date, I have been told to be ‘cautiously optimistic’ by the one therapist who had any knowledge of the Criminal Court of Appeals decision. I still attend sex offender therapy sessions, am still scheduled for polygraph testing, I still report to probation meetings, and I still register with the local sex offender compliance unit of the sheriff’s department. In essence, nothing of this nightmare has changed.
I do not think I am asking for a miracle. I simply want to pick up what remains of my life, and go home to New Mexico where I can be with my family to rebuild our lives with some measure of normalcy. I just want the rights that were taken from me unfairly, restored.
I am not a sexual predator, nor do I pose any sort of threat to society, individually or as a whole. I want to be able to begin the healing process from this debacle. I have no way of knowing if you will just disregard this letter entirely. After all, I have been branded a monster, and sex offenders are the lowest form of crime in today’s society. I understand that other, more popular news stories have the spotlight, like same sex marriage, and the end of the war, but I can only hope that you, or others like you, will see the gross miscarriage of justice that has been done here in Texas.
Steven Matthew Arnold Registered Sex Offender Cause #10-05636-CRF-272