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Out of Florida comes a recent article about a Lake County woman who just wanted to take her family to Disney World.
Imagine her shock when she is denied hotel access, is detained at Disney World and the authorities notified all because her driver’s license has been mistakenly stamped with “sexual predator”. Imagine the horror, the embarrassment, the terrible looks from other hotel and theme park patrons, not to mention the looks she must have gotten from her own children!
Yes, it was a mistake. A huge mistake!. Apparently a Lake County office clerk had mistakenly checked off “yes” for sexual predator rather than “organ donor” when filling out the driver’s license computer form.
As mistakes go, this one was a doozy for sure.
Like most of us, you get your new driver’s license, give it a cursory once over and stick it in your wallet, which is what this woman did. Why on earth would she ever look for “sexual predator” on her driver’s license? She had no history of any such crime in her background. Now there is the possibility of a lawsuit for defamation.
She filed a lawsuit wanting this to be an example and to make sure it doesn’t happen to anyone else. If changes in the system are made, she will consider dropping the lawsuit.
I feel badly for this woman, for everything she had to go thru, the embarrassment, the stares, the fear.
It shouldn’t have happened.
But then again, it should really not happen to anyone.
I don’t know enough about all of Florida’s rules and regulations to know whether “sexual predator” is stamped on all registrants licenses or just some.
I do think that if you’ve served your time for whatever mistake you’ve made, whatever crime you’ve committed, then you should be given a fresh start, without the encumbrances of a label. Once again our laws seem made up by fortune tellers who predict, once a sexual predator, always a sexual predator. (Does that go for drunk drivers, murderers, thieves, adulterers, etc? One poor choice and you are destined to repeat that crime for the rest of eternity?)
Think about it for a minute.
What if the worst thing you ever did, something you are ashamed of or embarrassed about, something that others may or may not know about, was listed on your driver’s license.
Think about all the places where you need to show picture identification, not just airports, what about your doctor’s office, hospitals, your job, stores, banks, the list goes on and on.
How would you feel about all of those people knowing about the worst thing you’ve ever done in your life, and judging you based on that and that alone. How would you feel about service being denied to you based on something you did, something you regret from 5, 10, 20 years ago? How would you feel about being labeled with a scarlet letter in the eyes of the public for the rest of your life?
This is daily life for a registrant. This is their reality.
The poor woman in the Florida article got just “a moment” of what life is like for a registrant.
Imagine this is your life, everyday, all day, for the rest of your life.
It shouldn’t have happened to her.
It shouldn’t happen to anyone, but it does, everyday. Welcome to our world.