Why the System Labels Me a Sex Offender

English transcript:

Hello, My name is Jason Tozier, my sign name is (sign name is demonstrated “JT”). 

I am from Portland, OR and I grew up in the Pacific Northwest and lived there for 37 years. I moved to Washington, D.C. nine (9) years ago for graduate school at Gallaudet University. I had obtained a scholarship and was so excited about going to school. 

Currently, I am a writer and an inspirational/motivational speaker.  I want to admit that this is really hard and I’ve struggled for a long time. 35 years is a long time for a struggle.  It has been very emotional, triggering, and deep trauma processing. For example, constant emails, YouTube comments, vlogs that display threats, hate comments, horrible stories made up about me and the painting of me being an evil evil person. It breaks my heart. 

I love the Deaf community no matter how much hate you generate, I still love you. It’s so hard because of Audism, neglect, language deprivation, oppression, bullying, retaliation. It is so painful. My time has been invested in a lot of emotions and heart pain. Anxiety, stress, all because there is a black cloud over my head. The dark cloud leads to easy death by a death squad. 

Alexander Hamilton said, “I imagine death so much it feels more like a memory. When will it get me? While I’m asleep? 7 feet ahead of me?” 

The system has kept me stuck for 35 years. I’ve struggled because people won’t hear my story. They instead, “fuck me over”, shut me out, and make final decisions without listening. 

My home situation was horrible. It was never perfect, there was domestic violence, sexual violence, alcohol, drugs. All of these things were present in my household growing up and was happening right in front of me. Please extend me the courtesy of listening and not assuming. This is not the time to tell me that what I am saying is bullshit, I was there; you were not. 

This is my story, my journey, my pain! I don’t have to explain anything. I don’t owe you an explanation, however, because of the ongoing assumptions that have been happening constantly, I feel like I have to do this. Counseling was not available for me during my youth. We have Deaf Counseling Center now but back in the 80’s that was unheard of. I spent a lot of my time searching high and low for both interpreters and counselors and they were nowhere to be found. This is what made me stuck back then… and has had a lasting impact on my life.  

My pain, my journey, my struggles are over the top horrible. 
I am not perfect. I make mistakes. I am human. I was a child also. When I was a child, I was a victim. Stop telling me I’m making things up. It is a fact. I don’t ask for your sympathy. This is my pain, my story! Stop adding to it. 

Dr. Johnson a psychologist did an assessment and never had met a Deaf person but based on me, he said, “Deaf people are simply immature to society because they do not have the same exposure as hearing people do” 
I will say it again, “Deaf people are simply immature to society because they do not have the same exposure as hearing people do.”
What does that mean? 

He means you, the Deaf community. When I searched for help, no help was found or available for me. I was stuck and it was horrible. When you say it’s my fault and I was wrong, YES. I was wrong and the action was horrifying. However, listen to my story and hear what happened.

Although, I strongly believe in second chances because of empathy, collective therapy of people that do wrong is very important, interacting, listening, and non-judgement is important. Retaliation and hate speech etc. does not work in helping people that cause harm in bettering themselves and preventing relapses. 

The bullying, the hate, the retaliation has never stopped for me. It is extremely painful and harmful. All of these actions have done nothing for me. Again.. I don’t have to explain this but because of the ongoing reframing of my situation and the hate speech I have decided it’s time to come forward. I am very angry at the system because it is very destructive. I want you to know I am not proud of what I did at all. 

I was a kid, a kid. I was a child. The situation was: I was about 11 years old and in the summer of the same year I would turn 12 in December. One day, an adult forced me to have sex with a younger child. I was 11-12 years old.. and they were younger and was it their fault.. NO! It was wrong. I was so confused. 

Why was I charged?  I was charged with statutory rape and molestation because the other person was younger than me. Now, at 12 years old I searched for help and I contacted a counselor asking for help. Five (5) adults and myself sat in that room and I explained what happened to the counselor. They were not experts in sign language so we struggled to communicate but I tried to explain. They didn’t listen. I was taken home without any help. 

Remember now, there is Deaf counseling center (and other services available). There was nothing available for me. Nothing was accessible. There were no Deaf resources. Don’t tell me I am using this as an excuse! I am not. I was extremely oppressed by the hearing system. The glass ceiling of access was maximized at nothing. Nothing ever was available to help me process this trauma. It was impossible. 

At 19 years old, a detective contacted me to show up and talk to them. The interpreter that was present at the office was a CODA (Child of Deaf Adults). I remember that day very well. Before I entered the room to speak with the Detective, the interpreter told me, “You better get a lawyer, you were 11-12 years old, get a lawyer! Say nothing!” I disregarded what the interpreter said and proceeded to share my story anyways. That was one of the biggest mistakes I made. I should’ve listened but I didn’t. 

It’s important to know your rights, protect your rights, take advantage of your rights!  After the conversation, I went to get my mugshot taken and fingerprints put into the system. I was so confused. Then I heard my charges: statutory rape and molestation of a child. After that, I was released and went home. Court happened and it took 2 years for them to finally offer me a plea bargain I took which was 4 1/2 months in county jail and eight (8) years on probation. 

During my eight (8) years on probation, I had to meet with a probation officer every month . They could show up at my house anytime and check on me to see what I was doing. I also had to take a polygraph every six (6) months. This was very expensive ($300 every 6 months) but I never failed a polygraph. This was dehumanizing.

The worst part was that during my monthly visits with my probation officer, I always asked for an interpreter and was never granted one. The only time they would provide an interpreter was “when it was necessary” for example during the polygraphs I had to take. Another situation that they would provide an interpreter for would be for emergencies but that was basically the only access I was given. During my monthly meetings we had pen and paper. This was a form of language oppression and was very frustrating. 

After eight (8) years were done. I found out something a month later. What I was unaware of was that I would also be registered as a Sex Offender for the rest of my life.  This had never been communicated with me or when they explained my plea bargain to me at all. I was taken aback. All this confusion, I thought I had been done but no… 

Please don’t assume!! This is my journey, my story. 

Now I want to address an important discussion: child sex offenders. More and more of them (90-95,000) are being registered. The youngest I know is five (5) years old who has autism. He had gone to a classmate and gave them a hug! The school police got involved. He is now registered. Think back to when you were young, you did the same thing. Does that mean all of you should be registered? Think about that! He’s suffering already. This is very harmful. This system is looking to feed fear which is leading to the increase to murders and lynching. 

More and more eight (8) year olds are being registered for walking naked, being goofy. There was a 11 year old Deaf girl is involved in pornography and she may be required to be registered and I do not agree to this.  

Again, collective treatment is critical. Retaliating against a 11 year old Deaf girl is not fair.  No. Whose fault is this? Remember they are children too.  A 14 year old boy had sex with a 14 year old girl but one night the police showed up and told him that he might be registered. They threw fear in his face. You know what he did? The next day, he killed himself. Why, because the registry is full of hate, fear, triggers, murder. It is a form of social shaming and is not worth it. 

A 17 year old fell in love with a 16 year old girl and they had been in high school together. The girl’s parents didn’t like him for some reason and once he turned 18, they called the police and had him arrested and put in jail. He was in jail for a few years and then when he got out, they got married and they have 3 beautiful children. Fast forward, a couple years later, the man was 29 years old. One night, a man with his friend who were drunk decided they wanted to kill a Sex Offender. All because of the hate they had built up inside without knowing the story. 

They searched online and found him and his house. They entered the house and shot the man multiple times in front of his wife and kids. They laughed because he’s a Sex Offender. The wife and kids were screaming. The next day the killer were arrested but the killer went in with a huge smile on their face and when the killer were asked why he were smiling, he said he killed a Sex Offender (one less person here). 

Another couple had huge obsessions with white supremacy and nazi. They went and found a house with a Sex Offender inside and wrapped a chain around the doors and burnt the house down with the person inside. That man, his wife and pets were all dead. All because of that man had been dating a 17 year old when he was 18 and was required to register. 

Those are just examples of stories that are out there about the registry and how damaging it is. I am one of those that are unfortunate and I want to remind you that I am human. I was a child and I did not understand what was right or wrong. I feel awful but you make me an awful person for something I did when I was 11 years old, 35 years ago. 

I try my best to change to be a better person every day. I unpack my privileges and read and listen to stories. The important thing I want you to take away from this is to ask people what happened and to hear their stories. I am done for now. Please stop twisting stories. I won’t be surprised if this continues. I’ve lost a lot of friends even if they knew but because of society and how much hate is thrown at my friends, they go into hiding and can’t handle it. For years and years I’ve been a punching bag for you.. If this makes you feel good, ok but does that really make you the better person?

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