She knew that people like her had been beaten, bombed, shot at, killed.
The essay aired details about her past that she’d long tried to suppress; by posting it on her class’s server, where anyone who Googled her name could find it, she thought she might be able to quiet the whispers, the threats, and possibly make it easier to find a job.
Her story, she warned, “is not a nice one, but hopefully it will have a happy ending.”Du Buc had grown up in Howell, Michigan, a small town of berry and melon farmers. She had earned straight A’s, written for the school newspaper, led Students Against Driving Drunk (she voted to change the name to Students Against Destructive Decisions, she says, to stress that “there are lots of bad decisions that can get you killed”), and performed in “Grease” and “Once Upon a Mattress,” while working part time as a cashier at Mary’s Fabulous Chicken & Fish.
“High school was bliss for me,” Du Buc said recently.
In Charla Roberts’s living room, not far from Paris, Texas, I learned how, at the age of ten, Roberts had pulled down the pants of a male classmate at her public elementary school.
She was prosecuted for “indecency with a child,” and added to the state’s online offender database for the next ten years.“I tried not to dwell on the stuff that wasn’t good.” But, as she was about to start her freshman year at Western Michigan University, she got a call from a close childhood friend, Victoria, who asked, “Did you know you’re on the public sex-offender registry?”Her friend, who had just given birth to a baby girl, had logged on to the Michigan Public Sex Offender Registry Web site to search for local predators.Gravens was twelve when his mother learned that he had inappropriately touched his eight-year-old sister on two occasions; she sought help from a Christian counselling center, and a staffer there was legally obliged to inform the police.Gravens was arrested, placed on the public registry, and sent to juvenile detention for nearly four years. Vinyl Flooring 10' removable bimini top for sun protection. All rentals are plus fuel Mirro Craft F3696-24 16 foot. Includes 12 standard adult life vests (not approved for use with a tube or skiing). “After reading my very condensed life story,” she wrote, “I am convinced you will agree that I am a strong, determined young woman, who has risen above the obstacles which have been set in my path.” On an April morning, she published the essay, titled “So, Who is Leah Du Buc Anyway? When I visited Du Buc in Howell last summer, I had already spoken to a number of people who had been accused of sex offenses as juveniles and ended up on a public registry.Some, like Du Buc, had been placed on the registry for things they’d done before they reached their teens.According to the county sheriff’s warrant, she was both the adult perpetrator of the crime at hand—“sexual exploitation of a minor”—and its child victim. Most juveniles on the sex-offender registry pose a more daunting public-policy challenge: they have caused sexual harm to other children, through non-consensual touch and other abusive behaviors. According to the Centers for Disease Control, as many as one out of every four girls and one out of every six boys have experienced some form of sexual abuse before the age of eighteen, and in a third of such cases, the National Center on the Sexual Behavior of Youth says, the offenses were committed by other juveniles.“The single age with the greatest number of offenders from the perspective of law enforcement was age 14,” a study sponsored by the Department of Justice notes. But the devastation that may result from childhood sexual assault can last a lifetime, fuelling depression, addiction, suicidal thoughts, and other signs of post-traumatic stress.