My lawyer recommended I see a sex offender treatment counselor to evaluate me and testify in court on my behalf.
Talking to professional counselors is nerve racking when you’re relying on them to deem you sane. It’s one thing for a politician to call you a deviant monster, it’s another when someone with a degree who actually knows what they’re talking about agrees. I’ve always believed I’m self aware enough to know that I’m healthy and incapable of hurting anyone, much less a child, but what happens if a psychotherapist with years of education and experience says otherwise?
For some unknown reason, the court doesn’t allow the counselor they appointed me during my probation period to evaluate or testify in court (even though he’s licensed to do so and has the added benefit of having known me for several months prior to sentencing), so I had to hire a different counselor specifically for the purpose of this evaluation. Yesterday was our first appointment.
This new counselor is in his late 40s, early 50s, and has an academic yet tired look about him as if he’s been doing his job for a few years too many and should have retired by now. It’s the kind of appearance that may prove to be persuasive in court.
We talked for over an hour about my family, childhood, and the background surrounding my criminal case. I also filled out several questionnaires related to my mental health. My favorite question asked how often I have thoughts that are not my own.
Good news. It turns out I’m not psychotic.
We talked briefly about some of his past clients including one man who raped his 11-year-old daughter regularly over the course of three years and received only five years in prison. According to the sentencing guidelines in my case, the law recommends I serve the 20-year statutory maximum sentence.
Like all counselors I’ve met, he too believes that the extreme sentences in child pornography cases are unjustified and the rationalization that people who possess child pornography are intent on harming children is a “logical stretch” of which there is no evidence.
My evaluation continues next week when we meet again to answer more difficult questions related to my sexual interests.