During my interview with the FBI, I expressed remorse and admitted that child pornography is inappropriate. I also explained that while I think it’s normal for adults to be sexually attracted to minors, I do not condone having sex with children.

These of course were not my exact words. At the time of the interview, I was understandably scared and in shock, so I may not have been as eloquent as I had hoped. I recall using the phrase, “society has not caught up,” when describing people’s uneasiness in accepting the sexual attraction adults may feel towards minors. But regardless of the exact wording, I thought my position was clear.

This turned out not to be the case. In the report filed by the FBI, my quote was put into a different context entirely.

When asked if he thought the pictures of an adult male having sexual intercourse with a minor child was okay, [he] replied in his opinion, ‘society has not caught up with something that is natural.’

It’s pointless to hypothesize whether the misquote was deliberate or unintentional. What’s done is done, and I’ve taken responsibility for my actions. Furthermore, while my lawyer did make a correction in the presentence report, he seems to think that addressing the misquote during sentencing would prove useless—maybe even detrimental. My judge has a history of getting on tangents and attacking defendants if he thinks they’re lying. Even if he did believe me, my lawyer says it wouldn’t likely change the outcome of my sentence.

The misquote, while it may be the least of my worries, is difficult to let go. I’ve been mischaracterized as someone who believes that molesting children is okay, and the report is available online for anyone to read. But it’s only one side to the story, and nobody who isn’t either a friend or family member would be inclined to hear the other side. The truth is when you’re a sex offender, there is no other side.

“We’re not here to take away your life. Our job is to protect children.”

That’s what one of the FBI agents said when the interview was over. I think about it all the time and wonder whether she actually believes that. I’m facing 20 years in prison, a fine of up to $250,000, a minimum of five years on probation, and life as a registered sex offender. And after paying my debt to society, I’ll be 44-years-old and will have lost my friends, family, career, reputation, and I’ll be lucky to find a job and place to live.

That doesn’t sound like much of a life. Meanwhile, the people who sexually assault children, the real criminals, receive three to five year sentences.

Are they protecting children or are they hurting more lives?