I was born Gregory Stucky.
I met my wife in 2014. Best decision of my life, traveled across the country to meet her and we fell in love within months. My career and lifestyle at the time was still in a tumultuous cycle of self-discovery, but she still accepted me when very few people elsewhere had. We had a child together in 2017, then another one in 2020.
Several obstructions impeded our access to good parenting information or traditions:
- Both parenting models, hers and mine, were defective for a variety of reasons, and both set of parents disengaged us with our extended family. I was raised largely on the modeling of Benjamin Spock, mixed with failed volatile boundaries, and she was raised with perpetual gaslighting.
- I had consumed many, many articles on parenting for my guides, but it’s nearly taboo for most free internet content to give clear and effective articles regarding discipline. Many of them also follow in the spirit of Benjamin Spock, which I know from direct experience doesn’t work.
- In some US states, such as California where we were at, it’s not uncommon for a child to be abducted by the State from their biological parents on a rumor, so we felt unsafe to consult all our mandatory reporter friends who may have had wisdom on the matter (nurses, schoolteachers, etc.).
In May 2021, in the course of discipline, I hurt my daughter by spanking her too hard. I immediately called the Dallas County, Iowa police department to get her to the hospital, and in my overwhelming shock and grief waived my Miranda Rights by telling the police absolutely everything, crying nonstop and uncontrollably.
If I had been raised in the poorer parts of society, I would have seen how my actions weren’t the best decision. While I was treated well by everyone I met after the event (police, prison guards, and fellow inmates inclusive), the criminal justice system itself was not kind to me:
- They charged me with two counts of Child Endangerment. I’ve never had a criminal thought in my life.
- Bail for a first-time offense in my mid-30’s, with no flight risk, was absurdly high at $500,000, and took 7 weeks to be lowered.
- My no-contact order meant I was unable to pass a message to my children or respond to them, which forbade me from visiting my home. I had to live in a basement for rent across town. My wife simply wanted me home, but her parenting responsibilities and my nearest family being 1,000 miles away created further hardship because we were still on the back end of the COVID-19 panic.
I wanted to redeem myself, so I volunteered to take parenting classes myself as soon as I made bail, before my lawyer even brought the idea up. It wasn’t easy taking steady courses every day about how to raise children when you haven’t seen them in months, but I persevered and took about 6 courses.
The end of October was the plea bargain sentencing. My lawyer thought I’d receive a deferred judgment (i.e., place it in a limbo state until I was off probation), but without any explanation the judge gave me a more severe sentence:
- The Class C felonies were bumped downward to Class D.
- I received 3 years’ concurrent probation with the chance to make it 1.5 on good behavior, so no prison time.
- I was immediately permitted to visit my children all day.
- Within a month (end of November 2021), I was living back at home again completely.
- Within another month (end of December 2021), the DHS closed my case.
- Within 4 months of my sentencing (around April 2022), I had fully paid off my restitution.
- As of 1.5 years (end of April 2023) I fulfilled my early release requirements and became completely free again in the eyes of the law.
Ever since I came back home, my relationships with my wife and children have been better than ever before, and continue to build with zero issues as the children have grown and we’ve moved on with life. There have been no further problems.
Conversations with my cellmates and consultations with my lawyer explain precisely why this happened:
- My openness with the police gave a harsh sentence because there was no other way to interpret it. If I hadn’t told the police anything, I probably would have walked away with nothing on my record. My natural transparency is a product of my autism, if I wanted to lean into that intersectional fact.
- The way the law was constructed, I’d have been able to get a better deal or win in front of a jury if I had murdered someone.
- I can’t prove it, and it’s not worth my time to, but I heard rumor the heavy-handed prosecution was to hide other legitimate cases of child neglect in my county. Reportedly, one of them involved the police visiting a home of two parents who starved their children to death, but they took no action.
- I’ve always worked desperately to follow all the rules, and am simply not familiar with the criminal justice system. It’s configured to create a heavy environment of hopelessness, and invariably creates a secondary class of citizen (at least until they’ve proven they can change), and judges require a unique type of deference and respect that ASD would never be capable of portraying.
I now have a felony on my record for the rest of my life. I’ve already looked into expunging and sealing it, and that’s mostly an urban myth except for a minority of misdemeanors. If I had somehow been drunk or said I’d been drinking, I could have had this expunged.
There was a 30-day statute for appealing the judgment (i.e., by the end of November 2021), but I was in absolutely no psychological state to fight it at the time, nor did I have the money to get another lawyer.
Some people, in their shock, ask why I did it in the first place. It wasn’t anger, but simply a matter of duty, and felt like going to war every time I had to discipline my kids. I never wanted this, would have done it differently if I had known, sought every source I could safely find, was open to anyone telling me, and had trusted someone would.
My career problems aren’t over, though every other part of reality has moved on entirely. I will have to explain this in every interview for the rest of my life, and this will slam many doors shut. There are movements that freely advance and normalize pedophilia, but they’ll probably get roles I won’t because I was trying to give my children the structure and rules I never received.
I’ve tried to do the right thing my whole life, and had believed it would come back around positively, so I find it grievously unjust this event will now arise every time I seek employment until the day I die. To place a contrast for this:
- Auto insurance carriers only consult a person’s MVR (Motor Vehicle Record) back 3 years to the day, with 5 years to a lesser degree.
- Accounting records should be kept for 7 years in case of an individual audit, 10 for corporations. After that, there’s no reason to maintain those records, and even a scandal can be rebranded.
- Most of our body cells regenerate within 8 years, so for the most part, we become physically new people.
- Debts and bankruptcy records hit the credit score for 10 years, then fall off.
- People on academic probation in colleges can have a “fresh start” that resets their GPA after about 10 years.
- Our personalities are in a state of flux, and the iteration of you reading this now has more in common with your peers than the version of you 10 years ago or 10 years from now.
- Criminal records, including moving violations, last a lifetime. At the farthest end, a 65-year-old will be denied a professional job or promotion because of something they did at age 18.
I’m not my past mistakes because I’ve changed from them, and have completely indemnified the situation. That change reflects in my new name: Dave Stucky. I simply desire to be exonerated, but I’m not allowed to be.
Even if you believe the law is justice itself, I’ve fully served my time and paid all my dues. I’ve now fully atoned for a difficult personal problem which has nothing to do with my profession. However, I still must regularly clear the air because a cultural structure marked me for life farther than a criminal justice system can.