I am a 77 year old male in pretty good shape physically even though I have recently had heart surgery. I am very lonely and depressed all of the time. I have been depressed most of my life. Ever since I got out of the service I have been treated for depression and anxiety by the VA. But this doesn't tell you what happened to me. When I think about what is left for me in this life, I realize that I have lost all faith in my fellowman and mankind as a whole.
In 2012 I was living in a small town in South Florida where I was doing volunteer work. I did not know anyone and had no one to talk to so I ran an add on Craig's list. I really was not interested in meeting anyone; I just wanted someone to talk to. I enjoyed getting the emails that I did receive.
One day, I received a email from a young lady that said she ran away from her home and needed help. I told her I wasn't interested in meeting her but that I had run away from home myself at fourteen. The friends that said they would help did nothing for me and their parents refused to let them help.
I told her I would leave money at whatever place she indicated. That way she could get something to eat. I told her it couldn't be much as I live on Social Security, $905.00 a month. She wrote back several times requesting to meet but I refused and again offered to leave money any where to help her, if she wanted me to still try to help her?
She stopped writing me and I was worried about her but I thought perhaps she went back home. Then one day I received an email from her saying she had been living with some friends but had been kicked out again. I told her I was sorry and could I help?
She said she was writing from the local library and I said o.k I would leave a few dollars there for her, just tell me who to leave it with. I reiterated that I did not want to meet, just leave a few dollars for her somewhere. I ran away from home when I was 14 so I could relate to her problems.
She then hit me with a big scare, saying she had met a guy who was pimping other ladies and he offered to put her to work. So she had started to meet all these men and the bad things they were doing to her. She ask me what to do? I said, have your pimp call me, and gave her my phone number. Her pimp, of course, never called. I was hoping to try to talk to him into letting her go home or stop putting her through this.
I was watching TV one night, a few days after she told me about this when I saw a CNN report on girls being trafficking and sent to work in larger cities or sold and sent overseas to work as prostitutes, this caused me to worry more. She wrote again and I thought I have to help her.
I told her where I lived and to come to the gate and I would give her a few dollars that I had so she could get away from him, she replied that she could not get a ride as he takes her everywhere. But she did want to get away from him. She said she could meet me at the bath houses at the park by the lakes as it was a public place I felt I would be safe.
I then made the decision to meet her, I had thirteen dollars to give her so I drove to the park to give it to her. I was met with about five or six Police Officers. They took me to jail. I ask: "Do I need a lawyer?" They said. "No , let's just clear this up". I said you have my emails, they said, "Yes, we know. But you know you didn't just want to help, all you really wanted was a BJ."
They kept pounding that as the main issue until I finally said: "Whatever". Then they tossed me in jail. I slept on the floor there for 3 days. I did not know what to do. If it were not for an alleged drug dealer, I would not have been released from jail. He helped me get a bond and released from jail. He was the only one to help me. He also referred me to his attorney.
The lawyer said I was entrapped and not to worry. Every time we went to court they kept continuing the case. After about 15 months they finally came to an agreement and a monthly fee. The lawyer said I got you a plea deal; you will get 36 months probation and a fine. you should sign, it is a good deal.
So now I am listed as a Sex Offender and I cannot go anywhere. The probation office sent me to a court appointed psychologist. He told me I am sorry you were set up, I think anyone would have done what you did if they had a heart and your experience as a counselor. So he wrote the Court but it was to late as I had already signed the plea deal. It was not explained to me that this was a lifetime agreement and that I would be labeled and penalized the rest of my life.
I had never been in trouble before this. I had two speeding tickets in my entire life. I worked as a clinical hypnotherapist and helped people with all kinds of problems, mostly Drug Addicts or troubled kids. I don't know where to turn and I do not have much money as I'm on SSN. My monthly income is $905.00. I have helped others all my life. I belong to the Elks, Moose, Eagles, and American Legion Organizations. I have always been available for anyone or organization that needed help. Now I need help. I don't know what to do.
Yes, I was not thinking clearly as I should have not tried to help. instead I should have contacted authorities to assist her. Never the less, I tried to assist someone myself and look at the trouble it caused me. My question is should I suffer for an error in judgment the rest of my life?
All I can say is, "Guys, stay off the computer!!" Don't fall for the scam like I did. It is not worth it.