By Steven Yoder | June 28th, 2019
Last Sunday, Jason broke the news to his 7-year-old daughter: He’d be moving out. When a new Tennessee law goes into effect Monday, he will be barred from living with her. The law, Senate Bill 425, also forbids him from being alone with his daughter, meaning he can’t handle doctor’s appointments or pick her up from school, and he and his wife will need to hire childcare since she works full-time. His daughter cried when she heard but understood, Jason said, and told him she didn’t want her father to go to jail.
Seven years ago, a stepdaughter accused Jason of sexual touching, a charge he denies and attributes to discipline that he and his wife imposed. With the prosecutor threatening up to 18 years in prison, Jason says his lawyer advised him to take a plea deal that included probation, rather than risk a trial. Jason, whose name has been changed to protect his wife’s job, says the judge imposed no restrictions on him being around his daughter, and the Tennessee sex offense registry shows that he has no other criminal history.
Their predicament is likely to be felt more widely in coming months, as Tennessee implements the new law. It was spurred by Kyle Helton, sheriff of Giles County, which borders Alabama.
Read at The Appeal