In a society with little tolerance for sex criminals, Christopher Evanoff views himself as an offender and a victim. The Ohio man was released from prison in 1997 after serving two years for repeated sexual encounters with a 15-year-old girl when he was 23. Evanoff, now 34, says his sentence didn’t stop there. He insists he got more punishment than the law allows, reports the Cleveland Plain Dealer. Eleven days before he left prison, a caseworker told Evanoff he had to register as a sex offender upon his release because of Megan’s Law – one of many statutes states began enacting nationwide in the 1990s.
Evanoff and others say these laws stigmatize sex offenders, especially those who pose little threat to others after they serve their time. “I’m the first person to blame myself for my problems, but I lost everything because of this,” Evanoff said recently in a phone interview from his home in Beckley, W.Va. “They forced me out of Ohio.” He makes the case that he was required to register illegally because his offenses occurred before the new law went into effect.