Sex Offender Fighting Eviction Due To Registry As 12-Year-Old
PLANO (CBSDFW.COM) – The eviction notice came last week. “I mean, it floored me,” said Joshua Gravens, 26.
Suddenly, Gravens, his wife, and their four children were told they had just four days to leave their home.
“Homelessness is a big worry,” said Nicole Gravens.
It’s all because of something Joshua did, when he was only 12-years-old. “I inappropriately touched my sister,” he said.
Gravens says, he himself was sexually assaulted by a neighbor, when he was 9-years-old. He later repeated some of that behavior with his younger sister.
By the age of 13, he was a registered sex offender. “It was experimentation,” he said, “and sadly my sister was a victim of that experimentation.”
A background checks shows no other incidents of sexual assault.
Gravens, though, still has trouble finding a job or a home for his family to live. Not even a year old, his daughter has already been through three homes.
His 8 year old son – through three school districts. “It’s very difficult to find a place,” said Nicole.
Looking for a more permanent home in Plano, Gravens said he tried at least 15 apartment complexes before calling Cross Creek Apartments.
“Listen, I’m a registered sex offender. It happened when I was a kid. I saw you have move-in specials,” To his surprised, the leasing agent offered him a lease. “It really felt like an answer from God,” he said.
Then, last week, he learned he was being accused of failing to notify the complex of his status and that the leasing agent suddenly no longer worked there.
“They knew I was a registered sex offender,” said Gravens. “It was shocking,” said Nicole.
Children as young as ten can wind up on the Texas sex offender registry. According to the Department of Public Safety, which manages the list, the youngest officer currently on it is 13, though he’s been listed since he was just 11.
Even victims’ advocates have issues with that. “I don’t think it makes sense,” said Annette Burrhus-Clay, the executive director for the Texas Association Against Sexual Assault. “I do think it’s a serious situation. I just don’t think the sex offender registry is the proper course of action for kids that young.”
Gravens’ own victim, his sister, wrote the courts years ago, asking them to let him “live his life” by allowing him off the list. He will be eligible for removal in 2017.
For now, though, Gravens and his family continue to fight just to keep a roof over their heads. On the advice of their attorney, they are staying in their home unless a judge orders otherwise.
“Legally, we don’t feel they have the ability to evict us” he said.
CBS 11 reached out to the apartment complex and its parent company, Adara Communities. They did not wish to comment.
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