by Douglas Ankney
The Illinois Prison Review Board has agreed to review Adam Nesteikis’ case.
Adam, 34, needs more attention than most men his age. He must be reminded to brush his teeth and to shave. He was 16 before he stopped wetting the bed. Participating in the Special Olympics was one of his greatest joys in life. Also scuba diving, which was taught to him by an organization dedicated to serving individuals with disabilities. His part-time restaurant job wiping tables and cleaning a restroom brought him great satisfaction. Unfortunately, all these were stripped from him.
Years ago, his mom, Carol Nesteikis, embraced another child she refers to as Reuben (a pseudonym) who had similar disabilities. Unknown to Nesteikis, as Reuben became a young adult, he began reenacting sexual abuse he had been subjected to as a boy —- molesting his niece and Adam. One day, Reuben convinced Adam to unzip his pants and expose himself to a 5-year-old girl, telling Adam it would be fun.
Reuben and Adam were charged with 19 felonies. After a year of fighting to get the charges dropped, Adam’s parents agreed to a deal: Adam would plead guilty to one misdemeanor, wear an ankle monitor for two years of probation, and be on the Sex Offender Registry for 10 years.
Even though Adam will be off the registry in another year, he will still be subject to all the rules and regulations. In Illinois, that means he can’t live within 500 feet of schools, day cares, or churches with Bible classes. He cannot even go into a park.
Nesteikis, who co-founded Legal Reform for People with Intellectual and Developmental Disabilities, said, “I think even judges and attorneys think that once you’re off the registry, those other requirements end .... But that’s not true. Once you have the Scarlett Letter [of a sex offense], it doesn’t go away until you’re gone.”
She is hopeful the Review Board will expunge Adam’s conviction.
Adam “doesn’t know what the registry is, or what it means to have a record or conviction,” said his mom. She is unsure if Adam can recover from nine years of “being in pretty much solitary confinement.” But he does know something big is coming up — something that just might allow him to get back to his beloved job and the Special Olympics.
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