Possible red flags when writing a sex offender?

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GalapagosDiver2's picture
Possible red flags when writing a sex offender?

So I have been writing a new penpal via snail mail (only) the last couple of months.  She has sent me two letters, and I just sent my third.  Despite the long length of the letters, it's still very much early days.

I never thought I'd be comfortable writing someone convicted of anything sex-related.  But I weighed it up, thought about it for a while and proceeded with writing this inmate - we have a lot in common and she seemed quite intelligent and capable of writing good letters.

There is nothing really wrong with her two letters, but in the most recent one (her longest) she somehow mentioned "naked" or "being naked" numerous times.  There was basically no context for these instances - i.e it was randomly just thrown into the letter, or she went out of her way to somehow link it in. 

I have not written anything along those lines to her.  I photograph everything I send - and re-reading, I am convinced nothing I wrote could be misconstrued as flirting.

The first instance it was used was in response to me asking what daily life was like for her - prison life etc.  She said she likes to get up particularly early to shower (avoid the lines) and then go back to bed so she can sleep naked(?).

The second instance was a random question, among 2-3 other random questions.  "Would I prefer being seen naked by a stranger or a friend?"

Now, I'm not easily offended and I'm not offended or uncomfortable by this scenario.  It only raised a potential alarm bell due to her convicted crime.  A bit like writing to a drug addict that randomly starts talking about getting high, I guess.  The subtle way she worked such things into the letter was a little strange (to me); particularly in only her 2nd letter.  Have never encountered anyone mentioning "nakedness" so much in a seemingly non-sexual letter before Haha

Do any of you see these instances as a potential red flag here? Is it the start of predatory type behaviour?

Any feedback much appreciated!

Cleo95's picture

Maybe it’s because of what just happened with me, but I’d have my guard up. It sounds to me like she’s testing the waters a little bit, wanting to see what you’re comfortable with, what may put you off those kinds of things. Maybe it’ll escalate maybe it won’t. Even if you’re not interested but you’re still responding to her questions, she might take that as some type of implicit consent you know? I know you’ve done this for a little while now and I’m sure you’ve set your boundaries so see if she tries to cross any. I have no experience writing to anyone with a sex related crime and I’m not going to judge you either, Gala, but you’re the one writing her so trust your instinct and if something doesn’t feel right then you have to take care of it then and there. I wish I could offer more advice, but you’ve got this! I hope it all works out and that this is all harmless stuff. But just err on the side of caution you know? Until you know her better! Or maybe just ask her why she mentions being naked all the time haha, see what she says? Good luck x

GalapagosDiver2's picture

@Cleo95 - Thank you! I really appreciate your kind words and insight.  Sometimes it's just really comforting to know that someone else sees it how I see it too.  I do have my guard up a little now.  It's a different type of guard up, you know? Things have usually been more obvious when corresponding with people who have battled drug addiction or been convicted of other types of crimes.  This feels more subtly psychological.  I agree with you, in that I sensed she was testing the waters a little bit too. 

She could very well be in some type of therapy or sex rehabilitation for all, I know.  Sexual deviancy or something psychologists might call it? Who knows.  I feel like her directing correspondence down those paths might not be in her best interests either - for her recovery and all that kind of thing. 

I suppose I could always go your direct route and ask why she mentions being naked all the time Haha!

I'll try not overthink it and just go with the flow and see what happens.  At least my eyes are well and truly open to the potential for any shenanigans on her behalf.

LotusBlossom's picture

I think that’s a very odd question to ask a friend/pen pal, if they’d rather be seen naked by a stranger or a friend.  A bit of a strange question in general, to be honest.  Wanting a stranger to see an adult randomly naked in public somewhere is a form of exposure illegal.

If two people have been talking about sex prior and have an ongoing conversation then sexual questions or conversations aren’t so out of the blue, but that questions is a little disconcerting to me.

I’ve written to (adult cases, I don’t write to anyone that was convicted of any crime again children, not saying bad stuff about people who do so, but I don’t) SO’s and they do and can have therapy available to help them, but obviously it’s not a magic cure.  

It’s nice to hear the OP is looking out for the person and not taking advantage in any way of this situation.  

I would personally suggest proceeding with extreme caution, and not answer questions like that at all.

Writing to sex offenders has it’s complications.  Let me say I’m not speaking against it, I’ve personally never had any sort of problem I wasn’t able to handle, I think it’s very important everyone has people they can talk to, but people who write need to be aware there’s a risk of certain topics and things coming up, and waters being tested.  Sexual offenses are pretty violent crimes, and offenders often gain people’s trust and then go with what they know to keep a person under control for what they it can be one of those cases you don’t even know manipulation is happening to you.  I’d recommend some awareness of that type of behavior in these situations.  I don’t agree with overthinking everything or being accusatory towards people, but sometimes people can get you to trust them, ans it won’t end well if you do.  Not saying they have a person on some list, but they might be more prone to keep pushing at boundaries to get what they want.  

LotusBlossom's picture

(Not saying bad stuff about people who choose to write in to the PP of their choice no matter the case/crime) is what I’m saying btw.

Anne marie HH
Anne marie HH's picture

Gala..I got to say it in..and I'm speaking for myself here..NO WAY would I be writing to a kiddy fiddler..thats a flat NO.. nowadays its all soooo PC with everybody offended about everything..I have heard about a women been sent to prison cos her neighbors complained about her showering naked with a yard shower..its classed as a sexual she is a sex offender..likewise the dude that thinks he's picked up a 21 year old in a club, wearing heels and and a black day her ole man and the cops are on the doorstep cos she's actually 15..he is then convicted of statuory rape and is a sex offender...thats very different to some fucking sicko mauling a 5 year old and saying they thought they liked it. I m not going on an off topic I will conclude by advising you to look up her crime..then make a decision based on that. If you decide to 'keep her' then Write her saying you are not after a sexual encounter of a paper kind, and you'd thank her to not do it...could be she feels she needs to get sexy to keep your assure her thats not so...if she don t behave..get shot

GalapagosDiver2's picture

Thanks for your reply @Anne marie HH. I agree with everything you said.  I only wrote to her once I had extensively researched and read about her crime.  Like I said, I had previously never considered writing anyone convicted of a sex crime.  I thought about it a lot and decided to write this particular inmate.  The ages you mentioned in your 21-15 example are close to my penpal's offenses.  While it's still very bad, it doesn't make me literally vomit like those other cases.  I'll be interested in her next reply - I'll definitely put my foot down and inquire what therapy (if any) she is receiving, should she make any further sexual remarks in passing.

@LotusBlossum - I'm glad you also find it strange! I had been thinking I'd perhaps been overreacting a little by even posting here about it.  So thanks for your input and for making me feel less weird about it all.  This was entirely out of the blue - I can tell you all about my days and I don't have to specifically mention being naked.  I'm not going to hide a sexual question in among 4 completely random questions either.  I'll definitely proceed with a high degree of caution and my eyes wide open.

Northernyank's picture

Unless she's had deep, psychological help inside of prison, then yes, it would stand to reason she would or could repeat certain patterns of behavior. I don't know specifically what her crime was so I can only base my opinion on what you've stated. Listen to your gut, and yes, it sounds a lot like she's "grooming" you.

GalapagosDiver2's picture

@Northernyank - Ah, so this is what being groomed feels like? Shit.  With my knowledge of the programs and resources available to inmates, I think it's probably likely she has received little psychological help or therapy.  So I'll definitely keep a look out for any patterns of behaviour.  I'm grateful for the fact I have always been a perceptive and switched on person, especially with social interactions and communication. 

LotusBlossom's picture

I’m glad other people saw the problem here too, you weren’t overreacting GalapagosDiver2, I think it’s easy to sometimes feel that way because there are all the rules and warnings about using caution with writing to inmates specifically and strangers online in general, so it gets a little confusing.

And Northern is right, this is how it starts.  “Tell me your secrets, tell me your fears, tell me your likes and dislikes, it’s just a few fun questions, and now let’s talk about sex, back to fun questions, you can trust me I’m always here for you because you’re always here for me.”  And that quickly turns into “now you give me what I want sexually, you do what I say, and I am in control.  If you say no, don’t forget I know how your mind works and your secrets I can use all that against you.”

It doesn’t end well, these types of situations.

She sounds like a great pen pal and responsive and I wish her so much happiness and the best of health, both mental and physical, but yes, if that stuff isn’t nipped right in the bud it can so easily spiral out of control.