In late 2015, the boy’s mother had found text messages on her son’s phone that disturbed her, saved some of them, and alerted the Virginia State Police.
Later, in an email to Baughman’s probation officer, she stated that she considered him a threat and expressed concern that he was “contacting other underage boys” he had met at the funeral.
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That meant Baughman could be held against his will under what’s known as “civil commitment,” a form of long-term psychiatric treatment that in practice amounts to indefinite detention.
(Civil commitment is legal at the federal level and in 20 states.
”), shares wisdom (“If you’re magnetic, you can draw people into you and hold them there—they buy into you, believe you, love you”), and boasts (“My work is helping people and winning ever-increasing support! In many of the messages, Baughman seems to be grasping for the teenager’s attention and pressuring him to talk on the phone: “Am I still on your list for tonight? ” At other points, he appears to be upset, badgering the teenager about his commitment to their friendship.
“Since you’ve never answered the question about whether you care about me,” he writes in one message, “it’s pretty clear what the answer is.” Baughman surrendered to Virginia authorities last weekend.
According to the Despite Virginia’s best efforts, Baughman won his freedom in 2012, at which point he was placed on probation and added to the state’s sex offender registry.
Upon his release, he set about becoming an activist on behalf of the population he would later start calling “my people.” He co-founded a nonprofit called the Center for Sexual Justice, dedicated to changing “the cultural beliefs leading to unjust sex laws that effectively target sexual minorities.” He got a job as communications director for Citizens United for Rehabilitation of Errants, or CURE, a criminal justice reform group. On one occasion he briefed me on a vindictive new law that made it harder for people on the sex offender registry to travel internationally.
His goal for the day was to educate his audience about how the legal system mistreats people like him, and to convince any skeptics in attendance that he was not the dangerous monster that his criminal record might suggest.
, about the virtues of letting children take risks and the perils of trying to protect them from every conceivable danger. suburb of Arlington, Virginia, and attended Indiana University to study opera, arrived at the brunch wearing a blue collared shirt and a bright, friendly smile.* As he told his story, he spoke with the deliberate diction of a former theater kid.
Galen Baughman had been out of prison for about three years when he came to Queens last spring to meet a friendly crowd of reporters, activists, and academics over lox and bagels.
Baughman, then 31 years old, had been invited to tell the story of how he came to be incarcerated and labeled a sex offender.
This list will be used to share information with everyone about what’s happening & coordinate efforts.” Some in Baughman’s circle did answer his call, including Charlie Sullivan, Baughman’s former boss at CURE, and Roger Lancaster, an anthropologist at George Mason University and the author of the 2011 book .