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Five years to life

Five years to life

A son’s tragedy… a mother’s story

For the purposes of keeping the family anonymous, the mother in this article will be referred to as Mary and her son as Danny.  

One of the worst fears a mother has is getting a frantic phone call from a child saying, “Mom, I’m in trouble,” and being powerless to do anything about it.  The immediate clenching of her hands on the phone and the held breath that won’t escape is a visceral reaction for any woman.  Mary received such a call from her son, Danny, and she quickly imagined his entire life falling apart.

To understand the complete shock Mary felt, the character of her son has to be understood.  Always knowing he wanted to be a special forces Para jumper, Danny started training in high school to fulfill his dream.  He was in ROTC for three and half years, and he trained with various athletic teams to improve the skills he would need to be an elite, military rescuer.  Mary knew her son to be focused and dedicated, so to get that frantic phone call from Danny magnified her fear.  She knew the stakes were high, and everything he had worked for could be stripped away.

The story of what happened that day and night had many twists and turns, but the basics are as follows:  While Danny was on leave from his military training, he tried to assist a young woman he knew casually.  The girl approached him at his parent’s home asking for help.  Once Danny gained permission, he allowed the girl to crash at his house for a few hours.  Later that night, Danny again met up with the young woman at a friend’s, and they spent the night together.  Little did he know that that fateful decision could have changed his life forever.

By the next evening, the authorities had accused a scared, 18-year-old boy of having sex with an intoxicated 16-year-old girl.  The family was told Danny would be charged with a misdemeanor, and they proceeded to get an attorney.  However, maybe trying to make an example out of Danny, the prosecutor decided to up the charges to two felony accounts including rape.  Suddenly, what was considered a minor offense, a misdemeanor, immediately jumped to a possible prison sentence of five years to life and forever being registered as a sex offender.  Thankfully, their lawyer knew his limitations and told the family they needed to hire Kimberly Irving.  The family was shell shocked, but they decided to put their trust in her.

Having seen similar situations in the past, Kimberly knew how to help this young man who was less than two years older than his accuser.  She orchestrated a campaign along with John Irving to get the best outcome for Danny.  With a private investigator, Kimberly was able to determine that the girl met up with her boyfriend on the day in question and had some drinks.  The boyfriend testified, and the girl’s account started to unravel.  By the end of the trial, Danny agreed to plead guilty to a misdemeanor, which was contributing to the delinquency of a minor.  Never one to excuse bad behavior, Mary still hated having her son plead guilty.  “My son was held responsible for his part.  No one else was and without Kimberly, he would have been held responsible for everyone’s part!”  However, this did save her son from the potential felony charges.  Because of her experience, Kimberly was able to have his jail time of two weeks removed from his record.  As a direct result of Kimberly’s efforts, Danny’s dream of being in the military was saved.

Today, Danny is back in training and close to reaching his goal.  Mary, knowing how easily things could have gone differently, expressed how she felt about Kimberly and John Irving.   “They had my son’s life in their hands.  They stood with us, and they stood for us.  It has meant the future of my son.  Everything.”  To a mother, a child’s life and future are everything.   Thankfully, Mary gets the chance to see her son continue to thrive.

 

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