"He's not the same," said Mary Duval, a straight-talker who has become a full-time activist to reform sex offender legislation since her son's conviction. "Say you're on the registry, and you're in the mall and a kid comes up missing. You're the first person they're going to because you're on the sex offender registry." Blackman lived with the "sex offender" label for nearly four years, until a law that took effect in Oklahoma in November removed his name from the registry.His soft-spoken, reserved manner belies Blackman's hulking physical presence -- a reminder of his days as a high school athlete.In Georgia, the Southern Center for Human Rights is challenging a state law prohibiting sex offenders from living and working within 1,000 feet of a school, church or day care.Georgia's laws go so far as to ban sex offenders from living near bus stops. Last summer, the American Civil Liberties Union filed a lawsuit against Miami-Dade County, alleging the county's 2,500-foot residency restriction interfered with Florida's ability to monitor and supervise released offenders.Blackman pleaded guilty to one count of sexual abuse for having sex with the 13-year-old. Taking into account the circumstances of the case, an Iowa judge accepted Blackman's plea and ordered that his record be expunged if he successfully completed probation and sex offender treatment.At that time, his name would be removed from Iowa's sex offender registry.But the label did more than limit where Blackman could go. Ricky was full of life and now he's definitely more cautious, more reserved." Now 20, Blackman tenses up when he sees children at a supermarket and avoids talking to girls his age, even if they initiate contact, his mother says.It transformed him from an outgoing, sociable jock into an introvert who has trouble trusting people, his mother says. "I got a lot more fear in me, I mean, because anything could happen," Blackman said.
And that's what got Ricky convicted, the truth." Blackman's story comes at a time of increased push-back against sex offender policies that some see as overly broad.
On a sunny afternoon in December, he met a CNN reporter in the parking lot of the Stilwell Public Library, arm-in-arm with his mother, who is blind.