Tuesday, June 21, 2011

RIP Mary Duval

Cross-posted from the Once Fallen website.

NOTICE: Paypal donations to help cover Mary's final expenses can be made through www.sosen.org, a 501(c)3 organization (Be sure to add a note when you donate). Cards and direct donations can be made to-- D. Logan, 765 Mesa View Drive, Space 24, Arroyo Grande, Ca., 93240.


Mary Duval: A Requiem For A True HeroDerek W. Logue -- June 19, 2011
"Live your life in such a way that when you wake in the morning and your feet hit the floor that Satan shudders and says, 'OH hell, she's awake'." -- Mary's favorite quote, often seen at the end of her posts.

Mary Duval went to be with The Lord on June 19, 2011. She was a dedicated mother and activist, and left behind a lasting legacy through her short life on this planet. Through Mary's tireless efforts and dedication, the difficult issue of legal reform of American sex offender laws to national prominence, and inspired the passage of laws to protect juveniles from a lifetime on the public registry for consensual acts with their peers. Mary successfully fought to have her teenage son removed from the public registry for a consensual relationship with a peer. Mary also helped bring attention to the plight of those former offenders forced to live under the Julia Tuttle Causeway in Miami, FL. Mary dedicated her life to this cause even after her son was removed from the registry and the discovery of cancer within her body. She was a true altruist, continuing to work as CEO of www.sosen.org and making public speaking appearances. Mary Duval is a true hero in every sense of the word.

Ricky's Life
"I'm simply a mom who is not going to rest until my child and thousands of others like him are free of the registry which was never meant for teen consensual sex. Watching my son's dreams of being a Navy officer burn to nothing only makes my determination stronger and hopefully I can give him back some of those dreams so he will smile again." -- Mary Duval, June 29, 2007 article

After Mary's teenage son Ricky was listed on the public registry for a consensual act with his girlfriend, Mary founded the website www.rickyslife.com. She began a petition campaign through Ricky's Life and raising awareness through sharing her family's story. Ricky's story spread to many outlets, from the Ethical Treatment of All Youth website to Minnesota Public Radio.

Mary discovered the sex offender reform groups SOSEN and SO Clear Media through her growing network of supporters of her cause. Those who worked with her soon realized they discovered a rare gem. Mary did not let her physical disabilities interfere with her determination. The "little spitfire" felt the pain of many more individuals negatively impacted by the increasingly stringent sex offender laws, and felt called to further action. While she still fought for her son's freedom, which was pressuring the Oklahoma government to reform current sex offender laws, Mary turned her attention to the larger problem of the sex offender registry and the laws it created.


"Days have passed since our return home and one thing which remains is the desperation and tragedy in Bryans voice as he reflected on his future under the Julia Tuttle Causeway. Is there any way for me as a mother, an advocate and a human to help these men and women? Daily I work with many who suffer because of these laws and yet should my son and I be thankful we do not live under a bridge? Will this day come? We realize now as we are back home in our trailer with running water and food, a warm bed to sleep in that maybe, even though these laws are destroying our lives and my family is the collateral damage, that we should be thankful for the small blessings we have. These include; a group of advocates and friends who care, a home and, most of all, we have each other. Indeed it’s the small blessings we should be thankful for." -- Mary Duval, Commentary from her trip to the Julia Tuttle Causeway, April 19, 2009

Around the same time Mary began her fight to remove her son from the public registry, there was another crisis forming under the Julia Tuttle Causeway bridge in Miami, Florida, as registered citizens were forced to live in deplorable conditions. Mary visited the JTC camp (also called the "Bookville" camp after the controversial lobbyist who created the camp) while in Miami to be interviewed for the Spanish talk show "Cristina." Mary called it "America's dirty little secret." Mary Duval, as co-host of ARC Talk Radio, raised a level of awareness to the JTC plight in a way not covered by the national media. Mary, with host Kevin, interviewed JTC residents and even Ron Book, the lobbyist who supported the 2500 foot residency restrictions that created this crisis. Mary was named spokeswoman for the camp by the residents. Media outlets as far away as Germany and Russia covered this travesty, and Miami was the center of an international embarrassment.

Long after she succeeded in having her son removed from the public sex offender registry, and knowing collateral consequences did not end with removal from that list, didn't Mary Duval continued a run of public appearances: CNN, the 2010 RSOL National Conference, the John Stossel Show, and her meeting with Lenore Skenazy of Free Range Kids.

As Mary prepared to confront controversial advocate Mark Lunsford at the steps of CNN in Los Angeles in September 2010, Mary's health took a turn for the worse. Mary had suffered from Marfan Syndrome, which had claimed her eyesight, but not her spirit. Now doctors discovered cancer and would undergo chremotherapy. Despite her deteriorating health, she still faithfully performed her duties as co-host of ARC Talk Radio, CEO of SOSEN, and making public appearances. In what would be her final full length interview, Mary made an appearance on Nevada Newmakers in April 2011. Mary's health became critical as she suffered complications from Marfan's and the chemotherapy, and slipped into a coma. She never recovered and was declared dead on the morning of June 18, 2011.

Mary leaves behind her two sons, Ricky and Eric, as well as many followers and supporters. Her dedication, altruism, and fire for this movement are legendary, and she will be sorely missed not just as a fellow sex offender reformist, but as a close friend of mine.

I began working with Mary in 2008 during her days working with SO Clear Media. I knew from the moment we first started working together, she was someone special. Mary Duval is irreplaceable both as an advocate and a dear friend. Mary took the time to volunteer for the National RSO Support Hotline. She was also on my "My Faves" five for years. She was a light to those forced to live under the bridge in Miami, as well as homeless registrants across the country.

Mary IS a TRUE HERO in every sense of the word. I am going to miss picking on her about her dangerous dogs and the Oklahoma Sooners, the weekly sharing of ideas, hearing her voice on ARC Talk Radio, and the times we encouraged each other during our down times. She helped me proofread the Once Fallen book, and promoted it tirelessly. I'll miss the friendly banter during the SO Clear VAT classes; it makes me wish we had recorded them. I believe the best way to honor her is continue her legacy and continue to fight for reform of current sex offender laws.


Another Memorial from the "Walking in my F'ing Shoes" Blog:

A Memorial Video by Sex Offender Issues Blog:

Memorial page from the eAdvocate website:

Memorial Page by Free Range Kids

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