Letter: Paying for a mistake

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, February 6, 2007

In response to Susan Fisher’s Feb. 2 letter:

I’m so sorry you feel threatened by the article about our son, Matthew Hopkins. And yes, he is now labeled a sex offender and is dealing with that. This was a very irresponsible and immature mistake that was made a few years ago between two teenagers. Matthew was led to believe that the girl was much older, and he did not realize that she was not older than 16. Her mother also had a live-in boyfriend who was Matt’s age. These facts we found out about much later after he was invited to spend a weekend with them when he was 19. That doesn’t excuse the fact that the incident happened. This is the very reason we need to protect our kids from the Internet. We can’t be sure we are dealing with real people, and Matthew, like many others, got caught up in it.

It’s not a pretty picture being labeled a sex offender. But we will not hang our heads in shame and run from what is fact. And I will tell you this. He did not hide his crime and he did not run from it and pretend it didn’t happen. He’s paying his dues and will continue to do so.

You are right to be concerned about the threat of a sex offender. But before blasting someone for trying to excel and better themselves, think twice before sounding off. There’s always the rest of the story. Matthew is getting on with his life, which is why he is not ashamed to be seen in public and refuses to hide. And about the Scrabble Club, if you feel threatened, don’t come. But for those who enjoy the game and expanding your mind, the game is still on, and you have to be 18 or older to play.

— Vivian Hopkins

Gold Hill