MARY DUVAL MEMORIAL PAGE (Oct. 3, 1971-June 18, 2011)
Created by Derek W. Logue
NOTE: In the May 2013 Human Rights Watch released a new report on teens on the registry in the US, “Raised on the Registry: The Irreparable Harm of Placing Children on Sex Offender Registries in the U.S.” The HRW added the following to the Acknowledgments section of their report:
“This report is dedicated to the memory of Mary Duval, who passed away after battling cancer on June 19, 2011. Mary was a dedicated mother and activist, and CEO of www.sosen.org. She successfully fought to have her teenage son removed from the registry for a consensual relationship with a peer. Mary left behind a lasting legacy. Through her tireless efforts and dedication, she helped bring the complex issue of US sex offender laws to national prominence and inspired the passage of laws to protect children charged with certain offenses from a lifetime on the sex offender registry.”
Mary Duval: A Requiem For A True Hero
Derek 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 rose 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 (“Romeo and Juliet” offenses). Mary successfully fought to have her teenage son removed from the public registry, who was on the list 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 during her cancer treatments. Mary Duval is a true hero in every sense of the word.
“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.
A FIGHT FOR LIFE
“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:
I am adding comments from those wanting to pay their final respects.
I am deeply saddened by this news. I have been following any threads posted on her status. I for one will say that it was a great pleasure to have had the opportunity to meet her personally. She was a true warrior! She showed me what she was truly made of on many occasions.
One occasion that will forever stand out in my mind. Was during her visit here to Miami for the Julia Tuttle Causeway dilemma. We had attended a Broward county meeting that was taking place. When everyone had finished speaking Mary without hesitation started to speak the room went silent. She had everyone’s undivided attention. Mary started dissecting each and every area that had obvious problems based on what she had heard at that meeting.
Mary was one ballsy woman who was simply trying to bring awareness and a reform to these insane RSO laws. Many disliked her because she pointed out true facts. Many blamed her for merely doing what any mother in the world would do for their sons or daughters. I, like many other who knew her will miss listening to her on “ARC” as Kevin’s side kick.
Mary your mission here on this plain served it’s purpose. And now God has called you home because he knows you are a greater asset by his side.
God bless you… —K. Morales
In memoriam, Mary Duval, leader dedicated to fair justice for all and very good friend.
I want all of you to know that I miss Mary Duval, my good friend for these many years.
I remember a time back in 2007 when I asked Mary to participate in a SOclear Media interview about Romeo and Juliet laws and how they were affecting her son. The interview was going along pretty well when she stopped in the middle of a question I had given her about why she had decided to go public and stand up for her family’s rights. She said that the only way to change sex offender laws is to challenge the public’s status quo thinking by simply by being a real person with a real story and let the pieces fall where they may. “Stand up and face the enemy”, she would say. Mary
would not be bullied by the “tough on crime” crowd whatsoever.
Mary had a silly side too. Last year during our VAT (Verbally Assertive Training) pretend radio interview role training class, I asked her to help me by playing a silly role with me in our fake radio program skit. She agreed to portray an alter ego personality as a helper role named “Moxie Anne Lude” with fictional radio guy and sex offender hater “Bill Blathers” (played by me) on his “coast to coast program: Molester Mondays”. The nationwide telephone bridge we shared was attended by up to about nine RSO family members that played the “call-in” role-players where we all had some fun and learned some things too. Mary played a funny and memorable role as a smart-alecky and sassy ego assassin.
I am very sorry that we lost a good loving soul that Mary was. I grieve too for her two sons in their loss. I hope for the best for Ricky and Eric.
Tom Madison, President, SOclear Media Productions
Mary Duval. I will never forget her first call to me to console me about my son being in prison. I was a mom that was totally destroyed and devastated that my son could and did go to prison for chatting with a teenager who lied about her age. Mary is a true hero and they should make a movie of this woman who never ever told me she was even sick. She never complained about her life, she only encouraged others in the same situation as she had found herself in. An amazing woman I will never forget and look forward to seeing her in heaven one day. Mary Duval, a true hero, a civil rights activist and a caring mother and friend. You can’t get better than that.
A mom Mary touched.
“Thank you, our lovely Mary, for the amazing spirit that has inspired us to go on and fight for what is right!”
“I am so sorry to hear of Mary’s death, she was indeed a remarkable woman with so much strength and forsight. She had a huge heart and was easy to talk to and generous with her time. She was a tremendous support for me, I shall always hold our friendship as dear. Ricky, you are one heck of a great kid/man. Keep up all the good work you have been doing.”