Clemency board leaves sex offender who married victim in limboby Dara Kam | June 11th, 2009
The McCranie’s, married nearly a decade, might be considered a Romeo and Juliet romance.
They met when was Virgil was 19 and Misty was 14 and fell in love. Since then, they’ve raised four children while struggling to make ends meet.
But their story is no fairy tale.
Misty and her father pressed charges against Virgil, accusing him of raping the minor. The rape charge was dropped and adjudication but he was charged with lewd and lascivious acts against a minor and was sentenced to two years of probation.
That’s when the father of four’s nightmare began, McCranie told the clemency board today.
He was placed on the state’s sex offender web site and has been unable to hold down a job or attend his daughter’s dance recitals.
The McCranie’s pled this morning with Gov. Charlie Crist and the Florida Cabinet, acting as the Board of Executive Clemency, to pardon Virgil so that he could have his mug shot taken off the site and move forward with his life.
“I just want a chance to be a regular person. I’m not a monster,” he said.
Attorney General Bill McCollum, whose made a career of chasing down and prosecuting child pornographers and molesters, asked McCranie why he’s had dozens of jobs over the past 10 years.
“You’ve lost these jobs because of the conviction that’s on your record?” McCollum asked.
“Yes sir. Without a shadow of a doubt,” McCranie replied.
His wife Misty, now 28, also beseeched the panel to clear her husband’s criminal record.
“We’re here to beg just beg for a little bit of a piece of a life again,” she said.
The panel left the pair in limbo.
At Crist’s recommendation, they took the case under advisement, which means that McCranie can’t reapply until the clemency board renders a decision.
The McCranie’s arrived late to the two-and-a-half hour meeting because, they said, they got a flat tire en route to the Capitol from their Panama City Beach home.
McRanie, dressed in a checkered pink dress shirt flecked with blood from the mishap, said later he feared that the political aspirations of the board might have hampered his chances to have his record cleared.
Three of the four members of the board are running for statewide office: Crist is running for U.S. Senate and Republican Attorney General Bill McCollum and Democrat Alex Sink are vying to replace him as governor.
McRanie did not serve time behind bars for the crime, committed where the pair previously lived in Jacksonville, although he said he may have fared better if he had.
“My prison’s out here on this web site,” Virgil McCranie, now 34, said. “I’d have been better off in prison probably.”
Crist later said he wanted more time to review the facts and circumstances of the case.
“All of them. I need to give it more thought. More deliberation. It’s a difficult case,” he said.
In 2007, Florida lawmakers made a “Romeo and Juliet” exception to the state’s sex offender laws and allowed teenagers convicted of lewd and lascivious acts on a person less than 16 years of age to have request having their names removed from the sex offender registry.
The law does not apply to McRanie because he was over 18 when the crimes he was convicted of occurred.