Galen Baughman has been on the sex offenders’ registry for over a decade.
What led to his 9-year imprisonment was a “consensual relationship” with a 14-year-old boy. He explains in a 2015 TEDx talk:
Image Credit: Screenshot/YouTube
“When I was 19 I fell in love with a boy who was sweet and smart and quirky. He would read me his poetry late into the night about anything and everything — we told each other our secrets and he made me laugh. He was my best friend.
One night, we stayed up late talking after our friends had fallen asleep in the room around us. It was my last night back home before returning to college after my winter break — he kissed me for the first time and he asked to have oral sex. He was a freshman in high school.
We never thought that night would lead to a prison cell.”
According to a Washington Post article from 2003, the 14-year-old’s mother alerted police in New York when she said Baughman sent her son “sexually explicit emails.”
After police took over the boy’s online identity and began communicating with Baughman, the then-19-year-old apparently requested “explicit sexual activity” and even child pornography from the teen.
Investigators later found Baughman was also engaged in conversations and sexual relationships with other Virginia teens.
Baughman was sentenced to 30 years in prison for “aggravated sexual battery” and sex with a minor. However, Baugman claimed the sexual encounters were “not forced” and the judge suspended his sentence to just 6.5 years, which was later extended to nine years, The Guardian reports.
Since his release in 2012, he’s opened the Center for Sexual Justice in Washington, D.C., which advocates for “fair legal treatment of sexual minorities and provides support to families impacted by the criminal justice system.”
— Galen Baughman (@GalenBaughman) October 19, 2015
But a recent probation violation has Baughman in hot water with police once again.
Slate obtained a copy of his violation report, which accuses him of texting a 16-year-old boy in Minnesota for approximately a month. The incident played out eerily similar to the incident 12 years prior.
“In late 2015, the boy’s mother had found text messages on her son’s phone that disturbed her, saved some of them, and alerted the Virginia State Police. Later, in an email to Baughman’s probation officer, she stated that she considered him a threat and expressed concern that he was ‘contacting other underage boys’ he had met at the funeral.”
Baughman even suggested the teen move their conversations to messaging apps like Kik or Snapchat so “cops and parents” couldn’t see them.
Charles Burnham, Baughman’s lawyer, has asked the public to “withhold judgment” on the case until it has been given a “full and fair hearing.”
The 32-year-old is currently a justice fellow at the Human Rights Defense Center where he is working on a project to “end the practice of civilly committing youth as sexually violent predators.”
Associate Director of the HRDC, Alex Friedmann, tells Independent Journal Review the organization is aware of the situation, but they’re not passing judgment just yet:
“Thank goodness we live in a country where a person is innocent until proven guilty.”
Friedmann says Baughman primarily works in Washington, D.C. and he manages their Nashville office, while the main HRDC headquarters is in Florida.
While he’s met Baughman once, he says work matters are handled electronically.
When asked about Baughman’s arrest, he said this is simply an “accusation of a technical parole violation” and he won’t speculate on the matter until after his hearing in July.
Editors note: This article has been edited after publication.