61 year old Jeffery Mitchell is facing a tough decision.
The Walton County man can go to trial on a child sex offender charge and face a possible 15-year sentence, or he can accept a plea deal giving him three years probation and a sex offender label for life.
Mitchell is taking an unusual approach to his situation, so he put up a sign in his front yard.
"It’s not so much what i wanted people to know. It's a dialogue that should be started" said Jeffrey Mitchell.
2 years ago investigators arrested Mitchell for viewing child pornography on his home computer. He's had 5 lawyers, and spent hundreds of dollars fighting the charge, but says he's running out of energy to continue the battle.
"Twenty-five years of live I’ve proven myself and this is not something I’ve run away from. I've confronted it and done my best to deal with it" said Mitchell.
Mitchell says the sex offender label is not something he bears easily, but he also say it's not something he wants to hide.
"Everyone wants to be on the right side of protecting children including myself, and that's partly the reason for the sign and partly the reason that i talk to my neighbors personally" said Mitchell.
After putting the sign in his front yard, Mitchell reached out to neighbors in his community to tell his story. While some neighbors chose not to speak on camera others talked about getting to know one of their fellow neighbors.
"After listening to his story and reading the letter that he wrote to the residents I came away feeling that he honestly wanted to engage the community in conversation about his particular situation and what he'd been facing" said William Jenkins.
Mitchell can't address his pending case, but he says he doesn’t believe the sex offender label is fair.
"It’s still hard to accept that designation especially since it lasts the rest of your life. I mean not even a murder gets stamped on him for the rest of his life" said Mitchell.
Prior to put-up the sign, residents say Sheriff's Deputies personally delivered them notices, informing them their neighbor, Mitchell, is a sex offender.