Bewildered Florida Woman Sues State For Marking ‘Sexual Predator’ On Her Driver’s License (Video)

Tammy Masters had just moved to Clermont, Fla. and couldn’t figure out why she got weird looks every time she had to show her new driver’s license. This went on for a couple weeks until she went to a court hearing to contest a traffic ticket. There, she found out that the DMV had marked her as a “sexual predator” on her driver’s license.

The Orlando Sentinel reports that someone at the Dept. of Highway Safety and Motor Vehicles got mixed up and marked “sexual predator” on Masters’ license instead of “organ donor.” Oops. When she received her license, Masters checked to make sure the DMV had printed out her address correctly, but didn’t think to look it over more carefully:

The mother of two had the license for a week or two before realizing the error. She simply checked over her address and name and stuck it in her wallet. When she found out, she was afraid of driving or doing any task where one might have to show their license in fears of being arrested.

These kinds of mistakes can lead to some serious consequences that go way beyond raised eyebrows. Masters was barred from taking her kids to Disney World, and the local parents at her kids’ new schools may be banning them from play dates and trashing Masters’ reputation even as you read this.

The “scarlet letter law” requiring sex offenders and sexual predators to be marked as such on their driver’s licenses was signed into law by Gov. Charlie Christ back in 2007. But thanks to massive budget cuts in 2010, which forced 20 DMV offices to close throughout the state, the remaining workers are no doubt under more strain, and errors like these are bound to happen.

Masters “wanted to be an organ donor, and came out a sexual predator.”

WFTV reports Masters has decided to sue the state of Florida’s DMV to prevent others from having to go through this awful and embarrassing experience. According to her lawyer John Phillips:

“She wanted to be an organ donor, and she came out a sexual predator. (Masters) started noticing people were treating her the wrong way. (A) hotel wouldn’t let her stay. (Masters) went to Disney World, the ‘Happiest Place on Earth,’ (and) they said, ‘We can’t let you in the park.'””

When processing people’s driver’s licenses, DMV workers get to a screen where they select items from a drop-down menu for things like whether a driver wears glasses (which they don’t wear when having their photo taken), whether they’ve chosen to be an organ donor, and whether they’re a sex offender or sexual predator.  But the DMV’s computer system provides no warning screen that requires workers to confirm whether their next victim really is a sexual predator. Had someone thought to add that feature to the software, they could have saved people a lot of heartache.

Phillips adds that this is not the first time an innocent person like Masters has unfairly been marked as a sexual predator. Since 2012, he has filed law suits on behalf of two other clients who had the same experience. Unfortunately, one of them — a blind man whose state ID mistakenly marked him as a sex offender — died while his lawsuit was pending.

Phillips urges the state to fix this problem before more people get unfairly marked as sex offenders.

“It’s a severe problem. It’s a problem that a good it person with the state could correct.”

Here’s the video with WFTV’s report on Masters’ lawsuit against Florida’s DMV over their marking her as a “sexual predator” on her driver’s license.


Featured image: Video screen grab/WFTV.