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Tipsheet

Sanity Prevails: Teen Who Had Consensual Sex is Removed From Sex Offender Registry

Zach Anderson is a 20-year-old from Indiana who used the dating app Hot or Not when he was 19. On the app, he found an Michigan girl's profile, and they began talking. The girl said she was 17. They eventually met up and had sex. It turns out the girl lied, and she was actually 14, not 17. As the age of consent in Michigan is 16, the girl could not consent to sex. This meant that their encounter automatically made Anderson a felon and a sex offender--and despite pleas for leniency from both the girl and her mother, Anderson was sentenced to three months in prison and forced to spend the next 25 years on the Indiana and Michigan sex offender registries.

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Obviously, this is insane. He did not rape a girl. He was lied to by someone who admits she deceived Anderson about her age. The law, unfortunately, didn't care that he was lied to. He was guilty, and he would be on a sex offender registry until he was 44 years old. Until, thankfully sanity prevailed and a judge re-sentenced Anderson to probation and removed him from the Michigan sex offender list. And yesterday, he was finally removed from Indiana's as well.

Thank goodness.

Anderson is not a sex offender. He was a 19-year-old who thought he was engaging in relations with a 17-year-old. He had no reason to believe his partner was lying about her age, and the encounter was completely consensual. This is not the actions of a criminal. It does not do society any good to put a person who has virtually no risk of harming anyone in the community on a list that will restrict where he can live and work. He is not a pervert, he is not a pedophile, and he is not a rapist. He should never have been put on the same list as someone who is a convicted rapist or child molester.

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Cases like this are far too common. Something needs to be done before more lives are ruined for innocent mistakes.

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