By Julie Bosman . . . Until one day in December, Zachery Anderson was a typical 19-year-old in a small Midwestern city.
He studied computer science at the local community college. He lived with his parents and two younger brothers in a sun-filled home on the St. Joseph River, where framed family photos hang from the walls and a pontoon boat is docked outside.
And he dated in the way that so many American teenagers do today: digitally and semi-anonymously, through apps where prospects emerge with the swipe of a finger and meetings are arranged after the exchanges of photos and texts.
In December, Mr. Anderson met a girl through Hot or Not, a dating app, and after some online flirting, he drove to pick her up at her house in Michigan, just miles over the state line. They had sex in a playground in Niles City, the police report said. That sexual encounter has landed Mr. Anderson in a Michigan jail, and he now faces a lifetime entanglement in the legal system. The girl, who by her own account told Mr. Anderson that she was 17 — a year over the age of consent in Michigan — was actually 14.
The case came to the attention of the police after the girl’s mother contacted them, concerned about her whereabouts. They were at her home when the girl returned, according to The South Bend Tribune. A few weeks later, the paper said, the police visited Mr. Anderson, who cooperated and, in February, turned himself in. He was arrested and charged and, after pleading guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct, was sentenced to 90 days in jail and probation.
As an Indiana resident, Mr. Anderson will most likely be listed on a sex offender registry for life, a sanction that requires him to be in regular contact with the authorities, to allow searches of his home every 90 days and to live far from schools, parks and other public places. His probation will also require him to stay off the Internet, though he needs it to study computer science.
Some advocates and legal authorities are holding up Mr. Anderson’s case as the latest example of the overreach of sex offender registries, which gained favor in the 1990s as a tool for monitoring pedophiles and other people who committed sexual crimes. In the decades since, the registries have grown in number and scope; the nearly 800,000 people on registries in the United States go beyond adults who have sexually assaulted other adults or minors. Also listed are people found guilty of lesser offenses that run the gamut from urinating publicly to swapping lewd texts. (Read full story in The New York Times)
17 Thoughts to “NY Times cites RSOL Executive Director: Politicians lack courage”
A similar situation happened to my son. The girls don’t get punished at all for lying about her age, but the boys are considered “rapists” and pedophiles. My son has to register for 15 years and his picture appears on every sex offender website! Our house is marked and people judge my son. He spent 9 months in jail, then was sentenced to another 5 months in prison. He was threatened with physical harm all the time and barely would sleep. All this time, the girl was still out there dealing out “older men”. Not fair at all!!! Something needs to be done to save these guys!!!!!
Koren, Carol, Maggy, Angel, and many others with similar experiences: did you support these draconian and Orwellian laws -sentences of months in jail and years in prison for first-offenders convicted of a nonviolent and usually victimless and malum prohibitum felony, a “crime” that’s a legal act in dozens of other nations, including European countries, i.e. de facto consensual sex between adult of both sexes and young men and women under age 16 or 18; years of punitive “sex-offender treatment,” to “treat” him/her of what exactly, heterosexuality (they’re not rapists or pedophiles)?; years of quasi-totalitarian post-incarceration supervision; and registration from 15-20 years to life as uniquely dangerous and degenerate criminals- before a “loved one” became of victim of these laws and policies?
If the situation were reversed and your 14- or 15-year old daughter had a love affair or dalliance or “one-night stand” with an adult male of 19 or 20 or a teacher, for example, what would be your response? Would you then support all these draconian and Orwellian punishments. Is your opposition to rather than support for these laws purely a matter of personal experience?
Michael, asking us that question is nonsense…
Alot of this abuse is poor parenting or negligence or raised by a single parent. The minor I was with did share me one of these things. Those parents don’t want to admit it either.
Now for the “sex-offenders”, I would hope the law would take things in consideration like if there was any abuse in families or relationships or with the minor.
This is as far as I am going to write. At the end of the day, I have to worry about my future and what I am going to do with my life after this mess. Not this “what if it is your own child”.
Anon, I think you misunderstand me. I hate these laws, and my detestation is manifest and unequivocal. My point is that I fear most of the people who oppose these laws and write this website and others only do so because they or a “loved one” was charged with a nonviolent and victimless and malum prohibitum crime, whether “guilty” or innocent, and subjected to all the draconian and iniquitous and Orwellian penalites. I’d like to know if they supported these laws, or were ignorant or indifferent, before they or a “loved one” were victimized.
My family has been living in this very grey area for 30 years. my son was convicted of 2 rapes. one girl was 15. He was molested by a babysitter for 5 years. i don’t know how one becomes an offender just that there is a lot of built up anger. These crimes took place within a two week period when he had just turned 19. he had a mental break down. Served 10 years at bridgewater mass, then gardner correctional facility for 8 more. With a few in between. he was released in 12/2003. He is not a danger to society. He can’t go back although i am sure he would like to. The post ex facto laws, and the registry have made his life miserable. he turned to drinking and drugs. Which in turn have complicated matters. His basic civil rights have been taken away. We live in a small town Pembroke ma, and the police have made our lives miserable. He is now in prison because they lied ad said he didn’t registered, when he came back from Mississippi with his son. he did, but these little town cops were after him from day one. that’s the way it is. his drinking just helped put him back in. That is his problem today he is an alcoholic, not an offender. he is a good man who has become bitter. he is now 48, has a 9 year old son. I am doing what i always do, standing beside him. Sometimes he is angry with me. The only thing s family can do is bite the bullet, hang on to your faith, and know you are not alone. Maggy
I am the mother of 27-year-old who met a girl online. She posted as 18 and they met several times. He did not have any reason to believe differently. Then, months later, he was confronted by a guy with baseball bat. He had no idea she was actually 15. Now he is being prosecuted for Rape of minor. The laws need to change for sexual predators. My son never set out looking for anyone younger. Now his life is ruined! He will have to register for possibly 15 years and serve time. Please tell me how we can change these laws. Even categorizing violent to non violent (meaning consensual). Today’s society is using the Internet to meet. Laws need to catch-up to the reality of the times.
Very depressed mom
I am a victim of a minor, similar to Carol story. The more I read online for answers, the more I get stressed. I am waiting on my pre-trial hearing. I know how its going to be played out and already expecting the worse. Any groups in Austin, TX advocating for people who are non-threatening to public? I need support and want to be involved.
Anon, My son is serving his time and being released in December. I am trying to look on the positive side for him. All I can say is your family is your support they need to get involve with this W.A.R. because its an automatic if you get convicted to be put on the registry.All you offenders that are not violent or repeated offenders need to communicate and support eachother.
It’s with a heavy heart that I reply to you. As much as I don’t want to say this and hate what I’m about to say, it’s just the bitter truth. No one with any authority to actually change these laws cares one lick about you, your life, your soul, your future, your career, who you really are or anything “you” related. The reality as you probably know by now is this; you’re finding yourself in a position where the vultures that feed on your situation will embellish any and every aspect of the events of whatever happened to make you out to be a complete monster. The system will continue to do so until they’ve taken everything from you and destroy any possibility of you thriving in life ever again. The days of your life being defined by promise and hope of a better day are gone, to be replaced as the identity of being a “sex offender”. Wait till you try to find work… anyways…
It’s true that a lot of people on the registry were placed there by finding themselves in a situation where the girl lied. But the brutal, harsh and real truths are as follows; No one wants these laws changed because facade it presents is it’s all about “protecting the children”. The ever angelic, precious, always 100% innocent girl viewed in the minds of law makers as being Precious Moments figurines. I know from first hand experience that girls have a free pass to allow their hormones to dictate whatever they do with whoever they please so long as they don’t get caught. When they do, well there’s the age of consent laws to shield them from any wrong doing, and give their parents the satisfaction for the splurge of rage they feel enacted upon whomever their daughter got herself involved with… Read on.
The sex laws while well meaning were designed to protect children from “stranger danger”, kidnapping, the pervert waiting in the weeds to snatch up a child. Or the random pervert trying to cop an unwelcome feel. The age of consent laws written to prevent coercion and grooming by adults against children. While these acts are disgusting, they now blanket any and all physical contact or anything else that could be deemed sexual in nature (forget stranger danger, now ANY touch or sexual situation is all ubiquitous to force, violence, with malice intent, and consent impossible). Any sexual situation is blanketed under the “age of consent” law making it impossible for anyone to fight anything in court. Nearly all sex cases (violent rapes excluded) are the same.
People are cast into roles by the courts as being either victim or perpetrator. The victim mentality has gone way overboard. Many girls not even aware they were a “victim” until the courts get involved to label them as such. In many cases the trauma of the trial is far FAR worse than what happened to begin with! But that trauma isn’t considered by the courts when trying to destroy someone with a guilty verdict and sex offender registration! Who cares if the girl is embarrassed or destroyed? (Duggars) We just want to socially murder the “offender” for our own satisfaction and lust of nobility.
The laws themselves that led to the registry are constructed in a manner which enables, encourages and allows the investigators, prosecutors, as well as the girls to lie, cheat, then lie some more (then to go do it again if they want, after all, they have no punishment from any court even if they lie, and they’ll always have a friend in the DA’s office who will coddle them as “victims”, as long as the DA gets a win). When they’re on the stand, they don’t want to be perceived as being promiscuous in front of a judge or their parents looking on. And the easiest way out is to create lies about force, being scared, or diminish their involvement in the matter in any way possible so they can save face. This keeps the persona they’ve created for themselves as being coerced or hurt, thus rendering a guilty verdict. Meanwhile they walk away laughing hysterically as the man who’s life they just destroyed is led to prison. (been there, done that). In that regard, who is the real victim? Think about that!!!!
Even if the girl tries to tell the truth, consent or deliberate deceit still doesn’t matter, and the system has sunk it’s teeth into the guy and isn’t going to let loose for anything. It’s a sad, repulsively disgusting state of affairs this country is in. The powers (law makers, courts, judges, DA’s) in charge over the people, drunk with power, aren’t going to let the system collapse under their watch. No one (NO ONE!) looks at these cases and takes any consideration into intent or unwelcome advances by a minor. The way they view it, it’s impossible for a girl to be sexual until the stroke of midnight on her 18th birthday. Then her body is just switched on. The definition of age of consent needs to be changed. While an adult may coerce a child into a sex act (which should be illegal), a teenager may also be coercive. It’s a slippery slope, but still the foundation for all sex crimes. The burden of consent should be as difficult to prove for a prosecutor as lacking intent is for a defendant. Sex cases in general matter little to anyone when it comes to blanketing someone under the web of being cast as a pedophile, incapable of being reformed. No one lacks any courage to take a stand against these girls for the lives they destroy, or hold them accountable for anything they do with their bodies or the lies they tell.
Until the Supreme Court of the US gets involved to change the definition of age of consent laws, and state that a girls unwanted advances or lies do NOT make a man a criminal, nothing will ever change. EVER!!! The law is so vague when it comes to the flip side however. If a 14 or 15 yr old is convicted of murder, then watch the media frenzy as the prosecutors try to adjudicate them as adults! It’s an outrage so blatant that screaming it doesn’t even do it justice! For some reason, murder is the only crime that they can do that they are held accountable for as an adult, with an adult sentence. Yet they get involved in a sexual matter of their own doing, their own involvement, created by their own actions, their own bodies and their own lies and they are paraded as “victims” incapable of giving consent! Where is the outrage of this perverse criminal justice system? It’s not about “protection” of any girls, these laws are all about finding as many people guilty as possible, filling up the jails, and convincing the public we have a mass population of perverts that must be contained, restrained, restricted, monitored, reformed, counseled and publicly shamed all at the taxpayers expense for the remainder of their lives. Believe me, it’s a big business, and if the people running the SO registries had their way, everyone in the country would be on the list.
Why aren’t girls in school given a course on the laws as they apply to sexual activities? Why are girls allowed to lie in these cases, then when caught lying have absolutely NO repercussions for destroying a mans life? Why did Alisha Dean in Florida get not one, but 2 people convicted with rape while lying? Where is her punishment? Consider that in Oregon a 15 yr old can get a federally funded sex change WITHOUT their parents permission! Where’s the age of consent laws there? Again, Where… WHERE is the outrage at all this crap?!? There should be people screaming mad about this! Girls or boys at 15 can do as they desire with their bodies, even given condoms in school! But if they deceive, induce or create a situation for a sexual encounter THEY WANT, then they are labeled “VICTIM”? How many cases have there been where people have been murdered or committed suicide because of the shame brought on by a sex case or the public registry? Where is the “Charles Parker” law enacted to tone down or STOP these ridiculous situations from ever reaching trial or being made into a public spectacle with the registry? Instead we have Megans Law, Jessicas Law. It just never stops. Why do you think there’s nearly 1 million sex offenders in the country? It’s called human nature. And people are going to do stupid things, things other people (parents) don’t like or want to accept. And as long as the age of consent laws double standard continues, nothing will ever change.
Truer words were never spoken, my friend. Read Dr. Martin Klein’s book “The WAR on Sex” in our country. Speaking truth to power is always dangerous, especially in court. Legal authority operates on a basal carpentry level. Every argument by any sex offender is seen as a nail and gets hammered down.
What can be done to get the laws changed. My 24 year old son is on the registry for a bad decision – nothing violent or unconsensual . He has no place to live (he can’t live with me because I live too close to a school). He can’t find work and has been told by probation if he registers as homeless he will face additional charges. So many young lives are being ruined — politicians won’t take up this cause because it’s not popular and they won’t be re-elected. It is hopeless and unfair.
DEAD ON, BRO!! Case stated beautifully across the entire front of this war!
Let me make sense of all these sex offender laws. These laws are passed by politicians who are very much exempt from them, judges and thier families are exempt as well along with most attorneys and the very wealthy. This feminist bill called ” The violence against women act ” was passed in 1994. The law changed all the rules, i have read the law and trust me… If you are a man or a women it will make u sick. This law single handedly impoweres women over men period. Special interest runs our country now. Alot of you have heard the saying “The war on woman” what that means is the feminists do not want to lose ground they have made in our court systems.
Divorce, sex cases, domestic violence ect… The war is on the Alpha males, of course they want to convict all men. The feminists are making the laws and callng the shots, all backed up by big money and special interest. Its big business… It puts a wedge between men and women breaking down the family structure, its all being done by design ppl. No man will ever get a fair shot when it comes to our current laws involving a women. So congrats all you man hateing feminists. .your the boss. Just remember this. . Men.. Well we won a few wars and invented almost everything in use today !
DRK, the actual reality is far more nuanced and complex and far less simplistic and Manichaean than your MRA-like jeremiad proclaims. I suggest you go to “cats and tags” and click on Wisconsin and read my three comments under “Who Should be Feared in Cottage Grove” on the Cassandra Sorenson-Grohall and Abigail Simon outrages and travesties. The overwhelming number of innocent and harmless victims are of course male but hundreds of women have also had their lives blighted and destroyed by these insane and draconian and Orwellian laws. I’d love to hear your response to what I say in these comments.
You are so “dead-on” with your analysis..for the simple crime of curiosity I did seven years in prison, sent there by a prosecutor who was aided by her buddy, the public defender, who misunderstood her job definition as defending the public from this “dirty old man” and who didn’t advocate for me, but advocated for the prosecution by forcing me to plead out and end up convicted by a federal judge.
Fundamentally and seminally, feminists are culpable. In regard to sex crimes as opposed to “domestic violence, CSA victimologists of both sexes and feminists wrote and lobbied for the enactment of these draconian and iniquitous and Orwellian Laws. But the U.S. is not a matriarchy, ruled by feminists, as MRAs absurdly contend. It’s a patriarchy and plutocracy that is still largely ruled and controlled by white male billionaires and millionaires, including a majority of senators and nearly half of all congressmen. And a majority of state legislators are still white males. So male politicians are largely responsible. They’re the ones who passed these laws. Feminists didn’t force them to vote for and enact these insane laws. They had the power to oppose these laws.
As for adult men and women who have love affairs and dalliances with young men and women under age 18 and their vilification as “rapists” and “pedophiles” and “child molesters, and also “sexual predators,” even if their “victims” were the aggressors and initiators and, in respect to women teachers, even if they raped or sexually assaulted their definitional “victimizers”: Imagine if a majority of billionaires and millionaires were critical of this “moral panic” and witch-hunt and the “cruel and unusual” laws and policies that this mass hysteria and new-age inquisition has engendered. Imagine if one billionaire -just one!- opposed such laws and owned a cable news network like Fox or CNN or MSNBC. The opponents and critics of such laws would have as much power and influence as the likes of Bill O’Reilly, Nancy Grace, Dr. Drew, ad nauseum. If so, commonsense and realism and sanity might be restored.
His story is being covered tonight on Nightline at 12am ET.