An Elkhart year-old met a girl on a dating app.
There are dozens out there. Zachery Anderson says the girl told him she was The two made plans to meet, and they had sex.
Anderson pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor sex offense, hoping the ordeal would end with a probation term, mitigated by a Michigan statute that allows leniency for some youthful offenders, his lawyer Scott Grabel said. Anderson would spend 75 days in jail, serve five years of probation and register as a sex offender for 25 years. The case has brought the fairness of some statutory rape laws into question, particularly highlighted by the differing laws of Michigan and Indiana.
Lean on the side of caution
Wiley had admonished Anderson at his original sentencing for how he met the girl on a dating app and what transpired. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this whatsoever.
Berrien County Prosecutor Michael J. Sepic said prosecutors did the right thing, and he points out that in Michigan a victim lying about his or her age is not a valid defense. Sepic said prosecutors carefully evaluate statutory rape allegations on a case by case basis to ensure the process is fair. Yet in Indiana, the law allows someone accused of statutory rape to argue a victim lied about his or her age, called a mistake of age defense.
Anderson is out of jail, facing decades on the sex offender registry, forecasting years of trouble with jobs, residency and his ability to finish his chosen degree. Grabel declined to make Anderson available for an interview while they await the judge's decision. Grabel is asking the county to as a new judge to resentence Anderson.
Grabel also noted that the Michigan Supreme Court is weighing a similar case. Grabel said 20 other states, including Indiana, have provisions that allow a defendant to launch a defense that seeks to prove a victim lied about his or her age and that the defendant reasonably believed them to be over the age of consent.
Most provisions have some caveats, such as a clean criminal history, and a lack of coercion or force in the sex act. The Associated Press contributed to this report.
Call Star reporter Madeline Buckley at Follow her on Twitter: Mabuckley Facebook Twitter. Teen fighting sex offender status after dating app tryst. Madeline Buckley madeline.
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