Zach Anderson, 19, of Elkhart, In., pleaded guilty to a misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct for having consensual sex last year with a Michigan teen. She said she was 17, but she was only 14, two years under Michigan’s age of consent. Now, Anderson is serving a 90-day jail sentence, followed by five years of probation and a prospect of 25 years on Michigan's sex offender registry. The girl and her mom asked that the case be dropped, says the Elkhart Truth. “I don't want him to be a sex offender because he really is not,” the mother said. The judge did not invoke a Michigan law for first offenders that allows eligible participants to expunge criminal convictions on complying with sentencing conditions, thus avoiding the stigma of a criminal record as they enter their adult years.
The Andersons are contesting the sentence. “That is our goal: to get him off the list and be able to function as a normal person in society, be able to live his life like any other person. Because at the end of the day, this is the old-fashioned scarlet letter,” says Zach’s father, Les. “My son, he's not a danger to anybody. He's not dangerous to society. … He's not going to hurt a little girl. That's not going to happen.” Zach and the girl met on Facebook. During his five years of probation, he can't have a computer, except for schooling. He is prohibited from using a smart phone or any other device that connects to the Internet; he can’t live anywhere with Internet access, or have an account with Facebook or any other online social network.