The Niles girl and her mom — whom the Elkhart Truth won’t name because the teen is a victim — even asked for leniency, asked that the case be dropped altogether. I feel that nothing should happen to Zach,” the girl said at the first of his two sentencing hearings April 13, accompanied by her mother. “I don’t want him to be a sex offender because he really is not and I know that there’s an age difference and I realize that (name deleted) was inappropriate that night, we didn’t know,” the mother said. And here is what I have to say: Our sex offender laws are cruel, draconian and not making anyone safer. It is time to demand our lawmakers stop peddling the idea that these are making our kids safer.
Now the older one is in jail for a misdemeanor, but once he’s served the time it gets even worse: 25 years of his future will be mortgaged to the Michigan sex offender registry.
“Often those charged with sex offenses are shamed into silence.
“This story out of the heartland – northern Indiana and southwestern Michigan – deserves a bigger audience.
Two teenagers meet via a hookup app but one turned out to be younger than the magic legal age.
Worse yet, Les and Amanda Anderson, who run a small Elkhart media and printing company, fear their son could face a lifetime on Indiana’s sex offender registry on returning to the Elkhart area after his jail sentence is up.
“Here’s the thing: This mistake should not haunt him the rest of his life,” Les Anderson says from the family home in east Elkhart.
What’s unusual is that this young man and his family are fighting back.
The Andersons of Elkhart, IN have taken to the internet, social media, local newspapers and the courts.
There are even ‘Justice 4 Zach’ t-shirts to drive home a poignant message about that scarlet letter, the sex offender registry.The local paper, the Elkhart Truth, put the story (below) on the front page. The young man from Elkhart, 19, pleaded guilty in Berrien County, Mich., Trial Court in March to a misdemeanor count of criminal sexual conduct for having sex — consensual sex — on Dec. She said she was 17, and met him in person after a whirlwind courtship in cyberspace that started with a meeting via the social app Hot or Not.