Teen Fighting His 25-Year Label as a Sex Offender

Zach Anderson on the registry after fellow teen lied about her age
By John Johnson,  Newser Staff
Posted Jul 31, 2015 1:29 PM CDT
Teen Fighting His 25-Year Label as a Sex Offender
Zach Anderson in his police photo.   (Berrien County Jail.)

The good news for 19-year-old Zach Anderson of Indiana is that he's out of jail after a 90-day sentence, having been released on July 9, per the South Bend Tribune. The bad news is that he will remain a registered sex offender for the next quarter-century after having sex with a teenager who lied about her age. (She was actually 14, not 17.) The girl herself doesn't consider him a sex offender—in fact, she testified on his behalf, as did her mother—and nor do his parents, who have launched a public campaign that includes this Facebook page and this Change.org petition. But the problem for Anderson is that the judge who got his case is fed up with what he calls "meet, hook-up, have sex, sayonara, totally inappropriate behavior," and Anderson is paying the price. "They make me out to be a monster," he tells ABC News. "I can't even look at life regularly."

Anderson will be on the registry for 25 years in Michigan, where the sex took place, and he faces tough restrictions for the next five years, including:

  • No computer: Anderson planned to study computer science, but that's out the window because he's not allowed to log on to any computer. "I can't really have an actual career."
  • Can't live at home: Anderson had to move out of his parents' home because it's too close to a public boat ramp.
  • Also: He can't use a smartphone, talk to anyone under age 17, go anywhere that serves alcohol, and must be home by 8 every night.
On the "Justice 4 Zach Anderson" Facebook page, his parents on Thursday asked for prayers "for Zach this next week. The restrictions are taking its toll on him. It is very difficult." Anderson pleaded guilty with the understanding that he'd receive a more lenient sentence that would avoid the sex-offender label, and he has filed a motion to withdraw his guilty plea, reports the Elkhart Truth. He has a court hearing Aug. 5. Read more on the case. (More sex offenders stories.)

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