Readers may not have realized that a sexual assault conviction, arising in the context of alleged date rape, might include a penalty of sex offender registration in some jurisdictions.

A high school football player recently received this harsh penalty — and made national news — after a jury in his criminal trial found him guilty of the alleged rape of a teenage at a party. Pursuant to his sentence, the teen must register as a sex offender for the next 20 years, at six-month intervals.

teen to only one year in a juvenile detention center. The only upshot is that there may be a possibility of lifting the registration requirement, depending on the court’s assessment of the teen’s rehabilitation.

A criminal defense attorney that specializes in sex crimes knows that juvenile offenders might receive special consideration because of their youth. In they eyes of prosecutors and the court, a young offender might be regarded as having more potential for reform and reentering society.

The prospect of assimilating back into societal functions of work, school and friends is never easy after a conviction, especially in the case of sex crimes. The stigma associated with this type of offense may lead to permanent estrangement from friends and loved ones, as well as negative work consequences.

Given this young man’s age — both he and the alleged victim were 16 years old at the time of the alleged incident — it is surprising that prosecutors were not more willing to negotiate for alternative sentencing arrangements. In addition, alcohol was apparently a factor in this alleged crime, as the incident happened at an underage drinking party. Given that, it is unclear why prosecutors regarded this teenager as such a threat to society. 

Source: USA Today, “Ohio teen athlete released from detention in rape case,” Doug Stanglin, Jan. 6, 2014