Readers of this blog may remember a post from September when we discussed a story that had been making headlines about a man who received a harsh sentence for having sex with a 14-year-old girl. This is an update on that post, which can be read in full here, as a judge has recently handed down a new sentence.
According to reports, the 19-year-old man received two years of probation and, perhaps more importantly, he will no longer have to register as a sex offender in one of the two states in which he was originally required to register.
He was charged after having sex with a 14-year-old girl, but he (and the girl) testified that he believed she was 17 because that is what she had told him.
Despite the fact that the girl had lied about her age, the judge came down especially harsh on the man. His original sentence included jail time, probation, bans on the use of smartphones and the Internet as well as the requirement to register as a sex offender for 25 years.
The sentence was devastating: he had difficulty finding a place to live and it put a stop to the man’s future plans to study computer science.
Thankfully, however, he appealed and a new judge recently handed down a sentence that is much less severe. Unlike the first judge, the second judge approved the man’s request to be classified as a young offender. Based on this special status, he will no longer be banned from the Internet and will not have to register as a sex offender in one of two states. If he successfully completes two years of probation, the offense will not appear on his record.
This case sparked national debates on the severity of sex offender registration requirements, and while this case may be largely resolved, there is no such closure on the debate over whether registration requirements are overly harsh and ineffective.
This case should also serve as a reminder of how heavy-handed sentences can be for sexual offenses and how difficult it can be to challenge them. This is why it can be crucial for anyone facing allegations involving sexual misconduct to have an attorney by their side throughout the legal process.
Source: The New York Times, “Sex Registry Challenge Cuts Penalty for Man, 19,” Julie Bosman, Oct. 19, 2015