Free-Range Kids

21-Year-Old Arrested for Sexting 16-Year-Old Girlfriend Won't Be a Sex Offender for Life

Pennsylvania Supreme Court makes life a little less miserable for registered sex offenders.

|

Offender
Dreamstime

A Pennsylvania man convicted of "possessing child porn"—that is, a 21-year-old arrested for possessing sexts from his 16-year-old girlfriend—will no longer have to register as a sex offender for life, thanks to a decision by the Pennsylvania Supreme Court.

Until now, any Pennsylvanian convicted more than once of certain sex crimes was required to stay on the registry until he died. That included people like "A.S.," the 21-year-old who was convicted of seven counts of "child porn" for one sexting relationship with an underage girlfriend. It was his case that went all the way to the state's supreme court. From now on, that court declared, "more than one conviction" will be interpreted to mean, "convicted another time of another crime," indicating actual recidivism. Otherwise, a person convicted just once will "only" be required to register for 15 years.

Of course, even 15 years seems outrageous, considering that our justice system was supposedly founded on the idea that if you do the crime you do the time, and then you resume your life. That redemption, available to con artists, drunk drivers and axe murderers is often not available to the person convicted of a sex crime—a fact even more outrageous when you consider that at least in A.S.'s situation, he was convicted of possessing pictures of a young woman, not a child. He was also sentenced to between 5 and 23 months in prison and five years probation. In America, the "child" in "child porn" can be anyone under 18.

Nonetheless, ignoring the fact that the law can still treat female teens like two-year-olds, and 20-something males like predators for dating girls old enough to marry, it is nice to know that A.S. will not be publicly shamed as a child porn addict through his 40s, 50s, 60s, 70s.

Instead, he'll just be treated like a pervert for 15 years. In a society obsessed with sex offenders, that constitutes great news.

For those interested in hearing what's going on at the forefront of sex offender law reform, the Reform Sex offender Laws group (RSOL) is having its annual conference in Atlanta Sept. 16-19. Info is here.

NEXT: U.S. Army Audit Finds Trillions of Dollars in "Wrongful" Financial Adjustments

Editor's Note: We invite comments and request that they be civil and on-topic. We do not moderate or assume any responsibility for comments, which are owned by the readers who post them. Comments do not represent the views of Reason.com or Reason Foundation. We reserve the right to delete any comment for any reason at any time. Report abuses.

  1. Nonetheless, ignoring the fact that the law can still treat female teens like two-year-olds…

    They will find learning they have agency will only diminish their power once they hit higher education.

    1. We need to extend the age of consent to 37.

      1. There can be no legitimate age of consent. It’s all rape.

    2. Patriarchy!!

    3. I’m making over $7k a month working part time. I kept hearing other people tell me how much money they can make online so I decided to look into it. Well, it was all true and has totally changed my life. This is what I do… http://goo.gl/NNM5id

  2. Okay, I agree that treating teens sexting each other as pedophiles and sex offenders is overkill and draconian, but I feel it needs to be pointed out that a 21-year-old dating a 16-year-old is definitely sketchy.

    1. Meh, he’ll meet someone his own age and then get his ass kicked by seven evil exes.

    2. 21-year-old dating a 16-year-old is definitely sketchy.

      Depends.

      1. I turned 21 a month and a half before my gf turned 17.

        * buries face in hands and weeps*

        1. When I was 18, I was dating a 28 yr old woman. Best time of my life.

        2. I bet you’re down on the playground right now shooting up little kids with the pots.

        3. Where are these people’s friends?

          When I grew up, it was well known that if you were 2 days past your 18th birthday, and your girlfriend didn’t turn 18 until next week, that’s what was called “jailbait”. If the girl’s parents bitched, you could go to jail.

          We can argue whether this was/is appropriate, but it was the fact at the time. And all your older friends would tell you that. Why doesn’t anybody tell these idiots nowadays?

          /get off my lawn

      2. I believe that until around a few decades ago this was quite normal. I mean a 16 and 21 year old, not the sexting, since there were no cell phones.

        1. You know what else was normal a few decades ago?

          1. Everything?

            Now, get off my lawn

          2. My 17-year old gf dumping me when she found out I was an atheist?

            1. Mongo not bitter. Mongo just pawn in game of life.

            2. I thought you was going to say when she found out that you’re 52.

            3. That was a win, trust me.

      3. When I was younger one of my friends – who was 20 at the time – was messing around with a 16 year old. He was a good guy and ended up marrying her.

        Still was sketchy as hell though.

        1. When I was younger, my 23 year old friend was banging a 14 year old girl.

    3. Sometimes it’s sketchy, sometimes it’s not. My aunt and her husband were 16 and 21, respectively when they married. They remained married up to the time my uncle passed away.

      Why would we want the government to enforce an arbitrary age with respect to this?

      1. The enlightenment is over, we’re heading back for the dark ages, witch hunts and all.

  3. As I learned with another story, the governor of Pennsylvania can’t pardon anyone unless there’s a recommendation from the Board of Pardons.

    1. (even assuming the governor could be prevailed on to consider clemency for an icky sex offender)

    2. *favorable* recommendation – so if the board says no, there’s no pardon.

  4. Of all the retarded things that retarded kids do these days, sexting is right up near the top of the retarded pile.

    /get off my lawn, retards

    1. Were you ever a teen filled with raging hormones? I bet if you were one now, your outlook would be quite different. Instead of ‘sexting is dumb’, you’d be thinking ‘wow, I’d like to sext her!’.

      1. Dammit, we had Playboy and polaroids surreptitiously passed around and dadgum it we liked it that way.

        1. And not even one of us wound up on the sex offender list. What a barbaric world it was.

        2. Seriously. I had a stack of mags with smoking hot professional porn actresses. Why would I need to beat it to my ugly classmates?

          1. When I was in high school, we actually had sex with the girls. We’d all be in prison today, for that and pretty much everything else you can imagine that was normal back then.

  5. Wait, they filed this under “free range kids”?

    1. Well, the 16 year old is still free.

  6. a fact even more outrageous when you consider that at least in A.S.’s situation, he was convicted of possessing pictures

    of someone who took them of herself, & sent them to him.

  7. In Europe, countries who have the age of consent set at 16 include Cyprus, Finland, Georgia, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Norway, and Switzerland and the UK. For Austria, Germany, Portugal and Italy it is 14, and in France, the Czech Republic, Denmark, and Greece it is 15.

    It also amazes me that a young woman one day short of her 18th birthday is considered a minor child for sexual purposes and a man can go to jail for “sexting” her or actually having sex with her. But the next day it’s not an issue. That’s like…MAGIC! She went from being a complete helpless idiot one day to a competent woman the next day.

    Personally, I think cases like this should be decided on a case-by-case basis. 1. Is the young woman in question mentally competent–that is not mentally challenged for her age? 2. Does she know what she was doing and did she do it intentionally? 3. Was there any force or coercion involved? 4. Is she old enough to get married if she and the young man in question should decide they want to get married? 5. Is there any pressure on her from her family, friends, or the prosecutor’s office, to lie about her involvement with they young man in question? Which brings us to 6. Does she want to bring charges against the young man in question?

  8. $89 an hour! Seriously I don’t know why more people haven’t tried this, I work two shifts, 2 hours in the day and 2 in the evening?And i get surly a chek of $1260??0 whats awesome is Im working from home so I get more time with my kids.
    Here is what i did

    ===============>>>>>>>>>>>>>> http://www.factoryofincome.com

  9. Why haven’t they charged the girl with the dissemination of child pornography then? Or her parents (who probably own the phone she took the snaps with?)
    Parents must talk with their children about sexting. Parents should inform them about the legal implication of taking nude pictures. One stupid thing like that can ruin their lives and the lives of others forever. I watch my girl’s phone with Pumpic, and while she knows I’m watching, she is very cautious. Until she’s 21, every stupid thing she does is my responsibility.

  10. Not meaningful in my country. When someone sex with 16 year old girl friend, they will going to jail . 18 year old is fine

Please to post comments

Comments are closed.