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Teen Sentenced to Sex Offender Status Over Mistaken Hook-Up Gets Lenient New Sentence

Zach Anderson is off the hook, but what about Darian Yoder?

Zach AndersonLes AndersonNineteen-year-old Zach Anderson is no longer a convicted sex offender.

Anderson’s case made headlines across America after he was sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry for sleeping with a girl who said she was 17, but turned out to be 14.

He was also given 90 days in jail, and forbidden to use a cell phone, or the internet, or live nearby a place where children congregate. This included his family’s home, since it’s close to one of those big-time child magnets: a dock.

But thanks to dogged protesting on the part of his parents, and the reporting of the Elkhart Truth’s Tim Vandenack, who brought the story to public attention, Anderson’s lawyer, Scott Grabel, had the wind at his back when he argued for re-sentencing with another judge.

That judge has now ruled. Zach’s father, Les Anderson, writes in an email:

Dear Lenore: First and Foremost Zach is no longer a convicted sex offender.  He was given 2 years’ probation today and assigned to the Holmes Youthful Training Status [an Indiana program that wipes the slate clean for young “offenders” if they comply with sentencing conditions]. We are so happy with today’s outcome. Zach now has hope for his future. Thank you to everyone who has supported and helped along the way. We hope Indiana follows suit and removes him from the sex offender registry for good.  At this point we may have to go to court in Indiana to get his name off the registry.  Thank you God.

This news is thrilling. Of course Zach should not be on a sex offender registry. He didn’t prey upon anyone. His purported victim and her mother both begged the judge not to find Zach guilty of anything.

But Anderson is not the only teen whose life was nearly ruined by sex offender paranoia. What about Darian Yoder: the other 19-year-old, who went before Judge Wiley and received the same sentence as Zach for the same crime? Shouldn't he be re-resentenced as well?

Photo Credit: Les Anderson

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  • Fist of Etiquette||

    ...Anderson’s lawyer, Scott Grabel, had the wind at his back when he argued for re-sentencing with another judge.

    It's good to know justice is blind but not deaf to the clamor of public outcry.

  • Brochettaward||

    Those were my thoughts. What about the stories the media doesn't pick up on? How quick are judges to reconsider the decisions of their illustrious peers? I'm doubtful they are too committed to it.

  • SimonJester||

    Judge Wiley is prime chippin' material. We could even have a "limb distance" betting pool to raise money for his victims.

  • MSimon||

    If the judge gets caught with chippies he is in big trouble.

  • Paul.||

    Dear Lenore: First and Foremost Zach is no longer a convicted sex offender. He was given 2 years’ probation today and assigned to the Holmes Youthful Training Status [an Indiana program that wipes the slate clean for young “offenders” if they comply with sentencing conditions].

    Let freedom ring!

  • ||

    So, when can I buy my "Indiana is for rapists!" T-shirt?

  • Agammamon||

    Key-rist! Now we're going to have all these dudes trolling the local high school and claiming 'I didn't know!' when they get caught picking up a freshman.

    This is why its so important to remove mens rea as an element of a a crime that the prosecution must prove. All we've done here is hamstring prosecutors. Strict liability all the way.

  • ace_m82||

    True, but strict repayment would be even better.

    You owe the government nothing. You owe the victim precise repayment*. That's the very definition of justice.

    *If the victim doesn't actually exact that repayment, that's up to the victim; no third party ought to claim the authority to stand between the aggressor and the victim after a conviction.

  • Francisco d'Anconia||

    We are so happy with today’s outcome.

    Think about that for a moment.

    Kid has sex with a minor who lied about her age, and both her and her mother begged the judge to find him not guilty.

    And they are thanking god that the state gave him two years probation and reeducation camp.

    Orwell simply missed it by a few years.

  • Nosea||

    It begs the question, if her mother hadn't called the police and the relationship had progressed, would her mother have ended the relationship? Kids are kids unfortunately, there are real pervs who would definitely cruise around schools using that excuse and it would be extremely difficult to refute
    in court.

  • Zeb||

    Seems like you could avoid that problem by having the supposed victims testify as to whether they were actually victimized. In the case of teenagers, I think they can make that determination for themselves.

  • Juice||

    Back when I was 18-19 I knew a girl who was 14 and she was a total slut. I think her slutty mom influenced her. Anyway, I knew she was 14 and she was always trying to hook up with me, but her sluttiness was a huge turn off. Well, she would routinely tell older guys that she was 17 or 18 and then they would screw her. I don't think the law ever found out and her mom would never say anything. I think the mom encouraged it. Lucky for the dumb guys who were getting duped. I wonder where she is now. Probably living in a trailer with 4 kids by 4 different guys collecting welfare.

  • MSimon||

    If only it was a movie trailer.

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