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Teen Girl Sent Teen Boy 5 Inappropriate Pictures. He Faced Lifetime Registry as a 'Violent Sex Offender' or 350 Years in Jail.

Welcome to the world of teens, computers, and prosecutors who want to look tough on sex offenders.

CuffsAlptraumZachary, now 19, is in jail awaiting sentencing for five pictures his teenage girlfriend sent him of herself in her underwear. He faced a choice between a possible (though unlikely) maximum sentence of 350 years in prison, or lifetime on the sex offender registry as a "sexually violent offender"—even though he never met the girl in person. Here's what happened.

About two years ago, when Zachary was a 17-year-old high school senior in Stafford County, Virginia, a girl in his computer club invited him over to visit. She introduced him to her younger sister, age 13. This younger sister told Zachary he reminded her of a friend: this friend, also a 13-year-old girl, shared Zachary's love of dragons and videogames.

The two 13-year-olds started skyping Zachary together. Eventually Zachary and the dragon-lover struck up a online friendship, which developed into a online romance. By the summer, a month after Zachary turned 18, the girl sent him five pictures of herself in her underwear. Her face was not visible, nor were her private parts.

That's according to information provided by Zachary's parents, as well as an evaluation with Zachary conducted by a psychologist. Zachary is incredibly smart, according to the psychologist, though socially awkward and emotionally immature. Importantly, he does not possess "distorted" ideas about sex, according to the psychologist.

Even so, Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and "child porn reproduce/transmit/sell," even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone. All this, from five underwear pictures. If convicted, Zachary's father told me, he faced a theoretically possible maximum sentence of 350 years.

Instead, he took a plea bargain. This is what prosecutors do: scare defendants into a deal. Zachary agreed to plead guilty to two counts of "indecent liberties with a minor." For this, he will be registered as a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

Yes, "violent"—even though he never met the girl in person.

Zachary's dad wrote to the authorities asking about this, and got a letter back from the Virginia State Police reiterating that, "This conviction requires Zachary to register as a sexually violent offender."

The letter, which was obtained by Reason, added that in three years, "a violent sex offender or murderer" can petition to register less frequently than every three months.

"How do you like that?" said the dad in a phone conversation with me. "Same category as a murderer."

As part of the plea, Zachary also agreed never to appeal. He will be sentenced on March 9. Until then, he remains in jail.

If this sounds like a punishment wildly out of whack with the crime, welcome to the world of teens, computers, and prosecutors who want to look tough on sex offenders. The girl did not wish to prosecute Zachary, according to his dad. He told me the pictures came to light because she had been having emotional issues, possibly due to her parents' impending divorce. Eventually she was admitted to a mental health facility for treatment, and while there she revealed the relationship to a counselor. The counselor reported this to her mother, the police, or both (this part is unclear), leading the cops to execute a search warrant of Zachary's electronic devices where they found the five photos and the chat logs.

Until that day, Zachary had never been suspected of, or charged with, any criminal activity other than one count of distracted driving, which he paid off with 15 hours of shelving library books. He was, at the time of his arrest, attending community college in computer graphics and delivering Domino's Pizza. He was also, by his account, a virgin.

The family hired two psychologists to evaluate Zachary. (Those evaluations were also obtained by Reason.) One psychologist, Mike Fray, found him to be "not a physical threat to this girl or to any other young girls." The other, Evan S. Nelson, summed up this case and what is wrong with all the cases Zachary's story represents:

This psychologist cannot count the number of adolescent sex offenders I have met who have a sense that what they are doing is 'wrong' but were ignorant that their conduct was criminal, let alone a felony, or actions which could put them on the Sex Offender Registry. In the teenage digital social world, if both parties want to talk about sex, that seems like 'consent' to them. Ignorance does not excuse this conduct, but it does help to explain why he did this, and to the degree that ignorance was an underlying cause of his crime, this problem can be easily fixed with education.

Zachary's not a sexual predator, in the psychologist's view. He's a teen who did something stupid—that he quite plausibly didn't understand was illegal. And yet the state of Virginia, and in particular prosecutor Ryan Frank, has chosen to pretend that the only way to keep Zachary from feverishly preying on young flesh is to destroy his life.

This is so obviously flawed that Virginia Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell has written a letter on Zachary's behalf:

Based on the information I have, I believe Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior... It is my understanding that the local sheriff's office performed a forensic analysis on Zachary's computer and found zero incidents of pornography or trolling for females. While the aforementioned incident was highly inappropriate, it appears that there are no signs of general deviance in his character but rather immaturity and naivete....

As my record indicates, I am certainly not soft on crime and I am not suggesting that Zachary be spared any consequence of his actions. That said, I do believe this may be more of an incident of adolescent immaturity and poor judgment than of inherently deviant behavior and thus may not warrant being placed on the sex offender registry.

Outraged readers should root for two things. First, that this case prompts the Virginia legislature to review the laws that enable draconian persecutions like the one against Zachary.

Second, that Zachary be given a punishment that truly fits the crime. If you recall the case of another Zach—Zach Anderson, a 19-year-old who had sex with a girl he honestly believed was 17 (because she said so) but was actually 14—he was originally sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry. But after public outcry, he got two years' probation instead, on a "diversion program." A program like this is sometimes available for first-time offenders. It sounds far more reasonable. Or maybe Zachary could do some community service—like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

"I know I'd never do it again because I don't want to go back to jail again in my life," Zachary told Nelson during his psychological evaluation. "And if nothing else, this has given me a fear of women."

Photo Credit: Alptraum

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  • Juvenile Bluster||

    "I for one feel safer that THIS CHILD RAPIST is off the streets" - Most people

    "Why should I ever give this kind of person the benefit of the doubt? It'll probably cost me at the polls" - Most prosecutors and legislators.

    And that's why this is never going to change. Even the legislator who wrote in the kid's favor; I'm guessing he's not going to be in favor of changing the law (so this won't happen to somebody else in the future), even if he does manage to help this kid get a lighter sentence.

  • ||

    Cue social media rage mob over cultural victimhood... oh, wait, straight cis white male. Nevermind.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Oh, I'm sure the social media rage mob will be in high gear, just not in defense of this cis-hetero white male shitlord or the (I'm assuming Rethuglikkkan) legislator who came to this little rapists' defense. /sarc

  • ShellyStow||

    Ah, Cynical, such righteous anger. And how free you are with the use of "rapist" when he never even met the girl, let alone touched her.

    Oh, and since Zack is one person and not multiples, if you are going to make totally unfounded and ridiculous accusations, at least do it grammatically: rapist's defense, not rapists'.

  • jbsnc||

    CA: According to the article there was no rapist and no physical contact. Can you understand words? Or, more likely, do you care?

  • butt-head||

    Can you? He was being sarcastic.

  • Trollificus||

    I don't think it's CA's "understanding" of words or anything else that concerns Zach and his parents. It's the actual people with actual power filing actual charges against him who seem unconcerned with the reality of the situation. CA is aware of this and used hyperbole to call out the oh-so-predictable response (or, in this case, non-response) of the twitterati to it. HE EVEN USED A FUCKING /sarc TAG FOR SHIT SAKE!

    And we still get two responses from people who ignore the blinking neon "HYPERBOLE/SARCASM WARNING" signs to make a desperate attempt to confirm that they are, indeed, smarter than someone, somewhere on the internet. I suppose the Smug Points are self-awarded instantly, making the complete, abject, obvious fail of these comments irrelevant?

  • ShellyStow||

    LOL; thanks for calling me out. I didn't ignore the sarc tag; it didn't register enough on my weak little brain for me to try to figure out what it meant. I'll turn my Smug Points over to you. (The singular versus plural possessive lesson still stands.)

  • Hh||

    If having an image of somebody in there underwear nets you 20 felonies I suggest an immediate cancellation of any daily newspaper expecially on advertising day. Surely it's a mores egarious offence, seriously what's to stop them it's an image in your possession?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Targeted punishment and distributed costs -- it will never happen to most people or anyone they know, and he MIGHT be a monster, so what's the problem?

    I hate politicians, but I hate more the coercive governments that give them so much power.

  • BambiB||

    Some day a bastard prosecutor or legislator is going to ruin the life of a child and a parent is going to take it very personally.

    Lethally.

    When it happens, I won't be upset. The Second Amendment was intended to enable the People to slay their oppressors and overthrow oppressive government. Some governments - and prosecutors - are already en pointe on the line that separates law from oppression.

  • Hh||

    Not upset, these lists Are completely unconstitutional from the get go has 1 million plus now whAt happens when it's 5 million? These people have already been foced out of even being in a park, apartment or descent job a hell storm is coming. What makes it worse is it's society at large you can't say it's just a prosecutor.

  • Hh||

    The public needs to be aware any type of anime (cartoon dipiction ECT) is considered child porn. And is fully prosecuted as such ,even a charlie brown cartoon could get you thrown onto a lifetime registration with sexually violent predator status.

  • ace_m82||

    Woodchipper

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    You rang?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    Got a fascist for you to chip:

    prosecutor Ryan Frank

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    It seems to me that Zach either didn't listen to his attorney's advice or might just have chosen the worst one available.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    "I've got the worst fucking attorneys."

  • Rothbard'sbitch||

    +1 Arrested Development

  • Rhywun||

    Bob Loblaw?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    That's a low blow.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    No. Bob Loblow was busy that day working on Bob Loblow's Law Blog.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Zach does skew younger.

  • Griffin3||

    He should have immediately gone to the press, and cranked up as much outrage as possible. It's the only way you can get a fair deal with the prosecutors, these days. Rule of law, sure.

  • SIV||

    Zachary, now 19, is in jail awaiting sentencing for five pictures his teenage girlfriend sent him of herself in her underwear.

    Wait...pictures of chicks in their underwear are illegal now?

  • Citizen X - #6||

    13-year-olds, yes. Women who were of age during the Eisenhower Administration, no.

  • John C. Randolph||

    What about 13 year-olds in Sears catalogs from the Eisenhower administration?

    -jcr

  • Zeb||

    I don't really see how pics of 13 year-olds in their underwear is any different from what you can see at any beach in the summertime.

    As uncomfortable as it may make some adults, 13 year old girls are allowed to show some skin.

  • Dan S.||

    There's a difference between underwear and a bathing suit. It's not just how much skin is shown, but what covers the skin that isn't shown. Still, she sent the pics to him. If they were unsolicited, then I can't see that he did anything wrong.

  • Cloudbuster||

    It's not just how much skin is shown, but what covers the skin that isn't shown.

    What? How? Do you have a list of approved materials?

    Will swumsuit manufacturers be proscecuted for enabling child pornography if they include such materials in their swimsuits?

  • Priscilla King||

    Dittos. These days it doesn't pay to form *any* kind of relationship with "A CHILD"--even if said "child" is only a year or two younger than you are--because if you're not an Official Government-Certified Nanny you're responsible for any stupid thing the child (or teenager) does, even if you're saying "No, no, I don't think that's a good idea." (And if you move to block them, that's *violence*!)

  • Hh||

    So right a person would be crazy to have any relationship, be it friend or relation all human parent child or grandparents should only be carried out by postal carrier with a fake address who knows the kid could start blackmailing because they didn't get that fancy bike.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    And for you: chicks as in baby chickens, i don't know.

  • ||

    Man, read the rap sheet.

    indecent liberties with a minor
    using a computer to propose sex
    +20 other *felonies*

    "using a computer to propose sex"?!?!?! Tindr and Grindr must oversee something like 20 felonies/sec.

  • Zeb||

    The "using a computer for..." laws are especially ridiculous. As if the means of communication makes it a bigger or distinct crime.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    Computers are scary man.

  • Longtobefree||

    Almost as scary as guns.

  • MarkLastname||

    So if I solicit sex from minors via letter at i in the clear?

  • Wizard4169||

    Using the holy, state-ordained USPS to further your perversions? I think not!

  • Wizard4169||

    It's all part of the "stacking" strategy: prosecutors throw every charge available at a defendant, so even a minor offender finds himself looking at a phone-number sentence if convicted. That's one reason so many people plead out, even when the case against them is total bullshit. Most defendants can't afford a top-notch defense attorney, which they'd need to fight the charges with a decent shot at victory. Public defenders mostly just advise people on how to get the best plea deal. Even assuming they're honest and competent, they usually lack the resources to mount an effective defense when the prosecutor gets his justice boner on. Since they know that, it would actually be arguably unethical for them not to recommend a plea to their clients, disgusting as that is.

    Prosecutors lobby for such laws, since they make their job easier. Legislators who pass them get lauded for being "tough on crime" and protecting our precious children. (Or other designated, sympathetic victims.) Legislators who oppose them get bashed as soft-on-crime bleeding hearts. Since John Q. Voter is more likely to get out and re-elect the former, the incentives are obvious.

  • JeffDeWitt||

    Which is why prosecutors like this should be working at jobs that better fit their talents... the drive thru at Hardies comes to mind.

    Further, and more seriously, THEY should be held responsible for the harm they do their victims. If this story is accurate Ryan Frank should be looking at some significant prison time, there is NO excuse for treating a citizen this way.

  • Playa Manhattan.||

    Yours should be.

  • Rhywun||

    I'm not clear on what the crime was you keep saying he committed. Receiving pics?

    "And if nothing else, this has given me a fear of women."

    And here we have the true aim of these policies.

  • MarkLastname||

    Turning us all queer? I could get behind that. I'd rather not get in front of it though.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    After you get behind that, you should still be prepared to reach out and lend a hand to those in front of you.

  • esteve7||

    Things like this should always go to a Jury.

    What the hell is wrong with people? Choosing the most asinine way to ruin someone's life. They must really sleep better at night knowing they destroyed someone like that

  • jelabarre||

    What the hell is wrong with people? Choosing the most asinine way to ruin someone's life. They must really sleep better at night knowing they destroyed someone like that

    It's probably their own personal sexual perversion; screwing other people's lives.

  • Ghatanathoah||

    Apparently this prosecutor has been criticized by "child protection" organizations for daring to offer a plea bargain to sex offenders in the past. This was probably an attempt to get them off of his back. In the most asinine and horrible way possible.

  • JayU||

    Can you tell that picture of the guy with his fists conveniently located near the camera to stop hitting me?

  • Rhywun||

    The alt-text translates as "nightmare" and seems appropriate if obscure.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    I am not absolving Ryan Frank in any way in this case, but it should be noted that prosecutors, judges and politicians contend with highly motivated organizations that breathe down their necks on any case involving a child. If we want to have an impact on the prosecutors, judges, etc... then we have to take on those groups directly or utilize their techniques (which have been extremely successful).

    http://www.protect.org/

    http://www.protect.org/article.....ird-strike

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    He's a teen who did something stupid—that he quite plausibly didn't understand was illegal.

    It was stupid because it was illegal and only because it was illegal. If the girl sent him pictures, what was he supposed to do? Report it? The girl could face legal action and he may not be in the clear. There is no way out that does not involve someone getting screwed by the system.

  • This Machine Chips Fascists||

    If you see something, say something, or something.

  • Rhywun||

    It is amazing to me that we expect fully-functional teens to be asexual eunuchs until they pass a magic date on the calendar. Oh, and they also have to carry around a detailed understanding of the various contradictory laws in their head which govern the permissible interactions with the opposite sex. It's madness.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    I think back on my teenage years and probably half of my friends could have been charged under current laws. I do not understand what motivates people to ruin lives because of what is normal teenage behavior. There is something fundamentally wrong with our society.

  • Ted S.||

    I do not understand what motivates people to ruin lives because of what is normal teenage behavior.

    They're perverts who get their rocks off on it.

  • GamerFromJump||

    It's only expected of males. If girls do it, they made a free choice with their bodies, but are also victims, who must be avenged by punishing the boy.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Yeah. Given the kinds of stories we see here on the regular, his reporting it would be no guarantee against the exact same result.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    He was fucked as soon as those photos arrived on his phone. The best thing he could have done was destroy that phone and get a new phone number.

  • Not a True MJG||

    The charges suggest he may have proposed a sexual encounter (and on a computer!!).

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    "can we meet for a cheeseburger sometime? I want to show you my dragon"

  • Citizen X - #6||

    Disgusting!

  • Cynical Asshole||

    "'Meet for a cheeseburger sometime' is common teenager slang for 'hook up' and 'show you my dragon' is common teenage slang for 'show you my dick.' Ladies and gentlemen of the jury, you must vote to lock this monster up for the rest of his life!" - hypothetical prosecutor closing argument

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    And did he ever suggest that the girls bring a cheese pizza?

  • Cynical Asshole||

    If the girl sent him pictures, what was he supposed to do?

    Delete the pictures, for starters. Although the ISP probably still had a record of the message, so still not in the clear.

    And come to think of it, deleting the pictures probably would have been used as "proof" that he knew he was doing something illegal simply by receiving the pics in the first place. So never-mind. If an underage girl sends you pics of herself in her undies, you're pretty much fucked if the cops find out.

  • MarkLastname||

    Destroying evidence is just another felony to the prosecutor. And not destroying it is possession of child pornography. His only option is to resign himself to his fate and love Big Brother.

  • Fairbanks||

    There must be more to this. He was charged with proposing sex and the chat logs were evidence. Still a bogus result though.

  • John C. Randolph||

    When a persecutor offers a reduced sentence in a plea bargain, the persecutor is admitting that the proposed sentence is an adequate punishment for whatever the defendant is supposed to have done. The defendant should then be able to go to trial, inform the judge and the jury of the deal he was offered, and be in no danger of any greater punishment.

    -jcr

  • StartSpreadinTheFakeNews, Jr.||

    maximum sentence of 350 years in prison

    I'd like to think that after the person dies, they keep his carcass in the cell until the year 2367. Just to properly enforce the law, of course.

  • Al Ex||

    ^^^
    reason message board winner of the day.

    thanks for making me laugh out loud.

  • Tamfang||

    That's needless cruelty to other prisoners. Keep it in Ryan Frank's bedroom.

  • Dan S.||

    I used to wonder if they did that. I think I asked my dad if they did, when I was about 8. I might have been a little disappointed when he answered no.

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    Preferably shackled to the sonofabitch grandstanding prosecutor who asked for the sentence in the first place.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    Even the petition from the legislator shows that he's scared shitless of being accused of coddling sex offenders.

    As my record indicates, I am certainly not soft on crime and I am not suggesting that Zachary be spared any consequence of his actions.
  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Outraged readers should root for two things. First, that this case prompts the Virginia legislature to review the laws that enable draconian persecutions like the one against Zachary.

    Second, that Zachary be given a punishment that truly fits the crime. If you recall the case of another Zach—Zach Anderson, a 19-year-old who had sex with a girl he honestly believed was 17 (because she said so) but was actually 14—he was originally sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry. But after public outcry, he got two years' probation instead, on a "diversion program." A program like this is sometimes available for first-time offenders. It sounds far more reasonable. Or maybe Zachary could do some community service—like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

    Can a third thing be that every officer and prosecutor involved in the farce die slowly and painfully? Because this is a situation where being fed feet-first into a woodchipper may be too light a punishment.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    Or maybe Zachary could do some community service—like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

    Watch out kids, the government and its enablers want to ruin your life. Be safe. It's scary out there.

  • Rhywun||

    Do not look at or god forbid speak to a female human being before you're both in college and be extremely wary even then.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    There was a crazy hot (and turns out actually crazy) 16 yr old girl in my freshman class at college. I'm glad I'm not on campus these days.

  • Longtobefree||

    NO!!! Never in or near a college! Are you NUTS????
    The red belt anti-sex league will hit you with a rolled up copy of an "advisory" letter from some federal bureaucrat and ruin your entire life!
    Celibacy until after college plus five years, or you are putting your future in the hands of madpersons.
    (note that political correctness require the substitution of "person" for "man". Further note that in both cases, the word ends in a three character string denoting a male (biological/DNA-type male, not a "perceived" one)

  • Wizard4169||

    Nah, if they're going to die, I want it to be quick. It's not that I have much sympathy to waste on these modern-day Inquisitors; it's just that a slow, lingering death might give them time (and even extra motivation) to do more damage on their way out. I judge it highly unlikely that their fellows will ever possess sufficient self-awareness to learn any lesson from their fate, so they're not even useful as an example. So I say boom, drop dead RTFN, at least then I know they can't do any harm.

  • ||

    Second, that Zachary be given a punishment that truly fits the crime.
    ...
    Or maybe Zachary could do some community service—like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

    Shit! This almost seems like whatever brain parasite that got Soave has got its hooks in Lenore.

    The 'punishment' should be that he deletes the photos himself or has them forcibly deleted for him and, potentially, never contacts the girl again.

    Anything else is threatening and/or punishing him for "shenanigans" that they both took part in equally.

  • Ted S.||

    Doing a series of PSAs stating that the State is the biggest bully of them all would be real community service, but that's not what these people have in mind.

  • Rasilio||

    Punishment that fits the crime?

    I'm having a REALLY hard time finding a crime here.

    Wait, strike that I do think that the Prosecutor is guilty of a crime and his appropriate punishment starts with being tossed out of office and woodchippers may be involved there somewhere but this kid Zach? He didn't commit any actual real crime and I really wish people would stop writing these stories from the perspective that kids in this situation did.

  • Pompey:何 Class Mothersmucker||

    I for one am looking foreward to season 2 of Westworld.

  • Zeb||

    To fathers of daughters: Your little girl is a whore. Get over it.

  • Lee picked the wrong week....||

    In this case, the father didn't have to be the instigator. The psychiatric counselor reported it and then the system took over. Even if the family didn't want to pursue charges it wouldn't matter.

  • Microaggressor||

    Crime against the state.

  • Zeb||

    No, I was just making a general comment about fathers with daughters.

  • Rasilio||

    As the father of 2 daughters I'm good with that.

    Well not quite yet, the older one is only 14 and the younger is 8 but in a few years when they are old enough as I'm good with their being as slutty as they want to as long as they are doing it for their own reasons and not because someone else expects it out of them

  • Zeb||

    Good for you. Too many fathers are in deep denial about the fact that their daughters are sexual creatures with independent agency.

  • Unreconstructed (Sans Flag)||

    I'm not in denial...but I do try to avoid thinking too deeply about it.

  • ||

    I still don't get what crime he committed ?

    Has the receiver of illegal pics a criminal because someone sent him those pics ?

    There is a sailor in jail for taking a selfie in front of classified machinery while in a sub.

    If he had texted his mom that pic would she be guilty of a crime ?

    How does someone protect themselves from that ? Any petulant teenager could put any adult away forever under those standards.

  • ||

    Has the receiver of illegal pics a criminal because someone sent him those pics ?

    The NSA, notoriously, has tens of thousands of dick pics. I can only assume they have hundreds of thousands of pics of people in their underwear and that some portion of them are minors.

  • Microaggressor||

    Fortunately, they are selfless public servants who are just trying to do their job of protecting us from underwear terrorists.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    So what you're saying is that everyone who works the NSA should be charged with possession of child pornography... I can get behind that.

  • Fairbanks||

    There must be more to this. He was charged with proposing sex and the chat logs were evidence. Still a bogus result though.

  • Cloudbuster||

    Bless your dear little naive heart.

  • Not a True MJG||

    Sorry, 'bout time the rule of law gets some respect. I wonder when "Reason" will understand that laws need to be enforced at some point.

  • Last of the Shitlords||

    Id that's the goal, then pick a target that really proves it. Like Hillary Clinton, and much of the DNC. Prosecuting some kid for non-nudes is below low hanging fruit.

  • AlmightyJB||

    Last week a young OSU student was raped and murdered by this asshole who 3 months earlier was released from prison where he had spent 6 years for kidnapping and rape. He was of course on the sex offender registry for that last crime. So local media have been doing stories about the sex offender maps online and how all there are all these pervs in your neighborhoods and how you should freak out about it. He kidnapped her at her work nowhere near where he lived.

  • Zeb||

    You can always count on the local news to learn completely the wrong lesson from things like that.

    Seems to me it just illustrates the uselessness of the registries.

  • pan fried wylie||

    So what you're saying we really need is a map of where the potential victims are....

  • esteve7||

    I still don't understand what the crime was here. It wasn't even sexting, it was a teenager in her underwear. How is that different than what anyone would see at a beach or hell in an advertisement.

    From what I can make out - he didn't use those pictures for any illegal purpose, just the fact that she sent them to his phone.

    What am I missing?

  • Not a True MJG||

    Anyone who saw Moonrise Kingdom - rated PG-13 - would have seen several minutes of a 13 year-old in her underwear performing quasi-sexual acts.

    Maybe it's illegal to watch those scenes streaming on your phone or computer?

  • Not a True MJG||

    Actually, depending on when they shot the scene, the actress may have been 12 at the time. I'm sure this information is out there, but I'm a little leery of having "how old was Kara Hayward in Moonrise Kingdom?" in my google search history.

  • ||

    +1 Natalie Portman in Lèon: The Professional

  • ||

    What about"Lolita"? Should everyone who saw that be jailed?

  • Voros McCracken||

    If a prosecutor thought he/she could get the convictions, they'd absolutely go for that, yes.

  • Juice||

    And why take the plea deal?

  • Juvenile Bluster||

    Because when a prosecutor is sitting there threatening you with life in prison, and your attorney is spineless, you might get scared.

  • Wizard4169||

    The attorney doesn't even necessarily need to be spineless. Prosecutors have near-endless ways of screwing over defendants, and little personal downside if they lose. Also, jurors aren't always terribly bright, noble guardians of justice. (Like the old joke goes, who wants to be judged by twelve people too dumb to get out of jury duty?) Defense attorneys know both of these things, so they know that with a whole stack of charges against you, there's a good chance that the prosecutor can get a guilty verdict on at least one or two. Since that might still result in serious prison time and being branded a sex offender forever, even the bravest, most honest and competent lawyer is probably going to advise you to cop a plea.

    Sure, it might be better for society as a whole if everyone facing unjust charges or weak evidence fought tooth and nail. But, it's often better for the individual to settle for a lesser injustice instead of risking far greater damage. Since I'm no collectivist, I can't very well ask defendants to risk their money and freedom on the off chance it might someday make things better for others. About the best that libertarians can do is publicize egregious injustices and hope it will eventually get laws changed. I'm not wildly optimistic about that approach, but hell if I can think of a better one.

  • ||

    Because the state is unbeatable,it is a bottomless well of sewage & money.

  • Rasilio||

    My guess from reading between the lines and the charges is that he was not so much charged for the pictures but for the content of the chat logs. My guess is like any couple that had been dating online for 2 years, especially a couple of horny teenage virgins they probably had some pretty racy chats where they described the things they might do to each other if they were ever in the same place.

    The fact that it remained chat only should be celebrated, instead it is disingenuously interpreted as "grooming" and makes him out to be some sort of sexual predator

  • AlmightyJB||

    A century ago he would have had to marry her for seeing her in her skivvies. Not sure which is worse.

  • Juice||

    I'll bet the pics were indeed appropriate.

  • Longtobefree||

    So what happens if Zachery forwards those pictures to prosecutor Ryan Frank? Does good old Ryan get to register?
    Unless I missed something, it is now illegal in Virginia to have a phone number that some crazy thirteen year old girl knows.
    Whiskey
    Tango
    Foxtrot
    Maybe they need to certify that the exposed breast in the Virginia state seal is over thirteen years old?
    I bet Ryan does not know Latin.

  • Unemployed Armenian Tranny||

    "I believe Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior."

    How could he be aware if it, if there is no "magnitude of impropriety"? You're not helping, pol!

  • Empress Trudy||

    This is another example why MGTOW even exists. It's likely time to COMPLETELY separate the genders until about age 30 or so. COMPLETELY, TOTALLY. And if that brings about the collapse of society, so what. Barring that, if I were a young man I would press criminal charge after criminal charge after criminal charge against every single female that crossed my view. I would charge women with sexual assault for looking at me, talking to me, anything really. And I would not stop.

  • Hh||

    There are such charges in Oklahoma it's called eye rape. And it's very aggressively prosecuted as lewd and lavicious. So the next time you see somebody registered as such they may have done nothing wrong except casually stroll by. We have criminalized not just sex but it's very thought.

  • Johnny Apple||

    This is why I have no respect for the police.

  • MaleMatters||

    If the ages had been reversed and the boy sent his older girlfriend photos of himself in underwear, he would have been prosecuted. Part of the war on males.

    Part of the reason more and more liberal men vote Republican.

    Part of the reason that "Republicans don't have near as big a woman problem as Democrats have a man problem." WSJ
    http://www.wsj.com/articles/ki.....1412900814
    https://archive.is/yIuWx

    Part of the reason Democrats have landed here:

    "The whole Democratic Party is now a smoking pile of rubble: In state government things are worse, if anything. The GOP now controls historical record number of governors' mansions, including a majority of New England governorships. Tuesday's election swapped around a few state legislative houses but left Democrats controlling a distinct minority. The same story applies further down ballot, where most elected attorneys general, insurance commissioners, secretaries of state, and so forth are Republicans." http://www.vox.com/policy-and-.....ile-rubble

    Part of the reason

  • ranrod||

    disgusting......some of these prosecutors will go to any length to screw people...

    these prosecutors should be charged...scumbags!!

  • Robert||

    If this sounds like a punishment wildly out of whack with the crime,


    No, it reads like a complete noncrime.

  • ||

    Prosecutors like this Ryan Frank should be disbarred from ever practicing law.Virginia like every government entity has way too many laws to even keep track of.Let's get some"sunset provisions"written into all of them.

  • Wizard4169||

    Never met Dr. Floyd Ferris, have you?

  • reasonator||

    Someone help me out here. Can't the governor pardon people? I find it hard to blame the system for overzealousness when that's part of the system's DNA, but there's a check on it usually, at the governorship.

    Can we pressure governors to run a regular petition program like obama's whitehouse did and automatically respond to anything which exceeds the threshold?

    I mean, I know no governor wants to pardon a convicted violent sex offender, but if they would just tie their hands and accept the burden of responding yea or nay they might find a little more courage. Right now it's too easy just to ignore it.

  • Johnny B||

    You might want to remember WHO the Virginia governor is.

  • ShellyStow||

    Ah, Cynical, such righteous anger. And how free you are with the use of "rapist" when he never even met the girl, let alone touched her.

    Oh, and since Zack is one person and not multiples, if you are going to made totally unfounded and ridiculous accusations, at least do it grammatically: rapist's defense, not rapists'.

  • BlueStarDragon||

    Hey everyone we now have a way to get rid of every politician. Just have your underage children send photos to every congressmen, senator, the president, mayor and supreme court judges, Anyone in office. Their automatically guilty of a felony and thus impeachable. We can even stop politicians before they get into office since if you have a felony you cannot hold run for many elected positions. Just think of all the ammo you can save by running this kind of revolution.

  • SeanD||

    I do not have any personal knowledge of this case but some of the statements in this piece seem to conflict with the articles that were written for the Free Lance-Star, the local newspaper for Fredericksburg, VA. The first article, published May 2016, can be found at http://www.richmond.com/news/v.....41f3.html. The second article, published January 17, can be found at http://www.fredericksburg.com/.....392d.html. Both local articles appear to be based off court records as opposed to interviews with the defendant's parents.

    In this piece Skenazy writes that shortly after Zachary Witalec turned 18 "the girl sent him five pictures of herself in her underwear" and that Witalec was then "arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and "child porn reproduce/transmit/sell." Skenazy concludes this piece by stating that "Zachary could do some community service-like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

  • SeanD||

    This information and the general tone and framing of this piece seem at odds with some of the information that is reported in the local articles. According to the May 2016 Free Lance-Star report, Witalec was indicted by a grand jury on all 20 charges, one of which included "using electronic means to solicit a minor and enticing a minor to perform in pornography." The article goes on to state that the girl's mother discovered the child was being solicited for pictures and that she called the Sheriff's Office. The local reporter, citing the indictments, states that "among other things, Witalec is accused of enticing the girl to film herself posing in sexually explicit poses." In the January 2017 Free Lance-Star article the same reporter writes that Witalec "tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 13 year-old girl over the internet" and pled guilty to two felony charges. The evidence shows that during the internet communication between Witalec and the girl the latter sent "sexually suggestive pictures to Witalec at his request." The prosecutor stated that "the girl became uncomfortable when Witalec began suggesting that they meet in person to have sex" and that "[t]he girl stopped having contact with Witalec and eventually let her parents know what had been going on."

  • SeanD||

    Given that the information from the local paper is based on court records, while this piece is based on an interview with Witalec's parents, there seem to be some clear gaps in this story. Skenazy's article could have benefited from either reaching out to the local reporter or by requesting court documents from the Circuit Court. While I will not pretend to know exactly what transpired here, it does not appear that Witalec is as innocent as this piece makes him out to be, especially given that a grand jury was the one that indicted him on the charges. I am not "siding" with the state or with Witalec, especially since I do not have enough objective information to make a reasonable assessment. I believe there is much to be argued over with regards to the criminalization of teenage interactions over the internet and the punitive punishments that can arise from them, especially when they involve registry on the sex offender list. But I believe these disagreements can and should be had only after assessing all sides of a given case, which include the factual information presented in an indictment and the case history just as much as emotional pieces in which the parents of one side are interviewed.

  • ||

    I am not "siding" with the state or with Witalec, especially since I do not have enough objective information to make a reasonable assessment. I believe there is much to be argued over with regards to the criminalization of teenage interactions over the internet

    This is exceedingly disingenuous. If you believe there's a discussion to be had regarding the criminalization pretty much anything on the internet, you're on the state's side intrinsically.

    Until teh internetz involves compulsory action and penetrative sex, it's protected free speech. Even then, teh internetz doesn't change the fact that it's compulsory action and pentrative sex, already known as rape and/or assault, and is already illegal.

    Fuck. Off. Slaver.

  • Rasilio||

    "especially since I do not have enough objective information to make a reasonable assessment."

    Um, actually you do.

    Lets us take the worst case argument and assume that everything in the local paper version of the story us completely 100% accurate what would that mean?

    Well rather than the hapless lovestruck romeo this article paints Witalec as we end up with a completely normal teenage boy looking for sex with someone he thinks of as his girlfriend and acting like a dickhead pushing her too hard for it.

    This still does not rise to the level of anything a reasonable person would consider criminal forget justify a harsher penalty than if he had just gone to her house and raped and murdered her nor does it justify putting him on a sex offender registry at all forget classifying him as the most dangerous type of sex offender.

    How do we know that he was just a moron teen pushing his girlfriend too hard for sex on not some criminal mastermind grooming his next victim? Because this girl is the ONLY one he was doing this with and the DID have a romantic relationship (albeit long distance) . A misdemeanor harassment charge that came with a requirement of counseling on consent in relationships and community service at a rape crisis center would have been possibly justified but anything beyond that is overkill and that is based on the account in the papers

  • Cloudbuster||

    I don't even find the incident "highly inappropriate" as everyone seems eager to concede. It was a few underwear pics. No harm done.

    The girl probably goes to the beach or the pool in less.

  • Priscilla King||

    When I was in high school, I think 80% of girls in my classes had crushes on older guys ("older" here meaning "no longer in high school"). Several of those girls married those guys. Several of them are still married. It wasn't trendy yet for girls to be the aggressors, but a girl adults had recommended as a nice little school friend for me walked around carrying books with "Please! F*** Me!" scribbled on the covers. (She married an older guy--I think she was 15 and he was 19.) And my husband's girlfriend's 13-year-old sister actively competed for my future husband's affections, and "won"...

    So now the newspapers report men who grew up in the let-it-all-hang-out 1960s, receiving flirty text messages from teenagers, and "Ooohhh, that evil preacher must have done SOMEthing to provoke that innocent young girl to send him those messages." Shades of the 1950s, when "Ooohhh, that Bad Girl must have done SOMEthing to provoke that rapist"...

    And Heaven help the teenager whose eighteenth birthday comes even a few weeks ahead of his/her steady date's...

    Then again...at least young Zachary has to be better off away from this girl and the adults who have encouraged her!

  • Brandybuck||

    Yup. Decades ago my dad warned me on my 18th birthday that my 16 year old girlfriend's father could send me to jail on a whim. Nothing much has changed then except the crazy sentencing and the addition of cell phones.

    More to the point, a year later a fifteen year old was begging me to f*** her, just because she was tired of being a virgin. And hit in hard by a thirteen year old, which really creeped me out. Four years of high school where girls looked at me like a piece of dried snot, and suddenly I feel like I'm the hottest thing for high school chicks because I'm in college.

  • Brandybuck||

    Remember male children, it's not safe to talk to a female until you have it on the highest authority that she has past menopause. And even then you should have a lawyer present.

  • SomeGuy||

    fuck.....This pisses me off. There was no crime committed here in any way shape or form.

    This is why when I first learned about this shit i just stopped even talking to young people. When i was 16-18 I started learning about these laws and i from then on just stayed away from young people especially females. It just isn't worth the hassle. If someone asked me to watch their kids or help them with kids i say no. I don't go near kids or young adults. I just avoid them all.

    Another reason why i will never have kids. As i parent i would flip a shit if this happened.

  • SomeGuy||

    fuck.....This pisses me off. There was no crime committed here in any way shape or form.

    This is why when I first learned about this shit i just stopped even talking to young people. When i was 16-18 I started learning about these laws and i from then on just stayed away from young people especially females. It just isn't worth the hassle. If someone asked me to watch their kids or help them with kids i say no. I don't go near kids or young adults. I just avoid them all.

    Another reason why i will never have kids. As i parent i would flip a shit if this happened.

  • SomeGuy||

    god damn squirrels

  • ||

    Zachary:

    Please text the pics in question to this piece of shit prosecutor, judge, and the police officers who arrested you. Then make sure you rat them out that they have child pornography on their phone.

    Seems like the only way to fix our broken system these days is "an eye for an eye."

  • Half-Virtue, Half-Vice||

    Lord have mercy.

  • MJBinAL||

    The major media often comment on how violent Americans are.

    I, on the other hand, often wonder at how violent we are not. If this was done to my child, there would be some dead prosecutors.

  • Mary Devoy||

    Ed,

    Knowing you read the comments here earlier I'm hoping you'll return.

    I am an advocate working to reform VA's Registry and Laws, have been since October 2008, Lenore has made no attempt to reply to my requests on this case for some reason.

    I'd really like to see a copy of the VSP letter Lenore stated in her original post would allow Zachary to petition for removal after only 3 years on the VSP Registry, because that is 100% false, goo.gl/mFyhpO .

    I have alerted the Governors office and all the VA Legislator of numerous times over the last 9 years that the VSP has either claimed or written something that is not true when it comes to our RSO's so it wasn't a surprise to hear about the letter but I'd like to share with the Legislators that they intentionally mislead RSO's/their family members and it needs to stop.

    Please contact me MaryDavyeDevoy@comcast.net

    http://restoringintegritytovir.....gspot.com/

  • Edwin||

    some serious questions I have:

    How do people not know about this by now? What kind of parent hasn't told their kid to immediately delete such pictures, or better yet get them a phone with that feature (MMS texts) locked

    Have these people, after such incidents, tried giving out articles such as this along with their requirements to inform neighbors or enmployers? I'm sure a lot of employers still wont care and still refuse to hire, but in more liberal-hire professions like tech, they may read the article and just ignore the sex offender registration since it is in fact bullshit

    Have any of these people moved to another country to avoid this nonsense? Like just move up to Canada. Heck, maybe they could apply to be a political refugee? Anyone know the chances Canada would accept that argument? I remember a few years back when that German family's court case petition for refugee status got taken here in America because Germany requires public schooling. I don't know how that case ended up, but it is similar in that it is a political thing that teeters on the edge of real opression

  • Hh||

    I'd say no wAy zAch your life will be over fight it even a misdemeanor of this type will destroy your life.

  • Mr. Smacky||

    Call the bluff
    Take the Years, be a Martyr.
    You will get 72 virgins sexting you undies pics.

  • SomeGuy||

    Found an alternate article that supposedly there was requests from Zach for an encounter.
    http://tinyurl.com/kgnal2j

  • SomeGuy||

    it should be noted still even if solicited it doesn't matter. The law states just possessing it is a crime. If bra shots are child porn and a crime than most people are guilty do to using the internet and accessing any clothing store site.

  • Feloves||

    it is a true story

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