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Young Man Arrested for Consensual Underage Sex, Then Rearrested for Sharing Pizza with 17-Year-Old, Now Headed to Court

The latest on the case of Zach Anderson.

Zach AndersonZach AndersonZach Anderson, the young Indiana man originally sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry for having consensual sex at age 19 with a girl who told him she was 17 (but turned out to be 14) is not off the hook yet, thanks to a probation officer who seems bent on ruining his life.

Anderson will be back in court this Friday in Berrien County, Michigan, for a review hearing, facing a report by Indiana Probation Officer Melanie Godden, who claims that Zach violated his probation by 1) being in the same room as his brother's friend, age 17, while eating pizza at his parent's house, and 2) volunteering on a church committee that a girl, age 17, also joined.

If that sounds insane, read on.

Zach's story began two years ago, when he met a Michigan girl on the app Hot or Not, and they hooked up. When she wasn't home on time, her worried mother called the cops. After she got home they asked her where she'd been and she confessed. The cops then went to Zach's home across the state border in Elkhart, Indiana, and arrested him for statutory rape.

At trial, both the girl and her mom appeared on Zach's behalf. As the mom told the South Bend Tribune at the time, they did much more than just beg the judge for leniency. "We asked him to drop the case." But Judge Denis Wiley threw the book at Zach, in part because he "went online...trolling for sex," which the the judge found to be "totally inappropriate behavior."

Zach got 25 years on the Sex Offender Registry and was also forbidden from using the internet. This draconian decision was revisited only after the case landed on the front page of The New York Times. At a new hearing, Anderson was sentenced to two years' probation instead. (Judge Wiley was re-assigned to civil court.)

Zach's probation was just coming to an end when he took a lie detector test which asked if he'd had any contact with anyone under age 18.

He confessed to the two incidents above: Eating pizza in the same room as his brother's male friend, and volunteering at church where a girl was volunteering, too. Even though he never spoke to either of those 17 year olds, Probation Officer Godden deemed this behavior a violation based on "Condition 20," which is "failure to report incidental contact within 24 hours."

That was in October. Just a few weeks ago, Zach's lawyer, Scott Grabel, discovered something significant: Condition 20 is illegal. The Indiana Court of Appeals ruled that the condition was too broad in July 2015.

Under the terms of Condition 20, probationers were forbidden to "be alone with or have contact with any person under the age of 18," including "face-to-face, telephonic, written, electronic or any indirect contact via third parties." What's more, should contact somehow happen —if, for instance, a probationer went to McDonald's, ordered fries, and was served by someone age 17 -- that probationer was required to "report any incidental contact with persons under age 18 to your probation officer within 24 hours of the contact."

In other words, mundane daily life was transformed into a legal minefield—until the Appeals Court declared Condition 20 unconstitutional.

So why was Probation Officer Godden still using Condition 20 against Zach Anderson well after the court had declared it illegal?

"Because they don't want to let him go," Zach's father, Lester Anderson, says in a phone call. "To me, it looks like a witch hunt. They turn a blind eye to the fact that [incidentally encountering some people under age 18] is normal behavior."

Now that attorney Grabel has informed the probation officer that Condition 20 is off the books, Lester Anderson is cautiously optimistic about Friday's hearing. There are no other charges pending against Zach, who is now age 22. "There would be no greater Christmas present than to have Zach free," he says.

I can think of another welcome present. If a probation officer uses an unconstitutional law to threaten or prosecute a citizen, especially one whose original crime was consensual teen sex, it would be a lovely gift to see that probation officer fired.

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  • Hugh Akston||

    But Judge Denis Wiley threw the book at Zach, in part because he "went online...trolling for sex," which the the judge found to be "totally inappropriate behavior."

    This must be that Rule of Law I've heard so much about.

  • Zeb||

    Fuck that judge. I hear he likes to fuck sheep.

    Seems like a lot of this is because the judge finds the perfectly legal activity of looking for sex partners online personally distasteful.

  • ||

    Fuck that judge. I hear he likes to fuck sheep.

    He certainly looks like a sheep fucker. Hilariously he has two noteworthy cases. This one and one for which he was censured for whimsically jailing a woman who swore at the courthouse.

  • gaoxiaen||

    The Internet's wonderful, thank you, Al Gore. But it also is a danger. You went online, to use a fisherman's expression, trolling for women to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this, whatsoever.[7] "
    —Judge Dennis Wiley[6]

    He should do it the right way, like Ray Moore

  • Mitsima||

    Rick "The Dick" Jones, a dirt bag politician who, "... helped write the sex offender registry laws, said the law requires people to be responsible for knowing a sexual partner's age, and that people need to be very careful. He added that he did not believe Anderson's sentence was too harsh. In response to his Internet ban, he said, 'There are lots of jobs that don't involve computers. There are all sorts of trades. Truck drivers, welding. There are other opportunities.'"

    If ever there were justice in this universe, this douche nozzle would get caught on camera buggering a billygoat kidd.

  • Chuck in CR||

    The sheep are liars! Don't believe 'em.

  • Tony||

    Maybe he should just run for Senate.

  • Michael Ejercito||

    There is supposed to be a 40-year wait, Tony.

  • Juice||

    And no one is supposed to hear about it for all that time.

  • JudoPete||

    Or just pull an Al Franken and keep demanding recounts and finding cases of ballots in the trucks of cars until you win. Isn't he now resigning for sexual misconduct?

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    Big difference Tony. This kid didn't know she was 14.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Bigger difference: This kid didn't kill anyone in a cowardly drunk driving accident.

  • Tony||

    You should feel embarrassed for yourself that you're defending a pedophile with this crap.

    Hey guess what, Hitler existed. That doesn't excuse Roy Moore either.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    You should feel embarrassed for yourself for all the years you supported killer Ted Kennedy and allowed your party to take Harvey Weinstein's money.

    If you think I'm defending Roy Moore, go fuck off, slaver, You are deluded.

  • Tony||

    You are defending him, pathetically. I'll add you to the list of people with no moral authority or intellectual credibility till the end of time.

    That's what you get for defending a pedophile because he has an R after his name. Those other people you mentioned aren't relevant whatsoever, and I never once defended them in my life.

  • Carter Mitchell||

    Hey Tony, you should feel embarrassed for trying (unsuccessfully) to impersonate a live human with critical thinking capacity. What are you? Some sort of evangelical dickwad? Even the alleged "victim" AND her mother, were totally against this whole farce. You don't belong on a site with the word "Reason" in the title.

  • Mitsima||

    Embarrassed? Unsuccessfully impersonate a live human with critical thinking capacity is Tony's goal in life; well according to his leaked gov't benefits profile, anyway, but you know everyone lies to social workers.

  • Jickerson||

    A pedophile is someone who is sexually attracted to prepubescent children. 14 does not qualify. Also, pedophiles don't even have to act on their desires, so you're not using the term in a way that makes it clear what you mean. If someone raped someone else, call them a rapist. If someone raped a child, call them a child molester. That is more clear than just using terms that refer only to someone's sexual preferences.

  • JuanQPublic||

    Roy Moore was in a position of power over his alleged victim(s), which implies that he would have clearly known everything about her. And this is aside from a pattern of behavior that seems to be emerging.

  • Don Glover||

    I like how "position of power" became a thing right after the Dems didn't need bill Clinton anymore.

    It was always shitty but we pretended it wasn't

  • JuanQPublic||

    The Democratic Party has been completely for show for decades. Of course they are on the "abuse of power" kick right now. It's politically expedient. And it'll disappear faster than bump stocks after the storm passes.

  • Tionico||

    You need to get out a bit more.. haven't you heard? EVERY allegation against Moore has been debunked and PROVEN false. The street intersection wwhere that supposed 14 year old girl was "met" by Roy Moore when he alledgedly got fresh with her in the car... never existed. The yearbook"sweetheart" note has been proven a fraud and forgery... two different inks, one recent the other forty years old, different colours.... his signaure is a forged copy of his signature on the accuer's divorce papers, and amusingly followed by the letters "DA", signfiying at the time the divorce papers were signed that it was not Moore's signature at all, but his authorised approval placed there by his legal assistant, a VERY common practice in both law and medicine....

    Now, got any REAL dirt?

  • Ron||

    If nothing happened what is the purpose of self reporting in 24 hours and if something did happen why would you self report. Of course this is just another way for the government to find an excuse to monitor anyone for any reason

  • ||

    You say this like he/they actually have infallible powers of persuasion which can be fully brought to bear simply by being in the same room.

  • BYODB||

    It seems like the 5th amendment might apply to such a situation. Although it seems that courts have determined that if you're guilty of a crime you lose various constitutional protections, so I'm guessing this is among those.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    I'm pretty sure the answer is "FYTW." That, and condition 20 was obviously intended to be a catch all to give the probation officer an excuse to fuck with anyone they didn't like since it was pretty much impossible to comply with.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "...it would be a lovely gift to see that probation officer fired."

    Not good enough. She should be prosecuted.

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    In my libertopia, every criminal charge, warrant search, etc, is a bet of sorts: if you lose a case, of if you forge evidence and try to frame somebody, the effects rebound back at ya. So here, the judge and parole offier would end up on the sex offender registry.

  • 1980-f||

    That is, apparently, how it works in China if you make a false accusation. Can anyone enlighten us as to the reality?

  • Scarecrow Repair & Chippering||

    Not me. But I read that in Britain, civil case costs are paid by losers, but relative to what was charged. If you allege someone ripped you off for $1M, and the verdict comes back he only ripped you off for any lesser amount, you are the loser as far as paying costs. That's putting some accountability into things, and it apparently does work to some extent to avoid outrageous claims.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    Well, I know that their lawyer per capita ratio is way lower than ours, so that's got to be saying something.

  • Tionico||

    you maybbe amused to know that that is precisely the remedy spelled out in the bible.. anyone who, by bearing false witness in the trying of anyone must receive the same punishment that would be imposed upon the one falsely accused were that one guilty as charged.

    In other wors, this prosecutore, by her lying and trying to make a case where there isn't one, should suffer the exactl same punishment she tried to impose on this guy. And the judge who found against this horny kid in the first place needs to face the same... this kid did no wrong, under law. She falsified her age, got it on with him, and thejudge KNEW it... yet convicted anad sentenced anyway.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "...face-to-face, telephonic, written, electronic or any indirect contact via third parties."

    What about telepathic contact? Didn't they used to burn witches for appearing in other peoples' dreams?

  • ||

    Seems odd that genitals-to-face and genitals-to-genitals aren't listed. I guess glory holes are a go.

  • Vernon Depner||

    "...indirect contact via third parties."

    So I guess sloppy seconds are out, too.

  • Griffin3||

    What the hell is indirect contact by third parties? If I need to buy something at Ace hardware, and I know (telepathically?) that the cashier is under 18, and I send someone in to conduct the transactionfor me, am I in violation?

    Saying this is overbroad is like saying the sky is overblue.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    who told him she was 17 (but turned out to be 14)

    Ouch. I hear Europe is a little more understanding on that stuff.

  • IceTrey||

    It's actually illegal for an adult American citizen to have sex with anyone under 16 anywhere in the world. Check that drivers license!

  • some guy||

    Could be fake. Long form birth certificate with two forms of picture ID or GTFO.

  • Longtobefree||

    You forgot the notarized affidavit of consent, resigned every five minutes.

  • ||

    Nothing says, "Trust me, I'm not a child molester." like a gallon-bowl of pudding and Nilla wafers.

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    100% agree and if this is an example of that sarcasm thing people keep mentioning, then I disagree.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    forbidden from using the internet.

    This seems... I dunno, unconstitutional.

  • JuanQPublic||

    I believe it has been rules as such in other states.

  • some guy||

    That basically means you can no longer participate in society. Might as well ban him from being within sight of a school, playground, park or church... oh wait.

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    A few years ago, the dems in Indianapolis put forward a candidate (Melina Kennedy) that wanted to prohibit sex offender registrants from even being within a half MILE of a school, park, library, youth program, etc. It would've made it illegal for someone on the registry from even driving through most of the county, even on the interstates. She lost, badly. But I wonder what it is that makes these people tick? They have to know the consequences of these statutes, it's simple geometry and geography. Or they're trying to work up the [stupid] population to fear the boogeyman. Either way, they should be shot.

  • Tionico||

    same thing with the "certified dfefenseless victim zones" created by the Gun Free School ones Act, a fed piece of toilet paper. There is an exemption in the school zones act for those who have their Mother May I Card to carry concealed.... before I got mine, I decided to locate the safe routes, that is, not in violation of the school zones act, which prohibits possession of any firearm within 1000 feet of any elementray or secondary school, public or private. Checked out a local map..... there is NO ROUTE between my house and any freeway or other major road out of town that does not come within less than 1000 feet of a school property. (the law defines the school as any part of the piece of dirt on which the building sits). Thus I cannot even go to any gun store, legally buy a new or used gun, and take it back home..... there is no way to wriggle through the maze of thousand foot circles surrounding all the routes to/from my house. How stupid is that? I suppose it would be fun, if caught and charged with violating this piece of nonsense, to make that a defense... I was prevented from reaching muy own home because there is no route compliant.....

  • Kyfho Myoba||

    The internet ban has been overturned as well, but not in a sex offender type case.

  • Diane Reynolds (Paul.)||

    Zach's probation was just coming to an end when he took a lie detector test which asked if he'd had any contact with anyone under age 18.

    Lie detector test? I believe there's only one state in the union where lie detector tests are admissible in court and that's New Mexico.

  • Citizen X - #6||

    It probably wasn't even a real polygraph. They probably put a blood pressure cuff on his arm with the other end of the tube going into a drawer, and then there was another cop under the desk making buzzing sounds.

  • Marcus Aurelius||

    "those aren't buzzing sounds..."

  • BestUsedCarSales||

    You're describing what was shown in the original patent for the Lie Detector.

  • Griffin3||

    +1 penile plethysmograph

  • MichaelL||

    HEAR! HEAR!! It is easy to confuse the operator of the test. But, the examiner then pulls out the "being deceptive" card. Is that not abuse?! I was forced to take one. I did not tell one lie. But, hoping they did not ask me a certain question messed up the results. Still allowed abuse of the system by those attacking me. But, such is the state of the "just-us" system in the US! I guess that points out one violation of my rights by the US government!

  • C. S. P. Schofield||

    "it would be a lovely gift to see that probation officer fired."

    Preferably from a cannon.

  • JuanQPublic||

    By the tone of the description of the judge's actions, this seems like arbitrary "justice", aside from the clearly insane actions of the state, from the probation officer to the judge.

    US criminal justice reflects a sexually retarded, reflexive mindset that can be easily seen through public hysterics.

    I would wager that Roy Moore supports this too.

  • Cynical Asshole||

    If a probation officer uses an unconstitutional law to threaten or prosecute a citizen, especially one whose original crime was consensual teen sex, it would be a lovely gift to see that probation officer fired.

    BWAAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA!!!!1!!!!!!!!!

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    Now that attorney Grabel has informed the probation officer that Condition 20 is off the books...

    Never give them time to fish for something else.

  • some guy||

    Anderson was then found to be in violation of Condition 22. The probation office's phone lines are recorded and saved on a server which is connected to the internet. Therefore, every time Anderson called in he was technically online, which violates his parole.

  • Fist of Etiquette||

    On the same internet where the FBI's child pornography "Playpen" servers exist? Gasp!

  • Griffin3||

    Don't forget condition 22B-7, without which no work can be done by probation officers of the Department of Pubic Works.

  • some guy||

    that probationer was required to "report any incidental contact with persons under age 18 to your probation officer within 24 hours of the contact.

    Part of me would want to just report every contact I had with anyone each and every day as being "possible contact with someone under age 18. I mean, how am I supposed to know who fits the bill or not? I'd just swamp the probation officer with calls.

    The other part of me would not want to piss off someone who has the power to send me to prison for no reason whatsoever.

  • Longtobefree||

    Well, yeah. He was burned because he is a bad judge of age, so why not require him to know the actual age of everyone on the planet?

  • Vernon Depner||

    We could have all the minors dress in yellow like in Logan's Run.

  • Tionico||

    I've known plenty of 13 and 14 year olds who could, and sometimes did, easily pass for 18 and 20.... and I knew one 22 year old who got carded everytime she went to buy booze..... but when she was 18 could walk in to any corner liquor store and buy. She sometimes got free booze that way, as she'd bet she could, the wager beeing the price of the bottle. She almost always won.

    That doesn't work now, though, because most states require, by law, cardinf everyone who looks to possibly be under 40. Heh' I've gotten carded at sixty, and it wasn't a cutesey pie trying to get fresh who was serving.

  • Longtobefree||

    Please not the the judge was reassigned to civil court, not fired or imprisoned.

  • XM||

    What punishment did the girl receive for having lied to a man before having consensual sex?

    Also, lie detector responses are now admissible in court or hearings?

  • Chuck in CR||

    What punishment did the girl receive for having lied to a man before having consensual sex? None.

    More proof women really do earn less than men.

  • Galane||

    it would be a lovely gift to see that probation officer IN JAIL.

    Fixed that for you.

  • thisbrucesmith||

    Remember when "running the government like a business" was all the rage? Here we see the problem: the criminal justice system's business model depends on a continuing supply of "criminals."

  • ||

    "The Real Pizzagate!"

  • jerryg1018||

    I have a grand-daughter who is 14, her best friend is 13. Put either or both in cocktail dresses and heels and you'd swear they are at least 20-21 years old.

  • MichaelL||

    Then that brings up the question about your sexual preferences?! I would dare say that is enough for a conviction, in certain states! But. in those cases, the male is responsible for the dishonesty of the underage girl!?

  • Mitsima||

    I know of a case where some dumb schmuck was being prosecuted for carnal knowledge of a minor, again. No one, esp. the women involved, believed that the 14 yo was not a willing participant. Statutory, yes, rape, not so much. Regardless, 16 will get you 20.

  • mjerryfuerst||

    This was corrected over two years ago
    a) http://abcnews.go.com/US/zach-.....d=32901919
    b) http://wsbt.com/news/local/zac.....r-registry
    Of course this should not have ever happened

  • AD-RtR/OS!||

    Welcome to Salem MA, circa 1692.

  • Queen Screwup||

    This is so fucking horrible. Assholes abusing their power.

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