Lucky these pictures are from a catalog and weren't sent by a girl to a boy or the boy could spend the rest of his life in prison.

Teen Girl Sends Teen Boy 5 Sexts. His Choice: 350 Years in Prison, or Lifetime Registered as “Violent Sex Offender”

Zachary X, 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, VA, 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.

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 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, which I read. 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.”

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Lucky these pictures are from a Sears catalog and weren’t sent by a girl to her boyfriend, or the boyfriend could spend the rest of his life in prison.

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89 Responses to Teen Girl Sends Teen Boy 5 Sexts. His Choice: 350 Years in Prison, or Lifetime Registered as “Violent Sex Offender”

  1. WendyW February 15, 2017 at 1:21 am #

    These laws are nuts! Personally, I don’t think they should have taken the plea. Sometimes going to court is the better choice because it will (assuming a decent lawyer) bring more public attention to the stupidity; the possibility/probability of acquittal, or possibly jury nullification depending on the circumstances and charges.

  2. BL February 15, 2017 at 4:12 am #

    What sort of human beings can spend their hours prosecuting such (non-)”crimes” to the ends of the earth?

    Not the same sort of people who would ever prosecute such things as murder, robbery, rape, arson, etc. You know, real crimes. How many of those are going unpunished, or mildly punished?

  3. donald February 15, 2017 at 6:59 am #

    Is there a site such as go fund me where we can support Zachary? This is sickening! Who is pushing this? Somebody obviously has a fetish.

  4. Jessica February 15, 2017 at 7:02 am #

    How can they use the term “violent” if he never met her?

  5. JTW February 15, 2017 at 7:25 am #

    How can it even be a crime if he didn’t consent to the images being sent to him (and even IF he consented, it’s nonsense to criminalise it).

  6. Jess February 15, 2017 at 8:44 am #

    I just had this conversation yesterday. Why do prosecutors go after these cases? Why did the counselor feel the need to report it? Why do they think it’s okay that Zachary will likely never hold a decent job, be able to finish college, or be around his own children if he has them, and will add, unnecessarily, to the workload of already stretched police resources? This has got to stop.

  7. BL February 15, 2017 at 9:14 am #

    At least in the case of Zachary Anderson there was actual sexual contact.

    In this case of Zachary X they got – undie pics? So he “victimized” this girl (who didn’t want this case pursued) by looking at pictures of her probably less revealing than a swimsuit? Is every girl who goes swimming at a pool or a beach with males “victimized”?

    I know, I shouldn’t give Ryan Frank ideas …

  8. Richard February 15, 2017 at 9:19 am #

    When Speaker of the House Howell wrote, “I believe Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior…”, I believe that even that is incorrect. I believe that Zachary was completely aware that his behavior was really not that bad, and that by pretending that it was we continue to do him and the young lady in question a great disservice.

  9. SteveS February 15, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    It does seem like a weak case to prosecute. I can’t say why, but it may have been that the girl’s family was pressuring for a prosecution. I also wondered why this person took the plea, but most people don’t want the risk of going to trial.

  10. Steve N February 15, 2017 at 9:36 am #

    Doesn’t a judge have to approve this plea bargain? How can any judge allow this? What’s wrong with the world!!?? Fear your government!

  11. Workshop February 15, 2017 at 9:59 am #

    Jess,
    Prosecutors go after cases they think they can win.
    In order to win, they will present the accused with a choice. In this case, it was a couple centuries of prison time, or the lesser charge that got him on the registry. Fear is a wonderful motivator. No one wants to spend the rest of their life in prison, so people will regularly plead to the lesser charge. Prosecutors want to prosecute; the truth of the charges are relatively immaterial. They go after what they think they can win. And generally speaking, a win is a win, whether it’s against a drug dealer, a murderer, or a kid who ran afoul a rule that doesn’t make any sense.

    The counselor needed to report it because there are laws mandating that some things aren’t privileged information.

    As to your last question, that’s bureaucracy. There is no compassion, no logical argument, no reason why “the rules” aren’t followed. We have a process, and that process is to destroy your life. There are other processes in place for people who can’t find work and are too poor to pay your bills. But those are other bureaucracies, not ours, so you’ll need to talk to them and we can’t help you.

    Reason # 1245 I’m not a lawyer: “Your honor, I will show the jury the picture of what was on the defendant’s phone. Then I will show them Debbie Does Dallas. If anyone here thinks they’re identical, they’re blooming idiots.”

  12. BL February 15, 2017 at 10:07 am #

    @Workshop
    “There is no compassion, no logical argument, no reason why “the rules” aren’t followed. We have a process, and that process is to destroy your life.”

    The Nuremberg defense didn’t fly at Nuremberg, and it shouldn’t fly in Stafford County.

  13. J February 15, 2017 at 10:58 am #

    Can’t someone find out the phone number of the prosecutor and send him something?

  14. Gina February 15, 2017 at 11:51 am #

    Where can I write to this ridiculous person? Ryan Frank?

  15. Betsy in Michigan February 15, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    These young people who are having their live’s set up for failure perhaps need to spend the money on looking into immigrating legally to Canada (hoping they have a system to consider visas on a case-by-case basis?). Seriously, they need to claim political asylum. This is like the Salem witch trials (you know, the ones in the 1600’s!). Alternative facts are becoming a horrifying reality.

    Countersuit, pro bono. anyone?

  16. Christopher Byrne February 15, 2017 at 12:12 pm #

    @ Richard–I mostly agree, but I think it may go even further than that. We outfit kids with camera phones, give them apps like Snapchat, Kik, Instagram, etc. (To name some of the more benign ones.) Combine that with youth and the lack of full brain development, and you have someone who is doing something that adults may think is idiotic, but is just ill-advised and in this case certainly doesn’t rise to the level of the punishment.

    These draconian laws make no distinctions, and that’s why they’re flawed. The kid and his family probably don’t have the resources to fight this in court, and that could take years.

    The “consequences of his actions” should be a stern talking to and removal of phone privileges for a time. He is not a felon. Until adults stop projecting their own perceptions on kids and begin to understand how kids perceive these actions, this will keep going.

    Yes, every case is different, but from what I can tell just from reading this is that a girl with emotional challenges sought attention by sending pictures of herself in underwear. Pictures the boy didn’t even solicit.

    The sex offender registry should be limited to real sex offenders. Period. This does not rise to that level.

  17. Reziac February 15, 2017 at 12:18 pm #

    How the hell is HE responsible for what SHE sent him? Oh right, now it’s kiddie porn, even tho it could have been.. funny thing, my first thought also was “ripped straight from the Sears catalog”.

    The system is now upsidedown, punishing the good and rewarding the bad.

  18. Andrea February 15, 2017 at 12:26 pm #

    How did he not take this case to a jury? I’m curious why his lawyer recommended accepting the plea. A good lawyer would have had him cleared with time-served. I wonder if they are low income and didn’t have the resources to fight it…

  19. Dean February 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Appears his defense was by a Public Pretender. Hope this can be appealed.

  20. Andrea February 15, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    Also, if anyone here lives in Virginia (or any other state where this happens) CALL YOUR STATE REPS and request they clarify the law so this stops happening. Otherwise they will assume that we want more draconian laws like this, not fewer, because they aren’t hearing from the level-headed people. Posting online that a law is nuts is cathartic, but it doesn’t change the law. Call. Now.

  21. Rachael February 15, 2017 at 12:43 pm #

    She sent them to him! He’s the victim, unless he requested them. This is ridiculous. He should get off with an apology, maybe some community service and so should she. They were just kids being stupid.

  22. In California February 15, 2017 at 12:48 pm #

    And yet Brock Turner served only three months in jail for felony sexual assault of an unconscious woman. The inconsistency surrounding these laws abounds.

  23. EricS February 15, 2017 at 12:54 pm #

    I don’t like politics, and try to avoid it. But what’s even more disconcerting, is that there are people in government who have openly admitted to sexually assaulting and harassing women, and even condones such acts as “normal”, and they are enjoying everything life has to offer. Free as a bird. It’s a sad country we live in.

  24. EricS February 15, 2017 at 12:59 pm #

    @Rachael: I’ve thought about that too. What happens to the girl who SENDS the pics? Does age really determine whether one is a “sexual predator” or not? I think those that send these pics should be just as guilty. Others shouldn’t suffer for the actions of others. And the law should never pick and choose who gets punished for the same offenses. If a ‘rapist’ gets 10 years in prison, the ALL convicted ‘rapists’ should get 10 years in prison. Doesn’t matter who they are, or who their mommy or daddy is. It’s all about accountability for one’s own actions.

  25. John B. February 15, 2017 at 1:02 pm #

    When you read the legal definition of “child pornography” to me, it’s pretty raw. If you had pictures in your possession that meet that definition, you are definitely guilty. But the stories I’m hearing is of people who have been convicted for possessing photos of minors in their bathing suits or running around the house in just their underwear, etc. These type of pictures don’t come close to meeting the legal definition of child pornography. In this case, the girls’ faces weren’t even showing!

    Now if adults get aroused by viewing pictures of young athletic boys running around in their soccer shorts or shirtless, I think we’re just gonna have to live with it! To me, it s/b the abuse of the kid in the picture and that’s what I always understood child porn to mean. For example, if a kid is pictured in a sex act or posing naked on a couch, it’s putting him in a very compromising situation which s/b considered abuse. If a kid is donned in bondage type clothing (even with private parts covered) and he or she is being whipped, that is definitely abuse. But a kid pictured out and about on a warm summer day with his shirt off or running around a soccer field with shorts on or a gymnastics kid doing an iron cross or kids competitively wrestling or even just fun wrestling would hardly be considered in an abusive situation. But yet prosecutors seem to be getting away with convicting people who possess these type of pictures.

    Goodness, is this Constitutional??? Do we now put people in jail for what they’re THINKING?

  26. Shawn D. February 15, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    Wow, just wow. This has done nothing to protect anyone from any criminal/predatory behavior, but if these prosecutions keep up, it will create a class of unemployables who would either have to live off public largess or become criminals to support themselves (or both).

  27. BL February 15, 2017 at 1:27 pm #

    @John B
    “Now if adults get aroused by viewing pictures of young athletic boys running around in their soccer shorts or shirtless …”

    I saw on another internet forum a post by a mother who was very concerned about her son’s basketball coach.

    The coach, a woman, coached a team of middle-school boys.

    This mother was very upset that they scrimmaged shirt-vs-skins. Presumably the coach was suspected of being a wily cougar checking out her next conquest’s sexy pecs. Or something like that.

  28. jimc5499 February 15, 2017 at 1:28 pm #

    “Lucky these pictures are from a Sears catalog and weren’t sent by a girl to her boyfriend, or the boyfriend could spend the rest of his life in prison.”

    Believe it or not, the models in that ad are over 18 years of age. I work for a company that does point of purchase displays. One of our customers deals in lingerie and underwear for teenage girls. All of the art comes with a disclaimer that all of the models are over 18.

  29. SteveS February 15, 2017 at 1:30 pm #

    How did he not take this case to a jury? I’m curious why his lawyer recommended accepting the plea. A good lawyer would have had him cleared with time-served. I wonder if they are low income and didn’t have the resources to fight it…

    It appears he didn’t want to. What makes you think the lawyer recommended taking the offer. We are only hearing about this from the defendant’s father. We have no idea what went on between the defendant and his lawyer. A good (and ethical) lawyer would never promise a specific outcome. The family could afford to hire two psychologists to evaluate him, so they are not low income.

    Appears his defense was by a public pretender. Hope this can be appealed.

    Where are you getting this information from?

  30. James Pollock February 15, 2017 at 1:54 pm #

    “How can it even be a crime if he didn’t consent to the images being sent to him”

    He consented. (You can infer consent from the fact that he continued to possess them). You perhaps meant that he didn’t ask her to send them, but that doesn’t help, either, since merely possessing “child” porn is sufficient for conviction.

    The problem is that he’s taken a plea. Once you do that, your legal options become very constrained. First, you’re on the record as saying that you did it. Second, plea bargains often include a “no-appeal” provision.
    Of course, it’s easy to argue “you never should have taken the plea bargain!” when it isn’t you facing down the barrel of a state prosecution for multiple felonies involving “children” and “sex”. In a good number of parts of this country, just an accusation is enough for a conviction.

    I’m all “soft on crime”, because I don’t see one here (although, as usual, I’ll point out that we only got one side of the story here, so there may be some details left out that point to guilt.)

  31. Jason February 15, 2017 at 1:56 pm #

    @Richard – that’s just what I was thinking when reading Speaker Howell’s words. But, I imagine he’s invested a lot in his role as a sanctimonious, tough-on-crime politician, and it’s hard to drop that persona even when he sees a blatant miscarriage of justice.

  32. James Pollock February 15, 2017 at 2:25 pm #

    “How can they use the term “violent” if he never met her?”

    He’s charged with trying to have sex with her without consent (because, of course, of the legal fiction that she is incapable of consent because of her age.)

    That’s an attempt at a violent crime. In Virginia.

  33. Father February 15, 2017 at 2:32 pm #

    So over several months, he groomed a victim four years his junior and now he’s on the sex offender registry? Sounds about right.

  34. NY Mom February 15, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    When I walk through my local shopping mall I pass a statue of Michelangelo’s David in a shop window, genitalia front and center.

    I pass the toddlers area. Then, just past the food court, looms Victoria’s Secret with models who appear to be about age 14 in scanty lacy bras and brief briefs. The windows are huge with the girl-models three times life size.

    Zachary needs a better lawyer.

    And we the people need new laws.
    We need to reform sex offender laws.

  35. Father February 15, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    I have a friend who started the same way. He was 17 and she was 13; he said it was innocent. Then he was 18 and found a 15 year old. Eventually he was 26 and she was 14. He would call me to chat about these girls and I would keep a list and report it to the police. I kept telling him that it was wrong, that they were too young and too immature to truly consent, but he was oblivious to my protestations.

    He went to prison at 26, got out, got a job at an internet cafe (in violation of his parole), got caught with two girls (15 and 16) living in his apartment, went back to prison, got out again. He was so sure he wasn’t a pedophile and that everyone else was wrong about him. Eventually he finally listened to me when I told him that they were right and that he had a problem; he hasn’t called since.

    I wish someone had stopped him when he was 17. He’s left a trail of young girls in his wake and done a lot of damage.

  36. En Passant February 15, 2017 at 2:47 pm #

    Gina February 15, 2017 at 11:51 am wrote:

    Where can I write to this ridiculous person? Ryan Frank?

    See http://co.stafford.va.us/873/Commonwealths-Attorney

  37. NY Mom February 15, 2017 at 2:56 pm #

    And we do put people in jail for what they’re thinking: check out “Mensa rea”.

    When I was a teen we had a song “Standing on the Corner Watching All the Girls Go By” with the line:
    “You can’t go to jail for what you’re thinking…”

    But then we passed a law that lets law enforcement jail people whom law enforcement has set up to arrest for child porn using mensa rea (what you’re thinking).

    Makes no sense to me, actually. It was passed as part of “tough on crime”, all those inhumane laws passed to fill prisons by getting teenage boys off the streets.

  38. Papilio February 15, 2017 at 3:06 pm #

    So if I send you a bomb/cocaine/a Kinderegg, YOU go to prison? Where’s the logic in that?

    “How can it even be a crime if he didn’t consent to the images being sent to him (and even IF he consented, it’s nonsense to criminalise it).”

    Yes, that. WHAT crime?? Who is the victim here?!

  39. BL February 15, 2017 at 3:28 pm #

    “using a computer to propose sex”

    Um, really? Is that a crime in itself, independent of the age of the proposed-to? And if the proposed-to is underage, does it matter whether it’s done by computer, snail-mail, phone, face-to-face, Morse code, or sky-writing?

  40. Jess February 15, 2017 at 3:30 pm #

    @Father, by definition, he is not a pedophile. Pedophilia is attraction to prepubescent children by an adult or older adolescent. I went through puberty at 12 years old, and most women do between 10 and 12 years of age. So the ages you list are not an indication of pedophilia. Also, in general, there has to be an age gap of greater than five years for it to be considered pedophilia. So sexual predation, maybe, and statutory rape, but not pedophilia. Please stop conflating the two.

  41. John B. February 15, 2017 at 3:42 pm #

    Quote: “This mother was very upset that they scrimmaged shirt-vs-skins.”

    @BL

    Back in the early 1970s during my early high school years (9th, 10th grade) we scrimmaged shirts-vs-skins in phys-ed class all the time. It was a very easy and convenient way to separate the teams. Since we’ve gotten so prudish nowadays with kids, it wouldn’t surprise me that they don’t allow this in schools anymore and would even fire the gym teacher for doing it.

    This mother was probably young and came from the new snowflake generation of kids. People like this are influencing the modern day rules of the schools.

  42. BL February 15, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    @John B

    Yes, shirts-vs-skins was routinely done not only in gym class but in pickup games. Nobody thought there was anything wrong with it.

    And yes, I’ve read where they now have red and blue bibs to wear over their gym shirts in many places.

    It’s also difficult to find boys willing to participate in varsity swimming due to the brevity of the swimsuits.

  43. John B. February 15, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    Quote: “Believe it or not, the models in that ad are over 18 years of age.”

    If I were an 18-year-old female, I think I’d be rather embarrassed modeling bra straps under the title:

    “Her First Bra”

  44. James Pollock February 15, 2017 at 4:00 pm #

    “got caught with two girls (15 and 16) living in his apartment, went back to prison, got out again. He was so sure he wasn’t a pedophile”

    Because he’s not. Being attracted to 15 or 16-year-old women is not pedophilia. My grandmother was married at 16.

    In most of Europe and several U.S. states, it’s not even illegal to successfully romance a 16-year-old woman.

    How badly did you both raising your kids if they aren’t ready to decide for themselves about sex by the time their 16 years old?

  45. James Pollock February 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    “And yes, I’ve read where they now have red and blue bibs to wear over their gym shirts in many places.”

    Well, we had co-ed PE when I was in school (late 70’s/early 80’s). And I don’t imagine “shirts vs. skins” is used much for, say, hockey.

  46. Resident Iconoclast February 15, 2017 at 4:02 pm #

    Well everyone, we all rooted for demonizing the “queers” or the “child molesters” or the “communists” and, in due course, the dragnet came around for our kids, or even for us.

    Three hundred and fifty years for a few photos of a partially-dressed person seems pretty hysterical and mentally ill, doesn’t it? When you consider the sentences that murderers and rapists have received around the nation. I think Bernie Madoff’s total sentence was a bit less than that. That it is an adolescent youth makes it even more obvious, that we all have a mental disease in this country.

    Many, many people are completely pissed off that the government literally stomps the life out of anyone it deems unpopular. And we go right along with it, because we enjoy seeing people we disagree with get pissed on and totally ruined. How hard will it be for you, or most people, to speak up and defend “sex offenders?” I’ve done it. It’s not easy, but I’ll tell you this, it isn’t a “free” country anymore. Some people think the solution is electing a torture supporter and fake like Donald Trump, but soon enough his attorney general will double down on these laws, just like Obama’s, and Bush’s, and Bill Clinton’s. And that will be even more funny, a thrice married faker braggart cad proselytizing about “family values.” How bad, really, does it have to get, before you speak up and do something? Do you really think you’re going to escape your turn?

    It’s obvious to me, that the United States is completely fucked up. All of it’s fake claims about being that shining city of liberty and freedom is just a pile of moldering dog shit. Let’s look in the mirror, and see what a crapload we’ve all become. Just remember, we’re accomplices to this, unless we’re willing to stand up against it. My ancestors didn’t risk their lives in the Pacific Theater of the war against Axis fascism, to defend this shit. I refuse to defend it.

  47. Alanna February 15, 2017 at 4:24 pm #

    I don’t understand why it is not the girls that get arrested and put on the registry. At least in this case, it was the girl who sent the pictures.

  48. donald February 15, 2017 at 4:26 pm #

    On my blog, I talk about bureaucracy and I compare it to Godzilla attacking Tokyo. This wasn’t meant to be a joke but an actual comparison. The bureaucracy was INTENTIONALLY designed so that rules and procedures are followed by all. This is to fight corruption and to ensure that no one gets special treatment.

    However, it has grown to become too extreme. Even though the majority can see that it’s become too inflexible, the government or whoever is in charge of the bureaucracy has a great difficulty to control this beast from becoming overzealous!

    The results of this are that in the case of Zachary, this is similar to a public stoning!

    I wish more people would support the works of Philip Howard

    http://www.commongood.org/pages/philip-k.-howard

    http://www.onmysoapboxx.com/bureaucracy

  49. donald February 15, 2017 at 4:34 pm #

    There are many great comments about crazy this is and how little sense this makes. This supports my comparison of Godzilla. It’s amazingly powerful, can be very destructive, has very little intelligence, and cannot be reasoned with. Pretend that there’s a person in charge of Godzilla. They would also struggle to control this beast.

  50. James Pollock February 15, 2017 at 4:38 pm #

    “I don’t understand why it is not the girls that get arrested and put on the registry.”

    In some cases, it was. That wasn’t better.

  51. Donna February 15, 2017 at 4:57 pm #

    “How did he not take this case to a jury? I’m curious why his lawyer recommended accepting the plea. A good lawyer would have had him cleared with time-served. I wonder if they are low income and didn’t have the resources to fight it…”

    Interesting conclusion to draw without (a) knowing the laws that he was charged with violating, (b) seeing the pictures that allegedly violated said laws, or (c) talking to a single person involved in the case.

    As a general rule, going to a jury trial when you have actually violated the law and the State can clearly prove it (by having possession of your computer containing pictures and chat logs that violate said law) is not a great idea. Jury nullification is a rarity. Sadly, many Americans are ignorant of even the basics of the law and you are not allowed to educate them on jury nullification during a trial. Going to trial with 350 years hanging over you head, hoping that one of 12 pretty randomly selected people understands jury nullification (which you are not allowed to ask them about or mention in anyway) and is willing to do it and is able to convince 11 other people to join him (or all you get is another trial) is a HUGE gamble with the rest of your life.

  52. Mya Greene February 15, 2017 at 5:12 pm #

    So girls in bikinis viewed in public are ok, but once there is a picture it isn’t? Before we know it, we will all be on the sex offender registry for even breaching the subject.

  53. Papilio February 15, 2017 at 6:24 pm #

    “Then he was 18 and found a 15 year old.”
    I get the other two examples, but what’s so outrageous about this??

  54. Beth February 15, 2017 at 6:45 pm #

    “Magnitude of impropriety” really bothers me. How was he supposed to know that a girl sending him photos was…this? She sent them. They were on his phone as a result of her having sent them. That might have been improper (magnitudinally? ha) for her, but him not knowing he should have deleted them immediately was not a magnitude of anything.

  55. AmyP February 15, 2017 at 8:52 pm #

    This is appalling. I have mixed feelings about the sex offender registry. Between the ages of six and ten my then stepfather molested me pretty much daily. He was convicted and does have to register. Is he likely to snatch random kids of the street? Not at all, but it would be a good thing for people considering entering into a relationship for him to know. Then again as an employer it would be good for me to know if the people I hired were thieves. As a woman, it would be good for me to know which men like to beat women. We have no registries for shoplifters or those convicted of domestic violence. The registry is pretty much meaningless as it’s used now and does nothing to protect the public. What’s really appalling though is the disparity in sentencing. This poor kid has this outrageous punishment for what shouldn’t even be considered a crime yet there are rapists and batterers that get next to nothing. You get less time for killing people. The stepfather I mentioned above was out in two years, but this kid has this punishment. Ridiculous. I’m all for discretion in sentencing as there are different circumstances, but it shouldn’t be down to whether you want to appear tough on crime, whether you value women and children, how much “value” the defendant has, or how good of a negotiator your lawyer is. There has to be better guidelines than this so kids like this aren’t registering for life and men assaulting women behind dumpsters aren’t getting community service.

  56. Dana February 15, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

    I have well-intentioned friends questioning the validity of this story and saying this is site-boosting fake news. I want to give them more info. Are there any other sources?

  57. Richard February 15, 2017 at 10:02 pm #

    According to a press report, he requested the photos and was pressuring her to meet to have sex. Registry and charges still tragically absurd and counterproductive, but a somewhat different story.

  58. Jen February 16, 2017 at 6:45 am #

    @BL
    Yes…and during pick up games, the boys would always try to get the girls to be on the “skins” team…and we all pretended to be mad and say they were pervs and once we got through that, the pick up game got going. No girls removed their shirts, no one was reported for harassment…and we moved on to the next idiotic joke that was probably just as juvenile and ridiculous. Nobody really got offended because nobody really felt that they were being pressured to remove their clothing. somehow, intent got taken out of the picture.

  59. BL February 16, 2017 at 8:14 am #

    @Jen
    “Yes…and during pick up games, the boys would always try to get the girls to be on the “skins” team…and we all pretended to be mad and say they were pervs and once we got through that, the pick up game got going. No girls removed their shirts, no one was reported for harassment”

    We didn’t usually play mixed pickup games, but once in a while a determined “tomboy” (remember that word?) would play and, yeah, sometimes we’d tease her by innocently suggesting her team be “skins” and her teammates would start taking off their shirts while she stood there with hands on hips and said, “OK, guys, reaaallly funny …”

    A few years later my area became a serious hotbed of girls’ HS basketball (still is, to an extent). Not sure if mixed games became common after that. Though I remember that one HS was reported to the state for (gasp!) holding boy-girl scrimmages (varsity vs varsity), which is apparently against the rules. It turned out these were pickup games not arranged (wink wink) by the coaches and therefore not under the jurisdiction of the state athletic association.

  60. Beth February 16, 2017 at 8:26 am #

    @Dana, you could mention that Lenore probably doesn’t sit around coming up with outrageous scenarios and then writing stories as if they were real; real life provides enough. It looks like someone above saw a press release, so maybe he could provide a link.

  61. James Pollock February 16, 2017 at 11:06 am #

    “A few years later my area became a serious hotbed of girls’ HS basketball (still is, to an extent). Not sure if mixed games became common after that.”

    (off-topic)
    There was just a story in the national news about a youth basketball team in New Jersey that is a mixed team in a boys’ league (because there weren’t enough girls who wanted to play in the age range to make up a girls’ team).
    Well, the league office just decided that This Cannot Be Permitted, so the team was ordered to drop the girls from the team. Instead, the team chose to forfeit the remainder of its schedule rather than drop the girls.

    These are fifth-graders.

  62. Chick February 16, 2017 at 12:11 pm #

    Why wasn’t this girl charged with distributing kiddie porn? Since these pictures were so horrendous as to ruin a young man’s life, why isn’t she charged as a producer and distributor?

  63. Eyes Rolling February 16, 2017 at 12:38 pm #

    I don’t understand why someone would plea bargain to indecent liberties with someone they’ve never met in person if things seemed so trumped up. He’s a victim of the system and should have fought and started the outcry, if this was all trumped up by an overzealous prosecution looking for some easy political points getting a deal. Or there’s something missing here.

  64. MikeInVirginia February 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    I read about this recently at Reason magazine and the fairly conservative readers of that source were up in arms in the comments, saying that he had no business interacting with a girl of that age and there was no good intent there. People really get angry about this kind of stuff. I have an idea. If parents are concerned about who their teenage daughters might be interacting with and sending pictures to, TALK TO THEM!

    I remember when I was in college and for a short time thereafter, 18 – 24 years old, I had many teenage girls, 14 to 16, who would flirt with me. I did my best to avoid it, but those age ranges are ones where people will interact with each other. In my case, it was siblings of friends, or public places we frequented together (I used to play laser tag and frequent game shops in college – like many other college kids did, and teenagers would also frequent those places), or in some cases, they were co-workers when I was working part-time fast food jobs. Now, I was a responsible young adult, and did my best to shut that down – I didn’t even want the temptation. But we didn’t have smart phones or the Internet back then. If we did, I imagine I might have received unwanted attention through those mechanisms. The idea that I could have been subject to criminal prosecution is scary.

    On the other hand, I aware of others who did not make the same choices I did, and while I wouldn’t consider them violent sex offenders, I wouldn’t have felt sympathy if they wound up in jail for having an inappropriate relationship. To me, the very clear line is, if an adult produces, solicits or distributes underage nude pictures, or engages in physical sexual contact with a minor, and there is a reasonably significant age difference (i.e. not a 17 yo and 18 yo together), then its clearly a problem. Otherwise, its prosecutors trying to ruin someone’s life over, at worst, a lapse in judgement and, at best, doing nothing at all, just to pump up his prosecution numbers.

    Prosecutors love to prosecute sex crimes because it makes them look like they are doing something, and these types of cases are easier to prosecute than actual rape (due to the photos), so they pick the low hanging fruit. Meanwhile, actual rape victims continue to receive no justice.

  65. Railmeat February 16, 2017 at 12:56 pm #

    I have a huge problem here. From Lenore’s write-up above:

    ° “He’s a teen who did something stupid”

    ° “Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior…”

    ° “I am not suggesting that Zachary be spared any consequence of his actions . . .”

    What PRECISELY did Zach do that warrants this?? Communicated with a 13 year old? Is that criminal? I truly don’t understand this at all. Even those that are defending him seem to think that he did commit some sort of crime, just not one that needs such harsh punishment. Where is his crime? Where his misbehavior?

    SHE sent HIM the questionable pix. Is his crime that he didn’t delete them and throw his phone in the river?? I’m lost here.

    And more:

    ” “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 . . .”

    Do WHAT? Again, what did Zachary do that was questionable in any way? Communicate with a young girl? Look at a picture she sent him? Not commit ritual suicide? I don’t understand.

    And finally:

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

    The perfect epitaph. God help us all.

  66. Charges for the child too for distro! February 16, 2017 at 1:14 pm #

    @Chick is right about the lack of charges against her for the manufacturing and distro of child pornography when there have been examples sets by others in this country who have charged minors with the same, e.g. remember Iowa recently?, and have led to public outrage.

    Neither person should be charged here in the end. Stafford County ,VA is so affluent they are only about the votes and making examples out of people regardless if it is crazy or not.

  67. Mark Roulo February 16, 2017 at 8:21 pm #

    Dana: “I have well-intentioned friends questioning the validity of this story and saying this is site-boosting fake news. I want to give them more info. Are there any other sources?”

    More info here: http://www.richmond.com/news/virginia/article_5a8d59d8-dcb1-5bd4-b7b9-f8d015d541f3.html

    “The charges include reproducing child pornography, taking indecent liberties with a child, using electronic means to solicit a minor and enticing a minor to perform in pornography.

    Court records state that the Internet activity occurred between June 1 and Sept. 6 of last year.

    The girl’s mother discovered that the child was being solicited for and posing for pictures and called the Sheriff’s Office.”

    It seems that the basic outline is real. I suspect that the details that we don’t have matter a lot.

  68. Nicole R. February 17, 2017 at 11:53 am #

    I find this whole trend extremely scary. Not only is sending “inappropriate” pictures a crime, receiving them is now too?

    I have a 16-year-old son. Does this mean any girl who gets mad at him – because he trips and spills water on her bag, or gets a higher score on a test, or roots for the wrong football team – can send him a photo of herself in underwear and ruin his life??

    It sounds as if maybe the defendant in the story requested the pictures, but even so, I think the sentence is ridiculous! There is no violence involved here at all.

    So does anyone know what exactly you are required to do to protect yourself if you receive an unsolicited photo?

  69. Mike February 17, 2017 at 12:21 pm #

    If you read the link in the article, he was 19, and had sex with a 14 year old girl, which is under the age of consent. It’s called statutory rape. You can disagree with the law, but at least report the facts correctly.

  70. Jason February 17, 2017 at 2:39 pm #

    @Nicole R – Delete the pic completely as soon as you realize what it is, and don’t tell anyone you got it, didn’t get it, saw it, didn’t see it, deleted it, didn’t delete it, etc.

  71. Jason February 17, 2017 at 2:45 pm #

    @Mike – I couldn’t read the article due to their paywall, but the first paragraph stated that they had an “internet affair”. So, unless kids have figured out something I don’t know about, I seriously doubt they “had sex”.

  72. Craig February 17, 2017 at 3:40 pm #

    I think there is a movement afoot to pathologize almost any kind of sexuality (Maybe it’s just heterosexuality). This young man is sure to have major baggage around having any possible relationship with a woman. Young people are dating less in colleges. I have heard young men cite that it is too complicated, with so many being trained to be constant victims and all the ‘education’ (indoctrination) happening in universities around consent. Young women being taught that you can revoke consent at a later time if you feel bad about something and claim the crown of victimhood.

    But as to this case and cases like it. We can all see the absurdity here. The boy did nothing wrong. He received some pictures. Without knowing the content and context of their chats we really don’t know the nature of their relationship. Some innocent impropriety might have occurred but nothing near what he was charged with. His biggest mistake was not immediately deleting the pictures and the chat logs. There sounds like there was some kind of parental conversation warranted at some point. But.. No crime was committed here. I wonder, if he was charged with sex offences why was the girl not charged with producing child pornography? Something seems out of balance.

    The bigger picture here is (aside from the existence of the sex offender registry) We can see how absurd this is. There were undoubtedly many people along the line in this matter who at any point (more easily possible at the beginning of it all) who would have also seen how absurd this was and just chose to let the matter disappear. But they never chose to. These people are what I call everyday psychopaths. People who will commit any kind of atrocity or absurdity, and ignoring their better judgement and instead chose to “do their job” Slaves all of them.

  73. James Pollock February 17, 2017 at 5:47 pm #

    ” Not only is sending “inappropriate” pictures a crime, receiving them is now too?”

    No, but possessing them is, IF they qualify as child porn in the first place. It is important to understand how the federal law and various state laws apply. What follows is true for FEDERAL law, which may apply IN ADDITION TO any state charges. The states can and do have different definitions and elements. The federal law defines it (18 U.S. Code chapter 2256)
    “(8) “child pornography” means any visual depiction, including any photograph, film, video, picture, or computer or computer-generated image or picture, whether made or produced by electronic, mechanical, or other means, of sexually explicit conduct, where—
    (A) the production of such visual depiction involves the use of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct;
    (B) such visual depiction is a digital image, computer image, or computer-generated image that is, or is indistinguishable from, that of a minor engaging in sexually explicit conduct; or
    (C) such visual depiction has been created, adapted, or modified to appear that an identifiable minor is engaging in sexually explicit conduct.”

    This definition loops back to 18 USC 2256(2):
    “…“sexually explicit conduct” means actual or simulated—
    (i) sexual intercourse, including genital-genital, oral-genital, anal-genital, or oral-anal, whether between persons of the same or opposite sex;
    (ii) bestiality;
    (iii) masturbation;
    (iv) sadistic or masochistic abuse; or
    (v) lascivious exhibition of the genitals or pubic area of any person;”

    OK, that’s what child pornography is (according to federal law)… what can’t you do with it? That’s spelled out in 18 U.S. Code section 2252. Reading this statute is VERY challenging, because the federal government has to be very specific in establishing that they have jurisdiction to punish it. So all that talk about the “special maritime blah blah blah” is not important to understanding the goal of the statute. Each subsection spells out a different offense… producing, distributing, selling, and possessing child pornography are all covered. Section (a)(1) is about transporting or shipping it, section (a)(2) is about distributing it, section (a)(3) is about selling it, and then finally you get to (a)(4) which is about receiving it. The first thing to note is that all four of these include the word “knowingly”… so if someone sends you a child porn image, but you didn’t know about it and never looked at it, you aren’t guilty of violating this statute. But, if someone sends you a child porn image, and you open it, look at it, know what it is, and keep it, you are knowingly in possession of child porn and you ARE in violation of this statute.

    Is there anything you can do to protect yourself? Well, there’s a defense outlined in 18 U.S.C. 2252(c). Basically, it requires that the number of child porn items is small, was reported to law enforcement, and was not shared or shown to anyone without a law-enforcement purpose, and was deleted as soon as it was no longer needed for a law-enforcement purpose.

    So, to protect yourself and your children, you should A) teach them not to send nor to ask for any nudes of people under 18. Note that there are no exceptions… you can get arrested and imprisoned for having naked pictures of a person you are legally allowed to have sex with. Having the person’s permission to have them is NOT a defense. At the federal level, topless shots are not a violation, but state law can and does vary. B) promptly delete any that show up, and C) don’t share.

  74. James Pollock February 17, 2017 at 6:09 pm #

    “all the ‘education’ (indoctrination) happening in universities around consent.”
    The “indoctrination” that people shouldn’t have sex with other people without their consent is, well, not a bad thing. American college campuses are full of young women who will, in fact, consent to young men having sex with them, under the right circumstances. This is true now and has been true for a very long time.
    I have zero sympathy for someone who finds “don’t have sex with someone who hasn’t consented to it” to be too “complicated” for them.

    “Young women being taught that you can revoke consent at a later time if you feel bad about something and claim the crown of victimhood.”
    Which would be scary, if even vaguely true. Young women, on college campuses and elsewhere, are being taught that they can revoke consent at any time. “no” means “no” and “stop” means “stop”. These are not difficult concepts.

  75. Linda February 17, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    I don’t understand how anyone could have claimed that this young man committed a crime of any sort! He didn’t DO anything!
    The girl who sent the pictures didn’t do anything WRONG. Underwear is not nudity. But, if anyone in this case “did” anything, it was the girl, who sent him the photos. That would make the young man the “victim”!
    Did the boy ask her to send him photos of herself in her underwear? (Even if he did, it’s still not nudity. It is not illegal to have pictures of kids or teens in underwear. As people have mentioned, there are photos of kids in underwear in catalogs!)
    There is something terribly terribly wrong here!
    I doubt that the agreement not to appeal can be considered binding. It seems that there was deceit and coercion involved, on the part of the prosecutor. This seems like a case of blatant corruption on the part of the prosecutor and the state, and I sincerely hope that this young man does appeal!

  76. James Pollock February 18, 2017 at 2:38 am #

    “I don’t understand how anyone could have claimed that this young man committed a crime of any sort! He didn’t DO anything!”
    Or maybe he DID do some things, and when his dad was trying to drum up public support, he left those things out of the story.

    “The girl who sent the pictures didn’t do anything WRONG. Underwear is not nudity.”
    Maybe the something wrong that was done has nothing to do with the photo transmission, but was an entirely separate act or acts. Also, look at the statutes I quoted above… note that the statute, as written, does not require nudity to create a violation.

    “It is not illegal to have pictures of kids or teens in underwear.”
    It can be.

    “As people have mentioned, there are photos of kids in underwear in catalogs!”
    Kids in underwear who have their pictures in catalogs are not posed lasciviously. Your argument is like saying it can’t be possible to charge someone with murder for shooting someone, because it isn’t illegal to shoot a gun, and lots of people have fired guns without being charged with murder. It’s not illegal to shoot a gun… but it is (usually) illegal to take aim at someone, and pull the trigger, while intending to injure or kill that person.

    “I doubt that the agreement not to appeal can be considered binding.”
    You should put away that doubt, because A) it is absolutely legal to negotiate away your legal rights by contract, and B) thanks to a principle called “issue preclusion”, once you’ve gone into court and said something is true, you are legally prohibited from later going into court and claiming that it isn’t. So, in grossly-oversimplified terms, once you go into court and say “yep. I done did the deed”, you can’t file an appeal that says “Nope. I never done did that.”

    “It seems that there was deceit and coercion involved, on the part of the prosecutor.”
    What deceit, and, if it’s so obvious to YOU, why are you assuming that it was somehow not obvious to the professional defense attorney to represented this man?
    Which seems more likely to you? A) the systems is completely corrupt, and the defense attorney was so clearly incompetent as to be less effective at his or her job than yourself, a random person reading about the case on the Internet, or B) that you, as a random person on the Internet, are missing important facts about the case and don’t know enough about the case to form an informed judgment on the matter?

  77. Travis February 18, 2017 at 5:16 pm #

    @Father “So over several months, he groomed a victim four years his junior and now he’s on the sex offender registry? Sounds about right.”
    He did not know she was four years his junior because she specifically said she was seventeen. He was seventeen, too, and that would have put them both over the age of consent.

    @Alanna “I don’t understand why it is not the girls that get arrested and put on the registry. At least in this case, it was the girl who sent the pictures.”
    Because she is thirteen. Fourteen, whatever (it changes in the article), so she “can’t” be held accountable for her actions. This is seen as someone over the age of consent luring a minor even though it was mutual and she lied. Having her arrested wouldn’t have been better, they should just have been warned to be careful about who they talked to and let go, let their parents deal with them.

    @Richard “According to a press report, he requested the photos and was pressuring her to meet to have sex. Registry and charges still tragically absurd and counterproductive, but a somewhat different story.”
    All this says is that the boy is a bit of an as*hole, but since the girl stated she was seventeen that just what he would be, an as*hole, not a criminal.

    @Nicole “I have a 16-year-old son. Does this mean any girl who gets mad at him”
    Technically, anyone his age and older would be fine, since it wouldn’t be child porn (I believe? Or does age of consent still count as child porn?). Otherwise, do talk to him and explain that if he gets one, he has to delete it immediately (if he has an apple device, also delete it from the recently deleted pictures) and to not talk about it. If the girl tells, there’d be no evidence and it should result in nothing other than her being labelled a liar.

  78. James Pollock February 18, 2017 at 6:12 pm #

    “since the girl stated she was seventeen”
    Travis, you seem to be inventing this detail out of thin air. Source?

    “Technically, anyone his age and older would be fine, since it wouldn’t be child porn”
    Flatly incorrect.
    Anyone under 18 years old is a “child” for pornography purposes.
    You can have a case where a person is allowed to have sex with a person under 18 but a photograph of them doing so is still illegal for being “child porn” under the law.
    You can have two people who are both emancipated minors, or even married to each other… still child porn if they’re filming themselves having sex.

  79. Puzzled February 18, 2017 at 8:40 pm #

    >Or maybe he DID do some things, and when his dad was trying to drum up public support, he left those things >out of the story.

    Probably didn’t let her out after her curfew, though, so he can’t be charged with anything.

  80. Travis February 19, 2017 at 2:09 am #

    @James Pollock Whoops, you’re right. I confused this Zachary with Zachary Anderson, whose case seems to be… exactly the same.

    ““Technically, anyone his age and older would be fine, since it wouldn’t be child porn”
    Flatly incorrect.”
    Which is why right after that quote you selected I ask, in parenthesis, “I believe? Or does age of consent still count as child porn?” so yes, I was wrong, I knew I could be wrong and asked for correction, and gave a solution that would work for the kid, since possession is the crime–erase the pictures completely regardless and don’t tell his friends.

  81. James Pollock February 19, 2017 at 4:20 am #

    “I was wrong, I knew I could be wrong and asked for correction”
    And got one.

    “gave a solution that would work for the kid, since possession is the crime–erase the pictures completely regardless and don’t tell his friends.”
    Possession is one of the crimes. Just asking for pictures can be a crime, even if she (or he) never makes any. Offering to take pictures that one never possesses can be a crime.

    The anti-child-porn laws were written before pretty much every person in America carried with them a device with the capability to instantly take and publish photographs. When the laws were written, you needed a camera (which most kids did not have), darkroom facilities (which nearly all kids had no or limited access to), and a 4-color printing press (which no kids had access to) in order to create and publish child pornography. (OK, technically, you COULD do it with just the first two.

    Personally, I think we’re a bit overdue for a rewriting of these particular laws, and one of the key things to change is the notion that people are irretrievably harmed by having their picture taken while naked if they are so much as a minute under 18 years old. Treating nudie photos as if they were all the same as photos of a child being raped does not serve society. A substantial number of minors appear to be both happy and healthy and to be OK with selected individuals having access to photographic records of their reproductive equipment and/or baby-feeding organs. Some even appear OK with some photos being distributed to the public at large (England used to allow page 3 girls under 18, they changed under pressure from… the U.S.)

  82. Kay February 19, 2017 at 12:29 pm #

    This is very scary, I feel badly for Zachary. I have two sons, first worried about “free range” and CPS, etc. when they were young, now going into or nearing dating age and online activities, I have to talk to them about the dangers out there waiting for them. Also hearing of false rape claims on campuses, too, for revenge or kicks.

    It seems like entrapment in Zachary’s case. How can he help if someone sends him pictures. Too bad he didn’t delete them.

  83. Travis February 19, 2017 at 5:39 pm #

    “Possession is one of the crimes. Just asking for pictures can be a crime, even if she (or he) never makes any. Offering to take pictures that one never possesses can be a crime.”
    In the scenario Nicole painted, the kid never asked for one, though. She expressed her concern over any girl (or boy, for that matter) having so much power over her son that sending him pics would get him arrested even if the boy did nothing. The kid could probably prove he didn’t ask for the pictures by showing his message history, but he should delete any photos he gets.

  84. Jeanne February 21, 2017 at 5:50 pm #

    What about the girl???? Where is the outrage for the poor 13 year old girl?????? Had they both been 17 or 18, I can see a problem, but the boy was 17/18 and the girl was 13. That is a HUGE age gap at that time. HE knew better and we know who usually initiates sexuality in teens….horny BOYS!!!

    Unbelievably in our age of rape culture that you would support it. That 18 year old sexually assaulted the child who was 13. It doesn’t matter that they cared for one another. Children who are abused often feel like they care or the older male abusing them because they get confused.

    Horrible, horrible, horrible that you would support the male perpetrator who is 5 years older than the victimized child of only 13. Shame on you.

    They are not equal there is a HUGE difference between 13 and 18. So unfair how you spin it by downplaying the huge age gap in the title and beginning of the post, trying to pretend these were two equal teens. NOT TRUE.

    Perhaps a harsh sentence ( I don’t think so) and surely the parents should be more responsible with their kids, but by 18 he absolutely KNEW that what he was doing was WRONG and will likely affect her negatively for life.

    I know many woman who have been abused like this with similar age gaps who bear that burden for life, although at the time they were not aware how abused they were.

    His behavior was criminal!!

    Glad he is one of the few caught. Read the book “Girls and Sex” to get a clue of the kind of horrors going on against girls today in our rape culture. Your support of this is disgusting.

    If you were a loving, caring person, you would support the poor child who was abused, NOT the abuser.

  85. James Pollock February 21, 2017 at 6:34 pm #

    “we know who usually initiates sexuality in teens….horny BOYS!!!”

    Demonize much?
    1954 called, and they want their outdated notions of sexuality back.

    What we ACTUALLY know is that by the time the boys get around to even NOTICING the girls, the girls have been waiting around for them for at least a year or two.The idea that poor little demure girls are just sitting around on their delicate little flowers until the boys come along and pillage them… Well, it wasn’t true when I was a teenager, and it isn’t true now.

    “That 18 year old sexually assaulted the child who was 13.”
    Really? Or did you mean this in the sense that nobody had sex and nobody was assaulted, therefore he’s guilty of a sex assault?

    “Perhaps a harsh sentence ( I don’t think so) and surely the parents should be more responsible with their kids, but by 18 he absolutely KNEW that what he was doing was WRONG and will likely affect her negatively for life.”

    True, in the sense that if she is a normal human being capable of empathy, she knows that she contributed a great deal to his suffering and struggles in life caused by the massive prosecutorial action in this case.

    Seriously, how disturbed do you have to be to think that being sent to prison is a reasonable punishment for talking about sex with a 13-year-old? Because talking about sex RUINED HER FOR LIFE!!!!

  86. BL February 21, 2017 at 9:05 pm #

    @James Pollock
    “What we ACTUALLY know is that by the time the boys get around to even NOTICING the girls, the girls have been waiting around for them for at least a year or two”

    Actually, the girls have been noticed by older boys. Say, at least a year or two older. In this case, five years older.

  87. Jeanne February 22, 2017 at 4:52 pm #

    Shocking to see Lenore that you and so many in the comments ( mostly MALES by the way) would not be outraged for the female CHILD who was sexually assaulted! Even in your title you show great bias “teen girl & teen boy) without mentioning it was an ADULT male sexual perpetrator and a CHILD female victim. This is misogyny! Please do your research about sexual abuse and sexual assault. You sound like the father of the Stanford rapist who feels sorry his son is punished because of just “20 minutes of action” instead of the honorable Swedish males who saw it as the crime it was and saved her and asked others to read the amazing letter from the unconscious victim who bravely spoke to the issues the female victims deal with for life.

    No, it was not a violent, forcible, beat-the-victim sex assault but nonetheless it was sexual assault from an adult male on a minor child in just 7th grade and he was well aware ( as were his parents who are responsible too) that it was a crime.

    The male adult was the one who asked for the photos. It was the male adult who asked to meet her in person as he wanted more.

    He knew plenty of adult females his age that he could have done this behavior with, but her purposely chose a child instead who was vulnerable and needing attention as her parents were divorcing. What bright senior in high school does not know that it is wrong and illegal to coerce a 7th grade child into sex??????????

    70% of sexual assault cases are never reported. 91% of rape victims are female and 99% of arrestees for rape are male. Most victims of sexual assault are young females under 25 and female children.

    Almost 100% of males by 15th birthday have masturbated to ejaculation. Girls in 7th grade and adult males at 18 are NOT Equal “teens”. Few girls masturbate compared to boys. Only 30 percent of 14-17 year old girls masturbate regularly, and more than 50 percent have never masturbated. Only 7.9 percent of women between the ages of 25 and 29 masturbate two to three times a week whereas 23.4 percent of men do. Male and female sexuality works very differently.

    Why didn’t Zach pick someone is own age to do this with? He knew many, but he chose a vulnerable 13 year old child who was already under emotional strain from her parents divorcing. Zach showed sexual predator behavior. Zach was the one who asked for the photos. Zach wanted to meet her in person ( where clearly more would happen). His dad admits to both.

    This article is spun totally from Zachs and the male point of view, trying to make the male sexual perp as the victim instead of the female CHILD. WRONG! This is the same thinking the father of the Stanford judge had. This is misogyny! Go back and read the letter that survivor wrote or how the honorable Swedish males that saved her felt. THAT is what an honorable male thinks like. The Swedish boys is what good parents raise, not Zach or the Stanford rapist. Who cares if they got good grades or could swim, they both have a history of abuse and were never taught to have empathy or what consent is or why it is not moral and not LEGAL to do these things. Few get caught, but thankfully Zach did due to a psychologist who understood a 13 year old child was sexually abused, even though most here and Lenore know nothing about this issue, have never studied it or the lifetime harm it does.

    If you want to fair Lenore, why not put the letter from the Child victims parents? How do they feel? How about the psychologist who worked with the victim? How about experts on childhood sex abuse? How about reading “Girls and Sex” and interviewing Peggy Orenstein about this? Or Laura Davis who wrote the classic book “Courage to Heal”????

    Want to understand The Myth of the Teenage Temptress: Or Why A Young Girl Can Not Consent to Sex With An Adult Man? Read this:

    http://www.xojane.com/issues/stacey-rambold-cherice-morales

    A 13 year old 7th grader can make choices that she is not emotionally or mentally equipped to make. Legally, that’s why statutory rape laws exist. Because like an intoxicated person, an underage person is not truly capable of informed consent.

    This is not a little crime, but huge one and I suspect if he picked such a young, vulnerable victim when he was 18, that he will very likely make bad choices like this in the future.

  88. James Pollock February 22, 2017 at 7:29 pm #

    “Shocking to see Lenore that you and so many in the comments ( mostly MALES by the way) would not be outraged for the female CHILD who was sexually assaulted!?”

    Because, as has been pointed out to you (by MALES! EEK!) there were no children, female or otherwise, sexually assaulted in this particular case.

    “This is misogyny!”
    Yes, your ranting is VERY misogynistic. You keep denying this poor young woman any agency of her own. She didn’t make any decisions for herself. She’s not responsible for her own choices. Nope. The only person who had any choice about anything was the evil MAN. The poor, helpless GIRL clearly isn’t capable of deciding for herself what she wants to do! If anything was done that shouldn’t have been, HE must have done it.

    “Zach wanted to meet her in person ( where clearly more would happen)”
    So, ANY time a male person wants to meet a female person, sexual behavior is the inevitable result? Let’s assume, for the moment, and Zach wanted very, very much to have sex with her. Is wanting to have sex with someone considered a crime now? You seem to have settled on the notion that it does… after all, you keep repeating that he’s sexually assaulted her, despite the fact that they never actually met.

    ” Zach showed sexual predator behavior.”
    You repeat this claim, despite the fact that the professional psychologist who examined him found no evidence of sexual predator behavior. Do you have access to information that the person who examined the young man didn’t have, or are you just claiming to be better at performing psychological examination without (I’m guessing) having so much as met any of the actors in this case?

    “This article is spun totally from Zachs and the male point of view”
    True enough. It’s almost like he’s the only one convicted of a crime that he was not alone in committing.

    “This is the same thinking the father of the Stanford judge had.”
    I’m reasonably sure you have no idea what the Stanford reasoned, much less his father(?)

    “This is misogyny”
    You keep repeating this claim. It does not mean “something that you, Jeanne, disagree with.”

    “why not put the letter from the Child victims parents?”
    Did they write one?
    I note that you don’t seem too interested in what the young woman herself thinks. News coverage said that the girl did not support this prosecution. (Probably because she’s so traumatized that she can’t think properly, the poor helpless thing).

    “they both have a history of abuse”
    Please STOP trying to drag a different case into this one, and stop claiming this “history of abuse” which is not supported by facts.

    “How about the psychologist who worked with the victim?”
    Seeing as how this would be the ONE person in the world absolutely prohibited by law and professional ethics from discussing anything about this case, what EXACTLY would you think to gain from this?

    “A 13 year old 7th grader can make choices that she is not emotionally or mentally equipped to make. Legally, that’s why statutory rape laws exist.”
    13-year-olds are considered adults in some cultures. In some states, 13-year-olds can marry.
    Statutory rape laws exist because it is fairly difficult to determine if a person was capable of giving informed consent to something at a specific time and date in the past, but it’s fairly easy to determine when their birthday is.

    Quick question: If one 13-year-old has sex with another 13-year-old, which one is the rapist? No, you can’t say “Duh! It’s the MALE!” First, because it’s sexist, and secondly, because I didn’t say that either of the hypothetical 13-year-olds are male.
    A few more:
    Suppose a 13-year-old has sex with an 8-year-old… not guilty of a crime, right, because “a 13-year-old 7th grader can make choices (s)he is not emotionally or mentally equipped to make”, which means no criminal intent, which means no crime.

    “Because like an intoxicated person, an underage person is not truly capable of informed consent.”
    Really? There is not ONE underaged person, anywhere in the world, who is “truly” capable of informed consent? The, um, age of consent varies from place to place. Does this mean that, say, a 17-year-old who moves from a place with an age of consent is 16 to place with an age of consent is 18, they get stupider as a result? What happens if a person who is 16 years old gets on an airplane in a place with an age of consent of 18, flies over a place with an age of consent of 16, and then lands in a place with an age of consent of 18?
    Does the fact that there are places in the world with an age of consent of 13 (yes, really) change your analysis? What about the places where there is no “age of consent” at all?

  89. The other Mandy February 22, 2017 at 10:10 pm #

    @Jeanne– I’m a woman, a female, and at 13 I was dating a 16 year old. At 16 I was dating a 22 year old. At 19, a 28 year old. Him I married when I was 22 and he was 31. 22 is a dumb age to marry, so I married my 2nd husband when I was 34 and he was 43.

    I was never “groomed” nor “assaulted” by these older boys then men. I CHOSE them because my age mates were idiots. By claiming Zach damaged this POOR LITTLE GIRL, you are claiming she had no agency nor will of her own. I agree that few 13 year olds (or 18 year olds) make great choices all the time, but if the law were not involved, it would merely have been a learning experience. Taking away a person’s agency, making her into a victim, benefits no one.

    Perhaps you should consider, in the historical context, that a five year age gap is not at all atypical. Nor is marriage at age 13. Not that I’m advocating young marriage, but our current extended childhood is an anomaly.