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Turning Church Volunteering into a Crime: For Shame, Indiana

Zach Anderson’s tale is terrifying. It could happen to almost any of our sons, and even our daughters (like Shawna). ydydzebeai
At least, in Indiana it could.

To recap: After Zach, 19 at the time, met a girl on the app “Hot or Not,” they had consensual sex and went their separate ways, he back to his home in Indiana, she back home in Michigan. Consensual sex between two teens 17 and 19 is not a crime. What Zach didn’t know is that the girl who said she was 17 was actually 14.

If the victim lies about her age in a statutory rape case, that can be reason to dismiss the crime in Indiana, but not in Michigan, where the trial occurred. There, the fact that Zach thought she was 17 made no difference.  Nor did it matter that the girl and her mom both begged the court to treat Zach leniently. He got 25 years on the Sex Offender Registry.

But after the case landed on the front page of the New York Times (though you read it here first!), Zach got a new sentence: Two years’ probation. Those two years were just about to end THIS WEEK, when — as you also read about recently — Zach was arrested for two counts of contact with a minor. Not PHYSICAL contact. Not VERBAL contact. Certainly not SEXUAL contact.

We’re talking about the least contact a person can have with someone else and still have the authorities call it contact. 1) He ate pizza at his parents’ home while his father, brother, and a friend of the brother’s were there. The friend turned out not to be 19, as the family assumed, but 17. Zach had no contact — did not actually talk — to his brother’s friend at all. And 2) At church, where Zach volunteers, a 17-year-old girl started interning, which, even though he had not met or spoken to her, meant SOMEHOW this was contact with a minor, too. (The authorities learned of these events when Zach “admitted” them at a polygraph test.)

It boggles the mind to think that those two almost unavoidable and entirely inconsequential “contacts” could throw Zach on the registry till he’s middle-aged. And yet — as this note below from Lester Anderson, Zach’s dad, explains — they could. The “HYTA” program he mentions is an act that allows young first-time offenders to avoid prison or a permanent record if they behave. It is what, at the second sentencing, kept Zach off the Sex Offender Registry. (And it could have helped two other young men sentenced for the same “crime” by the same judge, but those didn’t make it to the New York Times, so presumably they have 23 years to go.) So here is Lester’s note:

Last night we were informed that Indiana Department of Probation was the one who violated Zach’s probation.  They also recommended that his HYTA status be rescinded.

What does that mean?  Zach would be on the sex offender registry for the next 25 years.  Why?  Because of the polygraph that Zach took and self-reported info.  He informed his Probation Officer that he stopped over at our house after class for 2 pieces of pizza and left.  Our younger son was there with a friend whom we asked how old he was.  We were told 19 only later to find out he was 17.

Zach had no contact with him, never spoke to him or even looked at him.  The visitor has written a statement acknowledging that he and Zach never had any contact and will testify in open court to that fact.

The second [offense] they are accusing him of having contact with is one of the worship leaders at church.  They do not serve together and have never had any contact at all.  The girl has already sent an email stating that she has never met Zach and doesn’t know who he is.  She has also said that they have never interacted and is also willing to testify in open court.   She is a high school graduate who will turn 18 in December.

This one really hurts.  The church has been Zach’s safe haven and [the authorities] have stooped so low to use that to harm him.  The church has been behind Zach through this whole ordeal and that is the one place where he has found friends.  So Indiana wants to destroy his life over contacts that never happened.  Because of these alleged contacts they are going to make list of violations based on that.

Zach has complied with all of his conditions of probation.  He was a week a way from possible discharge and now his Indiana probation officer wants to make sure that Zach never sees the freedom he so deserves.

This proves all the more the punitive nature of our justice system and the witch hunt on Zach’s head because we stood up for him for a grave injustice.  This is payback.  This is a witch hunt and his Indiana probation officer should be ashamed of herself for wanting to take his freedom away.

Remember, Indiana’s laws provide a defense for someone lying about their age and now they are the ones who want to keep him in the system for a very long time.

I asked how Zach, now 22, is faring. His dad replied:

Zach?  He is stunned.  He was sick most of the week.  It seems every day brings a new twist.  To come this far and work this hard to be almost a week a way from possible discharge and now to be wondering if he is facing jail time or sex offender registration is gut wrenching.

Michigan and especially Indiana should know that we are watching and very much hoping for justice, not rank and obvious vengeance.


Indiana: Don’t sully your state with a vindictive case against a decent young man.


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64 Responses to Turning Church Volunteering into a Crime: For Shame, Indiana

  1. Theresa Hall October 20, 2017 at 11:36 am #

    If the only contact was just being in the same room then I agree witch Hunt. . For goodness sake in a world full of minors you can’t totally avoid them.

  2. John B. October 20, 2017 at 12:20 pm #

    Authorities should realize they are completely wasting a person’s positive impact in life. Zack could go on to do good things and be a productive member of society. He could get a good job and impact the workplace in a positive manner. He could also influence somebody’s life in a positive manner. But now he is extremely restricted as to where he can work and where he can live. Not to mention the restrictions he’ll have on who he can hang out with and interact with, therefore, his chances of making positive contributions to society are now extremely limited. This is nothing but a witch hunt against somebody who made a mistake in life. A mistake that he’d be least likely to repeat.

  3. Kimberly Albertson October 20, 2017 at 12:23 pm #

    I find it so interesting that if the original “victim”, the one who “started” this whole thing, had truly been 17, then there would have been no crime. None of this would have happened. But now he’s in danger of having his probation terms revoked because he had “contact” with two people who are 17.

  4. Mark October 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm #

    I really don’t understand how the people who put Zach through that can think they are doing the right thing. How can they think that their actions make the world a better place by prosecuting someone who has been deceived and then he still followed some completely out of proportion rules they put in place as much as possible. And how can they even try to create a “contact” where none has been made?

  5. Shawn D. October 20, 2017 at 1:04 pm #

    This is disgusting, and is also squandering effort on Zack when others who are true dangers are out there.

  6. Brooks October 20, 2017 at 1:36 pm #

    Salem witch trials all over again.

  7. sam October 20, 2017 at 1:42 pm #

    Why isn’t it a crime for the girl to have sex when she’s 14 and lied about her age? Why is Zack the only one in trouble? I see this all the time, two teenagers have sex but the male is the only one who pays the penalty. Why doesn’t the female also get some sort of penalty? Didn’t she participate? Why is it always the male who is at fault? She also lied about her age and admitted it. Doesn’t that count for some sort of punishment?

  8. Linda October 20, 2017 at 2:04 pm #

    Horrifying. Truly, that probation officer should be ashamed.

    Doesn’t Indiana have a former governor who has said he doesn’t think it’s safe to be in the same room alone with any woman who is not his wife? I’m sure this is not the mindset of most Indiana citizens.

  9. Backroads October 20, 2017 at 2:13 pm #

    So we have several kids lying about their ages and the innocent guy gets punished?

  10. David N. Brown October 20, 2017 at 2:18 pm #

    I would actually agree with restricting offenders from participating in religious or secular programs specifically for minors, esp if the original offense occurred in these settings (certainly far more often than the mythic random public abduction). In this case, however, it would make far more sense to forbid the accused from online dating, which would seem to be in his best interests anyway.

  11. En Passant October 20, 2017 at 2:33 pm #

    Mark October 20, 2017 at 12:40 pm wrote:

    I really don’t understand how the people who put Zach through that can think they are doing the right thing.

    The great Hannah Arendt coined the phrase “the banality of evil” to describe the actions of people who believe they are doing the right thing by merely obeying orders and conforming to popular prejudice without examining the consequences of their actions.

    It is a form of intentional stupidity often rewarded by social and professional advancement.

  12. pentamom October 20, 2017 at 2:41 pm #

    “Doesn’t Indiana have a former governor who has said he doesn’t think it’s safe to be in the same room alone with any woman who is not his wife? ”

    No, he never said any such thing. That’s your spin on his personal decision not to be alone with another woman.

  13. Theresa Hall October 20, 2017 at 2:48 pm #

    When it comes to cases where some kid plays the I’m saying I’m older than I’m actually am trick usually the oldest person is the one who gets the short end of the stick.
    I only heard of one case where the age lie saved at trial, usually they don’t care that you fell for a lie . Even when you met in a place where minors aren’t allowed legally.

  14. James October 20, 2017 at 2:53 pm #

    So, to be clear: HIS life is now ruined because SHE lied about her age.

    The only crime–if we must find one–is HER actions. She committed fraud. Prosecuting him is blaming the victim, pure and simple. Continuing to do so is just asinine.


    “I would actually agree with restricting offenders from participating in religious or secular programs specifically for minors…”

    I agree, PROVIDED that they are actually guilty of something. If the person’s “crime” is believing someone else who lies about their age, taking ANY action against them is an egregious violation and perversion of justice. The victim of a fraud cannot be punished for the fraud; that’s basic logic. These states use the same “logic” that makes some backwards countries stone women who have been raped, because “They were alone with men not of their family”.

  15. test October 20, 2017 at 4:18 pm #

    @pentamom That personal decision was motivated by fear that either (not sure which one) a.) she would accuse him of something he did not done b.) he is afraid he would do something inappropriate if alone with women.

    Either way, both are in category of “because not safe”.

  16. pentamom October 20, 2017 at 4:25 pm #

    You can certainly interpret it that way if you like. (I could posit other motivations that aren’t about “safe” but that’s beside the point.)

    However, Linda referred to what he “said.” He did not “say” what she said he “said.”

  17. James October 20, 2017 at 5:24 pm #


    “And how can they even try to create a “contact” where none has been made?”

    It’s actually very easy. You start by saying that the action is so disgusting that it renders the person non-human. At that point, concepts such as rights, decency, civility, and the like simply di not apply. You can do anything you want–it’s not like you’re hurting a person! Add in a dose of “We must protect our children!!!” and you can go even further. After all, nothing is too great a price to pay for protecting our children! If a few innocent people get caught up in it, that’s fine; the important thing is that our children are never in any danger whatever.

    Did you catch the slippery slopes? One is the line where you get to call someone non-human. There’s no hard-and-fast rule. Which means it can be anywhere you want it to be. A second is pretty widely known in these parts: once you decide that we must do everything to protect our children, there’s literally no restraints. The idea that you CAN fully protect a child is insane, completely divorced from reality–so no data will sway those who hold this conviction. A third is “children” itself. This 19 year old would be considered a child in some arguments, but not in this one. Why is another matter; my point is, the definition of “child” in our society is “Whatever is convenient for this argument”.

    Once you’ve established an epistemological quagmire of that nature–and remember, we’re dealing with only two premises here!!–you can basically do whatever you want, and justify it as “necessary to make the world a better place”. For evidence, see history: it’s literally littered with piles of corpses built upon exactly this model.

  18. David N. Brown October 20, 2017 at 6:31 pm #

    @James: The usual and unfortunately accurate perception of victims of fraud is that they “didn’t want to know”. Arguing to the contrary usually means showing a pattern of poor judgment (hard to dispute in this case!), which opens the slippery slope down to incompetence or insanity. Naturally, police and prosecutors have a proven record of glossing over these issues, and the media made things worse for a long time by popularizing the “Twinkie defense” stereotype.

  19. Owen Allen October 20, 2017 at 7:14 pm #

    It makes me wonder who is behind these types of laws, and why, and why public servants are spending your hard earned taxpayer money on such a socially destructive work. I’m sure there are thousands of real problems they are not solving.

  20. Theresa Hall October 20, 2017 at 7:40 pm #

    Owen probably the idiots who wrote the statutory rape laws are behind it. Personally I think those laws are silly. It used to be that many people were married by 16 and had worked for a living but these days too young for such things.

  21. Donald October 20, 2017 at 8:13 pm #

    I keep harping on about learned helplessness. This story is a great example of Indiana ‘teaching’ people, “Why even try”? Learned helplessness theory is the view that clinical depression and related mental illnesses may result from such real or perceived absence of control over the outcome of a situation. This is the main reason why people give up trying. They have been ‘taught’ that their efforts are futile.

    The incarceration rate of the United States of America is the highest in the world. While the United States represents about 4.4 percent of the world’s population, it houses around 22 percent of the world’s prisoners. Corrections (which includes prisons, jails, probation, and parole) cost around $74 billion in 2007.

  22. Donald October 20, 2017 at 8:32 pm #

    “It makes me wonder who is behind these types of laws”

    Bureaucracy is the other thing that I keep harping about. Nobody is behind these laws – sort of. That’s because nobody is in charge. We have created a system where people only ‘do their job’ like mindless zealots that keep doing more and more until they are told to stop. The trouble is, there isn’t anyone to tell them to stop.

    Unfortunately, we have to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives before the bureaucracy can realize that they have gone too far. Only then can they appoint someone to put on the brakes.

  23. Theresa Hall October 20, 2017 at 8:53 pm #

    Donald don’t you know that anytime someone shows that they have a brain the idiots in charge throw a fit and punish the thinker. So it becomes very hard to get people who can think outside the box. When we keep putting each generation into a box and make clear no one is to think about leaving the box and next generation must be the same as the last one so not much changes.

  24. James October 20, 2017 at 10:18 pm #

    “The usual and unfortunately accurate perception of victims of fraud is that they “didn’t want to know”.”

    So you DO blame the victim. That’s what the “…unfortunately accurate…” aside means.

    Until you can prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this man knew the woman was under the age of consent, the man cannot, ethically, be considered guilty of anything. He acted in good faith. He may have acted stupidly, but he acted based upon the best information available to him.

    The view that victims didn’t want to know, and therefore are just as guilty, is merely another way of saying “Look at what she was wearing; obviously she was asking for it”.

  25. Theresa Hall October 20, 2017 at 10:26 pm #

    James is right about this the guy might have been a bit dumb but he had every right to assume that the age he was given was right. How many you check the age on your dates I’d?

  26. JTW October 20, 2017 at 11:12 pm #

    “The trouble is, there isn’t anyone to tell them to stop.”

    That would be electorates voting elected officials out of office who propose and vote for abominations like this.
    IOW it’s everyone basically.
    Problem is, it’s presented with little of no detail as “being tough on crime” and people vote in favour of it without discussion or research, because they don’t want to be seen as “going easy on criminals”, especially “sex offenders”.

    I wonder if things like this would even stand up under constitutional scrutiny. It might be cruel and unusual punishment, and at the very least there was no intent to break the law, which AFAIK is a requirement under the constitution, but IANAL, maybe someone else can confirm whether it could be beneficial to take this case all the way.

  27. Lisa Sommer Ward October 21, 2017 at 1:30 am #

    Fortunately, Zach knows that the God he serves is the one and only Perfect Judge. And he knows that God brings good out of very bad situations. I have no doubt that the woman Zach will someday marry will know him for the good and decent man he is, not the young man our flawed and politically-motivated court system inexplicably went after.

  28. Theresa Hall October 21, 2017 at 8:52 am #

    Even if Zach gets married will they let him be a father with the no contact with minors which his kids and their friends will be for 17years?

  29. pentamom October 21, 2017 at 9:05 am #

    No, “unfortunately accurate” is just a statement of fact. Whether or not you blame the victim is what you *do* with that fact, which was the point.

  30. James October 21, 2017 at 9:35 am #

    “No, “unfortunately accurate” is just a statement of fact.”

    Okay. Let’s see the data. Let’s see the numbers you put in to calculate the ratio of victims of fraud are victims because they “don’t want to know” vs. the number who are innocent.

    And you certainly ARE blaming the victim. Saying “They just didn’t want to know” is precisely on par with “She was wearing a short skirt”. I mean, the “unfortunately accurate” perception is that women who dress that way are sluts, right? And the “unfortunately accurate” perception of women who are alone with men outside their family are too, right? Blaming the victim means you are holding the victim partially responsible for what happened to them. And I don’t play the “I’m not touching you” game. The sentence in question means you hold this man responsible, regardless of how you want to weasel your way out of it.

    The thing is, I’m somewhat sympathetic to your viewpoint. The phrase “You can’t cheat an honest man” has a great deal of truth to it. I’ve been able to avoid a number of scams by scrupulous adherence to the philosophical principle of justice. But while you can’t CHEAT an honest man, you certainly can FOOL one. Logic is GIGO–garbage in, garbage out. If you feed an honest man false information, they will draw erroneous conclusions. You can’t blame the man for that; they acted on the best information available.

    FYI, conditional probability IS NOT valid in criminal cases. The standard is “guilty beyond a reasonable doubt”. Which means that even if what you’re saying is true, it DOES NOT MATTER. It doesn’t matter what your a priori is; what matters are the facts of THIS PARTICULAR case. In justice, the prosecution needs to prove, beyond a reasonable doubt, that this man knew, at the time of the interaction, that this woman was under age. If the prosecution can’t, he’s not guilt. In reason, logic, and justice, the state CANNOT treat him as guilty. (Civil cases are different; preponderance of evidence is the standard in those.)

  31. David N. Brown October 21, 2017 at 2:05 pm #

    @James: I think part of the problem is disparate standards in criminal and civil law. In a civil court, the guilt or fault of a defrauded party could be set aside in favor of other issues, esp overall mental health. In criminal proceedings, precedents would allow the role of deception to be minimized or ignored, and even the issue of sanity is set at a bare minimum. No easy answers here, short of wiping the slate clean and starting over.

  32. James October 21, 2017 at 3:00 pm #

    “I think part of the problem is disparate standards in criminal and civil law.”

    True. If pentamom were able to show a preponderance of evidence supporting the notion that victims of fraud are, to some degree, culpable (which is what “don’t want to see” means), it would certainly be something worth considering in a civil court system. However, there are several issues with applying that to this case.

    1) No such preponderance of evidence–or ANY evidence for that matter–has been presented.

    2) Statistics are meaningless for the individual. Every other member of the group in question could do X; it doesn’t mean that you can’t do Y, even if you’re in the group.

    Of course, if we have a legal system that takes such drastic measures as forbidding all contact with minors, however slight, via civil courts, we have far more serious things to worry about.

    As for precedents, I can think of two solutions: First, they should be subject to periodic reviews–and the default is that they should be abandoned, meaning that unless certain standards are met they should be done away with. Second, if the jury/judge has reason to make an exception they should be allowed to. We don’t have to scrap it all, at least not all at once; we just have to put a system in place that will allow us to not be bound by precedent in all cases.

  33. elizabeth October 21, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    I looked old enough to be in a relationship at fourteen…just saying…

    Zach shouldnt have been punished in the first place. The girl lied. Those who advocate for confirming age, especially when lots of teens these days either dont drive or dont care to, is stupid, not to mention a total buzzkill. “Hey, wanna have sex now that we are together?” “Sure i just need to check your id to make sure of your age.” “Youre a jerk.” Society is so backwards. The verdict in the original case, and countless like it, advocate that women are helpless and stupid until a certain age, as well. All of this is ridiculous and makes me wanna crawl under a rock until i die.

  34. Donald October 21, 2017 at 4:53 pm #

    “Unfortunately we have to destroy hundreds of thousands of lives before the bureaucracy can realize that they have gone too far. Only then can they appoint someone to put on the brakes.”

    Ok, that’s a profound statement that I made. I’d like to break it down. In order to do so, I’ll bring up another statement

    “Nobody is behind these laws – sort of. That’s because nobody is in charge.”

    O.k. someone is in charge, or more accurately millions of voters are in charge. However, they can’t come together in one voice until after 20,000 lives are turned upside down from the injustice. It then takes another 10,000 before someone calls for a study into how to fix this problem. Seven more studies (and 50,000 lives destroyed) later, they then appoint someone to apply the brakes. 20,000 more lives are destroyed before it comes to a stop.

    Now for the blaming or not blaming the victim debate. The actions of the bureaucracy suggest that the victim is being blamed. However, as I pointed out earlier, no one is in charge. Therefore, my verdict is that it’s ambiguous.

  35. David N. Brown October 21, 2017 at 5:11 pm #

    @James: Another relevant problem that can’t be ignored is wild double standards about techno-social literacy. Since at least the 1990s, the media have maintained that kids and young adults have the skills to run Jurassic Park single handed and enough video game-induced nihilism to throw their Luddite elders to the raptors. Meanwhile, I actually was a teen at that time, and the closest I came to tech-savvy rebellion was taping NPR programs and 60s rock off the radio.

  36. Theresa Hall October 21, 2017 at 5:15 pm #

    Most people would not be happy to have their dates I’d checking them. Of course the government doesn’t tell everything to the people and when they do they don’t speak plain English or Spanish in some folks cases.

  37. Dora October 21, 2017 at 6:28 pm #

    A friend of mine, who did look very young, actually had a then almost boyfriend ask to see her ID… he was scared of getting in trouble. She thought it was funny, but I guess someone else might have felt insulted

  38. Dora October 21, 2017 at 6:29 pm #

    Oh yeah, she was 18 or 19 at the time

  39. Theresa Hall October 21, 2017 at 6:50 pm #

    If you’re in the business of checking if like a Boucher at a bar people don’t mind most of the time but on a date good way to lose points with your date before it gets very far. It also a good way to end the date before it even get started. Once in awhile someone might not get ticked off about the I’d checking but that is the exception to the rule not the norm.

  40. JTW October 22, 2017 at 12:13 am #

    And don’t forget it’s pretty easy to make a fake id that looks valid to the untrained observer. That’s how several dozen men in the Netherlands got tricked into having sex with minors who visited prostitutes that later turned out to be illegal immigrant teenagers trafficked into the country and forced into prostitution.
    All these men are now branded as pedophiles for life, the fact that they were shown ID (requirement for prostitutes here apparently) showing the girls were of legal age was irrelevant to the court, all that matters is that they were actually children.

    Again, just as in the US, intent was irrelevant, only the fact that the girls were minors counted (and yes, prostitution is legal here, but not with children or illegal immigrants, the women (and occasional man) have to have work permits or be nationalised, and pay income taxes and/or corporate taxes).

  41. Theresa Hall October 22, 2017 at 9:29 am #

    True jtw that fake I’d thing is how one guy lost out. The girl was in a bar so naturally he assumes that since the Boucher checks everyone I’d before they can go in she was an adult.too bad for him she used a fake I’d. It be nice if the old lied about the age trick didn’t ruin lives but that’s not likely to happen anytime soon.

  42. Jessica October 22, 2017 at 9:57 am #

    If you think that a 14-year-old can’t look “legal”, go google Malu Trevajo

  43. David N. Brown October 22, 2017 at 12:32 pm #

    @JTW: What you’re describing sounds more like a blackmail shakedown, of a type that’s probably been around as long as anyone’s cared about age of consent. It’s also possible that the slavers simply saved evidence on “p*dos” to offer in exchange for lenient sentencing when/ if they were caught. There’s nothing scum like better than dragging others down to their level.

  44. Theresa Hall October 22, 2017 at 12:49 pm #

    David sometimes the laws are used to shake someone down and sometimes it just a case of using the laws to make your life a living h*ll. Morally it not right but the law doesn’t have a conscience to get people are what the law about. The laws say don’t do this even by accident or you will be very very sorry

  45. Archimedes October 22, 2017 at 3:47 pm #

    When I bartended, I had a girl come in that looked young. I carded everyone, but posted especially close attention. Her ID was real. Then our hostess came over after I served her and said she was 15 and in her home room. We called her parents but not the police because our manager had had a restaurant lose its liquor license in a similar situation.

    Supposedly, Hot or Not blocks 17 and under from messaging 18 and older. He had very good reason to believe she was of age. The system not accounting for someone having evidence someone is of age is a flaw.

    Also…Pro-tip…. use sex sites that require a credit card for age verification. also weeds out some of the meth heads.

  46. Archimedes October 22, 2017 at 3:49 pm #

    Addendum: Shed used her sisters birth certificate to get a replacement ID of her 21 yo sister with her picture.

  47. David N. Brown October 22, 2017 at 3:53 pm #

    @Theresa: I was referring to the apparent effort by the traffickers to represent the underaged as adults to “clients”, which would be quite disproportionate if there was nothing but normal rates on the line. What’s most intriguing is that there’s no indication of adolescents or preteens being recruited specifically for those who WANTED them as “partners”. Perhaps, contrary to popular opinion, the actual slavers decided psychopathological deviants were too few, too poor or just too twitchy to do business with.

  48. David N. Brown October 22, 2017 at 4:08 pm #

    @James et al: One of the better rundowns of common scams and cons I’ve seen is still a chapter in “The Big Book of Hoaxes”, part of an astonishing series of non-fiction comics published back in the 1990s. The highlight is a depiction of a three card Monte scheme using anthropomorphic cats and mice. “What happens if the mouse picks the right card? Any number of things… That don’t involve the mouse winning!”

  49. Theresa Hall October 22, 2017 at 4:43 pm #

    Plenty of teens use fake I’d just so they can get into bars. Sadly for the crime of falling for it you can say hello to a ton of trouble. So when you go to a place where minors aren’t allowed legally are you going to think someone lying about their age ?

  50. Papilio October 22, 2017 at 5:38 pm #

    You even warned me and I still feel like strangling these people…

  51. SteveS October 22, 2017 at 9:18 pm #

    FWIW, he has a good attorney and his HYTA status has not been revoked. Unfortunately, a judge will place a fair amount of weight in what the probation department says, but I have seen plenty of instances where they decided something different. I honestly don’t understand their venom in this instance. I have had a number of clients sentenced under HYTA violate their probation in far more serious ways and they didn’t have it revoked.

  52. Theresa Hall October 22, 2017 at 9:56 pm #

    Well Steve I hope you’re right and the judge will give him a break. But I don’t think it likely that he’ll get a break. Even though he was only in same room as the minors and didn’t make any other kind of contact nobody in charge wants to care if someone fell for pretend I’m older than I’m actually am trick. Maybe if he gets tons of people around the world on his side he might get a break.

  53. SteveS October 23, 2017 at 7:53 am #

    I’ve never been in front of this judge, so I can’t say how they will react. If this truly was some kind of accident and that he truly had no idea, then he certainly should be given a break. It just seems very odd that Indiana is being so harsh. I’ve only had two defendants lose HYTA and that was because they committed felonies while on probation.

  54. Tim October 23, 2017 at 11:58 am #

    The Indiana Department of Probation is not concerned with Anderson’s well being or future. They are in fact attempting to have his life destroyed. My hope is that as this becomes more publicized and they lose face, that they will become defanged so they can’t ruin more lives, and current decisions will be revisited and re-decided by more competent authorities.

    It’s tough to think that his brother didn’t vet his friends better knowing what the consequences are.

  55. Donna October 23, 2017 at 1:34 pm #

    According to Lenore’s time line, Zach’s sentence is now over with no resentencing. SteveS seems to be more familiar than me with this court system so maybe he can clarify, but in my state, the ability to pursue a violation of probation ends when the probation ends. The court can’t extend someone’s probation by simply continuing a probation revocation hearing beyond the end of the original sentence.

  56. pentamom October 23, 2017 at 4:44 pm #

    James, let me clarify:

    I don’t know if “unfortunately accurate” is true or not. I meant it is either a statement of fact it is completely untrue.

    If it is true, it is not victim blaming to simply state a fact. It can be used that way, but it is not that by definition. We don’t have to pretend that there are no such things as facts about victims in order to avoid victim-blaming.

  57. pentamom October 23, 2017 at 4:45 pm #

    Sorry, “it is either a statement of fact OR it is completely untrue.”

  58. James October 23, 2017 at 5:59 pm #


    If you’re comfortable blaming a man for the actions of someone else entirely, that’s your call I suppose. I firmly hold that blaming the victims–and you are BY DEFINITION blaming him with the “unfortunately true” nonsense–is a perversion of justice and a surefire way to destroy millions of lives.

    I don’t think there’s any way for a productive conversation to proceed between us at this point.

  59. David N. Brown October 23, 2017 at 7:09 pm #

    @James: All I intended was to make a comment on the perception and reality of how “normal” people typically become “victims” of fraud. I felt that we had clarified my ideas on the subject, and didn’t bring it up again.

  60. Janet October 24, 2017 at 3:10 pm #

    Why the heck did this kid take that polygraph test? Where was their lawyer?????

  61. Crazy Cat Lady October 24, 2017 at 11:24 pm #

    Janet, he has to. It is part of the terms of probation and standard practice for those on probation for things that put them on the registry. If the person does not agree to do this when asked (and pay for it) then they get popped back in jail.

  62. David N. Brown October 25, 2017 at 11:25 am #

    One further thought on this: If the story here was an older woman who’d been tricked by a younger man, the worst anyone would say is that she was “too lonely”, etc. Because apparently society decided that all teenagers have lots of friends and are perfectly happy with them…

  63. SteveS October 27, 2017 at 10:36 am #

    Donna is correct. If the probation is over, the ability to violate the conditions of probation also end. HYTA is a deferred sentence. In other words, he will have the charge dismissed and will not have a public record for the offense.

  64. Michael November 1, 2017 at 11:43 am #

    This is the sort of pure evil that is the perceived hallmark of infantile America, it isn’t the exception, it is the rule, benignly accepted by the vast majority of the population. Pure evil woven tightly in the fabric of American society.