Zachary Anderson is a 19-year-old computer science major from Elkhart, Indiana. Anderson met a girl from nearby Niles, Michigan, on the Hot or Not app. The two met up for an evening of consensual sex in December 2014. Six months later, Anderson finds himself serving a 90-day jail sentence, five years of probation, and he will be a registered sex offender until he turns 44.
The girl that Anderson hooked up with told him she was 17-years-old at the time. The girl is, in fact, 14-years-old. She has epilepsy, and on the night in question, she left home and failed to tell her mother where she was going. Her mom was worried that she had forgotten to take her medicine, so she called the local police.
According to the Daily Mail, law enforcement was waiting at the girl’s house when she arrived back from her night out with Anderson. Anderson drove back home and promptly went on vacation to Florida with his parents. It was on vacation that he received a text from the girl stating they were “in trouble.” At the time, Anderson still didn’t know the girls age.
At Zachary Anderson’s trial, the girl stated she didn’t want anything to happen to him. Her mother also spoke to the court.
“I don’t want him to be a sex offender because he really is not and I know that there’s an age difference and I realize that (name deleted) was inappropriate that night, we didn’t know. I’m very sorry and I hope you’ll really consider the fact of just dropping the case. I can’t say anything more than that. I hope you really will for all of our families.”
Michigan has a program for first-time sex offender who have yet to reach the age of 21. Judge Dennis Wiley decided not to use it. He gave his reason.
“You went online, to use a fisherman’s expression, trolling for women to meet and have sex with. That seems to be part of our culture now: meet, hook up, have sex, sayonara. Totally inappropriate behavior. There is no excuse for this, whatsoever.”
Zachary Anderson’s parents have taken to Change.org hoping people will help. Anderson is not allowed to live in a house with an internet connection. He cannot talk to anyone who is under 17-years-old.
What do you feel should be the punishment for Zachary Anderson? Should the feelings of the girl and her mother have any influence on the incident in question?
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