When charged with a sex crime, there are a lot of possible outcomes. If a conviction follows, the accused individual can expect penalties that can range from prison time to lifetime registration on a sex offender registry. Registration as a sex offender can have consequences that go beyond the limitations of where to live and work - this can also permanently damage an individual's reputation, branding a person for life.
A young man from New Jersey may be facing these types of consequences in the near future. He was recently charged with sexual assault after having sex with a minor. But even though it appears that it was consensual, the charges still hold.
Both the young man and the young woman stated that at no point did he force her to do anything. Their recollections of the details leading up to did not match up, but both agreed that it was consensual and that they both decided the incident was a one-time occurrence.
The two met at their high school and it was a teacher who reported the incident to a school official. The school official apparently contacted state troopers who arrived at the school. Because the incident is being treated as sexual assault, the troopers spoke with the young man to get his side of the story. It appears that he was then arrested and held until bond was posted; his next court appearance is later this month.
At only 18 years of age, this young man's future could be seriously impacted by a criminal conviction. Any plans he had for his future could change if he is sentenced to prison or to register as a sex offender. Does it make sense to penalize a teenager for something that was consensual? If so, is registration on a sex offender registry too harsh?
Source: The Register Citizen: "New Jersey man faces sexual assault charges," Mike Agogliati, Sept. 12, 2011