Not all people accused of sex offenses are actually guilty of the crime or were aware they were committing it. In some cases, they've been tricked or lured into a situation that later backfires on them. That's what happened to this young man in Elkhart. A June 22 story discusses how the 19-year-old is now in jail for having sex with a 14-year-old girl.
The man has been sentenced to jail time, five years of probation, 25 years on the Michigan sex offender registry, and is banned from computers and smartphones, forcing him to give up his computer science major at college. While some of these punishments may not seem exceptional, the issue is that the 19-year-old was lied to. He had no idea the girl he slept with was only 14.
According to the story, the 14-year-old girl has even come forward and stated that she lied about her age. She stated that she didn't want to see the teen get punished because of her and something she considered to be her fault. The 19-year-old had placed a plea agreement with the court, but a prosecutor from the female's side, who was bound not to speak against leniency, violated the plea agreement by opposing a lenient sentence.
The 19-year-old met the teen on an 18-and-older section of Hot-or-Not, a website that is designed for dating. They arranged a date and had sex. The girl, at the time, told the teen that she was 17. In most states, if someone lies about one's age, it's a defense against statutory rape. This is not true in Texas and Michigan, where the case was tried. In those states, statutory rape falls under strict liability, meaning age can't be used as a defense, even if the younger party lied.
Source: The South Bend Tribune, "Story of teen's sex-offense sentence spreads," Virginia Black, June 22, 2015