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“Of course, she’s under the age of consent, and no matter what it’s not right,” Yang said.
“But it’s not fair to put him in the same category as a predator.” Atkins said he is pursuing more information about the issue.
Such a legal arrangement is called a stay of adjudication.
It means a defendant won’t be adjudicated as guilty, as long as he or she complies with the court’s conditions.
In Minnesota, adults and juveniles convicted of felony criminal sexual conduct or child-pornography possession must register as a sex offender for 10 years.
Those who register must tell authorities where they live, work and go to school and what vehicle they drive.
County attorneys say they consider several factors before prosecuting these cases.
They review the vulnerability of the victim, the relationship of the victim and the accused, whether drugs and alcohol were involved and the feelings of the victim’s parents.
The photo is a reflection of her and Benda, his hands covering her body. The girl later told a Dakota County judge that she had forgotten about the picture until police came to her house and asked about it. Benda was convicted of felony child-pornography possession and is awaiting sentencing.Other states have changed their laws to differentiate consensual sex from predatory crimes.Florida adopted a “Romeo and Juliet” law in 2007, allowing some people to petition the court to forgo registering as a sex offender.Teens and young adults sometimes aren’t aware of the possible criminal consequences of dating someone underage, attorneys say.What seems like a high school romance can lead to a felony conviction and having to register as a sexual offender.