Georgia parents are often all too aware that their high school children will date whomever they please and the more they try to regulate their children's love lives, the more likely they will date in secret. Some McDonough parents may discover, however, that their children's relationships could be breaking the law and have very serious consequences.
If a high-school student who has already turned 18-years-old is dating anyone under the age of consent, he or she must be extremely careful with his or her relationship. Engaging in sexual intercourse, even consensual intercourse, could lead to serious criminal charges, time in prison and a spot on the sex-offender registry. One 26-year-old man has finally gotten out of prison after more than six years behind bars for having sex with his former high school sweetheart.
When he was only 18-years-old and a high-school senior, the young man was dating a 14-year-old freshman with whom he had fallen in love. While his mother did not seem to mind their relationship, the young woman's father told the two to break up. When the young man got into a fight with the father, he was arrested and charged with a sex crime. He pled guilty and spent one year in jail and was on probation for three years. After being released from jail, he and his girlfriend could not stay separated and they resumed their relationship, in violation of his probation.
Now 26-years-old, the man was ordered to register as a sex offender following his release from a six-year prison term. Luckily, he successfully petitioned the court and was removed from the sex-offender registry. While he no longer must provide the state with his address, he remains a convicted felon.
This kind of severe punishment has shocked many people in Georgia and across the country. While the young man was still in prison, his mother began working with several other parents whose children have also been locked up to push for changes of the sex-offender registration program. There are similar groups in Georgia and across the country advocating for reduced and different punishments for high-school students engaged in consensual relationships.
Source: The Daily Beast, "Should Teens Be Jailed for Sex Offenses? A Growing Parental Rebellion Says No," Abigail Pesta, Jan. 25, 2012