A teenager and his family in Oklahoma is discovering the troubling consequences of our sex offender and statutory rape laws. Ricky (his last name is being withheld at his request) had sex when he was 16 with a girl who allegedly told him that she was 16. She wasn’t and prosecutors charged him with having sex with a 13 year old. He pled guilty and was sentenced to a two years probation — and registry as a sex offender for ten years. While the judge would three years later expunge that record, Oklahoma still insists on registering him as a high-risk sex offender — forcing him to live like a pariah and satisfy the various restrictions put in place for recidivist child molesters.
Under the Oklahoma State Department of Corrections Sex and Violent Crime Offender Registry, Ricky is charged with Lewd Or Indecent Proposals/Act To A Child. His parents never imagined that this would be the result of his guilty plea.
The first problem was the criminalization of two teens having sex in Iowa. There is no dispute that this was consensual. Yet, prosecutors still pushed for a guilty plea and sex offender registration.
This problem is likely to get worse. States like California are currently deciding whether to comply with a federal sex offender act that would put adolescent sex offenders as young as 14 on a national public registry. It is part of the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act of 2006 that Congress passed without needed exclusions.
A person claiming to be Ricky’s mother posted the following on the Oklahoma registry site:
My son at sixteen had consensual sex with a girl who admitted to police she lied to him about her real age and now due to Oklahoma law he is a registered sex offender for life and on a aggravated charge for the three year age difference. After telling the cops the truth we were told she truly was only 13, but not to worry her parents did not want to press charges. Well unknownst to us the District Attorney had to prosecute due to my son’s testimony/statement and he was told he do twenty years unless he took a plea bargain which would require no registration and a deferred so no conviction. He agreed and five minutes before court learned the real truth he register ten years. Now since we moved home to Oklahoma he is a lifer at seventeen. I am amazed at the blatant ignorance of these laws by so many folks and hope those who read this will educate themselves further to realize the registry is full of teen consensual sex relations (Romeo/Juliet) and men who took a pee in the woods etc. I have begun a fight here in Oklahoma and across this country for all our son’s being subjected to this nightmare and destruction of their lives by starting a petition asking politicians to enact Romeo/Juliet laws. Patty Wetterling and Mark Lunsford have spoke out and said these cases are romeo and Juliet and to keep the registry accurate for real dangers to our children we must fix it now. So please go here: http://www.rickyslife.com and sign to remove kids like my son from the registry for teen consensual sex. Share it and if you have questions email me I am happy to answer all questions. I just ask you educate yourselves and realize we at this point cannot trust the registry since the Oklahoma HB 1760 puts consensual teens with three year age difference on Tier 3 status. if we had lived here the charge for this age difference be rape first degree…ask youself when you hear rape what do you picture? How can lawmakers denote using this word for a consensual act? If we are fearful of that teen next door who is on registry, unaware it was consensual as a juvenile, will we forget about the real predator two blocks over? The man/woman who really has harmed children? Again please help me in our fight go to http://www.rickyslife.com help me save these boys lives. Type in “is Ricky really a sex offender?” in google search engine read our story and articles, cause without change this could be your son.
The story represent the combination of well-known problems in both statutory rape and sex offender laws. We have recently seen great abuses here and here and here.
For the full story, click here. Ricky may glimpse his future by looking at the life of Wendy Whitaker who is still living under the restrictions of a sex offender for engaging in oral sex at 16.
What is troubling in these cases is that two teens have consensual sex and one if pronounced the victim and the other a rapist by prosecutors. There must be a better way in dealing with the problem of teen sex other than turning one teen into a felon.
For an interview with Ricky, click here.