“They make me out to be a monster.”As a first-time offender younger than 21, he was eligible for a program that would have softened the punishment. Anderson will try to withdraw his guilty plea Wednesday in Berrien County District Court. The age of consent in Michigan is 16.“It’s crazy,” said Anderson.Two days after they met online, Anderson drove 20 miles and picked the girl up around the corner from her home, he said.“On the night it happened, I had a gut feeling that I shouldn’t be doing this,” he later wrote in a letter of apology to the girl. The Detroit News is not naming the girl or her mother because the child is a minor.
He can’t live or work within 1,000 feet of a school, and will have to overcome the stigma of being on the registry to convince an employer or landlord to accept him.
Even if he found another job or home, he could lose them if others learn about his past and mount pressure to get rid of him.“It affects everything you do,” he said.
“This 21st century scarlet letter needs more than fixing.
It needs to be abolished.”But a lawmaker who has helped write some of Michigan’s sex registry laws has little sympathy for Anderson. Rick Jones, R-Grand Ledge, said Anderson was old enough to know better.“A 19-year-old knows you have to be careful,” he said.
Michigan has the fourth-highest number of people on its registry, 43,000, behind California, Texas and Florida, according to the National Center for Missing and Exploited Kids.