Dating in High School
The defendant was charged with a count of Sex Abuse 3 and a count of Harassment. The charges stemmed from a report made to law enforcement, that the defendant had been dating an underage girl at the defendant's high school. The defendant pleaded to Harassment and was put on a six month diversion.
This was a troubling case and really highlights the problem with "mandatory reporter" laws. My client was an 18 year old high schooler who had been dating another high schooler. However, because the girl was underage it created complications even though her parents were aware of the boyfriend/girlfriend relationship. Someone from the school staff was made aware that they were dating and that some level of intimate interaction had occurred between the two of them. The school official, because of mandatory reporting laws, took it upon themselves to report my client to law enforcement. Once it was disclosed, the involved government agencies decided that criminally prosecuting my client was the "right" thing to do. Ultimately, we were able to secure a short diversion period and the case has since been dismissed.
Although this case has a happy ending (I guess you could call it that, right?), but how many cases do not? How many young lives are ruined because of overzealous "mandatory reporters" and prosecutors? Had my client been convicted of the sex abuse charge, he would have had to register as a sex offender. Is this really justice? If so, then he would be a registered sex offender because he was in a "dating type" relationship with another student at his high school? This, in my opinion, is insane. Fortunately we were able to avoid that in this case.
Klamath County, Oregon
Actual Case Summaries
Be advised that I never promise a client a particular outcome, details of prior cases should not be taken as an indication that other clients will necessarily see the same results.