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United States News
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Title: Teen Girl Sent Teen Boy 5 Inappropriate Pictures. He Faced Lifetime Registry as a 'Violent Sex Offender' or 350 Years in Jail.
Source: Reason
URL Source: https://reason.com/blog/2017/02/14/ ... sends-teen-boy-5-pix-of-self-i
Published: Feb 14, 2017
Author: Lenore Skenazy
Post Date: 2017-02-16 11:12:57 by Deckard
Keywords: None
Views: 202
Comments: 15

Cuffs

Zachary, now 19, is in jail awaiting sentencing for five pictures his teenage girlfriend sent him of herself in her underwear. He faced a choice between a possible (though unlikely) maximum sentence of 350 years in prison, or lifetime on the sex offender registry as a "sexually violent offender"—even though he never met the girl in person. Here's what happened.

About two years ago, when Zachary was a 17-year-old high school senior in Stafford County, Virginia, a girl in his computer club invited him over to visit. She introduced him to her younger sister, age 13. This younger sister told Zachary he reminded her of a friend: this friend, also a 13-year-old girl, shared Zachary's love of dragons and videogames.

The two 13-year-olds started skyping Zachary together. Eventually Zachary and the dragon-lover struck up a online friendship, which developed into a online romance. By the summer, a month after Zachary turned 18, the girl sent him five pictures of herself in her underwear. Her face was not visible, nor were her private parts.

That's according to information provided by Zachary's parents, as well as an evaluation with Zachary conducted by a psychologist. Zachary is incredibly smart, according to the psychologist, though socially awkward and emotionally immature. Importantly, he does not possess "distorted" ideas about sex, according to the psychologist.

Even so, Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and "child porn reproduce/transmit/sell," even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone. All this, from five underwear pictures. If convicted, Zachary's father told me, he faced a theoretically possible maximum sentence of 350 years.

Instead, he took a plea bargain. This is what prosecutors do: scare defendants into a deal. Zachary agreed to plead guilty to two counts of "indecent liberties with a minor." For this, he will be registered as a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

Yes, "violent"—even though he never met the girl in person.

Zachary's dad wrote to the authorities asking about this, and got a letter back from the Virginia State Police reiterating that, "This conviction requires Zachary to register as a sexually violent offender."

The letter, which was obtained by Reason, added that in three years, "a violent sex offender or murderer" can petition to register less frequently than every three months.

"How do you like that?" said the dad in a phone conversation with me. "Same category as a murderer."

As part of the plea, Zachary also agreed never to appeal. He will be sentenced on March 9. Until then, he remains in jail.

If this sounds like a punishment wildly out of whack with the crime, welcome to the world of teens, computers, and prosecutors who want to look tough on sex offenders. The girl did not wish to prosecute Zachary, according to his dad. He told me the pictures came to light because she had been having emotional issues, possibly due to her parents' impending divorce. Eventually she was admitted to a mental health facility for treatment, and while there she revealed the relationship to a counselor. The counselor reported this to her mother, the police, or both (this part is unclear), leading the cops to execute a search warrant of Zachary's electronic devices where they found the five photos and the chat logs.

Until that day, Zachary had never been suspected of, or charged with, any criminal activity other than one count of distracted driving, which he paid off with 15 hours of shelving library books. He was, at the time of his arrest, attending community college in computer graphics and delivering Domino's Pizza. He was also, by his account, a virgin.

The family hired two psychologists to evaluate Zachary. (Those evaluations were also obtained by Reason.) One psychologist, Mike Fray, found him to be "not a physical threat to this girl or to any other young girls." The other, Evan S. Nelson, summed up this case and what is wrong with all the cases Zachary's story represents:

This psychologist cannot count the number of adolescent sex offenders I have met who have a sense that what they are doing is 'wrong' but were ignorant that their conduct was criminal, let alone a felony, or actions which could put them on the Sex Offender Registry. In the teenage digital social world, if both parties want to talk about sex, that seems like 'consent' to them. Ignorance does not excuse this conduct, but it does help to explain why he did this, and to the degree that ignorance was an underlying cause of his crime, this problem can be easily fixed with education.

Zachary's not a sexual predator, in the psychologist's view. He's a teen who did something stupid—that he quite plausibly didn't understand was illegal. And yet the state of Virginia, and in particular prosecutor Ryan Frank, has chosen to pretend that the only way to keep Zachary from feverishly preying on young flesh is to destroy his life.

This is so obviously flawed that Virginia Speaker of the House of Delegates William J. Howell has written a letter on Zachary's behalf:

Based on the information I have, I believe Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior... It is my understanding that the local sheriff's office performed a forensic analysis on Zachary's computer and found zero incidents of pornography or trolling for females. While the aforementioned incident was highly inappropriate, it appears that there are no signs of general deviance in his character but rather immaturity and naivete....

As my record indicates, I am certainly not soft on crime and I am not suggesting that Zachary be spared any consequence of his actions. That said, I do believe this may be more of an incident of adolescent immaturity and poor judgment than of inherently deviant behavior and thus may not warrant being placed on the sex offender registry.

Outraged readers should root for two things. First, that this case prompts the Virginia legislature to review the laws that enable draconian persecutions like the one against Zachary.

Second, that Zachary be given a punishment that truly fits the crime. If you recall the case of another Zach—Zach Anderson, a 19-year-old who had sex with a girl he honestly believed was 17 (because she said so) but was actually 14—he was originally sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry. But after public outcry, he got two years' probation instead, on a "diversion program." A program like this is sometimes available for first-time offenders. It sounds far more reasonable. Or maybe Zachary could do some community service—like speaking at high school assemblies to warn students that what seems like consensual teenage shenanigans could land them on the registry for the rest of their lives.

"I know I'd never do it again because I don't want to go back to jail again in my life," Zachary told Nelson during his psychological evaluation. "And if nothing else, this has given me a fear of women." (1 image)

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#1. To: Deckard (#0)

"I know I'd never do it again because I don't want to go back to jail again in my life,"

What has he done exactly?!

A Pole  posted on  2017-02-16   11:30:29 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#2. To: Deckard (#0)

"Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and "child porn reproduce/transmit/sell," even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone. All this, from five underwear pictures."

Excuse the pun, but this doesn't pass the smell test.

Five non-nude photos on his cell phone that she voluntarily sent him and he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone? I can't believe any prosecutor would even bring charges.

Something is missing. He's 18 and pled guilty so why hide his last name?

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-16   11:36:25 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#3. To: misterwhite, misterBLACK, misterPINK, misterBROWN, misterGREEN, Mister MUD33!! (#2) (Edited)

Teen CHIX were/R the TOOLZ of Satan vis a vis teen DOOODZ...

LeastWAYS, from little what MUD REcalls from his TEENieBopperDAZE'd & B- mooozed...MUD

"Devolve Power Outta the Federal Leviathan and Back to the States,
Localities, and Individuals as Prescribed in the US Constitution."

Mudboy Slim  posted on  2017-02-16   11:53:06 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#4. To: Deckard (#0) (Edited)

After some further digging:

The boy's name is Zachary T. Witalec. He faced 20 charges, but the prosecutor dropped 18 of them. He pled guilty to two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child.

-----------------------------------------------------------

"A young man who tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl over the internet pleaded guilty to two felony charges Wednesday in Stafford Circuit Court.

Zachary T. Witalec, 19, of Stafford was convicted of two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. He will face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 9.

Prosecutor Ryan Frank dropped 18 related charges against Witalec. Frank said he did so in part so that the victim would not have to testify in court.

According to Frank, Witalec was the friend of the older relative of another 13- year-old girl. That girl told the victim about Witalec and they began communicating by Skype.

Between June 1 and Sept. 6, 2015, according to the evidence, the internet activity between Witalec and the victim included the child sending sexually suggestive pictures to Witalec at his request and what the prosecution described as inappropriate conversation.

But Frank said the girl became uncomfortable when Witalec began suggesting that they meet in person to have sex. The girl stopped having contact with Witalec and eventually let her parents know what had been going on.

Police examined her computer, then seized Witalec’s and found evidence supporting the girl’s allegations, Frank said. Witalec was indicted in May by a Stafford grand jury.

Witalec had been free on bond, but his bond was revoked Wednesday and he will remain in the Rappahannock Regional Jail at least until his sentencing.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-16   11:57:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#5. To: ZACKlee Breath BEEches!!, misterwhite, Gatlin, redleghunter, tater, Fred Mertz, STINKYpete's sorta SNEEAKY@mud.com (#3)

"ZACKleeBreath!! Doood...yer BREATH smellz ZACKlee like MUDZ bungHOLE!!"

MUD: "GIT away from MUDZ BUTTox, PUNK!!"

SeriousLEE...GIT duh F*C% aweigh from MUDZ "EXIT ONLY" orifice, U RATZ/RINOZ/trySEXusualLZ!!

"Devolve Power Outta the Federal Leviathan and Back to the States,
Localities, and Individuals as Prescribed in the US Constitution."

Mudboy Slim  posted on  2017-02-16   12:03:57 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#6. To: Deckard (#0)

As part of the plea, Zachary also agreed never to appeal.

That DA should lose his job and his license to practice law because he only cares about personal political promotion,and nothing about justice.

Sadly,too many DA's follow the policy of throwing every charge they can dream up against every defendant they see,hoping something sticks. Has nothing to do with justice,and everything to do with conviction records. If the citizens have to suffer to further their careers,so be it. It's a price they are willing to pay.

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-02-16   12:54:27 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#7. To: Deckard (#0)

Even so, Zachary was arrested and charged with 20 felonies, including indecent liberties with a minor, using a computer to propose sex, and "child porn reproduce/transmit/sell," even though he did not send or sell the pictures to anyone. All this, from five underwear pictures. If convicted, Zachary's father told me, he faced a theoretically possible maximum sentence of 350 years.

Instead, he took a plea bargain. This is what prosecutors do: scare defendants into a deal. Zachary agreed to plead guilty to two counts of "indecent liberties with a minor." For this, he will be registered as a violent sex offender for the rest of his life.

Yes, "violent"—even though he never met the girl in person.

And we all know where this leads if he is one of the young men that has bi-sexual leanings.

BTW,am I the only one that thinks it's odd that we NEVER hear about cases like this when it involves two females or two males?

It almost seems like it's only heterosexuals that are being punished because in 21st Century America homosexuals are a protected species.

Come to think of it,I don't recall EVERY hearing of a case like this involving a black boy and a black girl,either.

Anyone else remember reading of non-white heterosexual teens or homosexual teens being hammered like this by the law for sending each other photos and texts?

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-02-16   13:01:30 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#8. To: misterwhite (#2)

Something is missing.

Yes,and it is your ability to recognize the system is flawed and corrupt.

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-02-16   13:05:34 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#9. To: misterwhite (#4)

olice examined her computer, then seized Witalec’s and found evidence supporting the girl’s allegations, Frank said. Witalec was indicted in May by a Stafford grand jury.

Witalec had been free on bond, but his bond was revoked Wednesday and he will remain in the Rappahannock Regional Jail at least until his sentencing.

And of course we all know a political creature like a DA would never lie after forcing someone to sign a false confession,and the police who basically work for him would never lie to cover his ass,right?

BOYCOTT PAYPAL AND CLOSE YOUR PP ACCOUNTS NOW! ENCOURAGE OTHERS TO DO SO,TOO!

ISLAM MEANS SUBMISSION!

Why is democracy held in such high esteem when it’s the enemy of the minority and makes all rights relative to the dictates of the majority? (Ron Paul,2012)

American Indians had open borders. Look at how well that worked out for them.

sneakypete  posted on  2017-02-16   13:08:24 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#10. To: misterwhite (#4)

After some further digging…
As Paul Harvey always said: “And now for the rest of the story.”
Between June 1 and Sept. 6, 2015, according to the evidence, the internet activity between Witalec and the victim included the child sending sexually suggestive pictures to Witalec at his request and what the prosecution described as inappropriate conversation.

But Frank said the girl became uncomfortable when Witalec began suggesting that they meet in person to have sex. The girl stopped having contact with Witalec and eventually let her parents know what had been going on.

Police examined her computer, then seized Witalec’s and found evidence supporting the girl’s allegations, Frank said. Witalec was indicted in May by a Stafford grand jury.

Got it now, pertinent information that was intentionally omitted in the article.

Thanks, for exposing to the light of truth another of Deckard’s sick yellow journalism fake news articles.

Gatlin  posted on  2017-02-16   13:23:16 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#11. To: Gatlin, misterwhite (#10)

As Paul Harvey always said: “And now for the rest of the story.”

I was thinking of Paul Harvey too when I saw the "rest of the story." And seeing folks who piled on accepting the click-bait headline as gospel reminded me of the quote from The Peloponnesian Wars:

So little pains do the vulgar take in the investigation of truth, accepting readily the first story that comes to hand. - Thucydides

Non auro, sed ferro, recuperando est patria

nativist nationalist  posted on  2017-02-16   14:17:18 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#12. To: Gatlin, lying lawyers (#10)

But Frank said

A lying lawyer like Bill & Hillary Clinton, Chris Christie, and Gatlin's girlfriend Lindsey Graham.

Would you buy a used car from Gatlin, or this former DA?

Former District Attorney Chris Christie


The D&R terrorists hate us because we're free, to vote second party

"We (government) need to do a lot less, a lot sooner" ~Ron Paul

hondo68  posted on  2017-02-16   14:31:03 ET  (1 image) Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#13. To: misterwhite (#4)

"A young man who tried to set up a sexual encounter with a 13-year-old girl over the internet pleaded guilty to two felony charges Wednesday in Stafford Circuit Court.

Zachary T. Witalec, 19, of Stafford was convicted of two counts of taking indecent liberties with a child. He will face a maximum penalty of 20 years in prison when he is sentenced March 9.

This is what they hung him for, not the five bra-n-panties pix she texted to him.

He had to have propositioned her seriously, like suggesting a time/place for a meetup with romantic intentions.

He is perhaps not quite so innocent as the article tries to depict him.

Even so, there is a lot of injustice over these age of consent laws and young dudes who have just turned 18 and step over the line based on relationships that were entirely legal until they had their 18th birthday.

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-02-16   16:22:41 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#14. To: sneakypete (#7)

Come to think of it,I don't recall EVERY hearing of a case like this involving a black boy and a black girl,either.

Well... LOL

Tooconservative  posted on  2017-02-16   16:23:54 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


#15. To: Tooconservative (#13)

"Even so, there is a lot of injustice over these age of consent laws and young dudes who have just turned 18 and step over the line based on relationships that were entirely legal until they had their 18th birthday."

Which is why some states have established Romeo and Juliet laws that allow a little leeway. Though I don't think any of them would have covered this.

But you're right. Turning 18 gives the individual a lot of privilege AND responsibilities -- whether they want it or not. A whole new ballgame when it comes to the law.

misterwhite  posted on  2017-02-17   11:22:32 ET  Reply   Trace   Private Reply  


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