Tuesday Sept. 8, 2015
News broke today about a development in the case of Zach Anderson, the young man from Elkhart convicted of criminal sexual conduct for having sex with a 14-year-old girl who said she was 17.
I quickly scrambled to get the details, talking to Anderson’s Michigan lawyer by phone, briefly. He said he was getting inundated with calls, but confirmed that the sentence against his client, 19 at the time of the incident and now 20, had been set aside.
I then called Zach Anderson’s dad, Les Anderson, getting a voice message. Unable to reach him, I finally drove out to Les Anderson’s business. There, I was advised the Andersons were talking with media at Zach’s nearby house and I quickly dashed over, finding the family. Bingo. I spoke with the family, got some pictures, got the details.
The case has gained national notoriety as a case study among critics who maintain that sex offender registry laws are broken. Some of the stories I’ve done on it have gotten some pretty heavy traffic (look here, here and here). The Andersons are particularly upset Zach is required to get on the sex offender registry, saying it’s not merited and unnecessarily stigmatizes him. He’s not a sexual predator, they say, noting the fact that the teen lied.
In fact, if she were 17, as she claimed, she’d be a year older than the age of consent in Michigan, where the incident occurred.