Teens and young adults sometimes aren’t aware of the possible criminal consequences of dating someone underage, attorneys say.
What seems like a high school romance can lead to a felony conviction and having to register as a sexual offender.
5, 2015: Samuel Benda, now 21, was charged in 2011 with possession of child pornography for having a nude photo of his 17-year-old high school girlfriend on his cellphone, taken on the night of their prom.
Benda pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2012. The charge was dismissed in July 2014 after he successfully completed two years of probation.
He was ordered to 30 hours of community work service and three days in jail.
A college already rejected his son because of his conviction, he said.
“It just angers me that our society considers him in the same breadth as a pedophile,” said James Benda, of Burnsville.
Such a legal arrangement is called a stay of adjudication.
It means a defendant won’t be adjudicated as guilty, as long as he or she complies with the court’s conditions.