It’s common knowledge that law enforcement officials take sex crimes very seriously. Beyond the potential for prison time, those who are convicted for sex crimes are sometimes required to register as sex offenders. Many people may assume that certain charges, such as possession of child pornography or rape, would lead to this requirement, but some states require registration for charges that are seemingly less serious in nature.
In some states, teenagers who have consensual sex with another teenager may be required to register as a sex offender. In fact, one teen was required to add her name to the state’s sex crimes registry because she had consensual sexual relations with a high school classmate who was 15. At the time, she was only 17 years old.
Interestingly enough, Georgia isn’t the only state that requires sex offender registration for this kind of incident. Human Rights Watch reports that 29 states are known to have a similar requirement.
Being included on a sex offender registry can create years of difficulty and public humiliation. After registering, individuals may have restrictions on where they can live and work. Not only that, but these individuals are often required to alert their neighbors that they are registered sex offenders. Putting this in the context of the previously mentioned case, the Georgia woman will have to deal with these complications because she engaged in a consensual relationship as a high school student.
Knowing how severe and lengthy punishments for sex offenses can be, individuals can benefit from gaining a full understanding of their rights and legal options when they are suspected of a crime. Failing to take proactive steps could lead to a lifetime of consequences — even for a consensual act.
Source: Business Insider, “7 Surprising Things That Could Make You A Sex Offender,” Erin Fuchs, Oct. 9, 2013