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Criminal Justice & Legal System

Reduced sentence granted in controversial sex offender list case

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Zach Anderson has been removed from Michigan's sex offender registry.

Anderson is the Indiana man who had consensual sex at age 19 with a Michigan teen he met online. She was 14, but said she was 17.

Berrien County Judge Angela Pasula resentenced Anderson under the Holmes Youthful Trainee Act to two years probation without requiring sex offender registration. His new sentence permits access to the Internet for schoolwork.

Anderson's original sentence, imposed by Judge Dennis M. Wiley, included 90 days in jail, registration as a sex offender for 25 years in Michigan, and five years probation with no access to the Internet. 

Anderson's attorney, Scott Grabel, said the resentencing will make a huge difference in Anderson's life because he no longer has a criminal conviction or is on the sex offender list. Grabel said both are serious barriers to employment.

"He [Anderson] just wanted the opportunity to do something with his future, and in all due respect, the original sentence took that away from him," said Grabel. "And I don't think the punishment fit the crime."

"I think the sex offender registry in general gets a lot of people on there that certainly don't belong there," Grabel said.

The case has fueled a national discussion about who should be registered as a sex offender.

Grabel said as a result of Anderson's original Michigan sentence, he is registered as a lifetime sex offender in Indiana where he lives. Grabel said he will now seek Anderson's removal from Indiana's registry.