Michigan has adopted similar legislation, and Illinois and California groups are pushing for those laws, too.
Benda’s father, James Benda, said teens convicted of these crimes face an uphill battle when looking for jobs and going to college because of the social taboos of sex offenders.
Knowlton pleaded guilty to the charge in March, but the conviction will be wiped from his record if he successfully completes five years of probation.
Benda pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2012. The charge was dismissed in July 2014 after he successfully completed two years of probation.County attorneys say they consider several factors before prosecuting these cases.They review the vulnerability of the victim, the relationship of the victim and the accused, whether drugs and alcohol were involved and the feelings of the victim’s parents.“It just doesn’t seem fathomable to me.” CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Weeks after George Knowlton started his senior year last fall at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights, the 18-year-old athlete and honor-roll student was charged with felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having consensual sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.The relationship started months earlier when he was 17.Some parents and attorneys say the consequences should be less severe for a young adult who has a consensual sexual relationship with a minor.