Indiana Man's Sentence Reduced for Sex With Girl Who Lied About Her Age

IMAGE: Zachery Anderson
Zachery Anderson in a police booking photo.Berrien County, Michigan, Jail

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By Alex Johnson

A 20-year-old Indiana man was removed from Michigan's sexual offenders' list Monday after it emerged that the underage girl he'd been convicted of having sex with lied about her age.

The man, Zachery Anderson, was 19 when he was arrested late last year at his parents' home in Elkhart, Indiana. He was charged with misdemeanor criminal sexual conduct for a consensual sexual encounter in Niles, Michigan, with the girl, whom he'd met on the dating app Hot or Not.

IMAGE: Zachery Anderson
Zachery Anderson in a police booking photo.Berrien County, Michigan, Jail

The girl later admitted that she told Anderson she was 17 — legal age in Michigan. Anderson's parents say their son accepted a plea agreement in March to avoid a trial and keep his name off of Michigan's sex offenders' registry.

Even the girls' parents asked a Berrien County, Michigan, judge to drop the case, but he chose to disregard their request and sentenced Anderson to five years' probation — during which time the computer science major could have no contact with computers or the Internet — and a 25-year listing on the sexual offenders' list.

Anderson was granted a resentencing hearing under a new judge, Angela Pasula, in September. Monday, Pasula reduced Anderson's probation to two years, placed him in a youth diversion program that doesn't require him to register as a sex offender and said he could use computers and the Internet for work.

Anderson's case created controversy nationally, with critics accusing the original judge of ignoring the facts to impose a harsh sentence to send a message. Bishop T.D. Jakes, pastor of the nondenominational Potter's House magechurch, made Anderson's case a personal cause, interviewing Anderson and counseling his parents on his nationally syndicated TV show.