Tuesday, December 15, 2009

Young Man Struggles with Sex Offender Label

annarbor.com : Young Pittsfield Township man struggles with sex offender label.

Matthew is struggling to move on with his life, six years after being convicted of having sex with a high school girlfriend who was one year below the legal age of consent.

Matthew, who is required to register as a sex offender, is facing a new criminal charge that accuses him of illegally living within 1,000 feet of a school. His latest trouble started as Freeman was shooting hoops in his Pittsfield Township driveway Aug. 3. According to a police report, a state trooper pulled up to Matthew's house across the street from Ann Arbor's Carpenter Elementary School, where children were on the playground at 7:30 p.m.

Matthew told the trooper Pittsfield Township police told him “it shouldn’t be a problem” to live near the school. He had registered with Pittsfield police 27 days earlier using his family's Dalton Avenue address. Matthew told the trooper he was on the Michigan Sex Offender Registry because he had “sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend when he was 17.” He also said his girlfriend’s mother got “upset with him and pressed charges.”

The trooper aimed a laser gun at the school building and determined Freeman was living 326 feet away, the report said, breaking the law.
Matthew, 23, is charged with a school safety zone residency violation, a misdemeanor punishable by up to a year in jail. He was arraigned Dec. 4 and is scheduled to return to court Friday.

Matthew pleaded guilty to fourth-degree criminal sexual conduct involving force or coercion and was sentenced to probation in September 2003, court records show. By pleading guilty to the misdemeanor charge, he admitted to having sex with his 15-year-old girlfriend, who was two years younger. In Michigan, the legal age of consent is 16.

Matthew will remain on the registry until Aug. 17, 2028, according to the registry’s Web site.