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This is so obviously flawed that Virginia Speaker of the House of Delegates William J.Howell has written a letter on Zachary's behalf: Based on the information I have, I believe Zachary was unaware of the magnitude of impropriety in his behavior...Second, that Zachary be given a punishment that truly fits the crime.If you recall the case of another Zach—Zach Anderson, a 19-year-old who had sex with a girl he honestly believed was 17 (because she said so) but was actually 14—he was originally sentenced to 25 years on the sex offender registry.That's according to information provided by Zachary's parents, as well as an evaluation with Zachary conducted by a psychologist.Zachary is incredibly smart, according to the psychologist, though socially awkward and emotionally immature.Zachary's dad wrote to the authorities asking about this, and got a letter back from the Virginia State Police reiterating that, "This conviction requires Zachary to register as a sexually violent offender." The letter, which was obtained by Reason, added that in three years, "a violent sex offender or murderer" can petition to register less frequently than every three months. He told me the pictures came to light because she had been having emotional issues, possibly due to her parents' impending divorce.Eventually she was admitted to a mental health facility for treatment, and while there she revealed the relationship to a counselor.
He faced a choice between a possible (though unlikely) maximum sentence of 350 years in prison, or lifetime on the sex offender registry as a "sexually violent offender"—even though he never met the girl in person. About two years ago, when Zachary was a 17-year-old high school senior in Stafford County, Virginia, a girl in his computer club invited him over to visit. This younger sister told Zachary he reminded her of a friend: this friend, also a 13-year-old girl, shared Zachary's love of dragons and videogames.
The counselor reported this to her mother, the police, or both (this part is unclear), leading the cops to execute a search warrant of Zachary's electronic devices where they found the five photos and the chat logs.
Until that day, Zachary had never been suspected of, or charged with, any criminal activity other than one count of distracted driving, which he paid off with 15 hours of shelving library books.
It is my understanding that the local sheriff's office performed a forensic analysis on Zachary's computer and found zero incidents of pornography or trolling for females.
While the aforementioned incident was highly inappropriate, it appears that there are no signs of general deviance in his character but rather immaturity and naivete....