Love knows no age, as some would say. Lady Justice, however, doesn’t seem to agree, especially when it involves a minor.
It is a hard lesson that Colbey Keith Ford of Midland, Texas may now be learning. As reported by Midland Reporter-Telegram, Ford was recently arrested for committing sexual acts with a girl who is at least 3 years his junior.
This report calls to mind the story of Frank Rodriguez, which was featured in the ABC News program 20/20, aired in 2008. In 1996, the then 19-year-old Rodriguez pled guilty to sexually assaulting a child, who was his then 15-year-old girlfriend. At that time, Rodriguez was sentenced to seven years probation, and had to permanently register as a sex offender. Colbey Keith Ford may now be facing similar sentences if found guilty.
Texas wields an iron hand when it comes to sex offenders. The heart of the state’s tough stance on sex crimes is the Adam Walsh Child Protection and Safety Act, a federal statute enacted during the Bush administration. Every state has its own sex offender registry, which was required by the Act.
While the system may have been successful in protecting sexual assault victims in various places in Texas, including Houston, its consequences can be very hard on youthful “offenders.”
With a criminal record and the stigma of a sex offender label shadowing them, they are likely to face an uphill struggle for the rest for their lives, affecting even their ability to find gainful employment.
No Longer Permanent
The passage of two important changes in Texas sex crime laws, however, gives these younger adults a better chance of retaking their future. With the help of a dedicated Houston sex crimes lawyer, de-registration from the sex offender registry may now be possible. In 2005, amendments were made to Article 62.401 of the Texas Code of Criminal Procedure, making it possible for certain sex offenders to be removed from the state registry.
Under the Texas age of consent laws, those who engage in consensual sex may still be found guilty of statutory rape if they have sex with a person under 17. However, the passing of the so-called Romeo and Juliet Law has given younger adults a better chance of avoiding having to register as sex offenders.
Those accused of sexual assault should immediately seek the counsel of seasoned sex crime lawyers, like those at Scheiner Law Group, P.C., to learn about the defense options available, and to ensure their rights are better protected.
(Source: 18-year-old accused of sexually assaulting a child, Midland Reporter-Telegram, February 8, 2014)