HARRIS COUNTY, Texas -- A 14-year-old boy could spend the rest of his life as sex offender on the registry for having sex with his 12-year-old girlfriend.
"This was his girlfriend," said his mother, who spoke to KHOU 11 News, on the condition of anonymity. "They had a relationship. They loved each other, and they cared about each other. They just made a poor choice to have sex."
She was a sixth grader. He was in 7th. The problem is here in Texas that age difference is a crime.
"This just an immature child having sex with his girlfriend, it's not like he's burning down a house," said Joseph Gutheinz Jr.
Gutheinz is representing the 14-year-old boy. The attorney says his client is now charged in juvenile court with aggravated sexual assault of a minor. His client could face life as a sex offender on registry.
"We all know what society thinks about sex offenders," Gutheinz said. "To thrust this type of label on a 14-year-old is outrageous."
The boy's mother says it would destroy her son's life.
"He's in fear for his future," she said. "If he's put on the sex registry, he has no future."
In Texas, the Romeo and Juliet law provides a legal defense for consensual sex between a minor who is 14 or older and someone who is within three years of that age. That means had the boy's girlfriend been 14, he wouldn't have faced charges.
Gutheinz says the system is set up unfairly.
"Stealing his life away in this fashion, I think most people think that's reprehensible," he said.
This mother says she doesn't condone her son having sex at a young age, but says what happened is not a crime.
"I will fight to the end," she said. "I believe in my son. My son is not a throwaway child."
The Harris County District Attorney's Office did not comment on a pending juvenile case.
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