Huffpost Women

The Accidental Sex Offender

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HIGH SCHOOL
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It was a classic teenage love story. He was a football star, and she was a cheerleader. They met, they fell in love, they started having sex. And then the cops got involved. Fifteen years later, they're still paying the price.

Frank Rodriguez cannot coach his children's soccer teams. He can't get a job at a major corporation. He can't leave the state without registering with local law enforcement. A married father of four girls, he is a convicted sex offender. Neighbors can find his name and address on a public registry online.

His crime? Sleeping with his high school sweetheart 15 years ago. At the time, Frank was 19 years old, a recent high school graduate in the town of Caldwell, Texas. That's when he first had sex with Nikki Prescott, his future wife. The two had been dating for nearly a year; the sex was consensual. However, the legal age of consent in Texas is 17, and Nikki was just shy of 16. Nikki's mother, worried that her daughter's relationship with Frank was getting too serious, reported Frank to the police. She expected the cops to issue a warning, but instead she set in motion a legal nightmare from which Frank would never recover. He became a registered sex offender -- for life.

Today, Nikki, 30, and Frank, 34, both say they unequivocally support laws that put sexual predators behind bars and protect children from attacks. "The registry isn't a bad thing," says Nikki. "It's a good thing. It's just that Frank shouldn't be on it."

Read the whole story at Marie Claire