Nikki and Frank Rodriguez, a happily married couple in Texas, say they've had a dark cloud hanging over them ever since they started dating, when she was freshman in high school and he was a senior. 'Today' correspondent Thanh Truong takes a look at the controversial case, recently reported by Abigail Pesta in 'Marie Claire'
, that landed this father of four on the sex offender database. "Why he's on the registry goes back more than 15 years, when Frank was a high school senior, a football star in Caldwell, Texas, dating his then-girlfriend Nikki," Truong says as old photos of the couple appear on-screen. Frank was 19 while Nikki was only 15.
"The age of consent in Texas was 17," Truong explains, "After an angry argument, Nikki's mom reported Frank to the authorities." Frank pled guilty to statutory rape charges to avoid jail time. The couple married a few years later, yet Frank is still a registered sex offender. "I think we've suffered long enough," Nikki laments.
CORRECTION: This caption previously described Nikki and Frank Rodriguez' story as having been reported by 'Today' correspondent Thanh Truong. The story was reported by Abigail Pesta in the July 2011 edition of 'Marie Claire' and on marieclaire.com.