While researching his friend’s case, Yang discovered that other states had adopted Romeo and Juliet laws to lessen the penalties for young adults convicted of such crimes, and he asked state Rep.

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It means a defendant won’t be adjudicated as guilty, as long as he or she complies with the court’s conditions.

Once the conditions are satisfied, a judge will clear the defendant of the charges and dismiss the case.

Michigan has adopted similar legislation, and Illinois and California groups are pushing for those laws, too.

Benda’s father, James Benda, said teens convicted of these crimes face an uphill battle when looking for jobs and going to college because of the social taboos of sex offenders.

Some parents and attorneys say the consequences should be less severe for a young adult who has a consensual sexual relationship with a minor.

But no organized movement exists in the state to change the laws.Less-severe charges were filed last week against four students at Century Middle School in Lakeville, who are accused of using their cellphones to take and send “inappropriate” photos and video of two girls undressing in the locker room. The photos and video spread to more than 40 students at school.“It almost makes you aghast to see how serious this stuff gets,” said John Leunig, a criminal attorney in St. Benda pleaded guilty to the charge in November 2012. The charge was dismissed in July 2014 after he successfully completed two years of probation.Such a legal arrangement is called a stay of adjudication.“It just doesn’t seem fathomable to me.” CRIME AND PUNISHMENT Weeks after George Knowlton started his senior year last fall at Simley High School in Inver Grove Heights, the 18-year-old athlete and honor-roll student was charged with felony third-degree criminal sexual conduct for having consensual sex with his 14-year-old girlfriend.