Teen sex goes on trial in Williamson ...

Teen sex goes on trial in Williamson County

There are 33 comments on the KXAN-TV Austin story from May 9, 2008, titled Teen sex goes on trial in Williamson County. In it, KXAN-TV Austin reports that:

“My probation officer was making me do a lot more stuff than I could. It was kind of hard having this charge and getting a job, being 18 and she was telling me to move out of my house, because I can't live within 1,000 feet or 2,000 feet of a park.”

A unique and troubling legal case is unfolding in Williamson County. A young man named Jean Karlo Ponzanelli is in the county jail in Georgetown, facing a long prison term. via KXAN-TV Austin

Join the discussion below, or Read more at KXAN-TV Austin.

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Law Reform

United States

#21 Jul 5, 2008
Too many cases of (mostly) boys and young men having their lives destroyed as a result of "no affirmative defense" other than there can be no more than a 3 year age difference with the younger person no less than 14. That's in Texas. It varies state to state.

I believe it is unconstitutional to strip away a person's right to defend themselves.

Legislators are too worried about their political careers to take a stand on the issue of consensual sex in cases like Jean Ponzanelli's and cases like the college student who met a girl online. Legislators are afraid they will appear "light on sex offenders." Many legislators know this is wrong, but have said things such as "I don't want to take part in weakening the sex offender laws." NEWS FLASH guys caught up in cases of consensual sex where the girl lied about her age are not SEX OFFENDERS except only by the warped legal definition which needs reforming. These legislators need to be called on this. Why is it okay to sacrifice the lives of these young men?

Placing people like Jean on the registry actually weakens the system. Resources that should be used to monitor dangerous predators are being spread thin because now they have to monitor a teenage boy who had sex with a teenage girl. What danger could these boys possibly be to our children?

I believe it boils down to the almighty $$$$. Federal and state funding are provided annually to jurisdictions per number of registered sex offenders.

Until I learned of Jean's plight and started researching, I had no idea these boys were being thrown on the sex offenders registry. In Jean's case, the girl continues trying to hook up with older boys. Even while Jean was in jail the first time this girl was out having sex with a guy in his late 20's. This guy is now in prison. It is my understanding that her myspace at the time gave her age as 28. It is also my understanding that there was a boy sent to jail because of this same girl before Jean. The point is, the girl knows the repurcussions of having sex with older boys will not affect her. She knows the older boy will go to jail and/or prison. It doesn't matter enough to her and obviously doesn't matter to her parents as they still are not monitoring what she does on the internet. If they are, it doesn't matter to them, AFTERALL, it isn't affecting their family; no one in their family has gone to jail for this girl's behavior. I thought that CHILD NEGLECT was ILLEGAL. The State considers her a child, then by golly, hold her parents accountable for not neglecting her.

It is time to reform the laws. The Sex Offenders Registry should only include the names of DANGEROUS Pedophiles and Rapists. It is ludicrous as it stands.


United States

#22 Jul 5, 2008
Please be sure to sign the petition for Jean:


Read Jean's story:

KXAN is continuing to follow the story. Jean's next hearing is set for July 30th. Stay tuned to KXAN for the outcome.

Also see a story similar and be sure to sign Ricky's petition:


United States

#23 Jul 5, 2008

"The State considers her a child, then by golly, hold her parents accountable for not neglecting her." (Omit the word "not")

State should hold girl's parents accountable for child neglect. She continues her behavior and the parents know of the past behavior. Do they just turn their heads? Do they simply not care?


Since: Feb 08

Location hidden

#24 Jul 5, 2008
Law Reform is awesome!
Hill Country

Austin, TX

#25 Jul 7, 2008
Sad very sad. But does it change the fact that a law was broken? Does it stand reason that this could help to straighten the line for some of the underage sex? Should we pick and choose who should be punished? AGAIN...it's very sad what is going on..but...
Just a Mom

United States

#26 Jul 7, 2008
Is this how we should punish underage sex by throwing the older one in prison? What about the fact that the girl involved with Jean has continued to seek out older guys for sex and other guys have been sent to jail because of the same girl? It takes two to tango.

FACT IS: WE are picking and choosing who should be punished.

Another argument by some legislators is that this will help to curb teenage pregancy. How? Jean can't get pregnant and he's the one in jail. The girl is still at risk of pregnancy, std's, spreading std's, and still engaging in this type of behavior. What has been corrected here?

It is a fact that the law was broken. It is my STRONG opinion that this law is flawed because of this. Sex offender laws were put into place to protect society from pedophiles and rapists, not teenagers engaging in underage sex. Do you believe that a boy that is lied to and has consensual sex with a girl he believes to be close in age is a pedophile and deserves prison?

If we want to do something about underage sex, or teenage sex, wouldn't a more practical solution be to have BOTH parties take parenting classes, or classes where they have to be responsible for a mechanical baby that eats, sleeps, cries, etc. as opposed to requiring only ONE of them to take the same classes required of pedophiles, then labeling ONE a sexual predator for the rest of their lives? There so many other constructive ways of handling this problem of teenage and underage sex. What we are doing is not a deterrent.

Do you know that a 12 year old can walk into a Planned Parenthood facility and obtain birth control without parental consent? Without an ID?

What about the kids on Texas Sex Offenders Registry who are under age of 15. Some of these kids were 9 when they committed what the law defines as an "offense." How are we protecting these kids by labeling them a sex offender and putting their names, addresses and pictures on a public website?

And, if we can punish a 10 year old for "indecency with a CHILD" shouldn't we be holding 13 14 15 and 16 year olds accountable when they willingly engage in sex. Afterall, if we can hold a 10 year old accountable for inappropriate sexual behavior...

There are approximately 60,000 people in Texas on the Sex Offenders Registry. Many of those people are folks just like Jean. There are people on this registry for "MOONING" and as I mentioned, kids under the age of 13 are on the registry. Now, I agree "mooning" is disgusting, it is usually done by an immature kid who thinks its funny. I grew up in the 60's near a college campus. Remember streaking? You could land on the registry for that nowadays if a kid were nearby. It would be considered "indecency with a child by exposure." A third degree felony. Same goes for mooning. Same goes for peeing on the side of the road.(Something I never approved of even in West Texas.)

We have loaded the Registry down with folks who are of no risk to society. As a result, resources intended to attend to dangerous predators are having to go to tracking kids and people like Jean.

And, what about the lives of people like Jean? What will become of them after, we, as a society, get through with them. I know of several boys in Williamson County who are in prison right now because of consensual sex with a younger person. When these boys are released back into society, what will they be like after having spent 5 to 10 years in prison? What will become of them?

Do you, Hill Country, believe these kids pose a threat to society in the same manner as a pedophile or rapist? Is it really okay to sacrifice their lives "for the good of the cause?"

And, finally, it is very sad what is going on..but WE CAN DO SOMETHING ABOUT IT; call on our lawmakers to be sensible and reform the law.
Hill Country

Austin, TX

#27 Jul 8, 2008

Austin, TX

#28 Jul 9, 2008
This case sickens me. I keep hearing how people are sticking up for him. IF you personally didn't know him i guess i see how you could feel sorry. But the way he has treated girls is disgusting. He doesn't deserve to be punished this long, i think he has already served his time. I guess he does need you guy's support, i know he will feel very lonely for quite sometime. Karma got him badly, but thats what happens when you treat people like trash.

Austin, TX

#29 Jul 9, 2008
Karma's looking for you now you spred hate rumours lies jean is one of my very best friednds
My girl friends best friend went out with him and still says hes a good guy. i know a lot of his friends and the girls he went out with. the only girl that thinks he treated her bad is spreading rumours because shes mad hebroke up with her. the girl has big problems and she gets everyone in trouble she tried to get some boy to jump jean she told him jean hit her iw as with jean and he did not hit her he wass tryin to getg aaway from her and she jumped on hsi back jean would do anything for his freinds karma...

Austin, TX

#30 Jul 15, 2008
here's the worst part about situations like this.
the proscecutor has a win loss record that he has to keep up and will do everything he can to keep this kid in jail. there is no incentive to him to release a someone, thats not his job. his job is to convict someone.

The laws suck about this sort of thing and unfortunately Jean will probably stay in jail a long time AND be on the SO list equally as long. and all you will get from the proscecutor will be an "Oh well".

United States

#31 Jul 17, 2008
Goliad, I'm afraid you could be right.

The thing is I have a hard time believing that any prosecutor, district attorney, or judge really believe that they are making society a safer place by keeping Jean behind bars.

No way do these people believe Jean and boys like him pose a threat to the community. I believe these people know in their hearts the difference between teenage consensual sex and child molestation, yet choose to treat them one and the same (unless the offender is in law enforcement.) All these people are concerned with are CONVICTIONS and the public appearance of "getting another sexual predator off the streets." TOUGH ON CRIME --- "vote for me, vote for me!!!"

With about 60,000 people in Texas on the Sex Offenders Registry, it is time for the public to start questioning the validity of prosecuting these teenage consensual sex cases. It is time to question how the lawmakers and law enforcement can justify placing kids as young as 11 on the registry, or a 10 year old on the registry for "indecency with a child" when the 10 year old IS A CHILD. These kids' names, addresses and pictures are on a public data base for all to see. Since when do these kids lose the right to be protected? If a 10 year old did something really dangerous and sexually deviant, then shouldn't the 10 year old be in therapy and not in sex offender classes with pedophiles?

Prosecuting very young kids for playing doctor and teenagers for consensual sex is HARMING children, NOT protecting children. Placing people on the registry for peeing on the side of the road, or a dumb kid who mooned a school bus is also a senseless waste of our tax dollars.

Wonder why we're running out of prison space? You might be surprised to learn the number of teenagers from Williamson County alone who have been sent to PRISON for 5 or more years as a result of having consensual sex with another teenager. Most of these "offenders" are given deferred adjudication, but the restrictions of the "sex offender registry" are very difficult for these young people. Most will end serving prison time as a result of probation violations that have nothing to do with SEX.

Next time your DA ask you to write a letter to the Pardons and Parole Board asking that they not release a convicted murderer, please remind him that it may be necessary to release this convicted murderer in order to make room for boys like Jean.

London, UK

#32 Jul 17, 2008
This just makes me sick. Girls of that age just know what the hell they are doing.

Austin, TX

#33 Jul 31, 2008
Jean has been sentenced to 3 years in prison. Upon release he will be deported to Mexico. Please pray for Jean and his family.

Here is KXAN's Jim Swift's report on the hearing:

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