Can a Child be a Sex Offender?
by Meghan Walsh | February 24, 2015

Sitting down with someone branded a child sex offender wasn’t ever how Nicole Pittman imagined she’d be spending her days. Yet in doing that, she’s discovered how nuanced the world of crime and law can be.

She remembers, for example, sharing coffee a few years ago in downtown Dallas with Josh Gravens, who was given the title of sex offender when he was 13 years old after he touched his younger sister. There was no accusation of penetration, and Gravens says it was more about curiosity than anything else. But it was enough for the state to stick him in juvenile detention, and enough to keep his name on a public registry for 14 years, which — by the time he heard from Pittman — had been more than half his life.

“She was the first person who told me I wasn’t a sex offender,” recalls Gravens, who now works in public policy as a criminal justice advocate....