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Once the conditions are satisfied, a judge will clear the defendant of the charges and dismiss the case.While Benda does not have a criminal record in Minnesota, the charges still show up in public records. In a hotel room two years ago after prom, Samuel J.Benda didn’t question his 17-year-old girlfriend when she took a naked picture of herself in the mirror on his cellphone. “I didn’t think.” Now, her former boyfriend is facing serious consequences.The photo is a reflection of her and Benda, his hands covering her body. The girl later told a Dakota County judge that she had forgotten about the picture until police came to her house and asked about it. Benda was convicted of felony child-pornography possession and is awaiting sentencing.Such a legal arrangement is called a stay of adjudication.It means a defendant won’t be adjudicated as guilty, as long as he or she complies with the court’s conditions.The girl told police she and Knowlton had sex up to 10 times during the summer, according to a Dakota County criminal complaint.The girl also said she specifically recalled having sex with Knowlton on July 20 — three days after his 18th birthday.
The relationship started months earlier when he was 17.
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.
A college already rejected his son because of his conviction, he said.
“It just angers me that our society considers him in the same breadth as a pedophile,” said James Benda, of Burnsville.