A teenager in the US has been spared a jail sentence so he can attend college - despite being charged with two counts of rape and one count of indecent assault and battery.
David Becker, an 18-year-old athlete from Massachusetts, was charged over events that took place on 2 April, where he was accused of assaulting two unconscious women who had fallen asleep after a house party.
Despite there being sufficient evidence to charge Becker for the crimes, he was given just two years of probation, which was structured around his planned move to Ohio so he could attend college.
The terms of his probation include avoiding alcohol and drugs, keeping his distance from the victims and penning a letter of apology.
If he abides by the terms for the full two years, he will be kept off the sex offender register and spared both a criminal record and time in jail.
Becker’s lawyer, Thomas Rooke, said in a statement after the hearing on Monday, "He can now look forward to a productive life without being burdened with the stigma of having to register as a sex offender. The goal of this sentence was not to impede this individual from graduating high school and to go on to the next step of his life, which is a college experience.
"We all made mistakes when we were 17, 18, 19 years old, and we shouldn’t be branded for life with a felony offence and branded a sex offender ... Putting this kid in jail for two years would have destroyed this kid’s life."
The lenient ruling has caused outcry online, with calls for the US courts to reconsider their stance on punishment for rapists. It has also drawn numerous comparisons to the recent Brock Turner case, in which another American athlete was given just six months in jail for sexually assaulting an unconscious woman behind a dumpster.