The sex offender registration laws in this country are part of a modern day witch hunt. The problem is that government is indiscriminately applying severe penalties to all sex offenders, regardless of their circumstances.
A Washington study (pdf) of felons showed that violent sex offenders (who we can all agree are the ones we should be most worried about) have a lower rate of recidivism than every other type of violent criminal (murderers, robbers, assaulters, burglars) except those convicted of manslaughter.
In fact, violent robbers were over twice as likely to re-offend as violoent sex offenders. Where are the mandatory “robber registration” laws? Sex offenders are easy to scape goat, and difficult to publicly defend. It’s an easy subject on which politicians can grandstand and earn some votes on the cheap. They don’t care if they fuck over some people who don’t deserve to be pariahs for the next 25 years of their lives.
The sex registration laws in most of this country are far too broad. There need to be distinctions drawn between more dangerous offenders (someone who violently rapes an eight year old, for example) and those who are less of a threat to society (eg, a nineteen year old convicted of statutory rape of a fifteen year old, or certain behavior of younger kids such as in the case in the OP.) A one size fits all solution, especially when the penalties are so drastic and life altering, is a terrible approach to the problem. The system is fucked up and it needs to be fixed.