Monday, March 28, 2011

Michigan Exempts "Romeos and Juliets” from Sex Offender Registry

Proposed legislation in Michigan will prevent teens from ending up on the sex offender registry if they had consensual sex with a partner between 13 and 16 years old, provided there is no more than four years between their ages, according to the Detroit News. "The typical case is a 17-year-old boy and 15-year-old girl getting on the list for 25 years and it ruins his life," Senator Rick Jones told the News. "The Romeos and Juliets now will no longer be on this list." The bill appears to be a common sense approach to a growing problem. Teenagers across the country have been subjected to onerous reporting and registry requirements for engaging in consensual sexual activity with a partner who is comparable in age and maturity. Registry and reporting requirements have had a devastating impact on the future of countless teens. Lawmakers around the country have ignored the problem for fear of being perceived as coddling sex offenders. Michigan appears poised to do the right thing. Pursuant to the federal Adam Walsh Act, states must have a three-tiered system, with various lengths of time spent on the list depending on the offense, reported the News. Under the bill, first-tier offenders could petition a judge to have their name removed after 10 years. Second-tier offenders would be on the public list for 25 years and have to report twice a year. Third-tier offenders would be on the public list for life and have to report every three months. Under the bill, children would have to be at least 14 to be added to the sex offender registry, reported News. Offenders convicted of lesser sex offenses, such as flashing and peeping, would not be listed on the public registry, but instead be on a list that can be viewed only by law enforcement for 15 years and would have to report to the Michigan State Police once a year. Governor Rick Snyder is expected to sign the bill. To read more:

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