LOS ANGELES – A new bill headed to Governor Gavin Newsom’s desk would lower penalties for adults who have consensual sex with a minor if the offender is within 10 years of age with the victim.
SB 145 passed in both houses of the State Legislature late Monday evening.
“If signed into law, a 24-year-old could have sexual relations with a 15-year-old child without being required to register as a sex offender,” State Senator Shannon Grove wrote in a tweet.
Under current law, while it is illegal for an adult to have consensual sex with a teenager between 14 and 17 years old, who cannot legally give consent, vaginal intercourse between the two does not require the offender to be listed on the state’s sex offender registry, as long as the offender is within 10 years of age of the minor. Instead, the judge has the discretion to decide, based on the facts of the case, whether the sex offender registration is warranted.
Other forms of intercourse such as oral and anal intercourse require sex offender registration.
State Senator Scott Wiener, who presented the bill, said the existing law “disproportionately targets LGBT young people for mandatory sex offender registration since LGBT people usually cannot engage in vaginal intercourse.”
“California’s sex offender registry continues to draw that distinction — an antiquated, outdated, leftover distinction — that somehow oral sex is worse than vaginal sex,” Wiener said.
The bill was sponsored by the Los Angeles County District Attorney’s Office. During an August press conference, Deputy District Attorney Bradley McCartt recounted a case in which a mother was upset that her 17-year-old daughter was in a relationship with a high school basketball teammate and pressed charges against her daughter’s 18-year-old girlfriend, the San Francisco Chronicle reported. McCartt was able to prevent the prosecution. However, he said that if others were more willing to prosecute the case, the girlfriend would have been placed on the sex offender registry for life if convicted.
Read the rest at: California Sex Offenders