California Changes Laws Regarding Sex Offenders

California Governor, Gavin Newsom, signed a law that gives judges discretion over whether to add certain people convicted of statutory rape to the sex offender registry.

This change is very controversial as it loosens the rules that protect children by allowing judges to make unwarranted exceptions for adults who engage in sex acts with minors. Before this bill, anyone under the age of 18 is not able to legally consent to sex. If an adult is convicted of having heterosexual intercourse with a minor, ages 14 or older, and the adult is within 10 years of the child's age, a judge has the discretion over whether the perpetrator must register as a sex offender. However, certain sex acts other than intercourse between the same minor and adult would require automatic inclusion on the registry. SB 145 would eliminate that discrepancy and give the judge sway over all sex offender registrations in such cases.

The President and CEO of National Center on Sexual Exploitation (NCOSE), Patrick Trueman, said, "If the concern is a one-year difference between an 18-year-old and a minor about to become an adult, then the law should be confined to that situation, not the extreme situation that the 10-year window provides." Ultimately, this law leaves more sex offenders on the streets.

To read more about California SB-145, click here.