California Governor Changes Sex Offender Law

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by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent

(Worthy News) – California Gov. Gavin Newsom (D) has signed legislation granting judges the discretion to decide whether to immediately place a man who has anal or oral sex with a minor aged 14-17 years old on a sex offenders register, the Hill reports. The SB 145 bill expands on an existing law that already grants judges the discretion to decide whether a man who has vaginal intercourse with a minor aged 14-17 years old should be immediately placed on a sex offenders list.

The legislation does not apply when a minor is under 14 years of age, when the age gap between the minor and the offender is greater than 10 years, or when either party denies consent. Sex crimes against a minor under the age of 14 are punished under a separate code section, as “lewd and lascivious acts with a minor under the age of 14.”

Before now, oral or anal sex with a minor aged 14-17 resulted in automatic placement on a sex offenders list, whereas vaginal sex with a minor aged 14-17 did not. The law does not legalize any sexual offense against a child but is intended to punish gay sex with minors in the same way as heterosexual sex with minors.

Addressing fears the law legalizes pedophilia, the California Police Association said in a tweet: “Despite misinformation, this bill does not legalize ANY crime against a child – SB 145 still maintains the SAME criminal punishments under current law. SB 145 only provides a judge the SAME discretion they ALREADY have to use the facts of each limited case to determine who goes on our sex offender registry.”

The legislation was introduced by State Sen. Scott Wiener (D) who said in a statement that the law would end discrimination against young gay people who were engaging in “consensual” homosexual acts. “This bill is about treating everyone equally under the law. Discrimination against LGBT people is simply not the California way,” Weiner said.

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