The state of California has one of the most lenient punishments for child sex offenders. If an adult gets caught having sexual intercourse with a 14-year-old, the adult, at the Judges’ discretion, will not be incarcerated. The offending adult will also not be compelled to register as a sex offender if the sexual activity did not include oral or anal penetration and the adult was no more than 10 years older than the child. As a result, many 24-year-old men who were found to have had sex with an 8th grader are roaming freely in the state of California. The parents of 8th graders who have not yet been offended have no idea who the previously arrested adult offenders are.
California law-makers, last week, passed a bill (SB-145) for their Governor’s signature that will remove the stipulation in the existing law that says the adult offender must not have orally or anally penetrated the child in order to be released from the sex offender registration requirement. The impetus for the bill, introduced by Senator Scott Wiener on January 18, 2019, was the feeling that the existing law was discriminatory towards the LGBT (now known as LGBTQ) community.
The question now is will Governor Gavin Newsom sign the bill? Hopefully, Governor Newsom will maintain focus on 8th graders while he considers SB-145. Having been in an 8th graders shoes in the past, the thought of a 24-year-old adult using his/her developed mind to convince a child to “consent” should be unconscionable.