Sex with minors still illegal under SB-145, judges given more discretion

Olivia Sandusky

Senate Bill 145, of the Sex Offender Registration act, sits on Gov. Newsom’s desk.

The bill reworks the current sex offender registration process, and the senator who created it says it’s intended to end discrimination.

“We’re stepping up to say we should not be criminalizing our LGBTQ youth, and we should not be ruining their lives by putting them on the sex offender registry for having consensual sex,” said Senator Scott Wiener, the bill’s creator.

Under current law sex with minors is illegal.

But, a judge has discretion to decide if an adult should register as a sex offender after having vaginal intercourse with a minor.

For anal and oral sex, there is no judge discretion, the adult automatically is required to register as an offender.

Members of the LGBTQ community say this is discrimination, as those are their primary ways of having intercourse.

If SB-145 were to become law, sex with minors would still be illegal.

But, a judge’s discretion to decide if an adult should register as a sex offender extends to vaginal, oral and anal sex, equalizing the law.

Judges would not be able to have discretion in any case, only ones where the minor is between 14 and 17, and the offender is 10 years older than them or younger.

It also must be the offender’s first offense.

Local State Senator Melissa Melendez has been out spoken about the bill.

State Senator Melendez was not available for comment on the bill this week.

Local assembly candidate Andrew Kotyuk agrees and has issues with the bill as well. 

“I’m sure there’s some cases where this law may fit, where the judge can decide, but I’m not comfortable leaving it in there hands,” said Kotyuk. 

Kotyuk also says the bill “goes easy” on pedophiles, but Senator Wiener says that is not true.

Wiener has also received multiple death threats about his proposed bill.

“It’s a very delusional kind of cult at this point. They identified this bill and said that it’s about protecting pedophiles, which it is not, and this kind of slander is outrageous,” said Wiener. 

Kotyuk says he would be more comfortable with the bill if the judge’s discretion came from an offense with a smaller age gap. 

“Ten is a little crazy for me to think about. If it was 3-5, like if it was a 17 and 18 year, that’s something that I would say let’s work with law enforcement,” said Kotyuk.

The California Coalition against Sexual Assault as well as the California Police Chief’s Association support the bill.

If signed by Gov. Newsom within a month, it will become a law.

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