Bill passes that provides protection to people who have sex with minors, keeps them off sex offender registry

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This editorial is brought to you by a staff writer for Law Enforcement Today.

SACRAMENTO – There’s a lot of buzz over a bill that passed which some argue protects sex offenders.  Here’s everything you  need to know about it.

California state senator Scott Weiner authored bill SB 145, passed this Monday, August 31st, 2020. The bill has more than a few people concerned because of the protection it provides to pedophiles.

According to the San Francisco Chronicle, Weiner’s bill “would change how the sex offender registry treats gay relationships between young adults and minors.” 

In the context of the bill, this would mean sexual relationships between boys as young as 8 years old and 18 year old young men. Another way to put that is statutory rape. 

SB 145 amends sections 290 and 290.006 of the California penal code.

Under those sections, if an offender is no more than ten years older than a minor victim and commits “certain acts” against the victim, they must register with the state as a sex offender.

State senator Weiner, who is openly gay, views this language of the Sex Offender Registration Act discriminatory against members of the LGBTQ community.

This is because the “certain acts” are more likely to be committed by homosexual offenders, and acts not covered are unique to heterosexual assaults involving a male offender and female victim of statutory rape.

To remedy this, Wiener’s bill states that without limitation, if the age of a minor victim and the offender are no more than ten years apart, the offender does not have to register as a sexual offender, provided it is a first (known) offense and other criteria does not apply, for instance, force or violence was not used.

This removes what Weiner perceives to be a discriminatory additional penalty of homosexual offenses. 

An alternative remedy suggested by attorney Samuel Dordulian, would be to remove the “certain acts” criteria from the existing law.

That would remove the perception of LGBTQ-related discrimination by treating heterosexual and homosexual child rape equally. It would do this without reducing the number of known sex offenders in the sexual offender registry, unlike SB 145.

The effect of this is that all offenses committed against minor children would require mandatory registration in the state sex offender system.

However, SB 145 has passed as of yesterday. Unless vetoed by Governor Newsom, it will become law on January 1, 2021.

A companion bill written by Weiner, SB 384, also passed recently, to take effect on the same date as SB 145. That bill allows sex offenders convicted of offenses against minors to petition for removal from the sex offender registry after ten years.

Dordulian points out a particularly insidious characteristic of SB 384.

“SB 384 does not mandate lifetime registration for lewd and lascivious conduct with a child under 14 years of age. Yet, inexplicably, such conduct with a child over 14 somehow does require automatic lifetime registration. It’s an illogical aspect of the bill that has somehow managed to fly under the radar. “

However one chooses to interpret Weiner’s intentions, the net result of both of these bills is to reduce penalties against the worst of all sexual offenders; pedophiles who assault minors, particularly those under the age of 14.

If Newsom signs bill SB 145, a 19 year-old who rapes a 9 year old will not have to register as a sex offender.

That fact makes a mockery of the sex offenders registry. Surely, if it is designed to protect anyone, it is the most defenseless among us? 

According to Weiner, his agenda is simply the protection and support of California’s LGBTQ community. However, discussion of his bill inevitably describes such things as “relationships” (of a sexual nature) and “consensual” or “voluntary” sex between a legal adult and a minor.

Hello? Minors cannot consent! That is what “statutory rape” is.

These two bills appear to be an attempt at incrementally removing legal obstacles to sex with minors, and they are written by and for the LGBTQ community. Trying to romanticize the crime of statutory rape, and then to remove the social stigma that rightfully should attach to this class of offender, is odious.

Thanks to state senator Weiner, expect to see more of these “relationships” claimed by offenders who have abused children.

To be clear, Wiener is the same senator who wants to make sure that men sentenced to prison get to pick whether they want to be in a men’s or women’s prison.

Biological men who have been sentenced to prison may soon have the ability to identify as a woman and be placed in a women’s prison. 

California Democratic State Senators Scott Wiener, Cathleen Galgiani, and Assembly member Mark Stone sponsored SB-132, which basically allows for biological men to inform prisoner workers of the preferred gender. 

By doing so, it allows the person to be assigned to a prison population of their choice, either men’s or women’s.

The bill requires the State Department of Corrections to ask incoming prisoners during the intake process, in a private setting, what their biological gender is as well as which one they identify with at placement. 

If the person refuses to answer, for any reason, no disciplinary action can be taken against them. 

The bill does not advise what will happen if an inmate refuses to answer any of the questions, like, will the guards have to guess which gender the person identifies with … and what happens if that guess is wrong?

Jonatan Keller, the California Family Council President shares this concern.  He said:

“The legislature should not victimize prisoners, especially biological women, by requiring them to allow members of the opposite sex into facilities that are currently female-only or male-only.  This bill is a recipe for complete chaos in our state’s correctional facilities.” 

This bill also orders all prison staff to refer to the person as their preferred gender identity. 

This means if the person is a biological male, but identifies as female, the staff must call them female pronouns or face some type of discipline. 

In addition, if the person, in this case a biological male, but say they identify as a female, can decide the sex of the officer who will be searching them.  The law says:

“A search of that person according to the search policy for their gender identity or according to the gender designation of the facility where they are housed, based on the individual’s search preference.”

There are many people who would argue that this bill could lead to more danger, especially in the women’s prison setting.  A reason for this is any biological man can simply tell the prison intake staff that he wants to be seen as a woman and entered into that population. 

If that person does not really feel that way, and say, he was arrested for rape, how does the state justify placing women inmates at risk? 

If there is some type of plan for that type of event, that would ensure the safety of the women at the facility, the state has not shared it.

Proponents of the bill, mainly from the LGBTQ community, say that the change is long overdue, mainly because transgender people face a greater risk in an all-male population. 

The San Francisco Chronicle interviewed some men who currently identify as women who have experienced this firsthand.

Jasmine Jones, a transgender woman, spent 17 years locked up in the state prison system. 

Jones alleges as a result, she was the victim of sexual battery and several assaults because of her gender identity. 

Jones also alleges that corrections officials would subject her to embarrassing strip searches which would leave her exposed in a public setting.

Jones said:

“They [prison officials] weren’t going to protect me.  I knew that for a fact.  The only person that was going to protect me was myself.”

Wiener uses this example as to one of the reasons why he co-sponsored the bill.  He said:

“Transwomen, in particular, are at such extreme risk of brutalization in men’s facilities.  We need to treat them with the basic respect and dignity that they deserve.” 

 

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