Teenagers convicted of having an under-aged consensual sexual relationship will no longer risk being placed on the state’s sex offender registry. Governor Rick Snyder has signed a law reforming Michigan’s sex offender registry.
People convicted of serious sex crimes will still be on the state’s Tier One registry and will have to report their whereabouts at least four times a year. But people convicted of less-serious crimes will not have to register. And many people convicted as teens will be able to ask a judge to remove them from the registry.
Michigan State Police Sergeant Christopher Hawkins says:
“The sex offender registry was really designed to notify the public of dangerous offenders and sex predators who live in their neighborhoods. When you have offenders who are, say, a 17-year-old who had a consensual sexual contact or a consensual sexual act with their 15-year-old boyfriend or girlfriend – that’s not really a dangerous offender who the public needs to be aware of.”
Michigan has one of the biggest sex offender registries in the country. About one out of every 200 people in Michigan is a registered sex offender.
There have been complaints since it was enacted in 1995 that the law is too harsh on some young offenders. But it took the threat of losing federal victim compensation funds to force a change in the law.