SPRINGFIELD, Ill. (CBS) – State lawmakers have rejected a bill that would have given teenagers who had consensual sex a means of getting off the sex offender registry.
As WBBM Newsradio 780’s Dave Dahl reports, with the proposed “Romeo and Juliet law” rejected, it remains a serious crime to have sex with someone under 17 in Illinois – even if you’re only 18, or also under 17.
LISTEN: Newsradio 780′s Dave Dahl reports
The bill was proposed by state Rep. Robert Pritchard (R-Ill.) Under the bill, registered sex offenders could have petitioned to have their names and mugshots removed from the state registry, if they had consensual sex with a partner who was at least 14 and no more than four years younger than they, the St. Louis Post-Dispatch explained.
CBS affiliate KFVS-TV, Cape Girardeau, Mo., said current law can have devastating consequences for some people. Shane Sandborg of East Moline was 17 when he got his 16-year-old fiancée pregnant, and was charged with criminal sexual abuse for it, KFVS reported.
Sandborg is now married to the same woman, but he is also on the sex offender registry. He told KFVS that he was dishonorably discharged from the Illinois National Guard for the offense, and now, even though he is the father of two children, he cannot go to a park or to Chuck E. Cheese.
State representatives Dennis Reboletti (R-Elmhurst) and Annazette Collins (D-Chicago) debated the bill Thursday.
“I think what the General Assembly needs to is determine, what should the age of consent be for sexual relations in the State of Illinois?” Reboletti said. “Should we reduce it to 16 years, 15 years?”
Countered Collins: “We know that our kids are having sex – consensual sex – everyone in here is having sex. But nobody wants to talk about sex.”
The bill failed in the House by a vote of 36-73, the Post-Dispatch reported.