State Rejects Bill To Help Some Teens On Sex Offender List

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.

  • Vicky

    This should have passed.

  • Rob131

    I don’t condone teens having sex, but I think it is a bad decision to criminalize such behavior. teens need guidance not jail time when they have consentual sex.

  • dan

    I was 18 and my girl friend was 16 and it seemed right back in the day. Should have a tiered law that addresses this. Is it so wrong that a senior in HS (who could be 18) isn’t allowed to date (and possibly be intimate) with a sophmore (who could be 15 or 16)? May be a better way to adjust the law so it makes sense and still protects young kids from being victimized (like the 11 yr old that got attacked at a sleepover in the news yesterday) by older teens

  • Charles Ian Ezaki

    so if you are under 17 you can be arrested for having sex, then they should go to every high school in the state, and arrest every kid who has had sex under the age of 17for criminal sexual abuse.

  • I'DHit It

    Our lawmakers are pathetic. It’s not abuse when it is concentual, it’s sex. Our country needs to see the light and lower the age of consent to 16. Years ago this would be too young, but in this day and age, a 16 year old is fully capable of deciding who they want to have sex with.

  • mike

    This law is,of course totally ridiculous. Neo-Puritanism at it’s lowest ebb. I’m sure a few of those idiot lawmakers teen-aged kids have broken that law a lot,but they’re connected so they won’t get in any trouble. It’s the avaerage kid who’s oppressed by this unrealistic and puritanical bit of sniveling machinations.
    Can you say “nanny state”?

  • Clint Eastwood

    Poor Shane Sandborg, he really got a bum deal. He should find a good lawyer and sue the state, because if he was 17 at the time he was techically a minor.

    Why is it, if a 15 or 16 year old commits a crime they can try him as an adult? If you have sex with a 15 or 16 year old they’re viewed as “children” in the eyes of the law??

    The law has it both ways and it’s not fair to people like Shane to be branded a child sex offender when he is clearly not.

    • I'DHit It

      Exactly my point Clint. The age of consent should be lowered to 16.

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