New bill could help ease laws surrounding statutory rape

It's a tale that is classic: Romeo and Juliet. The story tells of two star-crossed lovers who can't be together despite their love. There is some truth in the story, and people go through similar situations all the time. Sometimes, the story of Romeo and Juliet breaks laws, though.

Romeo and Juliet offenders are those who break laws regarding sexual activity and age. For example, someone who is 18 who has sex with a 15-year-old minor could face serious penalties, even if the minor consents. That's changing in Wisconsin.

In the past, those who violated the law, even though they were teens, would end up on the sex offender registry. This was the case even if the sexual activity was wanted and consensual. Lawmakers are now proposing a Romeo and Juliet exemption, which would keep people between the ages of 15 and 18 off the sex offender registry in some instances.

The bill that has been proposed would still make underage sexual activity a criminal act, but it would be notated on the person's criminal record, so potential employers or others could make judgments based on what actually occurred. The offense would no longer be a felony and instead would be treated as a misdemeanor, too. In the case of violence, the judge could decide to upgrade the case and pursue it like any other sexual assault or rape case.

Teens make mistakes. Changes in these laws could help prevent a mistake from ruining a minor's or young adult's life. Your attorney has more information about how this law could change your or your child's case.

Source: Fox 6 Now, "“Romeo and Juliet” offenders wouldn’t be listed on Wisconsin’s sex offender registry under legislation," Theo Keith, May 07, 2017

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