Consensual but illegal sex between Michigan teen lovers sometimes has led to 25 years of public stigma for the older partner. That will end July 1 for new offenders, says the Detroit Free Press. Under a law signed by Gov. Rick Snyder, no longer will so-called Romeo and Juliet offenders be listed on the registry if they’re convicted of having sex with 13-, 14- or 15-year-olds, as long as offenders aren’t more than four years older.
The registry has been criticized for branding trysting teens by putting their names on a list that does not distinguish between them and dangerous sexual predators. Those Romeos — and some Juliets — already on the registry can petition courts to expunge their names. “This is a monumental change” that will correct an injustice, said state Sen. Rick Jones, who sponsored the new law. “It’s destroying someone’s life, where you have a boyfriend and girlfriend in a consensual act. It’s not appropriate.” The new law, does not change Michigan’s age of consent — 16. Another new law requires the most serious sex offenders to register home addresses every three months for the rest of their lives, instead of 25 years.