Michigan To Stop Listing “Romeo and Juliet” Sex Offender Cases


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.

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