December 26, 2016

Proposed bill could decrease punishment for 18-year-old sex offenders in Montana

12-26-2016 Montana:

BILLINGS - A proposed Montana bill that is set for a hearing next week would decrease the punishment for an 18-year-old convicted of having sex with a minor, if no force was used.

Senate Bill 26, which is sponsored by MT State Sen. Sue Malek (D-Missoula), would amend Montana law regarding the crime of sexual intercourse without consent.

The age of consent in Montana is 16, meaning a minor under that age can not legally consent to sex even if the minor has sex with another person willingly.

Any adult who has sex with a minor under the age of consent can be sentenced to prison and required to register as a sex offender.

Sex offenders are ranked on a tier system, where 1 is the lowest risk to re-offend and 3 is the highest risk.

All sex offenders are required by law to register an address and phone number with the state and give notice when that information changes.

SB 26 would not make it legal for an 18-year-old to have sexual contact with a person under the age of consent.

But if it was determined that no force was used and the offender is not a risk to the public, an 18-year-old offender could be exempted from registering as a sex offender, according to SB 26.

"[This applies if] the court finds that the alleged conduct was consensual as indicated by words or overt actions indicating a freely given agreement to have sexual intercourse or sexual contact,” the bill reads.

The bill would also cap the maximum penalty at five years imprisonment for such an offender.

The bill states that the offender must be 18 or younger and the victim must be 14 or older at the time of the offense for these proposed changes to apply.

The hearing is set for January 5. ..Source.. by Aja Goare

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