California Court Overturns Sex Offender Registration for Oral Sex with a Minor

By Terry Vanderheyden

SAN FRANCISCO, March 7, 2006 ( – The California Supreme Court has overturned a law requiring that an adult who engages in oral sex with a minor be tagged for life as a sex offender.

The court handed down the 6-1 decision, arguing that for a 60 year-old to sexually abuse a 16 year-old is not serious enough an offense to warrant registration as a sex offender.

The sex offences registry law, promulgated in 1947, “violates the equal protection clauses of the federal and state constitutions,” said Justice Joyce Kennard for the majority, according to the AP.

Because the age of consent for consensual sex in California is 18, adults who have sexual intercourse with a minor age 16-17 had not been subject to sex offender registration. Sexual intercourse of any form with a child under the age of 16 would still require mandatory registration as a sex offender.

A lawsuit challenging the law was forwarded by 22-year-old Vincent Peter Hofsheier, convicted in 2003 for oral sex with a minor girl, aged 16, he met in an internet chat room. As reported by the L.A. Times, after getting the girl and a friend drunk, he told the teenager, “You owe me something,” as related by Justice Marvin R. Baxter, the only dissenting justice in the decision.

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