(NASHVILLE, TN), May 21, 2011 — Tennessee will add juveniles convicted of the most violent sexual offenses to the state sex offender registry under legislation unanimously approved by the full Senate today. The bill is sponsored by Senator Brian Kelsey (R-Germantown).
“We must protect our children from all sexual offenders, even juveniles if they have committed violent acts,” said Senator Kelsey. “This legislation places the most violent offenders on the registry, so law enforcement officers can monitor those who would prey on our youth.”
Senate Bill 869 applies to offenders between ages 14 and 18 who have been convicted of rape, rape of a child, aggravated rape of a child, aggravated sexual battery, or attempt of any of those four offenses.
Unlike the public sex offender registry for adults, the juvenile sex offender registry will be available only to law enforcement officers. A court may order whether a juvenile offender must abide by the residency limitations of the adult sex offender registry. First-time offenders who are not convicted of a subsequent offense may apply for removal from the registry once they reach the age of 25. Juveniles who are convicted of a second violent offense, however, will be placed on the public sex offender registry once they turn 18 and will remain on the list for life.
The companion bill, sponsored by Rep. Debra Maggart (R-Hendersonville), passed the the House of Representatives Wednesday. The bill returns today to the House, which is expected to agree with a technical amendment and send the bill to Governor Bill Haslam for his signature next week.