Back when Shane Sandborg was just 17, he entered a relationship with 16-year-old Kristina. Like many teens, they began a sexual relationship, but unlike many teens, they eventually married and went on to have three children. They were engaged at the young age of 17, when police investigated a burglary near their Illinois home and discovered the relationship between the two. Sandborg was technically breaking the law by engaging in sexual activity with an underage minor and was placed on the sex offender registry.
Today, ten years later, he is still on the sex registry list — even though Kristina was just fourteen months younger than he when the sexual relationship began and the relationship was consensual, and even though he and Kristina married, creating a sustained, loving family together.
Because of Sandborg’s labeling as a sex offender, he cannot attend school functions or go to birthday parties with his own children. As a family, they cannot participate in many of the normal family activities that involve children. Kristina is tired of having to do family activities solo.
Illinois is looking at a proposed bill that might change the family’s fate and take away the negative stigma associated with being on the sex offender registry. Named the “Romeo and Juliet Law”, it would “allow young adults convicted of consensual sex with a minor to petition a judge to be removed from the registry.
Twelve states already have this law and Illinois officials say it would help over 700 people to lead normal lives.
The Chicago Sun-Times says the law has proper restrictions:
The bill is narrowly drawn, with numerous protections. It wouldn’t apply to anyone who used force or whose victim was impaired in some way. The age difference could be no more than four years. Criminal records wouldn’t be expunged. Prosecutors would have an opportunity to argue against leniency. And in all cases, a judge would have the final say.
Passed by the House Judiciary II committee last week, by a vote of 4-3, it will now go before the full House.
Sandborg’s story borders on insane. Placing a 17-year-old boy on a sex offender registry with pedophiles that sexually abuse, exploit, and traumatize little children is of no benefit to anyone, surely not Sandborg, his wife, or their three children. I wonder how many other teen boys could be placed on the sex offender registry for the very same reason. And how many currently are?
It also lessens the severity of being placed on the national list of a boy can be on t for having sex with his girlfriend. The registry should be regulated for genuine pedophiles that cause harm, not consensual sex between teens in “love”.
What do you think? Do you support this law? Do you think it gives too much leeway to sex offenders? Do you even consider Shane Sandborg a sex offender?