Working to transform the child welfare system.

SB5123 will reform juvenile sex offender registration policy to increase community safety and prevent sex offenses committed by youth. SB5123 will implement policy to promote successful rehabilitation of youth adjudicated of sex offenses, the most successful way to reduce recidivism. 

“Adult” is now defined as a person who is 18 years of age or older or who is convicted of an offense in adult court, and the term “juvenile” is omitted. The registration criteria do not apply to offenses committed when a person is under 18 years old unless the person is convicted of an offense in adult court.

An adult sex or kidnapping offender must meet all appropriate registration requirements, regardless of where they are held in custody. A sex offense committed under the age of 18 no longer precludes the offender from registration requirements. 

Juvenile records shall be sealed to protect juvenile offenders; however, social files may be available to any juvenile justice or care agency when a juvenile offender is within their purview. 

SB5123 requires that the legal obligation to register as a sex offender is extinguished for any person based on an offense committed under the age of 18, unless the registration offense is a conviction that is in the exclusive jurisdiction of adult court. This begins by August 1, 2021, and will apply retroactively. 

Additionally, among other provisions, an offender charged with an offense that occurred before the offender reached 18 years old can be known and charged as a minor and may receive a lesser sentence.

Juvenile sentencing standards, suspended disposition alternatives, chemical dependency and mental health disposition alternatives, and a disposition outside of standard range are outlined. Based on these classifications, the court shall decide whether the offender and the community will benefit from use of a special sex offender disposition alternative such as a treatment disposition. If this is the case, the court shall now defer to the disposition and place the offender on community supervision for at least two years.

The court will schedule a dismissal hearing at the conclusion of supervision and dismiss charges accordingly. However, if an offender violates the deferred disposition, the court has the right to revoke disposition and impose penalty.

Substitute Bill: