Even kids under the age of 10 have been registered, says Cheryl Carpenter, a criminal-defense attorney in Michigan. She knows a 9-year-old boy who went on a private juvenile registry for playing doctor with a 6-year-old girl. The boy’s name can now be removed from the registry, thanks to new state legislation spurred by activists. A similar case is currently unfolding in Wisconsin courts, where a 6-year-old boy is accused of sexually assaulting a 5-year-old girl; the children reportedly said they were playing doctor.
Carpenter, who has managed to free 11 teenagers (all convicted of sexual offenses involving minors) from the registry, now serves on a professional advisory board for the Coalition for a Useful Registry, a grassroots group launched by two Michigan mothers. She estimates that the group includes 150 mothers of sons on the registry for teenage sex. Some of the boys, she says, can now petition for removal from the registry under the state’s new legislation.
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