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Fact Check: No, California has not passed a bill that decriminalizes paedophilia

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The claim that California has passed a bill that decriminalizes Paedophilia is completely false. 

Recently, many claims about California Senate Bill 145 and the ability of courts to keep children safe from sexual predators are doing rounds on Facebook and Instagram. 

A Canadian Facebook user named David Knight wrote regarding this bill, "Where is the OUTRAGE...!!! California took another step towards legalizing pedophilia. This measure allows adults to have sex with children ten years younger without the requirement to register as a sex offender. That is right - 18-year-olds convicted of having sex with an 8-year-old, 23-year-olds convicted of having sex with a 13-year-old..... These people are no longer required to register as sex offenders. Without concern for innocent victims, see the list that thinks pedophiles deserve a second chance. "

Some other Facebook users from the US have also stated the same.

An image was shared on Instagram purportedly showing the image of the senator who introduced CA SB145 saying, "CALIFORNIA IS A DEMONIC STATE WHICH HOUSES PEDOWOOD. Can’t you see how they are making the age of a pedophile get lower and lower? If people ages 14-27 can get away with having sex with minors, why would they want to stop as they get older?men are garbage, pedophiles say that once you try your first minor, all you want to do after that is go younger and younger. It’s fucking sick. They treat rape like it’s a gift from heaven. As long as hollywood and the DNC continue to influence california, your children will never be safe."

Fact Check

Contrary to the viral claim, the bill does not decriminalize statutory rape; it is intended to end what the bill's backers say is discrimination against LGBTQ youth in a law governing the state's sex offender registry.

State Senator Scott Weiner introduced California's Senate Bill 145 and it was passed in the Senate on August 31. It only applies to minors aged 14 to 17.

In a Facebook live on August 13, Weiner stated "There has been some talk about 10-year-olds and eight-year-olds -- that's absolutely false. This bill has no application to anyone under the age of 14." 

The bill mainly focuses on whether a person ends up on the sex offender registry as it is a life-long sentence that can impact employment and housing opportunities.

In a press release from bill co-sponsor Equality California, it was explained "SB 145 does not legalize any kind of sex with a minor and does not change the potential sentence for having sex with an underage person."

Under current California law, if a minor between ages 14 and 17 has vaginal intercourse with an older partner within 10 years of his or her age, the case can be prosecuted as statutory rape. But a judge can decide, based on the merits of the case, whether the adult should be required to register as a sex offender. This is not the case for oral or anal sex, for which the law requires mandatory registration.

The bill was supported by the California Police Chiefs Association, California District Attorneys Association, and the California Coalition Against Sexual Assault. However, the bill has not yet been signed into law by California Governor Gavin Newsom.

In conclusion, the claim that California has passed a bill that decriminalizes Paedophilia is completely false. 

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