Man who had sex with wife when he was 19 and she was 17 hopes to ditch sex offender label

Lonny Leon Rivera had "consensual, voluntary relations" with then-girlfriend in 1989.

By Evan Bleier
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A man who was sentenced to a lifetime of registering as a sex offender in the state of California after he had consensual relations with his wife in 1989 when he was 19 and she was 17 is asking the state court to remove the restrictive requirement.

Twenty-four years ago, Lonny Leon Rivera was busted for having "consensual, voluntary relations" with his then-girlfriend. He pleaded guilty to a single count of oral copulation with a minor and was labeled as a sex offender for life.


Rivera and his girlfriend stayed together and are now married.

In 2012, California Attorney General Kamala Harris filed a criminal complaint for failure to register as a sex offender against Rivera and he was arraigned in October.

In his filing, Rivera claims that the state's demand is unconstitutional.

"Rivera's inclusion in the sex offender registry under the mandatory provisions of the California Sex Offender Registration Act violates his right to equal protection of the laws, as guaranteed by the Fourteenth Amendment of the U.S. Constitution and Article I, Section 7 of the California Constitution," the petition reads.

He is requesting that the court vacate the original registration order and direct the California Department of Justice to remove him from the sex offender database.


"Rivera poses no danger of sexual reoffense. He has lived in the community for more than 25 years since the conviction and has not sexually reoffended. Rivera has not been arrested, charged or convicted of any sexual offense over the past 20 years,” according to the petition.

"Not only has Rivera not committed any offenses, he has also remained with the 17-year-old girl involved in the underlying offense. They have been married and together for more than 25 years. Neither his original conviction nor subsequent criminal history (or lack thereof) could support an order requiring him to register as a sex offender."

[Courthouse News]

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