A San Jose lawmaker under pressure from juvenile justice advocates has agreed to ease a measure meant to toughen penalties for youths who sexually assault unconscious victims.
Sen. Jim Beall on Tuesday will move to eliminate from the legislation termed Audrie's Law the requirement that some juvenile sex offenders serve at least two years in a juvenile detention facility.
Instead, the bill will require that youths who commit any sex crime complete a sexual offender treatment program that juvenile court judges will have broad discretion to tailor to each offender based on the seriousness of the offense and the victim's vulnerability.
Beall made the change in an effort to gain enough votes to get the bill out of committee, a spokesman said.
The Assembly Public Safety Committee is to consider the amended bill at a hearing Tuesday in Sacramento -- one week after a vote on the proposal was rescheduled because of opposition to the mandatory minimum sentencing.
Senate Bill838 is named for 15-year-old Saratoga High School student Audrie Pott, who killed herself in 2012 after being sexually assaulted by three classmates who photographed her half-naked body during the attack and shared the images.
Supporters of the legislation say it's needed because Audrie's attackers got light punishments of 30 to 45 days served on weekends at county detention centers. It's impossible for the public to know the reasoning behind such sentences because juvenile court records are sealed.
Beall's bill also would require that court cases involving juveniles who sexually assault unconscious victims be open to the public, and it would allow prosecutors to seek to enhance the sentences of assailants who take and share photos of sexual assaults.
Audrie's parents had strongly supported the required two-year sentence. They could not immediately be reached for comment on the amendments.