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Romeo and Juliet Law

August 6th, 2009 by flanews

Since 2007, 121 Floridians have had their names removed from the states list of sex offenders after the passage of a Romeo and Juliet law. The statute forgives sex between consenting teenagers. As Mike Vasilinda tells us, the law sets strict age limits and it did not apply to one couple that just got their life back after a 15-year nightmare.

Virgil and Missy McCranies families were close. She was 12; he was 16 when they met. The two were just friends until he had a few drinks on his 19th birthday.
What happened next got him labeled a sex offender, which has made keeping the job somewhat of a nightmare.

One instance I was managing a place, and it was sort of family oriented. And he said well you know, a lot of people find out I have someone like that working here, they dont want to bring their families, said Virgil.

The couple has been together for a dozen years, but marriage ten years ago didnt make his status as a sex offender go away.

He could not go into the class room. He couldnt go on field trips, said Missy.

Florida adopted a Romeo and Juliet law in 2007, but Virgil was too old for it to apply. The states Romeo and Juliet law leaves out hundreds, if not thousands of offenders simply because it only applies to kids who are between 14 and 17. Frustrated, the couple appealed to the Governor and Cabinet.

You know, Im not a monster. I dont belong on this list. I never have, said Virgil.

After waiting almost two moths, a letter arrived.

We can go places. We dont have to be ashamed anymore, said Missy.

Unexpected, The pardon was a burden lifted from their shoulders,

I mean I made a mistake but its a mistake that if I had to do over again- if it meant losing her- and Id probably do the 15 years over again, said Virgil.

Their story is proof that true love can prevail no matter how young or how difficult the circumstances.

Posted in Charlie Crist, Criminal Justice, State News | 1 Comment »

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