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Child exploitation arrest prompts questions about Tennessee sex offender registry

Statutory rape can be an exception to sex offender registry
Posted at 4:42 PM, Feb 04, 2020
and last updated 2020-02-04 20:32:36-05

NASHVILLE, Tenn. (WTVF) — Not all sexual offenses can automatically land a defendant on the sex offender registry in Tennessee.

The state has a long list of convictions that warrant registering including sexual battery, aggravated rape and indecent exposure with three or more convictions. However, state laws can give the judge discretion to decide depending on certain charges such as statutory rape.

Clinton Gransden is one of two suspects in Maury County charged with sexual exploitation of a minor. They are accused of taking images of their criminal actions to multiple children and distributing them electronically. Officials are now asking if anyone has information on other potential victims to come forward.

Police search for possible victims in online child sexual exploitation ring

Child sexual exploitation suspect faced prior rape charge

Gransden was initially indicted for criminal responsibility of statutory rape but pleaded guilty to the lesser charge of facilitation of statutory rape. The Class A misdemeanor charge sentenced Gransden to nearly two years in county jail.

Some residents in Maury County questioned why Gransden was not on the sex offender registry. Defense attorney David Raybin said there is a reason for that.

"Statutory rape is one of the few sexual offenses where the judge has a discretion to put the person on the registry or not," Raybin told NewsChannel 5.

Whether someone is facilitating or not, Raybin said it all relies on the specific charge. Statutory rape is different because the law usually considers it was consensual.

If the statutory rape is not aggravated, that means the age difference between the victim and defendant is not more than four years. Raybin said that may not justify having the defendant on the sex offender registry for a decade or longer.

If the person was involved in an aggravated statutory rape case, the defendant is more than 10 years older than the victim. The judge has no discretion and the suspect would have to be registered.

In Tennessee, there are 13,000 active registered sex offenders. To learn more about the law, click on this link.