The crime of sexual misconduct can take many different forms. The laws governing sexual assault and sexual abuse can be found under Section 12 of the state penal code. When it comes to terminology, the state of Illinois does not use the term ‘rape’ when it refers to sex crimes, but instead uses the term ‘criminal sexual assault.’ The purpose behind this change in terminology was to remove the stigma associated with the word and encourage more victims to pursue the matter to trial.
It is unlawful to commit any sex act against or fondle another person by force or when the other person is unable to give consent. For the victim, there is no other crime that carries with it such a stigma. Becoming a victim can change your life in many ways; you can lose friends, your job, and the psychological impact could also cause you to lose the support of your family as well. And for the defendant, being found guilty of any type of sex crime can carry with it penalties that could last the remainder of their life. It is therefore extremely important that everyone knows and understands the laws covering this extremely pervasive crime.
Illinois Laws And Penalties
In the state of Illinois: it is considered criminal to forcibly commit any sex act against another person or at a time when the other person is unable to consent. There are many different types of sexual assault with varying degrees of severity.
- Criminal Sexual Assault: When a person commits the crime of sexual assault by penetrating another by force or threat of force, when the victim is unable to consent or understand the act, when the victim is under the age of 18 and related to the defendant, or when the victim is under the age of 18 but over the age of 13 and the defendant is over age 17 and in a position of trust or supervision.
- Marital Rape: Sexual assault between spouses is no different from criminal sexual assault in the state of Illinois.
- Criminal Sexual Abuse: When a person uses sexual touching (short of penetration) by force or threat of force, or when they know that the victim is unable to consent or understand the act. It is also considered criminal sexual abuse when the victim is over the age of nine but under the age of 17 and the defendant is under the age of 17, or when the victim is over the age of 13 but under the age of 17 and the defendant is at least 5 years older.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault and Sexual Abuse
This crime is usually punished more severely if the defendant uses, threatens, displays, or is armed with a weapon; causes bodily harm, endangers the victim’s life, gives the victim a controlled substance, if the crime is committed with another felony, or the victim is over 60, physically handicapped, or severely mentally disabled.
Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault: When the defendant is over the age of 17 and the victim is 12 or younger.
Illinois Sex Crime Penalties
Regardless of the charges imposed or the age of the defendant, once a person is found guilty of a sex crime they are required to be registered as a convicted sex offender with the local law enforcement agencies. Sex offender registration can prevent a person from obtaining a job or even living in a particular area. Other sex crime penalties include:
- Criminal sexual assault is considered a Class 1 felony charge and is punishable by 4 to 30 years imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.00. Second time offenders may be sentenced to life behind bars.
- Sexual abuse is considered a Class 4 felony and is punishable by 1 to 6 years in prison and a fine of up to $25,000.00 with repeat offenders punished more severely.
- Aggravated criminal sexual assault is punishable by 6 to 60 years (or life) imprisonment and a fine of up to $25,000.00.
- Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony punishable by 3 – 14 years in prison with a fine of up to $25,000.00.
Statute Of Limitations on Illinois
Because of so many different variations of sex crimes and the age of the victim it can be difficult to list all of the different statutes of limitations involved. However, in most cases of criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault or aggravated criminal sexual abuse the statute of limitations is within 10 years of the commission of the offense if the victim reported the offense within 3 years after its commission.
In cases where the victim is under the age of 18, or they failed to report the offense under the Abused and Neglected Child Reporting Act the limit is within 20 years after the victim turns 18.
Misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse with a child under the age of 18 is within 10 years after the victim turns 18.
Key Illinois Sex Crime Cases
- A Physical Education teacher gets 10 years – on the Illinois sex offender registry after being caught having sex with a student.
- A jailed sex offender was charged in the rape and murder – of a 3 year old whose body was found in a Will County creek in 2004.
- An alcohol and drug counselor was charged – with four counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse. If convicted, he faces a possible prison sentence of 3 to 7 years.
- McHenry sex case trial begins – alleged victim says incidents occurred from 1999 to 2003.