Sex crimes in Illinois are extremely serious offenses that are aggressively investigated and prosecuted by the state. This is particularly true when the alleged victims of sex crimes are under the age of consent, which is 17 years old in Illinois. Under Illinois law, sexual acts with people under 17 years old are illegal, regardless of consent. A conviction for a sex crime in Illinois can have serious consequences, including mandatory registration as a sex offender with the state and significant jail time. The state sex offender registry is a public database that is easily accessible to anyone with an internet connection, meaning that your friends, family, potential employers, or people you have just met could potentially obtain information about your sex offender status and your underlying offense.
Because of these potentially serious legal and social consequences, it is extremely important for anyone facing sex abuse allegations to mount the strongest legal defense possible. The assistance of an attorney early in the process can be invaluable in ensuring that your rights are protected and that every potential legal defense is explored and utilized.
Statutory Rape in Illinois
“Statutory rape” is a broad category of offenses that refers to sexual acts with a person who is under the age of consent, which is determined by statute. Some of the specific offenses in Illinois that fall within this category include the following:
- Criminal Sexual Abuse – Sexual conduct or penetration with a person who is at least 9 years of age but under 17 by a person who is under 17 years old, or sexual conduct or penetration with a person who is at least 13 but under 17 by someone who is less than 5 years older than the victim.
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse – Sexual conduct with someone under 13 by a person who is 17 or over, sexual conduct with someone who is under 9 by a person who is under 17, or sexual conduct or penetration with a person between 13 and 17 by a person at least 5 years older than the victim.
- Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault – Sexual penetration of a person under 9 years of age by a person under 17.
- Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child – Sexual penetration of a person under 13 by a person 17 years old or older.
Importantly, Illinois law does not distinguish between consensual sexual acts between two minors and criminal sexual abuse. This results in a situation in which two high-school students who are engaged in a consensual relationship could potentially report one another for criminal sexual abuse. In order to remedy this situation, the Illinois legislature considered a “Romeo and Juliet” law in 2010, which would have permitted sexual conduct between people over 14, so long as one of them was not more than 4 years older than the other. The measure ultimately failed, but many other states have similar laws in place to prevent young people engaged in non-violent and consensual sexual relationships from being prosecuted for serious sex crimes.
Contact a Chicago Criminal Defense Lawyer Today to Schedule a Free Consultation
If you are facing a sex crime case or any other type of criminal matter in Illinois, you should discuss your situation with a criminal defense attorney immediately. To schedule a free consultation with a lawyer, call Goldman & Associates today at (773) 484-3131 or (847) 215-2600.