How Is A Sex Crime Defined In Illinois?
It depends on if you’re talking about a sex crime or you’re talking about an offense where you have to register as a sexual offender. That’s a big concern because there are many crimes that don’t have the word sex in it that still would require you to register as a sex offender. The minimum term for registering as a sex offender is 10 years, and the maximum is life, so that’s not really a pleasant thing. You have, of course, the typical sex offenses, which include criminal sexual abuse, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual assault and predatory criminal sexual assault. All of those require registration as a sex offender.
Those are your typical criminal cases that would be defined as a sex offense as far as registering goes. Some of the other ones that some people are well aware of are travelling to meet a minor, having child porn on your computer, unlawful restraint, soliciting for juvenile prostitution or solicitation of a child. All those you would expect to be sex acts because those are all tied to someone that’s a sexual victim.
What Are The Most Common Type Of Sex Crimes That You Handle?
We see a variety of them, including child pornography and aggravated criminal sexual abuse. With each case, there can be aggravating factors, such as in the case of a juvenile, how old is the defendant and how much younger is the minor because if it’s not a minor, there’s no offense unless it’s a rape, of course, then it doesn’t matter what the age is. The other aggravating factor is if the person didn’t have consent to give, and there are a couple scenarios where that could come into play.
You could have someone that was drugged and therefore unable to give consent; so if you took advantage of someone that was drugged, it’s still a rape. If you were having sex with someone that was 15 or 16 even in Illinois, they are not legally old enough to give consent. So we see this situation quite a bit where, in the Hispanic community people get married very young, and we’ve had some couples that were 17 and 15 and had parental consent; however, the police found out and wound up charging the groom with criminal sexual abuse or aggravated criminal sexual abuse because he was having sex with someone who couldn’t give consent, which is a felony. To aggravate matters further, this person happened to not be a citizen of the US but was from Venezuela.
Regardless, the whole situation was bizarre because his parents were fine with it and the kids were fine with it. They were going to get married, he was already working, and they were going to start a family. According to Illinois statutes, since she was 17 at the time, she couldn’t give consent. So that’s one type of sexual crime we see. Pornography is another charge that comes up frequently. A lot of time it happens tangentially because sometimes police will take a computer, as evidence, in an unrelated case, for which they have a warrant. So if they go in for a drug raid and there are computers, they grab them. Or there might have been a stalking complaint, and they’re taking the computer.
When they perform their investigation, they search the computer’s hard drive, and with the hard drive, most people don’t know how to completely delete something. Just because you hit delete, go back into the trash and delete it again, that’s still not taking it off the hard drive. So there are forensics teams that can easily take every little bit of stuff you’ve ever put on your computer. If you think about all the stuff that your friends might have sent you, some of your more classless friends might have sent you or something you might have gotten on some website you didn’t want to go to, if any of this stuff stays on your computer, you’ve got problems because in this state, child pornography is a class 1, non-probationable offense.
I had a client, whom the police were investigating to see if he had been having sex with an underage girl. He was older, and she was just turning 17 but wasn’t 17 at the time of the investigation. When they were looking for evidence, the police grabbed his computer, and they found naked pictures that she had sent to him of herself when she was 15. Just having that on the computer could subject him to mandatory prison, four to 15 years, and lifetime registration as a sex offender. That’s not how this case will end, though. It’s a harsh sentence, especially considering the fact that the other person was consenting. But that’s just what the statute says. So you have to look at the statute and consider the fact that it’s a very harsh penalty for something that a lot of people could get sucked into unknowingly.
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