Are you unsure of how to respond after you or a loved one has become the victim of sexual assault or child sexual abuse? You may be struggling with concerns like:
- What legal options does our family have?
- How can enablers of sexual abuse be held accountable?
- What are the benefits of filing a lawsuit?
Our Illinois sexual assault victims' lawyers can help you stand up for your legal rights.
Civil sexual abuse lawsuits help survivors in ways that the criminal justice system can't.
"Thank you." They knew how to help us through a dark time.
Are you wondering how Illinois criminal sexual assault statutes might handle the prosecution of the person who assaulted you or a loved one? Some survivors of these crimes find comfort in seeing the person responsible put behind bars. We've summarized the Illinois sexual assault laws below as a reference point for victims who are wondering how long their assaulter will be in prison. But you should be aware that these laws regularly change. In order to get an up-to-date idea of how the criminal prosecution may play out, we advise speaking with an experienced Illinois sexual assault victims' lawyer.
Survivors should also be aware that criminal courts only handle one aspect of recovery. They focus on punishing sexual predators, rather than considering the needs of victims. Civil sexual assault lawsuits can provide financial support, along with demanding accountability from any third parties who enabled the crime either through a failure to prevent it, report it properly, or provide adequate response systems for victims.
Our Illinois sexual assault victims' lawyers guide survivors through the civil court system. Founding partner Brian Kent has a background as a prosecutor, so he understands the limitations of the criminal justice system. If you want to gain a better understanding of how both criminal and civil courts can help your family find justice, get in touch with us today for a free consultation.
Illinois Sex Crime Laws
Illinois has 15 separate laws addressing sex crimes. Any sexual activity in which at least one party either refuses or is unable to give consent qualifies as a sex crime. In Illinois, the age of consent is 17 years old.
If you or someone you love has been sexually assaulted or abused, our experienced Illinois sexual assault lawyers can help you learn more about your rights in a free consultation.
Sexual assault laws apply to cases involving sexual penetration or rape. Illinois has two classifications for sexual assaults involving two or more adults:
Criminal Sexual Assault
Criminal sexual assault charges are applied in cases of rape involving one or more of the following:
- Use of force or the threat of force
- Victims who are unable to understand the sexual nature of the contact or unable to give knowing consent
- The offender is a family member and the victim is under 18 years old
- The offender is at least 17 years old, is in a position of authority, trust, or supervision of the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years old but younger than 18.
For first convictions, this crime is a class 1 felony punishable by 4-15 years in prison. Subsequent convictions are classified as class X felonies, punishable by either 6-30, 30-60, or natural life mandatory incarceration – depending on circumstances.
Aggravated Criminal Sexual Assault
Aggravated criminal sexual assault charges apply to cases involving criminal sexual assault plus one or more of the following circumstances:
- Use of a dangerous weapon during the crime
- Bodily harm to victim
- Threatening the life of the victim or someone else
- Commission of another felony during the crime
- Victim is over 60 years old
- Physically handicapped victim
- Offender administered a controlled substance to the victim
- Offender was armed with or discharged a firearm
Additionally, criminal sexual assault occurs when there is sexual penetration plus one of the following three circumstances:
- Victim is under 8 years old and offender is under 17 years old
- Victim is aged 9-12 and force or threat of force was used
- Victim has severe intellectual disabilities
Aggravated sexual assault is a class X felony. First convictions carry a mandatory sentence of 6-60 years with possible extensions of 15, 20, 50, 50-60 years or natural life. Subsequent convictions carry a mandatory natural life sentence.
Sexual abuse charges are applied in cases involving criminal sexual conduct, but no sexual penetration. Like sexual assault, these charges can either be classified as criminal sexual abuse or aggravated criminal sexual abuse.
Criminal Sexual Abuse
Illegal sexual conduct involving one or more of the following circumstances:
- Force or the threat of force
- Victims who are unable to understand what’s going on or unable to give consent
- Victim is 9 through 16 years old and the offender is under 17 years old
- Victim is between ages 13 and 16 and the offender is less than 5 years older
These crimes can either be Class A misdemeanors or felonies, depending on the circumstances of the crime. If the offender is under age 17, then the charge will be a misdemeanor (less than one year in prison). Cases involving the use of or threat of force or a victim who couldn’t knowingly give consent are classified as Class 4 felonies (1-3 years in prison). If the offender is convicted more than once, they will be charged with a Class 2 felony (3-7 years in prison).
Aggravated Sexual Abuse
Similar to sexual assault, aggravated sexual abuse is a more serious charge involving criminal sexual abuse plus one or more of the following factors:
- Dangerous weapon
- Bodily harm
- Victim over 60 years old
- Physically handicapped victim
- Threats against victim or others
- Committing another felony
- Offender delivered controlled substance to victim
Additionally, there are circumstances regarding age:
- Victim is 17 years old or under and offender is a family member
- Victim is 12 years old or under and offender is at least 17 years old
- Victim is ages 13-16, offender is 17 or older, and force or threat of force was used
- Victim is 8 years old or under and the accused is under 17 years old
- Victim is ages 9-16, offender is under 17 years old and force or threat of force was used
- Victim has severe intellectual disabilities
- Victim is ages 13-17, accused is over 17 years old and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision over the victim
- Sexual penetration between a victim ages 13-17 and an offender who is at least 5 years older
Aggravated sexual abuse is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison.
Child Sex Abuse Laws
Illinois has 7 laws which apply to cases of child sex abuse:
- Indecent Solicitation Of A Child – When someone over age 17 knowingly seeks sexual contact from a child or uses the internet to solicit a sex act from a child or someone who they believe is a child. A Felony which ranges from Class 1 to Class 4, depending on circumstances.
- Indecent Solicitation Of An Adult – One adult party arranges for another adult to engage in sexual activity with a child. Charges range from Class A misdemeanors to Class X felonies.
- Solicitation To Meet A Child – An adult uses a computer, cell phone, or another electronic device to arrange a meeting with a child or someone whom they believe to be a child for an unlawful purpose and without the knowledge of the child’s parents. A Class A misdemeanor or a Class 4 felony if the offender believes he or she is at least 5 years older than the victim.
- Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault Of A Child – Criminal sexual assault when the victim is younger than 13. A Class X felony punishable by 30-60 years in prison.
- Grooming – When an adult uses electronic means to encourage a child (or someone he or she believes to be a child) or their guardian to engage in illegal sexual conduct. A Class 4 felony punishable by 1-3 years in prison.
- Permitting Sexual Abuse Of A Child – When a parent, guardian, or other party is responsible for a child’s wellbeing and allows sexual abuse to occur even though they’re aware of it. A Class 1 felony punishable by 4-16 years in prison.
- Sexual Exploitation Of A Child – Occurs when an adult engages in sexual acts or exposes sexual organs in the presence or virtual presence (such as via webcam) of a child for the purpose of sexual gratification. A Class A misdemeanor for first offenses, or a Class 4 felony if the offender has previously been convicted of a sex crime OR the victim was under 13 years old OR the crime was committed within 500 feet of a school.
Other Sex-Related Laws
Other sexual behaviors outlawed in Illinois include:
- Custodial sexual misconduct – It is a Class 3 felony for a probation officer, surveillance agent, or another employee of the penal system to engage in sexual activity with someone they’re supervising.
- Criminal transmission of HIV – It’s a Class 2 felony for someone who knows that they are HIV positive to knowingly transmit the disease through unprotected sex, transfers or donations of bodily fluids, or the transfer of infected paraphernalia such as needles.
- Sexual misconduct with a person with a disability – It is illegal for someone employed by the Department of Human Services to engage in sexual activity with a disabled person under the care of the same Department.
- Sexual relations within families – Sexual activity between relatives is classified as a Class 3 felony, punishable by 2-5 years in prison.