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:
Our Illinois sexual assault victims' lawyers can help you stand up for your legal rights. Contact our legal team today to schedule your free, no-obligation and confidential case evaluation today.
Were you or a loved one sexually assaulted or sexually abused in Illinois? Our committed attorneys are here to help. It may feel as though you are alone, but you are not. We believe that you deserve justice. Thanks to Illinois' powerful tradition of civil common law, you may be eligible to pursue accountability and financial compensation by filing a private civil lawsuit.
We believe you, and we believe that your story deserves to be told. You were wronged in the most egregious way possible. You were violated, perhaps by someone you trusted. You did nothing wrong. This was not your fault. You did not deserve to be mistreated; no one does.
Our experienced IL sex abuse attorneys understand the powerful and painful range of emotions that sexual abuse and sexual assault can cause. Anger, shame, rage, embarassment, depression - these are natural reactions to a terrible trauma. You are not a victim; you are a survivor, but all too often, survivors live quiet lives of desperation, struggling to come to terms with what happened.
Recovery is possible. What happened to you does not need to define your life. We can help. Whether or not the direct offender was held accountable in the criminal justice system, you can pursue justice on your own terms. For many survivors, filing a civil lawsuit is the first step on the path to true recovery. It's a way to take control over a situation spinning out of control.
As we all know, the criminal justice system plays an essential role in bringing the direct perpetrators of sexual misconduct to justice. Criminal prosecutors pursue offenders and prosecute them, while courts impose severe penalties. But there is an alternative justice system - the civil justice system, in which survivors and their loved ones are allowed to pursue accountability and financial compensation on their own terms.
AbuseGuardian.com is sponsored by a national network of compassionate sexual assault and sexual abuse attorneys. No matter your legal matter, our lawyers have the experience, skill and resources to pursue your case. You can trust in our experience, as well as our outstanding record of success in sexual misconduct cases. Our attorneys have stood up to some of America's biggest organizations, including the Catholic Church and national massage spa chains. We are here to help. That's our promise to you.
To pursue cases in Illinois, our network has partnered with the compassionate legal professionals at Laffey, Bucci & Kent. Over 90 years of combined experience, the attorneys at Laffey, Bucci & Kent have stood with assault and abuse survivors, pursuing justice on their behalf in civil courts across the country.
Illinois empowers survivors to pursue justice. If you were assaulted or abused, you may have the right to pursue financial compensation and accountability by filing a private civil lawsuit against the responsible parties. The sexual assault and sexual abuse practice team at Laffey, Bucci & Kent is led by firm Partner Brian Kent, Esq. Brian began his career as a criminal prosecutor in the Sex Crimes Unit of the Montgomery County District Attorney's Office, where he gained unmatched insights into the criminal justice system, as well as the plight of sexual abuse and assault survivors. Since moving to private practice, Brian's passion for assisting survivors has only grown. He brings his vast knowledge of sex crimes to each case, providing survivors with unmatched representation.
The dedicated legal team at AbuseGuardian.com has already helped countless survivors step forward and pursue justice after suffering a severe trauma. You could be next. You have a powerful voice, and a story of strength and hope to inspire the world. We can help you tell it.
You are not alone. At AbuseGuardian.com, our dedicated legal team believes that you have an important story to tell, whether you decide to remain anonymous or make your name public. You are stronger than what happened to you, and you can make the responsible parties pay.
While closure may seem far away, recovery is possible. We've seen it happen in numerous cases. Many survivors are helped on a profound level by pursuing justice on their own terms. Needless to say, true recovery takes time, often years of therapy and difficult work. But we believe that you deserve justice, too. It's all possible in the civil justice system.
In many ways, the civil justice system offers you, as a plaintiff, a far wider range of options than can be found in the criminal justice system. Alongside the crime's direct perpetrator, you may also be eligible to file suit against any organizations, individuals or institutions that enabled the abuse or assault through their own negligence.
If you were abused by a priest, you may also be able to file suit against the Catholic diocese in which you were abused, or even the Catholic Church itself. If you were assaulted by a massage therapist, you may be able to pursue compensation from the massage spa as well. If your child was abused by a teacher, you may be eligible to demand accountability from the school and school district where your child was mistreated.
In most cases, the criminal justice system will never come close to touching these additional third-party defendants. The church, massage spa and school will never face criminal charges for their part in the sexual misconduct. Only the direct perpetrators of abuse will be prosecuted. But the civil justice system allows you to tell a far more nuanced story, one about the institutions and organizations that facilitate misconduct through failures, errors, mistakes, wrongdoing and negligence.
Due to its single-minded focus on punishing criminal offenders, the criminal justice system can often appear uncaring and unsupportive to survivors. We've spoken to many survivors who felt used by the criminal prosecution, treated as nothing more than glorified pieces of evidence.
There is another option, an additional justice system in which survivors and their families can find the support and financial compensation they deserve and so desperately need - the civil justice system. In the criminal justice system, offenders are held accountable to society at large, not to individual survivors. But the civil justice system flips this equation on its head. In the civil justice system, survivors take control of their legal futures. In filing a civil lawsuit, you pursue justice on your own terms. Civil lawsuits hold responsible parties accountable to individual survivors, not to society at large. Unlike the criminal justice system, civil litigation puts survivors at the heart of the legal process.
Illinois' powerful criminal code seeks to hold offenders and direct perpetrators accountable for their misconduct. But the criminal justice system is not the sole avenue for justice. Beyond the statutes of criminal law, there is a separate set of rules and codes that govern civil law. Under the strong tenets of Illinois common law, survivors who have suffered due to sexual abuse or sexual assault are empowered to pursue financial compensation from both the direct perpetrators of misconduct and negligent third-party defendants.
Illinois law allows sexual abuse and sexual assault survivors to file lawsuits against direct perpetrators and negligent third-party defendants. These claims are closely related, often arising over the same misconduct, but rely on different sets of legal theories in Illinois' civil courts. Delaware's body of common civil law outlines a variety of "causes of actions" - legitimate reasons to sue someone else. The relevant causes of action will vary depending on who you are suing and what you claim happened.
In Illinois, civil lawsuits filed against the direct perpetrators of sexual misconduct generally rely on three separate but inter-related legal theories:
In most cases, you'll see these three causes of action (assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress) referred to as intentional torts. Unlike the tort of negligence, assault, battery and intentional infliction of emotional distress require a minimal finding of intent. They are not mistakes, or errors, but intentional acts taken by the defendant.
In the same way that survivors are empowered to file civil lawsuits against direct perpetrators, some survivors may also be able to pursue a third-party negligence lawsuit against additional defendants. These claims are filed against organizations, institutions, businesses or individuals who facilitated the abuse by committing negligence.
In simple terms, negligence is a careless or reckless disregard for the safety and wellbeing of others. While direct offenders actually carry out criminal misconduct, many instances of sexual abuse and sexual assault are enabled because someone else - a manager or deacon, nurse or volunteer - looked the other way, rather than speaking up. Other crimes are facilitated because an organization attempted to conceal sexual abuse allegations from the proper authorities. Some crimes occur because a business or employer failed to provide proper surveillance. These would be examples of negligence. In a civil lawsuit, third-party defendants can be held accountable for their negligence.
The legal doctrine of negligence serves as the basis for the majority of sexual assault and sexual abuse lawsuits, at least when these cases are pursuing compensation from a third-party defendant.
For the theory of negligence to hold, there must be a prior "duty of care" between the plaintiff and the defendant. Negligence implies a duty, an obligation or responsibility, because at its core, negligence is the failure to uphold a pre-existing obligation to act with sufficient care.
In simpler terms, negligence acknowledges that some people owe other people a duty to act with reasonable care. Doctors, as just one example, owe their patients an obligation to follow well-recognized standards of medical practice, as well as a duty to perform their work with sufficient professionalism. Schools, colleges and universities owe their students an obligation to provide adequate security against crime, as do hotels and motels in relation to their guests, visitors and residents.
In reality, most businesses and organizations have a minimal duty to prevent sexual abuse and sexual assault insofar as they can. This obligation holds for employers in the workplace, as it does for residential apartment buildings. It holds for churches and other places of worship, along with summer camps and daycare centers. Also covered by this duty are psychiatric facilities, medical offices and hospitals. Resorts, sports clubs, gyms - all of these organizations have a basic duty to do everything in their power to prevent sexual abuse and sexual assault from occurring.
But when one of these organizations or institutions fails to uphold its obligation, allowing a mistake, error or failure to lead to sexual abuse or sexual assault, they have acted negligently. When negligence leads to sexual misconduct of any type, survivors are allowed to pursue a civil lawsuit for financial compensation against the negligent organization. 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. From Chicago and Rockford to Springfield and Marion, 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 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 charges are applied in cases of rape involving one or more of the following:
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 charges apply to cases involving criminal sexual assault plus one or more of the following circumstances:
Additionally, criminal sexual assault occurs when there is sexual penetration plus one of the following three circumstances:
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.
Illegal sexual conduct involving one or more of the following circumstances:
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).
Similar to sexual assault, aggravated sexual abuse is a more serious charge involving criminal sexual abuse plus one or more of the following factors:
Additionally, there are circumstances regarding age:
Aggravated sexual abuse is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3-7 years in prison.
Illinois has 7 laws which apply to cases of child abuse:
Other sexual behaviors outlawed in Illinois include:
Illinois' powerful tradition of common law allows sexual assault and sexual abuse survivors to pursue civil lawsuits against the parties responsible for the misconduct. However, the time in which to file suit may be limited. In Illinois, a law known as the "statute of limitations" acts as a legal time limit, restricting the amount of time survivors have to file suit.
Complying with the statute of limitations is absolutely critical. If you attempt to file suit after the statute of limitations has run out, your case will be dismissed without a second thought. As a result, it's crucial to contact an experienced Delaware attorney immediately to ensure that your rights are protected.
Compared to other states, Illinois has very liberal statutes of limitations for sex crimes. To begin with, there is no statute of limitations for survivors of childhood sexual abuse. If you were abused as a child, you are allowed to commence your civil action at any time, no matter how long ago the abuse occurred. For adult survivors of sexual assault, the statute of limitations is a relatively short two years, beginning on the date of the assault. Note, however, that no statute of limitations exists in relation to Class X felonies - aggravated criminal sexual assault, predatory criminal sexual assault - or Class 1 felonies - criminal sexual assault. These civil actions can be filed at any time.