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Statute of Limitations on Child Sex Crimes Eliminated in Illinois

 Posted on August 15, 2017 in Criminal Defense

Illinois defense attorneyOn August 11, 2017, Illinois Governor Bruce Rauner signed a new law eliminating the statute of limitations for felony sexual assault and sexual abuse crime against children. This law went into effect immediately, and officials praised the law, stating that will make it easier to prosecute these crimes.

Changes under the New Law

Prior to the passage of this law, Illinois statutes required sexual offenses against children to be reported and prosecuted within 20 years of the child’s 18th birthday. The new law eliminates that statute of limitations altogether, and it applies to any future crimes or existing crimes for which the statute of limitations had not yet expired. Following this change, 37 states and the federal government have removed the statute of limitations for some or all sex crimes against children.

This law helps ensure that victims of these crimes will be able to speak up and seek justice when they are ready to do so, even if that is years or decades after the abuse occurred. “Sex crimes against children are a horribly tragic violation of trust that can take a lifetime to recover from,” said Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan. “This new law will ensure that survivors are provided with the time they need to heal and seek justice.”

Some advocates, however, do not believe the law goes far enough since its protections are not retroactive. This means that victims who are currently over the age of 38 who have not reported crimes against them are unable to prosecute their abusers.

Motivations for the New Law

While advocates had been pushing for changes in the law for some time, Illinois lawmakers were spurred into action following allegations against former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives Dennis Hastert. Hastert was accused of abuse against minors which allegedly took place when he was a high school wrestling coach more than 30 years ago in Yorkville, Illinois. Because the statute of limitations had passed, he was unable to be prosecuted for these alleged crimes, although he was sentenced to prison for bank fraud following an alleged attempt to pay off an accuser.

“A prosecutor’s ability to seek justice on behalf of a sexual abuse survivor should not be hindered by an arbitrary stopwatch,” said Senator Scott Bennett, who co-sponsored the law. “There should be no time limit on obtaining justice for the survivors of these horrendous crimes.”

Contact a Chicago Sexual Crime Defense Attorney

Sexual offenses against children are horrendous, and being accused of these crimes is a serious matter. If you are facing sex abuse charges, you should speak to an experienced criminal defense attorney as soon as possible to understand your rights and your legal options for defense. Contact a Chicago sex crimes defense attorney at Luisi Legal Group today at 773-276-5541 to schedule a free consultation.






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