In Illinois, the offense of criminal sexual abuse can be committed in three main ways under 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50. A person commits criminal sexual abuse if that person:
- Commits an act of sexual conduct:
- using force or threats of force; or
- knowing that the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent.
- Is under 17 years of age and commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who is between 9 and 16 years of age.
- Commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who is between 13 and 16 years of age, and the person committing the act is less than 5 years older than the victim.
Criminal sexual abuse as defined in sections 5/11-1.50(b) and 5/11-1.50(c) is sometimes referred to as statutory rape.
In cases involving sexual abuse of children under the age of 13, a person who personally observes any sexual abuse of the child by a person the observer knows to be over the age of 18, and fails to report it, is guilty of a crime under 720 ILCS 5/11-9.1B. For this law, any sexual contact, no matter how slight, up to and including penetration counts as sexual abuse. However, a person who observes and fails to report may only be charged after the person committing the sexual abuse is himself charged with criminal sexual abuse or certain other sex crimes.
Criminal sexual abuse can be either a misdemeanor or felony in Illinois depending on the conduct alleged in the charging instrument. If the charge is for the conduct described in 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50(b) or 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50(c), as outlined above, it is a misdemeanor. If a person is accused of committing acts of sexual conduct either by force, threats of force, or knowing the victim to be unable to understand the nature of the acts or give consent, then the charge will be a Class 4 felony. This Class 4 felony may be upgraded to a Class 2 felony if the person is charged for a second or subsequent criminal sexual abuse, sexual assault, or any other sexual offense that is more serious than criminal sexual abuse. Failure to report the sexual abuse of a child is a Class A misdemeanor for a first offense, and a Class 4 felony for a second or subsequent offense.
A misdemeanor conviction carries a prison term of up to one year, and a fine of up to $2,500. If convicted of a Class 4 felony, a person faces between 1 and 3 years, and 3 to 7 years for a Class 2 felony conviction. There are also fines and fees associated with these felony convictions. In addition, under the Illinois Sexual Offender Registration Act (730 ILCS 150/1), a person convicted of criminal sexual abuse must register as a sex offender.
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An accusation of criminal sexual abuse can have a very negative effect on the accused’s life. It is important to have the best defense when dealing with the charges. If you have been accused of criminal sexual abuse, contact Chicago’s experienced sex crimes attorney Steven Goldman immediately.