When people hear “sex crimes,” they usually associate it with rape. But, under Illinois law, there are many types of punishable offenses under the category of sex crimes.
Sex crimes are serious, and carry a heavy stigma. Those convicted of sex crimes face difficulty obtaining credit, finding a job, purchasing or renting a home, and maintaining personal relationships.
1. Statutory Rape
Statutory rape means engaging in sexual activity with a minor. In Illinois, the age of consent (meaning the age when it is legal to engage in sexual conduct), is 17.
That means that engaging in sexual activity with someone below the age of 17 is considered statutory rape. Being charged with statutory rape requires very skilled legal defense because of the harsh way the law is structured.
The government is interested in protecting minors, so it has limited the defenses available for this charge. Specifically, there is no defense if the person being charged didn’t know that the victim was underage.
This means that if a 25-year-old man believes his girlfriend is 20 years old based on her lifestyle and her own statements, and there is no reason for him to believe that she is younger, can still be charged with statutory rape if her actual age is only 16.
2. Criminal Sexual Abuse
It may seem like there is no crime occurring if two teenagers have consensual sex, but the law in Illinois disagrees with that.
When a person engages in sexual activity with someone between 13-17 years old, and the person is less than 5 years older than their partner, then that person is guilty of criminal sexual abuse. This is true even if both of the parties agreed to the activity.
The reason behind these strict laws is again to protect the minors in Illinois from engaging in sexual activity before they are mentally prepared for it or aware of the seriousness of the act.
Criminal sexual abuse, sometimes known as the “Romeo and Juliet” law, saves the offender from being charged with statutory rape, but it is not a charge to be taken lightly.
Because it is a type of sex crime, it can still affect the person’s criminal record and require them to register as a sex offender, take sex offender classes, and potentially serve jail time.
3. Indecent Exposure
Indecent exposure means exposing private areas to the public. While someone can absolutely be charged with this for more obvious actions such as “flashing” or “streaking”, one can also be arrested for something as simple as urinating in public.
For example, if someone is downtown and can’t find a public restroom, so they head into a secluded alleyway to relieve themselves, they may be charged with indecent exposure if caught.
This is usually a misdemeanor charge, but it can be elevated to a more serious crime if the person is close to a school or place of worship.
4. Prostitution And Soliciting A Prostitute
Prostitution is offering a sexual act in exchange for money, goods, or services. A first time offense can result in a Class A Misdemeanor (up to one year in jail and a fine of up to $2,500).
If the person has been arrested before on prostitution charges, then the offense is elevated to a felony, which means more jail time and fines.
In Illinois, someone who hires or attempts to hire a prostitute can also be charged with a misdemeanor or felony.
Both parties can be charged for the offense even if the act never happens. As long they both agreed to exchange something for sex, then both parties can be found guilty of the crime.
5. Child Pornography
Child pornography stings are on the rise across the nation. It is an offense to possess or distribute child pornography, which consists of images or videos of minors engaging in sexual activity or sexualized images.
Those who have child pornography can be found guilty of multiple counts of distribution, meaning that if the image or video is on a steaming or torrent site where other anonymous users can download the material, the owner can be charged with distribution each time it is downloaded.
This is the case even if the material was downloaded erroneously or if the person charged never actually viewed the material.
Many times, the government places a tracking mechanism on files containing child pornography and issues warrants every time the tracker shows that it has been downloaded.
Possession or distribution of child pornography is a felony in Illinois, and it can result in federal as well as state charges.
Contact Abdallah Law Today
Sex crimes are among some of the most serious crimes a person can be charged with, and the stigma and punishments for the crimes can haunt a person for life.
If you are facing a sex crime charge, it is imperative that you obtain experienced counsel as soon as possible. Contact the offices of Abdallah Law today at 312-854-2677 for a free consultation.