Sex assault cases involving teachers and students have made headlines across the country. Earlier this year, a Chicago Public Schools teacher was charged with sexually assaulting a teenage girl at a school on the South Side.
Anthony Frontera, a teacher at the Chicago Military Academy in Bronzeville, was charged with having a six-month sexual relationship with a 16-year-old girl who was his student at the time.
A report in the Chicago Tribune said the girl turned 16 over the school year. The report said she may have been 15 when sexual assaults began, prosecutors said.
Judge Adam Bourgeois Jr. set bail at $750,000 in May. He said the accusations were “egregious.”
Frontera, of the 3800 block of North Ottawa Avenue, is charged with criminal sexual assault of a victim between the age of 13 and 17, reports stated.
The Tribune report said the teacher started having sex with his student in his office on a regular basis. Prosecutors say he locked his classroom and drew the shades. Several witnesses say they saw Frontera alone with the girl in his classroom during the school year.
Chicago Public Schools said Frontera was removed from his teaching role after CPS investigators discovered the teacher was “potentially harming a student.”
The charge of criminal sexual assault carries severe penalties.
Criminal Sexual Assault v. Criminal Sexual Abuse
Illinois makes a distinction between criminal sexual assault and criminal sexual abuse in the Illinois Criminal Code.
In Illinois, criminal sexual abuse can be a Class A misdemeanor or a felony. The offense is charged as a misdemeanor when the person who commits sexual misconduct is under the age of 17.
The offense becomes a felony if the defendant commits the sexual conduct either under force or the threat of force or when a victim could not give knowing consent to the act. It can be a defense if an accused reasonably believes the victim was at least 17 years of age.
Criminal sexual assault differs from criminal sexual abuse. It generally refers to rapes and entails sexual penetration combined with the threat of force.
Defendants may be charged with criminal sexual assault even if the sex was apparently consensual if a victim is unable to understand what was going on or unable to give knowing consent.
The charge can be brought when a victim is under 18 and the accused is a family member or when a victim is aged 13 to 18 and the accused is at least 17 or holds a position of authority, trust or supervision like a teacher of a counselor.
If you have been charged with a serious offense of this nature, you should hire an experienced Illinois criminal defense lawyer. Call us for a free consultation at (312) 229-0008.