Illinois 102nd General Assembly Closes Statutory Loophole That Allowed Employees of Public and Non-Public Schools to Prey on Adult Victims
The State of Illinois 102nd General Assembly Has Amended Criminal Statues Governing Sex Crimes. The Stat of Illinois legislature has closed loopholes that enabled public and non-public school employees to prey on adult victims.
The Bill, HB1975, was signed into law by Illinois Governor JB Pritzker on 03 December 2021, and was introduced 2/17/2021, by Rep. Michelle Mussman.
The criminal statutes amended in order are: 720 ILCS 5/11-1.20 (was 720 ILCS 5/12-13), 720 ILCS 5/11-1.60 (was 720 ILCS 5/12-16), and 720 ILCS 5/11-25.
The above statues criminalize and govern the crimes of: Criminal Sexual Assault, Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse, and Grooming.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.20 (was 720 ILCS 5/12-13) - Criminal Sexual Assault is amended as follows:
(a) A person commits criminal sexual assault if that person commits an act of sexual penetration and:
(1) uses force or threat of force;
(2) knows that the victim is unable to understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent;
(3) is a family member of the victim, and the victim is under 18 years of age; or
(4) is 17 years of age or over and holds a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim, and the victim is at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age; or
(5) the victim is at least 18 years of age but under 22 years of age and is a student attending classes at a public or nonpublic secondary school and the accused held a position of trust, authority, or supervision over the victim in connection with an educational or extracurricular program or activity at the time of the commission of the act, regardless of the location or place of the commission of the act.
The NEW amendment to this statute is element (5) which bars teachers of public and non-public schools from having romantic or sexual relationships with ADULT students under than age of 22.
720 ILCS 5/11-1.60 (was 720 ILCS 5/12-16) - Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse has been amended as follows:
Victims are no longer only those under the age of 18 if the accused is an adult employed by a public or non-public school AND held a position of trust over the victim. Victims can be between the ages of 18 and 22 under this amended version of this statute.
(f-5) A person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if that person commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim who is at least 18 years of age but under 22 years of age and is a student attending classes at a public or nonpublic secondary school and the accused held a position of trust, authority, or supervision in relation to the victim in connection with an educational or extracurricular program or activity at the time of the commission of the act, regardless of the location or place of the commission of the act.
Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony.
(Source: P.A. 99-143, eff. 7-27-15.)
720 ILCS 5/11-25 - Grooming statute is amended as follows:
The new wording changes the definition of Grooming from a crime that can only be committed online with an internet connected device, by expanding the definition to a crime that can also be committed IN-PERSON without use of the internet or an internet connected device.
Sec. 11-25. Grooming.(a) A person commits grooming when he or she knowingly uses a computer on-line service, Internet service, local bulletin board service, or any other device capable of electronic data storage or transmission or performs an act in person, through direct communication or by conduct through a third party, to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, or attempt to seduce, solicit, lure, or entice, a child, a child's guardian, or another person believed by the person to be a child or a child's guardian, to commit any sex offense as defined in Section 2 of the Sex Offender Registration Act, to distribute photographs depicting the sex organs of the child, or to otherwise engage in any unlawful sexual conduct with a child or with another person believed by the person to be a child. As used in this Section, "child" means a person under 17 years of age.
(b) Sentence. Grooming is a Class 4 felony.
(Source: P.A. 100-428, eff. 1-1-18.)
Block Club Chicago recently blurred the understanding of what a child and an adult victim are under Illinois law: Mina Bloom reports for Block Club Chicago with the inaccurate headline, "Illinois Makes It Illegal For Adults To ‘Groom’ Kids As Sex Abuse Scandal Rocks Logan Square School" - Faith's Law bans all forms of grooming and boosts protections for abuse survivors.
Having sex with children, attempting to have sex with children, and internet grooming of children for sexual relationships was already illegal for years prior to Mina Bloom's report. The Chicago Police Dept and other law enforcement agencies across Illinois had already been making arrests for a number of years and even decades relating to the criminal sexual assault/ aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual abuse/aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and sexual exploitation of children at the hands of school personnel BEFORE Mina Bloom's report.
Well prior to Mina Bloom's report for Block Club, Predatory Criminal Sexual Assault of a Child was a criminal charge where arrests were made by law enforcement agencies across the state, including the Chicago Police Dept.
Nowhere in any Illinois criminal statute is anyone aged 18 or older referred to as a child or a child victim. Under Illinois law, an adult is a person who has attained the age of 18 or older. Illinois grants almost all adult rights and responsibilities to people 18 and older. Only the purchase, possession, and use of alcohol products is restricted to people 21 years-of-age or older. People 18 and older can vote, as well as apply for and be given a Firearm Owner's Identification Card and a Concealed Carry License in Illinois. People 18 and older can move out of their parent's home, get married, and start a family in the state of Illinois. People 18 and older are also criminally responsible for their conduct under state criminal laws.
The difference with a distinction that the new updates to Illinois criminal statutes shows is that the state is now recognizing that even adults can be the victims of public and non-public school personnel, and that grooming isn't only limited to the use of the internet by grooming offenders. Grooming now can be done in person under Illinois criminal statute, without the use of the internet.
The big difference with a distinction here is that there are instances where one adult can be in a position of trust and power over another adult. That fact, however, does not magically reduce the adult victim to being a child. Infantilizing victims of violent crimes, and sex crimes in-particular is recognized across the psychology, psychiatry, and social work professions as being harmful.