Charged with criminal sexual abuse? Justice is on your side. We can help you move beyond feelings of confusion and intimidation and help you to pursue your best legal options. Contact our firm today to schedule an in-office consultation with our Chicago sex crime lawyer. Our phone number is (312) 466-9466.
Criminal Sexual Abuse requires an act of "sexual conduct" as defined in 720 ILCS 5/12/12(e). It can be summarized as touching or fondling for the purpose of sexual gratification. It can be done through clothing, and, as a result, the accusation has been made in a wide variety of settings.
There are two basic types of criminal sexual abuse cases, one based on the age of the alleged victim and the other based on force or the threat of force.
One very common scenario in which Sexual Abuse is charged involves boyfriends and girlfriends. Even with consent, a boy may be charged with a crime for having a sexual relationship with a girl below the age of 13. Under 720 ILCS 5/12-16 (d) "The accused commits Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse if he or she commits an act of sexual penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who was at least 13 years of age, but under 17 years of age and the accused was at least 5 years older than the victim." If the victim was less than 5 years younger than the accused, then it is simple Criminal Sexual Abuse, which is not a felony but still requires sex offender registration.
Although the statute says "he or she" it is almost always the boy who is charged. Our office successfully defended a young man who was charged with Criminal Sexual Abuse because he had a sexual relationship with his girlfriend. The girl went to a different school than our client, and listed herself as 17 on her Myspace page. In addition, she had the physical appearance of someone much older than her true age of 13. Because the girl's guardian was incensed that she was in a relationship with an African-American, she insisted on pressing charges and brow beat the girl into cooperating with the police. However, through the Myspace page and other means, it was established at trial that our client had every reason to believe she was over 17, which is a defense under 720 ILCS 5/12-17 (b). The result was a not guilty verdict.
Criminal Sexual Abuse charges based on force or threats can be defended by arguing consent or by arguing that the sex act never occurred. Because sexual encounters are usually private, eye witnesses are rare. Instead, consent may be shown by circumstantial evidence from witnesses, such as people who saw the victim happy and relaxed after the alleged incident. Fabrication may be shown by a recantation to friends or alibi evidence for the accused.
An in-depth interview with a Chicago sex offense law firm such as the Law Office of Steven R. Hunter is essential to determine what defenses are available to you. Steven R. Hunter is an experienced sex offense lawyer who can help you choose the defense that is right for you. Consult with our Chicago criminal defense lawyers today at (312) 466-9466.