Very few crimes are prosecuted as harshly as sex crimes, especially offenses involving children. Mere accusations of crimes of this nature have been known to single-handedly destroy the reputation and livelihood of defendants. The legal and collateral consequences are amplified with a conviction.
Obviously, the crime of permitting the sexual abuse of a child is taken incredibly seriously in Illinois. While there are people who have harmed innocent children by committing this crime, there are people who may have been accused that aren't guilty - both parties equally deserve justice.
How Does One Constitute the Crime of Permitting Sexual Abuse of a Child?
According to Illinois statute ILCS 5/11-9.1A, a person commits the crime of permitting sexual abuse of a child if he or she:
- Is responsible for the child's welfare;
- Has knowledge of and permits an act of sexual abuse upon the child; or
- Permits the child to engage in prostitution
It's important to note that when Illinois uses the term “child,” it is referring to someone who is under the age of 17. This crime is a statutory charge, which means that even if a victim willingly engages, as long as they are under the age of 17, they aren't able to legally consent to sexual acts.
Being Responsible for a Child's Welfare
Illinois law defines a person who is responsible for a “child's welfare” as a parent, step-parent, legal guardian, or a person who has custody of a child during the time of the alleged sexual abuse.
What are the Penalties for Permitting the Sexual Abuse of a Child?
Permitting sexual abuse of a child is always charged as a felony. The severity of the sentence depends on the nature of the crime.
This crime is charged as a Class 1 felony. This carries penalties of 4 to 15 years in prison. Any person convicted of this crime shall be ordered to undergo child sexual abuse, domestic violence, or other appropriate counseling for a specified duration with a qualified social or mental health worker.
Registration as a Sex Offender
The legal penalties for permitting the sexual abuse of a child are incredibly harsh. But believe it or not, there are other repercussions that are more damaging. The most serious and lasting punishment one can face if convicted of permitting the sexual abuse of a child is having to register on the Illinois Sex Offender Registry.
This registry is an online database. Essentially, the intention of registering people is to warn the public of potentially dangerous people. This is this database usually includes personal information, like a photo of the convicted sex offender, their birthdate, their address, and age. As you can imagine, the registry can affect every single aspect of your life. You may be forbidden from occupying locations where children are present, like schools and parks.
The people in a registrant's neighborhood will be notified every time they move residencies, and employers and renters can deny registrants access to employment and housing due to their placement on the registry.
Potential Defenses to Sex Crime Charges
A qualified Illinois criminal defense attorney should have the experience and knowledge to assert potential defenses to reduce the severity of your sentence. In some cases, a legal defense can be convincing enough to result in dropping your charges altogether. There are a few affirmative defenses for permitting the sexual abuse of a child.
- You made a timely and reasonable effort to stop the sexual abuse.
- The person responsible for the child's welfare had a reasonable apprehension that timely action to stop the abuse or prostitution would result in the imminent infliction of death, great bodily harm, permanent disfigurement, or permanent disability in retaliation for reporting.
Charged With This Crime in Illinois? You Need Legal Representation
Now that you know what you're up against, you can make wise decisions from here on out. The best thing you can make when charged with the sexual exploitation of a child is to secure the representation of a criminal defense attorney immediately. You should never have to defend yourself in any case, let alone one as serious as this one. The good news is that you won't have to with the legal team at Dolci & Weiland on your side.
In these cases especially, it is best to obtain an attorney upon immediate notice of your charges. To speak with a member of our team, fill out an online case evaluation form or give us a ring at the office closest to you today. The number for our downtown Chicago location is 312-238-9007, for our DuPage office, call 630-261-9098.