How Faith’s Law Will Impact IL Sex Abuse
In Illinois, sex abuse is a topic that has been discussed in the public sphere for quite some time. Some loopholes in the law, as well as big cases in the media, have spurred the legislature to act. As a result, we have new legislation called Faith’s Law.
Also know as House Bill 1975, Faith’s Law is named for a student who experienced sexual abuse at the hands of a trusted adult. This law now legally defines what it means to groom a child for sexual abuse. Furthermore, it requires that schools put in safeguards to protect their students.
Faith’s Law took effect at the start of 2022. Here’s what you need to know about it and how it changes the laws in the state.
How Is Grooming Now Defined by Law?
The concept of “grooming” is central to Faith’s Law, which works to expand how grooming is defined under Illinois law. Grooming is now defined as occurring when someone knowingly uses the internet, computer, or any electric transmission or storage device in order to lure, entice, seduce, solicit, or attempt to do any of those things to a child under the age of 17.
It’s also important to note that it is now illegal for anyone to gain access to a child for abuse by seducing the person who is or who is believed to be their guardian. Additionally, it is illegal to seduce a child to commit offenses under the Illinois Sexual Registration Act. This includes taking photos of the sex organs of a child or engaging in any other types of behavior that can be construed as grooming.
It is now illegal under Faith’s Law to seduce a child through a third party, written communication, or sex acts in person, not simply through online means. That is one important loophole that this law has closed.
There are a few other changes to the law under this bill, namely the increase of resources for those who have survived sexual abuse and their families.
Schools in Illinois are also now required to create a code of conduct that outlines sexual misconduct in the school. Staff who work in education must have their employment history thoroughly reviewed to scope out any incidents of sexual abuse that may have occurred in the past. Sexual abuse training is also expected to be expanded for those working in education.
Also, new boundaries will be set by school districts for maintaining professional relationships with students and setting proper boundaries. Now there will be distinct guidelines for:
- The transportation of students
- Meeting with students outside of the professional role of educators
- Having or taking photos of a student
If an employee commits any violations of the policy set by the schools under the new law, then it is grounds for termination of employment, as well as other disciplinary actions.
What Are the Penalties in Illinois for Grooming?
If a person is convicted under the statutes of this new law for grooming, then they will face the penalties for a Class 4 felony. That is punishable by up to three years in prison, but grooming can also be paired with other charges that will increase the penalties, such as sexual assault or child abuse.
If you are facing grooming charges, then make sure to fully understand the charges against you.
About the Author:
Andrew M. Weisberg is a former felony prosecutor who now serves as a defense attorney in the greater Chicago area. He has extensive experience in handling all types of criminal cases, from sex offenses and domestic violence to retail theft-related crimes, murder, and drug crimes. His work has been recognized by Avvo, Expertise, National Trial Lawyers, and others, and he has been featured on countless news outlets for his experience and knowledge in criminal law.