However, over the last few years, it appears Chicago’s fight against sex crimes may have hit a wall. According to a report from CBS Chicago, “while the number of reported criminal sexual assaults in Chicago has come in at less than 1,600 from 2006 to 2014… progress has leveled out. Sharp drops in the 1990s have been exchanged for small drops with the occasional rise.” Noting the city’s lack of progress over recent years, sex crime advocates are pushing for a prioritization of sex crime investigations, arrests, and prosecutions in Chicago’s criminal justice system.
Advocacy agencies hope to create more services to help the city crack down on sex crimes, including access to legal representation for victims and special training for law enforcement officers. Advocates hope to make sexual victim training mandatory for all law officers and detectives in the city.
What Types of Criminal Behaviors Will Be Targeted?
There is a push to prioritize the fight against sexual assault in Chicago, with advocates urging city officials and the local community alike to take a more active stance against this serious type of sex crime offense. In Illinois, sexual assault is generally considered to be the sexual exploitation, forcible penetration, or act of sexual contact on the body of another person through the use of force, no matter how slight, or if the victim was unable to give consent. Sexual assault can occur between two strangers, coworkers, friends, or people in a romantic relationship.
However, sexual assault is only one of many criminal behaviors that can result in a sex crime charge in Chicago. Our state’s criminal justice system doles out severe penalties for all types of sex crimes, including but not limited to:
Sexual assault on a child. You can be charged with sexual assault on a child if you knowingly subject a minor to sexual contact.
Internet sexual exploitation of a child. This charge involves soliciting nude photos from a minor on the internet. You can be charged with internet sexual exploitation of a child even if you were unaware of the victim’s age.
Prostitution. Prostitution is a criminal offense that involves offering a sexual service for money or something of value.
Solicitation of a prostitute. Similarly, solicitation of a prostitute involves offering money or something of value in exchange for a sexual service.
Indecent exposure. This type of charge frequently arises from seemingly harmless pranks, accidents, and misunderstandings. For instance, you could be charged with indecent exposure for flashing, streaking, or exposing yourself unintentionally.
Lewd and lascivious conduct. You may be charged with lewd and lascivious conduct if you behave in a way that is intended to arouse sexual desire in yourself or people around you in a public area, or are involved in public sexual activity.
Human trafficking. Human trafficking is an increasingly prevalent problem in Illinois, involving the illegal movement of people, typically for the purposes of sexual exploitation.
The Penalties for Sex Crimes in Chicago
While there are a wide variety of sexual offense charges, a conviction for any type of sex crime in Chicago carries heavy penalties.Click To Tweet
Due to the grave nature of sex offenses, the consequences typically involve lengthy—often lifelong—prison sentences, extensive probationary periods, and huge fines.
Additionally, a sex crime conviction of any kind could have a devastating effect on your career and personal life. Even if you are convicted of a seemingly minor offense, you will be required to register as a sex offender for the rest of your life. As a registered sex offender in Chicago, you will be barred from visiting certain public areas and limited in where you can find housing. You may find it difficult to obtain a job or volunteer position, or participate in certain educational programs. In addition, you’ll be required to reregister as a sex offender and pay a fee every ten years, as well as reregister if you move to another state.
If you are facing charges for any type of sex crime in Chicago, it’s imperative to contact an experienced Chicago sex crimes attorney if you want to avoid damaging consequences to your freedom and future. Your attorney can help you understand the charges facing you and craft the most aggressive defense possible. With a talented and experienced attorney in your corner, you may be able to have the charges against you reduced or dropped, sparing you from the humiliation of sex offender registry as well as other serious consequences.
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.