In 1961, the State of Illinois revamped it criminal laws, eliminating the crime of “rape.” In place of “rape,” a variety of new crimes were created, including “criminal sexual assault.” Under Illinois law (720 ILCS 5/12‑13) the crime of criminal sexual assault is committed when a person does any of the following:
- commits an act of sexual penetration by the use of force or threat of force;
- commits an act of sexual penetration and the accused knew that the victim was unable to understand the nature of the act or was unable to give knowing consent
- commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim who was under 18 years of age when the act was committed and the accused was a family member
- commits an act of sexual penetration with a victim who was at least 13 years of age but under 18 years of age when the act was committed and the accused was 17 years of age or over and held a position of trust, authority or supervision in relation to the victim.
Criminal sexual assault is a Class 1 Felony, making the penalty range from 4 years to 15 years in an Illinois state prison, and a fine of up to $25,000.00. Illinois’ Truth in Sentencing law applies to criminal sexual assault, meaning that a person convicted of criminal sexual assault in Illinois must serve at least 85% of their prison sentence. Criminal sexual assault is also a non-probationable offense in Illinois, which means that a person who is convicted must (generally) go to prison, rather than receive probation.
Those convicted will also be required to register as a sex offender, which imposes serious restrictions upon where they may live and work.
Individuals who have previous conviction(s) of criminal sexual assault or a similar crime from another state and are again convicted can receive a sentence of up to life in prison without the possibility of parole.
Anyone who is facing a criminal sexual abuse charge is wise to promptly retain an experienced attorney. Having the right attorney in this kind of case is vital, given the severe penalties that are imposed upon conviction. Sexual crimes also carry with them a great deal of social stigma, and the right attorney can often help a person put their life back together after their innocence is demonstrated in court. This can include bringing a lawsuit against an individual who falsely accused the client of criminal sexual assault.