Through the many years I've been representing clients, I have seen numerous people charged with criminal sexual abuse. It is one of the more frequently-charged sex crimes, so I will discuss what criminal sexual abuse is, the potential sentences, and some possible defenses that may be raised.
Criminal sexual abuse is a crime in Illinois under the Criminal Code of 2012. There is more than one way to commit criminal sexual abuse under 720 ILCS 5/11-1.50. First, it is criminal sexual abuse if you commit an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force. Second, it is criminal sexual abuse if you commit an act of sexual conduct while knowing that the victim is unable to understand or give knowing consent. These two forms of criminal sexual abuse are usually a Class 4 felony with a sentence ranging from one to three years in prison, but if you have previously committed an act of sexual conduct through the use of force, the sentence increases to three to six years in prison. The court may also impose a fine up to $25,000 if you are found or plead guilty. Third, it is also criminal sexual abuse if you are under 17 years old and they commit an act of penetration or sexual conduct with a victim who is between 9 and 17 years old. Finally, it is criminal sexual abuse if you commit an act of sexual penetration or conduct with a victim between the age of 13 and 17 and you are less than five years older than the victim. These last two forms of criminal sexual abuse are usually a Class A misdemeanor with a sentence as high as 364 days in jail and a fine as high as $2,500.
Depending on the facts in a specific case and the specific part of the statute you are charged under, there are numerous possible ways to defend a charge of criminal sexual abuse. For example, a defense attorney could argue that there was no sexual conduct. For a victim over the age of 13, sexual conduct only occurs if there was intentional or knowing touching or fondling of a sex organ, anus, or breast of a victim for the purpose of sexual gratification or arousal. This means that a defense attorney could argue that 1) there was no touching or fondling, or 2) any such touching or fondling was not done intentionally or knowingly. If charged with the second, third, or forth forms of criminal sexual assault, a defense attorney could also argue that the accused reasonably believed that the victim was able to understand and had given consent. For example, if the victim was under the age of 17 and therefore could not legally consent to sex but the defense convinces the jury that the accused reasonably believed that the victim was at least 17 years old, then the accused would not be guilty of criminal sexual abuse.
If you are charged with criminal sexual abuse, you will want the best representation around. Contact the attorneys at John W. Callahan, Ltd. We have over a decade of experience handling all sorts of sex cases and will work hard to give you the result you deserve.
–Posted by John W. Callahan, sex cases attorney