Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawyer

Any accusation of sexual abuse can devastate a person. It can damage that person’s relationships with family, friends, and coworkers. Others will look at the person they once trusted and think twice. It isn’t too much to say that allegations of sexual abuse can ruin a person’s life. Not only does the law take sexual abuse seriously, but the stigma within a community can punish someone before he or she is found guilty. If you’re facing a sexual abuse charge, seek legal advice right away. There are ways to defend your innocence in court and minimize the impact of this accusation. Call a Chicago sex crimes defense attorney with O’Meara Law at .

Criminal Sexual Abuse Law & Penalties

There are three ways that a person can be found guilty of criminal sexual abuse under Illinois law. The first way under Illinois statute 720 ILCS 5.11-1.5 consists of a person:

  • Perpetrating an act of sexual conduct by the use of force or threat of force, or
  • Committing an act of sexual conduct and knowing the victim cannot understand the nature of the act or is unable to give knowing consent.

This type of criminal sexual abuse is a Class 4 Felony, punishable by a mandatory 1 to 3 years in prison. Probation is an option as well. A second or subsequent conviction of this crime is a Class 2 felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison, but the individual can receive probation.

The second way for a person to commit criminal sexual abuse is if he or she is under the age of 17 and sexually penetrates or commits a sexual act with a victim between the ages of 9 and 17 years old.

Third, a person is guilty of criminal sexual abuse if he or she sexually penetrates or commits a sexual act with a victim who is between the ages of 13 and 17, and the person is less than 5 years older than the victim.

For these two types of criminal sexual abuse, the offender is charged with a Class A misdemeanor, punishable by up to 1 year in prison. This punishment can be reduced for good behavior by up to 50 percent.

Defending Against Criminal Sexual Abuse

If you are facing a criminal sexual abuse charge, it is crucial to know how the prosecutor is planning the case against you and what evidence he or she has. A sexual abuse charge can be a misdemeanor with a less severe punishment. However, even a misdemeanor sexual abuse charge requires registration as a sex offender in Illinois.

Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse Law & Penalties

There are many circumstances in which a person will be charged with aggravated criminal sexual abuse, which comes with harsher penalties. Under 720 ILCS 5/11-1.60, a person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if he or she perpetrates criminal sexual abuse as well as one of the following aggravated circumstances during the commission of the crime or as part of the course of conduct related to the crime:

  • The person uses, threatens to use, or displays a dangerous weapon or object fashion to use as a weapon, and the victim reasonably believes the object is a dangerous weapon,
  • The victim is older than 60,
  • The victim has a physical disability
  • The person acts in a way that threatens or endangers the life of the victim or another person,
  • The person commits criminal sexual abuse during the commission or attempts to perpetrate another felony,
  • The person gives a controlled substance to the victim, not for medical purposes, without the victim’s consent or by threat or deception.

A person perpetrates aggravated sexual abuse if he or she commits sexual conduct with a victim younger than 18 years old and who is a family member.

A person is also guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse if that person is over the age of 17 and:

  • Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim younger than 13, or
  • Commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim between the ages of 13 and 17, and uses force or threat of force to execute the act.

A person commits aggravated criminal sexual abuse if he or she perpetrates an act of sexual penetration or conduct with a victim who is at least 13 years old but younger than 17, and the person is at least 5 years older than the victim.

A defendant is guilty of aggravated criminal sexual abuse if he or she commits a sexual act with a victim who has a severe or profound intellectual disability.

Also, a person is guilty of this offense if he or she commits an act of sexual conduct with a victim between 13 and 18, and the person holds a position of supervision, trust, or authority with the victim.

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 Felony, punishable by 3 to 7 years in prison. The defendant can also receive probation in place of time in prison.

Sex Offender Registration

An individual convicted of criminal sexual abuse or aggravated criminal sexual abuse is required to register as a sex offender in Illinois, and other states if he or she moves. The offender will not be allowed to live or go to certain places. His or her private information will be made public online. Many offenders face discrimination when trying to find a place to live or work, and many experience harassment within the community.

An offender may be required to register annually for a period of time or life. Depending on the nature of the offense, he or she may have to check in every 90 days.

Contact a Chicago Sexual Abuse Lawyer Today

The consequences of a sexual abuse charge are too severe to face alone. You need an experienced attorney by your side. An attorney like Michael O’Meara understands the nuances of sex crime cases and how to defend your character and actions in court.

Call Michael O’Meara at to schedule a consultation.