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Can Parents Consent to Sexual Contact on Behalf of Their Children?

An Illinois man is alleging that the parents of a child he is charged with sexually assaulting gave him consent to initiate the sexual contact. The man has been charged with the sexual abuse of a 15-year-old girl. He believes that he has committed no crime because her parents consented to the sexual contact. The Chicago man has been extradited to Iowa where he will face the charges. The defense filed a motion to dismiss on the basis of this consent, but consent is not a defense to the sexual abuse of a child. What is a defense is not knowing that the child was under 17 at the time of the assault.

Understanding the Law

I cannot agree on your behalf to allow you to be murdered, even if I am your parent. Children are not property and are not considered as such under the law. While parents have decision-making power over their children, they cannot consent on their behalf to allow the child to become the victim of a crime. The argument is thus meritless in legal terms and would rely entirely on jury nullification of the law under the statute. Lawyers are generally prevented from making such arguments before a jury. Nonetheless, the juries can and do nullify the law in specific cases. Most notably, during prohibition, prosecutors found it difficult to convict individuals accused of bootlegging. There is no jury on earth that would nullify a sex crime against a child. It would be tantamount to arguing that parents are allowed to pimp their children out to pedophiles for money.

However, marriage laws are slightly different. In some places in America, a parent can consent to marry off a minor child to a potential spouse regardless of the potential spouse’s age. 

Other Motions Filed in This Case

The defendant also believes that a phone call made between himself and the 15-year-old girl should be suppressed based on the illegality of the call. Iowa police recorded a call between the defendant and the girl, but the recording allegedly violates Illinois’ rules on eavesdropping and illegal searches. The police failed to obtain a warrant prior to making the call which would violate Illinois rules regarding eavesdropping which requires the consent of all parties. The prosecution has yet to respond to this motion. It remains unclear how much of their case is based on the phone call. The defendant appears to have admitted to the sexual contact but believes the sexual contact was legal because the parents said it was okay. 

It further remains unclear whether or not the prosecution will admit that the parents allowed the child to have sex with the 27-year-old man. Nonetheless, the man appears to have known the child was 15 at the time. Otherwise, he would not have “needed” the consent of the parents to initiate the sexual contact. 

Talk to a Chicago Sex Crimes Defense Attorney Today

David Freidberg represents the interests of those charged with serious sex crimes in Illinois. Call today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and we can begin preparing your defense immediately.

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