Articles Posted in Sex Crimes

joanna-kosinska-61432-unsplash-copy-300x200Is it ever worth it to take a plea? Not if you are Robert Kraft, the owner of the Super Bowl Champion New England Patriots. The prosecution offered Kraft a sweetheart deal on two misdemeanor solicitation charges. If Kraft agreed to state that “he would have been proven guilty had the case gone to trial” then the prosecution would drop all the charges. But Kraft and his attorney, smelling blood in the water, wants to force the prosecution to actually prove their case in court or dismiss the charges outright. Why?

Everyone knows that Kraft did exactly what he is being accused of, but the problem is not that he did it, it is how the prosecution came by the evidence that he did it. Essentially, police officers have Robert Kraft on video receiving sexual favors from working girls at the Orchids of Asia Day Spa. So, why is he not dead to rights, and why is the prosecution extending him such a great deal?

In order to understand that, we have to delve a little deeper into how they came by that information.

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199R. Kelly has been in the headlines again for all the wrong reasons. The documentary entitled Surviving R. Kelly has made major waves across the nation. Now, R. Kelly finds himself on trial once again for crimes that he claims he did not commit. What is his strategy? Putting the victims on trial. Criminal defense attorneys believe that no matter how much a defendant’s crimes upset our sense of social justice and basic decency, they are entitled to a defense under the law. But Illinois makes it very difficult for defendants like R. Kelly to attack their accusers in court.

Illinois Rape Shield Law

Illinois’ rape shield law (725 ILCS 5/115-7) covers specific types of sex crimes. These include:

celia-ortega-497023-copy-300x200An employee from the Waukegan School District was charged in late February with grooming and sexually assaulting a 13-year-old girl, as stated by Chicago police and district officials.

26-year-old Gabriel Valadez was arrested at the administrative offices of Waukegan District 60. According to police, Valadez would chat with the girl using FaceTime. Authorities do not know how the accused met the girl, but their conversations took place through the app and online. Chicago Police Department policy prohibits providing information about victims, so they declined to mention where the girl was from.

Since 2007, Valadez worked in the district offices as an administrative assistant. He submitted his resignation a week after his arrest. District officials were quick to point out that Valadez was never assigned to work in their schools and had no direct contract with students. As a result, they did not provide any information about the situation to parents.

hajran-pambudi-403848-copy-300x199If you have been arrested after being charged with a sex crime, your life may never be the same. In society, the opinion of sex crimes, particularly those committed against children, is very strong and very negative. Law enforcement has a similar attitude when in pursuit of or apprehending someone accused of a sex crime. The majority of sex crime convictions result in the mandatory registration as a sex offender. Needless to say, the impact of that is serious and permanent.

An aggressive defense is needed if you hope to protect any semblance of your freedom, future, or reputation after being charged with a sex crime. A sex crime defense lawyer in Chicago will be able to help you construct a sound defense, which may include:

  • Demonstrating you were wrongfully accused: Is the accused making false allegations? Did they lie to protect their own reputation? Are you and the accused involved in a child custody case or going through a divorce?

tim-graf-202490-copy-300x200A continuous system for offering services to sex offenders from the time of incarceration to the time of discharge and then parole is being actively advanced by the Illinois Department of Corrections. For these continuous services to be facilitated, the department realized that all services related to sex offenders need to be overseen. This led to the establishment of the Sex Offender Services Units.

This shows an effort on behalf of the Illinois Department of Corrections to protect of the Chicago community. This will hopefully be achieved through the management of re-offense risks by facilitating the identification, evaluation, treatment, and supervision of sex offenders.

Sex Offender Sentencing in Chicago

dmitry-ratushny-64773-copy-300x199Unfortunately, Chicago has acquired a reputation for child trafficking and is one of the crisis points recognized in the national strategy. Some of the people involved are supposed to be intimate partners who end up turning on the victims and forcing them to engage in indecent employment for little or no compensation. The practice is sometimes fueled by an illicit drug and sex work industry. Grooming is a very important step in getting someone to give up his or her rights, and that is where children are particularly vulnerable. They lack a sense of judgement and the perpetrators tend to look for those who are on the margins of society. Runaway kids are especially susceptible to this type of crime and the social service agencies in Chicago have attempted to do some preventative work.

In previous times, the law was insensitive to the fact that the victims may be engaging in illegal activity through no fault or volition of their own. That is why it was important to focus instead on the pimps who stand on the wayside in order to capture the illegally-acquired largesse from the trade. There are instances in which the victim is offered support whilst the perpetrator faces the full weight of a criminal prosecution. The reality is that many victims are so traumatized and frightened that they end up not raising a complaint in situations in which their cooperation is of the utmost importance.

A Comprehensive Strategy

ben-white-194220-copy-300x200At the heart of the laws on statutory rape in Chicago is the definition of the age of consent. At the moment, the age of consent in this state is 17 years of age. At the federal level, the age of consent is defined as that minimum age at which a person is considered to be legally old enough to agree to participate in a sexual activity. That age is 16 at the federal level, so defending attorneys already need to be wary of conflicts in interpretation. The bottom line is that the state law takes precedence on this, so if you are in Chicago, 17 is the minimum acceptable age for consent to take place. It is important to note that even when explicit consent is provided by the victim, the fact that he or she does not make the minimum age means that he or she is not able to give legal consent.

A statutory rape charge is brought about based on the age of the victim (and, to an extent, that of the defendant) according to 720 ILCS 5/12-15. It is not really about whether the victims said yes, no, or maybe. It is about their age and whether they were allowed to make those judgements. There are other important provisions in the law that relate to the relationship between the defendant and the victim. If you are in a position of authority or trust (such as a family doctor, priest, boss, etc.), the age of consent in Chicago is raised to 18 years of age. The challenge for the defending attorney is to determine whether the defendant was really in a position of power, authority, or trust. This can be a significant aspect of the defense strategy.

Consequences of a Charge and Conviction

benjamin-voros-160962-300x200One of the current and most insidious forms of harassment is cyber bullying. It is now recognized as a serious crime in Chicago and prosecutors are highly motivated to go for those that continue doing it under the auspices of instrument number 720 Ill. Comp. Stat. § 5/12-7.5. The problem with such cases is the degree of difficulty in actually proving that everything happened as the victim described. Institutions such as schools have come up with bespoke policies that are designed to manage the risks. Some local ordinances demand such measures as a prerequisite to being licensed.

Some defense attorneys have expressed concern that the zeal to prosecute may lead to a violation of the defendant’s civil liberties. What was once accepted as normal conflict between and amongst teenagers is now a crime that can land someone in jail. Others point out that the resultant criminal record is an overly excessive punishment for the crime. On the other hand, it is noted that cyber bullying can lead to serious consequences for the victim including self-harm and even suicide on some occasions.

Key Ingredients of the Crime

w33-zg-dnl4-rami-al-zayat-300x200Revenge porn is a crime that is gaining prominence in the age of social media. The law in Chicago took some time to catch up with the reality that some victims were being exposed to serious danger. By 2015, the state legislature had decided to write a law that set out the parameters for an effective prosecution. The leading instrument is 720 ILCS 5/11-46. At the moment revenge porn is considered to be a felony offense. In actuality, Chicago is in the minority when it comes to jurisdictions that have finally started criminalizing this type of behavior. Illinois is noted as the state with the strictest laws in this category. The crux of the offense is sharing nude or compromising images and videos of a person without his or her consent. One must have the unequivocal consent of a person in intimate images before those images can be shared.

It is entirely possible that images which are not extremely explicit can be considered to be part of a revenge porn offense. The charge can stick even if the person had originally consented to the recording of the image but was then unaware that the image was going to be distributed. Defense lawyers have argued that the definition is too wide and gives the court way too much discretion in determining what constitutes revenge porn. Chicago has different from other states in important ways as follows:

  • The intention to cause harm is not necessary for the charge to stick. All that is required is that the images or videos were distributed. Malicious intent can be an aggravating factor but its absence does not remove the charge.

w33-zg-dnl4-rami-al-zayat-300x200The internet has not only opened up new avenues of communication, but has also created an entire category of crimes that require bespoke responses from the legislature. It is from that perspective that Chicago has come up with an internet solicitation legal framework which captures cyber sex crimes (720 ILCS 5/11-6.6 for enticement), among other things. On the other hand, the rules as they exist have left the door open for vigilantes and ingénues to entice otherwise ordinary citizens into compromising situations. The web sting has become an effective tool for police to target suspected pedophiles and other types of online offenders. More recently the phenomenon of revenge porn and unsolicited sexting has plagued legislatures across the globe. For the defense attorney, entrapment might be one of the critical issues that needs to be examined.

How the Law is Designed and Implemented

For a person to fall within the ambit of the law, they must knowingly engage in acts that amount to criminality, but the lines are blurred when undercover agents effectively encourage predisposed people to engage in illegal acts. At other times the law is the only way of being able to capture those sophisticated offenders who have a secretive network of contacts that are able to access some of the most offensive material that is currently available on the internet. Typically the offender is so unsympathetic that the public is unable to pay any attention to the civil liberties issues that may have been raised during his or her arrest, trial, conviction, and sentencing. Ignorance and apathy remain key characteristics of the type of offender that engages with the internet in this way (see 720 ILCS 5/11-6 for indecent solicitation and online sexual solicitation rules). Some may consider it relatively harmless to surf certain pages while others are simply unaware that they are breaking specific laws in Chicago.