A Cook County judge recently sentenced a Chicago man to 11 years in prison after he was seen sexually assaulting a 7-year-old female relative. The assault was broadcast during a remote learning class. The 21-year-old defendant pleaded guilty to felony sexual assault for the attack that occurred in October 2020 during the height of the pandemic. As part of a plea agreement, prosecutors dropped two other felony counts and an unrelated weapons charge count.
The assault occurred while the victim was at home and participating in a remote learning class during the COVID-19 pandemic. During a break, the teacher asked students to mute their computers and turn off their cameras. The victim muted her computer but did not turn off her camera. The teacher witnessed the assault taking place and called the principal of the school. The principal contacted the girl’s family, and the Illinois Department of Children and Family Services was notified of the assault. When the girl was asked about the assault, she told authorities that it had happened before. The 21-year-old defendant was arrested and charged with the sexual assault of a minor.
Criminal Sexual Assault Under Illinois Law
Under Illinois law, criminal sexual abuse is defined as the commission of any act involving sexual touching through the use of force or the threat of force or with the knowledge that the victim lacks the capacity to consent to sexual contact.
Examples of sexual assault include:
- Penetration through the use of force or threat of force
- Sexual penetration when the victim lacks the capacity to consent (intellectual disability and minor children included)
- Sexual penetration when the victim is under the age of 18 and related to the victim
To qualify for criminal sexual assault, the defendant must engage in a sexual act with a victim without their consent. Sexual penetration is a requirement under the statute. While consent is often a defense to sexual assault, children can never consent to sex with an adult, so the most popular defense to sexual assault, consent, is off the table when it comes to these crimes. Criminal sexual abuse can be charged as a class-X felony, which, short of murder, is the most serious crime you can face in Illinois. Aside from a lengthy prison sentence, the perpetrator will have to register as a sex offender for the remainder of their life.
Those charged with sex crimes in Illinois face serious charges and devoted prosecutors who will spend a disproportionate amount of time trying these cases. Defendants must be aware of the seriousness of the offense and the potential consequences of a conviction. The stigma associated with even being accused of these crimes is an intense punishment in and of itself.
If you have been accused of criminal sexual assault in Chicago, IL, contact David Freidberg immediately before you discuss the matter with the police. We can help you defend yourself against the charges or negotiate a plea deal that you can live with. Call our office today at (312) 560-7100 to schedule an appointment and learn more about how we can help.