Articles Tagged with Chicago sex crimes lawyer

Child sex abuse material (CSAM) remains a major concern for law enforcement. Today, the penalties for possession, dissemination, and creation of CSAM are higher than ever before. Part of the role that law enforcement plays is identifying victims. Today, it is possible to generate the face of a random individual that looks real. Could producers of CSAM use this technology to produce illegal pornography? Absolutely. 

But is it a crime?

What Remains Illegal?

You have probably seen ads for AI image generators on social media and are wondering about the legality of that and how it can be legally used. Most of that remains unclear; today, it is possible to put major public figures into images and photos potentially doing compromising things. While on the one hand, this can be used in ugly and nefarious ways. On the other hand, it casts doubt on the veracity of all images. 

Revenge porn, child pornography, and other illegal forms of pornography seem now to have a legal avenue into the mainstream. While AI art-generating sites will prevent images with nudity from being generated, it remains within the realm of possibility to create images of an ex or illegal pornography for personal use. What does the law say about this?

It is illegal

An Illinois man who was a registered sex offender was indicted on new child pornography charges after exchanging photos with an undercover agent on the Kik Messenger App. Kik has gained notoriety for being a den of child pornography enthusiasts exchanging photos. The app provides the user with total anonymity from other users, but the terms of service stipulate that individuals cannot exchange illegal material using the site’s infrastructure. 

The app itself is not nefarious. It was created by college students at the University of Waterloo as a free, anonymous messaging app. The app allows you to create group chats, upload videos, pictures, and files. The group chat feature is where most of the child pornography issues can be found. The only thing you need to use the app is an email address. You then have a username and a handle which is used by other members to find you. 

While uploading child pornography to the site violates its terms of service, Kik does not moderate these group chats, so it is left to law enforcement to ensure crimes are not being committed. 

A Chicago public schools security guard is facing charges that he had an inappropriate sexual relationship with a 15-year-old student. The guard was suspended pending an investigation and now more allegations have surfaced. The security guard is now facing two counts of aggravated criminal sexual abuse of a minor. The students, who are 15 and 16, say that the security guard touched them inappropriately. Both students were male. The second victim informed his mother of the incident, which is when authorities became involved. They traced their way back to a second victim.

What is Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse?

Aggravated criminal sexual abuse, as opposed to criminal sexual abuse, is sexual abuse plus any one of a number of aggravating circumstances. Aggravating circumstances include the use of a weapon during a sexual assault, the use of drugs to induce a sexual assault, a victim over 60 years of age, or a minor victim when the attacker is an adult. In most cases, aggravated sexual assault is considered a second-degree felony in Illinois. However, when an adult perpetrator and minor victim is involved, it escalates to a class-one felony. 

Ghislaine Maxwell, the former girlfriend of Jefferey Epstein, has been arrested on charges that she recruited underage women to perform sexual acts on Epstein at the couple’s West Palm Beach mansion. Maxwell was arrested by FBI agents in New Hampshire. Meanwhile, “Epstein didn’t kill himself” memes are still popular on the internet.

Epstein was taken into custody last year, where he apparently took his own life under suspicious circumstances in a federal detention center. Since then, speculation has been wild about how Epstein, who was reportedly on suicide watch, managed to get left alone long enough to hang himself. The security cameras that were supposed to be watching him were both either broken or turned off at the time. 

The Case Against Ghislaine Maxwell

raban-haaijk-118657-copy-225x300Uber driver, Ahmed Tawfeeq, was recently sentenced to five years for sexually assaulting one of his passengers. Now, he will face additional charges alleging that he attempted to hire someone to hurt, silence, or threaten her

The charges against Tawfeeq included criminal sexual abuse, promoting prostitution, attempted sexual assault, aggravated battery, and unlawful restraint. 

Now, Tawfeeq will appear as a defendant in a second trial alleging that he posted bond for a fellow inmate and offered him another $6,000 to “kidnap” the complainant in an apparent attempt to silence or intimidate her. 

louis-reed-747388-unsplash-copy-300x200A man entered a 43-year-old woman’s apartment through a back door that she had left open to get some air and sexually assaulted her. A year passed with no suspects. Now, DNA links Christopher Nelson to the crime. He has been denied bail.

Decades of CSI-style TV shows have led the American public to believe that DNA evidence is unimpeachable. Indeed, it provides law enforcement with its best means of tracking individuals to certain crimes. DNA links Nelson to the crime and the woman he assaulted also picked him out of a lineup.

Understanding DNA Evidence in Rape Cases

While the First Amendment protects the right of adults to watch and produce pornography, this right is not without limitations. For example, child pornography is not protected under the First Amendment and is always illegal. Child pornography is any visual depiction of a minor, aka a person under 18 years old, engaging in a sexual activity. In recent years the federal government has become more and more focused on prosecuting those who have allegedly produced, distributed, or viewed child pornography.

One of the most recent child pornography cases in Illinois involves a Yorkville man who was recently sentenced to 12 years in prison for a child pornography conviction and for violating the Sex Offender Registration Act, reports As the man had been convicted of child pornography related crimes three times before, the Kendall County Sheriff’s Office conducted a compliance check in December 2015 to confirm that the Yorkville man was in compliance with the Sex Offender Registration Act. notes that via this compliance check the Internet Crimes Against Children Task Force discovered that approximately 100 images depicting child pornography had been downloaded to the man’s personal computer. After obtaining a search warrant, investigators found that the man was illegally in possession of images showing children younger than 13 years old engaged in sexual acts. The man was charged with five counts of possessing child pornography depicting a child less than 13 years, which is a Class 1 felony.

The Sex Offender Registration Act

It’s been a bad couple of weeks for America’s Dad, Bill Cosby. In the past month, at least 20 different women have come forward to say that Mr. Cosby had sexually molested, drugged and/or sexually assaulted them in incidents dating back as far as the 1970s. Just this week the Los Angeles Police Department met with one accuser, who claims Cosby sexually assaulted her when she was just 15 years old.


Can Charges be filed in Decades Old Chicago Rape Case?

The alleged sexual assaults in the Cosby case happened decades ago and, if true, the majority went unreported. If a Chicago resident were to claim she was sexually assaulted 15 years ago, is it possible for criminal charges to be filed against the accused?

Illinois law imposes statutes of limitations on all crimes except murder. Statutes of limitations are time limits imposed on the prosecution, requiring him to file charges against the accused within a stated time period. If charges are not filed within the specified time period, they can never be filed.

Statutes of limitations vary among crimes (they are also different for claims filed in civil court, so when looking up statutes of limitations make sure you are reading the criminal code). For the crime of sexual assault, the prosecution must file charges within 10 years of the commission of the offense, provided the victim reported it to the police within three years of its occurrence.

For example, imagine a woman who was raped on March 20, 1995. If she reports the rape to the police any time on or before March 20, 1998, the prosecution has until March 20, 2005 to bring charges against the alleged perpetrator. If, however, the woman reports the rape to police on March 31, 1998, the prosecution cannot file charges, because the law required her to have reported the rape within three years of its occurrence.

If the alleged sexual assault occurred when the victim was under 18 years of age, the prosecution has 20 years from the date the victim turns 18 to file charges. So, if a child was raped July 7, 1975 at the age of 8, the prosecution has until July 7, 2005 to file charges against the accused. If the charge was for misdemeanor criminal sexual abuse, the prosecution has 10 years from the date the victim turns 18 to bring charges.

So depending on when the woman reported the sexual assault and her age when it happened, it is possible for charges to be brought for a sexual assault that occurred a decade, possibly even three decades, ago. However, the likelihood of success in such an old case is slim. Witness memory fades and, without physical evidence, such as a rape kit or other DNA evidence, the case would be nothing more than he said-she said, which is difficult to prove over such a long period of time.

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