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Illinois Sex Offenses and Why They are Different?

Sexual crimes or offenses are acts that cause another individual to engage in an unwanted sex act either through force, threat, or without consent. Illinois is one of the states in the country with the most stringent approach towards dealing with sex offenses/crimes. People convicted of acts defined as "sex offense" by Illinois' Sex offender Registration Act are tagged sex offenders, irrespective of the severity of their offenses.

Largely, sex crimes are perceived by society and law enforcement agencies to be worse than most crimes, especially when the victim is a minor. This explains why the crimes of sexual nature are aggressively penalized in Illinois courts with severe punishment and fines.

What is an Illinois Sex Crime?

The offenses categorized as sex crimes in Illinois are mostly crimes of sexual acts that are generally offensive and abusive to the victim. Most of these offenses are violent and there is usually a lack of consent by a party. Also, the victim, a minor, or an elderly/disabled individual is usually incapable of consenting due to the inability to understand the nature of the act.

The most common sex crimes in Illinois include child pornography, aggravated criminal sexual assault, criminal sexual assault, aggravated criminal sexual abuse, and indecent solicitation of an adult or child. Illinois mandates that any individual convicted of a sex offense listed in the state lawsshould be registered locally as a "sex offender."

Sex crimes in Illinois are generally based on the following statutory definitions of the following acts:

In addition to simply committing a sexually related crime, sex offenders are usually persons that fall under the following category;

  • Charged and convicted, for committing or attempting to a sexual offense,
  • Found "not guilty" because of insanity for committing or attempting to commit a sexual offense, and
  • Not acquitted at a hearing for allegedly committing or attempting to commit a sexual offense.

Illinois also mandates that if an offender commits a "substantially similar offense" to the laws of the state in another jurisdiction, territory, or state, the individual will still be listed as an offender in Illinois. Offenders are mandated to register in person within 3 days of being released from incarceration with the following information.

  • Name and current address;
  • Recent photograph;
  • Description of any distinguishing marks on your body such as tattoos and scars
  • Employer's name, address and office location
  • Social media information including all internet identities and email addresses
  • A signed copy of the terms of conditions for parole or release;
  • License plate information of all vehicles registered in offenders name
  • Details about your sex-related offense such as day and place the incident occurred, age at the time of the incident, victim's age at the time of the incident.
  • DNA sample(s).

Failure to register according to the State laws on the duty of a sex offender to register is a Class 3 felony punishable by 2-5 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections. A subsequent violation is a Class 2 felony punishable by 3-7 years in the Illinois Department of Corrections.

What are the Different Types of Sex Offenses?

The following are termed "sex offenses" in Illinois:

  • Indecent solicitation and Sexual Exploitation of a Child;
  • Patronizing or Soliciting for a Juvenile Prostitute;
  • Child Pornography;
  • Aggravated Child Pornography;
  • Criminal Sexual Assault (aggravated and predatory)
  • Criminal Sexual Abuse;
  • Ritualized Abuse of a Child;
  • Forcible Detention and unlawful restraint of a child;
  • Pimping, pandering and patronizing child victims
  • Soliciting for a Prostitute, if the victim is a child;
  • Public Indecency (subsequent conviction)
  • Custodial Sexual Misconduct
  • Sexual Misconduct with a disabled individual
  • Permitting Sexual Abuse of a Child;
  • Child Kidnapping, (especially if the kidnapper is not the parent and the act was sexually motivated)
  • Child Abduction.

Most sex-related offenses in the state are punished according to the state Criminal code of 2012. For example, criminal sexual assault (aggravated or predatory) is a class 1 felony, and, considered one of the most serious sexual offenses in the state. It involves committing penetrative sexual acts against individuals who are incapable of giving consent, including minors, mentally disabled individuals with the use of force or threat. It is usually punishable by a term of imprisonment of not less than 30 years and not more than 60 years.

Sex Offender Levels of Classification in Illinois

In the United States, sex offenders are mainly classified based on the risk and danger that they pose to that public, and other times, like in Illinois, sex offenders are classified based on the virtue of their convictions. This gives a broad classification of sex offenders into the following category based on the Sex Offender Registration Act:

  • Sex offenders
  • Sexual Predators, including sexually dangerous and sexually violent offenders.

All individuals convicted of sex offenses as defined by the state laws are generally termed "Sex Offenders" in the state. However, Sexual predators are individuals convicted of violating or attempting to violate the offenses listed in the criminal code of 1961 including;

  • Maintaining a location of Juvenile Prostitution
  • Child and juvenile pimping
  • Child exploitation
  • Aggravated Child Pornography;
  • Criminal Sexual Assault regardless of the victim's age
  • Aggravated and predatory Criminal Sexual Assault;
  • Habitual Abuse of a Child, etc.
  • Certified as a Sexually Dangerous Person according to the Sexually Dangerous Persons Act
  • Found to be Sexually Violent according to the Sexually Violent Commitment Act
  • Convicted of a subsequent offense crime that will require registration as a sex offender, etc.

While regular sex offenders are mandated to register annually for 10 years, sexual predators are mandated to register for every 90 days for the rest of their lives.

How Do I Find A Sex Offender Near Me in Illinois?

Section 115 of the Illinois Sex Offenders Registration Act mandates that the Illinois State Police (ISP), maintain an electronically accessible Statewide Sex offender registry with information of all individuals convicted of crimes of sexual nature in the state.

The registry is updated daily and can be searched using different information or combinations of any of the following;

  • Offender's full name
  • City name
  • County name
  • Zipcode
  • Geographical location using the mapping feature and
  • Compliance Status

Illinois Sex Offender Registry information can be accessed via the Illinois state police website, Illinois Department of Corrections website, and Ilinois Government website.

The Sex offender Registry is maintained across all levels of government, local, state, and even on the federal level. Hence, in addition to the statewide registry, inquirers may access sex offender information on the National Sex Offender Public Website.

Locally, county sheriffs are charged with the responsibility of generating the sex offender registry by collecting information on released sex offenders incaverated within their jurisdiction. Inquirers can access local sheriff websites for information of sex offenders through the sheriff's sex offender watch list. Also, in case such a watchlist is not available electronically, residents have a right to query the Sheriff's department for information on sex offenders in the county.

Although the statewide registry is updated daily to ensure that inquirers have access to updated information, some information may seem elusive or inaccurate. The Illinois Attorney General office has given inquirers the option of contacting the Illinois Sex Offender Registry Team I-SORT for more information.

Illinois Sex Offender Registry

A sex offender registry is a database of all convicted sex offenders in a territory, state, or Jurisdiction. The National Sex Offender Public Website (NSOPW) is the registry maintained by the Department of Justice's Office of Justice Program's Office of Sex Offender Sentencing, Monitoring, Apprehending, Registering, and Tracking (SMART). It allows citizens and residents to search for convicted offenders in all 50 states and territories by providing access to their public registry sites.

The Illinois State Police maintains the Illinois Sex Offender Registry, which provides information on sex offenders specific to the state. It has relevant information on offenders' full names and aliases, addresses, offenses, details of physical appearance, photograph, etc.

The following information is required to use this service effectively, and the inquirer may contact the county Sheriff's department for help:

  • Offender's Last name
  • City name
  • County name
  • Zipcode
  • Offender type, i.e., Child sex offender, adult sex offender, or murderer.
  • Status: Compliant or non-compliant

NB: A sex offender's status is based on the individual's tendency to fulfill the duty to register and obey the sex offender restrictions. A non- compliant offender is one who is guilty of failing to register, verify registration details as they change, and disobey sex offender restrictions.

Records that are considered public may be accessible from some third-party websites. These websites often make searching simpler, as they are not limited by geographic location, and search engines on these sites may help when starting a search for a specific or multiple records. To begin using such a search engine on a third-party or government website, interested parties usually must provide:

  • The name of the person involved in the record, unless said person is a juvenile
  • The location or assumed location of the record or person involved. This includes information such as the city, county, or state that person resides in or was accused in.

Third-party sites are independent from government sources, and are not sponsored by these government agencies. Because of this, record availability on third-party sites may vary.

What are the Sex Offender Restrictions in Illinois

A sex offender conviction in Illinois can lead to serious consequences, including being registered as a sex offender. Asides the negative social stigma, or loss of job opportunities, the sex offender registration act places some restrictions on sex offenders.

In addition to the mandatory registration, the following are some of the restrictions on sex offenders according to the Sex offender Registration Act.

  • Loss of Access to Children (below 18 years): Sex offenders are not allowed to reside or work in and or within 500 feet of a school zone, public park, playground, daycare center, or any child care institution.
  • Sex offenders are not permitted to reside within 500 feet within the victim of the crime for which they were convicted.
  • Sex offenders on probation, mandatory supervised release, or parole are not permitted to access a social networking website.
  • Sex offenders are mandated to report any residential or employment, social media changes within 3 days.
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