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Legal Definition of Statutory Rape in Illinois

Posted on in Sex Crimes

IL defense lawyerStatutory rape is a common term used for behavior that meets the technical definition of criminal sexual abuse in Illinois. The legal age of consent for sexual activity of any kind is 17 years old. Anyone younger than that cannot legally consent to sex, even if the minor voluntarily engaged in the act and even if the minor’s sexual partner is also under 17 years old. Contrary to how “consent” is often used in common parlance, for legal purposes, someone simply cannot legally consent to sexual activity in Illinois under age 17.

This can cause some confusion for individuals who are caught engaging in sexual activity with their underage boyfriend or girlfriend. Despite what may seem like enthusiastic participation from both parties, such behavior is illegal and can carry serious criminal penalties. If you are being investigated for or have been charged with criminal sexual abuse, get an experienced Illinois criminal defense attorney right away.

Can I Be Charged with a Sex Crime for Having Sex with My Underage Girlfriend?

Although minors under age 17 are rarely prosecuted for engaging in sexual acts together, Illinois law does prohibit such behavior. Neither partner is capable of legally consenting, and both partners could be charged with a sex crime.

More common are prosecutions for sexual activity between a child under 17 and a boyfriend or girlfriend who is older, especially if the older individual is in a position of authority (such as a teacher, church leader, or athletics coach). People often make the mistake of assuming that, because they are not too much older than their boyfriend or girlfriend, they will not get in legal trouble. If you just turned 18 and your girlfriend is almost 16, you could still be charged with a sex crime and have to register as a sex offender.

When Does Statutory Rape Become Aggravated Criminal Sexual Abuse?

Not all criminal abuse charges are the same; some are much more serious than others. The crime of aggravated criminal sexual abuse is a Class 2 felony and carries potential penalties of three to seven years in prison and fines up to $25,000. Aggravated criminal sexual abuse charges can be leveled against a defendant if he or she engaged in sexual conduct, such as intercourse, fondling, and touching, in the following circumstances:

  • The defendant is over 17 years old and the child is under 13 years old
  • The defendant is under 17 years old and the child is under nine years old
  • A defendant who is 17 years or older and in a position of authority or supervision, such as a babysitter or tutor, over a child who is between the ages of 13 and 18
  • The defendant is related to a child under 18 years old
  • The defendant is at least five years older than a child who is between 13 and 17 years old

Call a Joliet, IL Statutory Rape Lawyer

Charges of criminal sexual abuse are extremely serious and can have a long-lasting impact on your life. If you have been accused of statutory rape, it is important to act with urgency and care. An experienced Will County defense attorney with Reeder & Brown, P.C. may be able to help you build a strong defense to protect against a criminal investigation or criminal charges. Call us today at 815-885-5980 to schedule a free case review.




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