In 2014, the state of Illinois greatly increased the statute of limitations for child sex abuse crimes. Under the current law, a victim has 20 years after their 18th birthday to report the crime to law enforcement. However, in light of the recent high-profile case involving a former Speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives, Illinois Attorney General Lisa Madigan is calling for the statute of limitations to be eliminated entirely.
Financial Probe Leads to Tragic Discovery
The former Speaker, who represented the citizens of Illinois for 20 years, was recently sentenced to 15 months in prison after pleading guilty to violating banking laws. He admitted to making illegal bank withdrawals. According to prosecutors, the former lawmaker structured his withdrawals in order to evade required bank reporting. Under federal law, a bank is required to file a currency transaction report of any banking transaction of over $10,000 to the Financial Crimes Enforcement Network (FinCEN).
However, an investigation revealed that the funds were being used to pay a man who accused the defendant of sexually molesting him on a wresting trip decades earlier when he was a coach at Yorkville High School. That investigation also uncovered evidence that the former Speaker molested at least four students, between the ages of 14 through 17.
The current statute limitation prevented prosecutors from charging the man with child sexual abuse, and although he was sentenced for the banking crimes, the Attorney General pointed out that he will never be held accountable for his molestation crimes. The Attorney General’s sentiments regarding the statute of limitations were echoed by supporters around the state who believe that sex offenders should be held responsible for their actions.
Presumption of Innocence
The topic of child sex abuse is one to which many people have a strong emotional reaction, as opposed to an intellectual reaction, especially since it involves hurting children. Instead of being innocent until proven guilty, the public often decides the accused is guilty even before there is a trial. Just the mere accusation of child molestation can completely destroy a person’s life, even if the accusation is later proven to be false.
If you have been charged with a sex crime involving a minor, contact an experienced Wheaton criminal defense attorney immediately. Call the Law Offices of Salvatore C. Miglore & Associates at 630-933-8400 today for a free consultation. Our team will work hard to ensure that your rights are protected throughout every stage of the process.